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The vast majority of companies place restrictions on their computers to stop employees downloading certain files or changing PC settings. It protects network security; without it, workers could compromise an entire system - a scenario that is thought to be the cause of the recent Hollywood hospital ransomware attack.
This same level of administrator control doesn't extend to company-issued smartphones, but it looks as if Apple’s upcoming iOS 9.3 update may change things.
A section in Apple’s developer documentation shows that, among other things, those with mobile device management access will be able to edit the homescreen layout of company iPhones, meaning admins get to decide where the apps are positioned. The company could, for example, put work apps in a prime position for employees to access, with no way for workers to arrange apps the way they prefer.
Additionally, employers will be able to hide certain apps, including pre-installed Apple ones and those related to the device’s systems, presumably so users won’t compromise the security of the phone. IT admins will also be able to block specific apps being downloaded from the app store, so no more Candy Crush or Clash of Clans.
Finally, the new update will let companies change notification settings on their iOS devices, meaning they can control the method and frequency in which users receive them. Constant, invasive notifications will no doubt make it difficult for staff members to claim that they “never saw the message.”
One thing iOS 9.3 brings that benefits employees is a prominent message on the lock screen that warns: “This iPhone is managed by your organization.” Going into the device’s About screen will expand on this, explaining that the iPhone’s supervisor can monitor its internet traffic and locate the device.
While this is all good news for businesses looking to improve worker productivity, many employees may not be too happy to find they can’t even personalize the layout of their work-issued device, even if it is their employer’s property.