The upcoming iOS 9.3 update for iPhone and iPad could put paid to the flagrant misuse of company-owned Apple devices, as it has become clear that a feature that allows IT administrators to put iOS home screens on lockdown could also restrict specific applications. The changes to enterprise profile access are listed in an Apple development report, with the significant detail referring to the Home Screen restriction update that states:
"The Home Screen Layout Payload is designated by specifying com.apple.homescreenlayout as the PayloadType value. It can contain only one payload, which must be supervised. It is supported on the User Channel. This payload defines a layout of apps, folders, and web clips for the Home screen. It is supported on iOS 9.3 and later."
If a company is using a mobile device management (MDM) system, these changes on the horizon for iOS 9.3 essentially provides its administrators with carte blanche to restrict and/or remove apps and force a specific home screen layout.
A stop to 'selfies' during company time?
Dubbed "restriction payloads", the management controls could even disable access basic iPhone and iPad functionality, such as the Camera (bye bye selfies) and the App Store.
App and videogame developer Steve Stroughton-Smith shared a screenshot of a sizeable list of restrictions on Twitter, which even shows that even basic functionality, such as iCloud, iMessage and Sir, could also be banned due to the new changes:
While this will be terrible news to anyone who has ever snuck out a Facebook post or liked a photo on Instagram on a device that is technically company property, businesses will surely find a plethora of ways to customise the iOS design language to effectively brand a standard iPhone to suit the company's particular needs.
The information came in conjunction with the release of iOS 9.3's fifth beta stage to developers, with a public release expected around the time of Apple's planned media conference on 21 March. Could MDM restrictions also cripple the potential changes we have seen in concept videos for iOS 10?