Apple's forthcoming iOS 9.3 release will give IT administrators control over employees' iPhone homescreen layouts and downloaded apps.
Developer Steve Troughton-Smith spotted the business-focused features in Apple's recently updated Configuration Profile Reference document that details plans to introduce a tool to enable IT managers to enforce a homescreen layout on employees' iPhones.
This means that a company can ensure that apps it wants workers to use can't be moved to a folder or a different page.
Apple explained: "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."
iOS 9.3 enables MDM to enforce homescreen layouts, black/whitelist apps, and enforce notification settings https://t.co/fjOqfFYzY9— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) March 1, 2016
The iOS 9.3 update will also allow organisations to hide apps, or blacklist or whitelist specific ones, and determine what can be downloaded to an iPhone or iPad in the first place. There's also an option for administrators to disable Apple's bundled iTunes Radio service.
Troughton-Smith noted that "presumably this means you can permanently hide system apps on iOS 9.3 with the right profile".
Administrators will also be able to enforce notification settings, which may help them in circumstances where it's critical that some app notifications come through.
The features show Apple looking to further boost its position in the enterprise smartphone and tablet markets. A report from Good Technology last year said that the iPhone is still the most popular smartphone for business folk, accounting for 66 percent of device activations in Q3 2015.
iOS 9 doesn't just bring new enterprise-focused features, as it includes Night Shift mode, secure Notes, an improved Health app, updates to CarPlay and new Education features.
The update is expected to arrive alongside the launch of the iPhone 5SE and 9.7in iPad Air, which is tipped to take place on 21 March. µ
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