Since you asked, UI design and development is underrated in my opinion. Like IT is to the business (usually support, not impacting the bottom line), the UI can be to the Application. Okay, maybe that’s a poor analogy and maybe we’re just bitter about working in technology and only being called when the copier is literally on fire. And maybe by we I just mean me…just let it go already!

A great application can be severely handicapped by the user experience. UX can sometimes slide under the radar as it doesn’t directly produce the fireworks and magic sprinkles that the underlying actions do. And just like you usually can tell when somebody added on to a house after it was originally built, there’s nothing that sticks out more—or hurts worse—than a bolt-on UI change that isn’t intuitive or doesn’t mesh with the rest of the design. You shouldn’t have to be like Liam Neeson from Taken, Taken 2, Taken 3, Taken 4 (The Commuter), Taken 5 (Non-Stop), Taken 6 (Cold Pursuit), or Taken 7 (Honest Thief) and need a very particular set of skills in order to use the dang thang.

\\\Cut to the Core

One such issue is in MobileIron Core, the on-premise version of MobileIron’s MDM/UEM product. After much frustration while attempting to force an application to install (and re-install) to a label, I finally found the elusive setting.

Oh no, not over there where it feels right. Definitely not there. We might think the setting to make apps mandatory in MobileIron would be in the App Configuration > Managed App Settings…you know, where you find other Yes or No options like:

“Send installation requested or send convert unmanaged to managed app request (iOS 9 and later) on device registration or sign-in”


“Send installation or convert unmanaged to managed app request to quarantined devices”

But, alas, you won’t find it there.

MobileIron - App Distribution Settings

\\\Assign to Labels

If you choose Actions > Apply to Labels you’ll see a column next to the label that says “Mandatory.”

MobileIron - Apply to Labels

Although this is exactly where we want to be, there’s only a checkbox next to the name of the label and a Cancel or Apply button. How do you change the forsaken setting?! I feel like a used car salesman trying to earn their business and turn that NO into a YES. “What can I do to earn your business? You want me to wash this car before I give it to you? Okay, well how does half a tank of gas sound? I think we both know that KBB is more of a suggestion really…”*

Although there is no indication that any of the columns are editable… Go ahead and try to clickity click on the name, description, installed, and/or mandatory columns…nothing happens.

But if you have the label selected AND THEN you click on the value in the Mandatory column, like magic it will pop up a drop down menu and allow you to choose Yes or No. What once was lost has now been found. Left-click as hard as you can (this part of the menu is pressure sensitive) on YES and make those apps stay put (or at least come back) on devices assigned to those labels. Don’t forget to click apply and you’re pretty much done for the day after such a strenuous exertion of your strength and mental acrobatics in pursuit of this MobileIron magic.

\\\Core Workout

Unfortunately–but understandably–this oddity is most likely due to the primary focus of the MobileIron devs being on the glorious cloud product and not on the red-headed step child that is now the on-premise version.** But does that make us feel any better? Not at all…but throw in a couple of weird refresh bugs that lose your place in a list, a never ending checklist with each new iOS update, and oddly sized menus that you have to expand to see anything and you have yourself a killer on-premise product that’s sure to turn into a hate crime any minute now.

And if you’re feeling bold and have a keen sense of adventure, a untapped world of discovery awaits if you just have the courage to click…all over the place.

*Look, if you are a used car salesman and you’re reading this, I love you. I know you’re out there hustlin’ just trying to make a living. Mad respect yo. That being said, I’m probably still going to squeeze you for every George Washington I can.

**Look, if you’re a red-head and a step child, my apologies. My beard is red so I somewhat–to a certain extent–have no idea what you’re going through. I didn’t think up the idiom, I just used it. Don’t hate.

***Look, if your head is red, you are a step child, AND you sell used cars to win that bread…I’m sorry. The universe has conspired against you. Look for black cats stuck in a loop because you’re definitely in The Matrix.


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