Introducing DEPy - a DEP Python module


Apple has been heavily promoting the use of its Device Enrollment Program (DEP henceforth) for almost two years now since its introduction in February 2014. The promise of the program is “zero-touch” deployment of iOS and OS X devices directly to the customer, bypassing the common pitstop with an IT department for the required initial setup and preparation of the device before passing it on to the user. Most major MDM players quickly integrated the DEP functionality into their products while generally maintaining the feature’s black box status.


After writing my last post covering the generic process of installing an OS X package using an MDM service I wanted to tackle the process of integrating with DEP from a vendor-agnostic viewpoint next . After all, when combined with arbitrarily installing OS X packages through an MDM service DEP holds the promise of enrolling an organization’s OS X devices with its existing management tools, independent of any particular vendor. For example, this could allow an organization to offer self-service enrollment with dedicated tools like Munki or with configuration management tools like Puppet, Chef, Salt or Ansible. Since my employer is already enrolled in the Enterprise Developer program I was able to dig into Apple’s MDM documentation and get an idea of what Apple is offering with DEP. I came to the conclusion that the actual API that constitutes DEP is not all that complicated. It requires Oauth 1.0 authentication to be established but after that it mainly takes sending HTTP GET and POST request with either JSON or query parameters to interact with DEP. That said, I definitely felt the DEP API could use a wrapper to make it easier to integrate with other projects, which led me to write something up in Python. You can find the resulting DEPy module right here. That’s DEPy as in “I’m feeling pretty DEPy today.”

Using the module

The most common use of the DEPy module is as an import with other code, allowing easy access to DEP requests and replies. The only requirement is that your organization has enrolled with the DEP service either for business or for Education. Once completed, the developer wishing to interact with DEP will need to obtain the required server token either by adding a new MDM service or by getting one for an existing registered MDM server. This can be done by asking to be added as a DEP administrator or by having an authorized user obtain the server token file for you. You will also need access to the private P12 cert used to register the MDM server you obtained the server token for. An in-depth description of this process can be gotten from our good friends at JAMF Software who require the same file to enable DEP with their popular Casper suite. Once obtained, the smime.p7m file needs to be processed to obtain the plaintext JSON dictionary for use with the OAuth session token process:

# Generate public cert from our private MDM cert
$ openssl pkcs12 -in mdm.p12 -clcerts -nokeys -out publicCert.pem

# Generate private key from our private MDM cert
$ openssl pkcs12 -in mdm.p12 -nocerts -out privateKey.pem

# Decrypt SMIME message into server token using the extracted private key
$ openssl smime  -decrypt -in <MDM server name>_Token_datetimestamp_smime.p7m  -inkey privateKey.pem | grep "{" > stoken.json

# The output will be a JSON dict
$ cat stoken.json


Another option for those who have access to the MDM documentation is to use the included depsim binary (available for OS X, Linux and Windows) which can be manually configured with OAuth credentials and thus negates the need for access to the DEP portal. All the instructions for configuring and running the DEP simulator service are included with the MDM documentation.

With a valid stoken.json file on hand (either for use with the DEP production service or a local depsim service) we can now start querying the DEP API by importing the module and loading the JSON file:

from depy import DEPy
import sys
import os

# Instantiate a new DEP class
mydep = DEPy()

# Verify we were given a stoken.json file to load
    stoken = sys.argv[1]
except IndexError:
    print 'No path to stoken.json given, aborting.'

if not os.path.exists(stoken):
    print 'Path to stoken at %s not found, aborting.' % stoken

# Init our DEP connection with data from the stoken file

# Now we can make some queries, let's get our account information
myinfo = mydep.account_info()
# Also get a list of all registered devices
mydevices = mydep.get_devices()

# Print what we got so far
print 'My account info:\n%s' % myinfo
print 'My devices:\n%s' % mydevices

# The 'more_to_follow' key indicates more devices to follow
devicelistcomplete = mydevices.get('more_to_follow')

# The 'cursor' key is used to fetch more devices if needed
devicelistcursor = mydevices.get('cursor')

print 'More devices to follow: %s' % devicelistcomplete
print 'Current cursor index: %s' % devicelistcursor

# Get device info for a single device, by serial number
deviceinfo = mydep.get_device_info('C02SOMESERIAL')

# Print the device info
print 'My device info:\n%s' % deviceinfo


Retrieving DEP account info...

Sending account call via get

Token expired, updating
Token generated at 2016-01-11 15:43:58

Sending account call via get

My account info:
{u'facilitator_id': u'',
 u'org_name': u'My Organization',
 u'org_email': u'',
 u'server_name': u'My MDM Server'
 u'org_address': u'100 Main Street, Anytown, AA, 12345, United States'
 u'admin_id': u''
 u'org_phone': u'123-456-7890'
 u'server_uuid': u'MYUUID'}

My device list:
{u'cursor': u'MDowOjE0NTI2NTk5Njc3MTQ6MTQ1',
 u'more_to_follow': False,
 u'fetched_until': u'2016-01-13T04:39:27Z',
 u'devices': [{u'device_assigned_date': u'2015-12-15T16:14:33Z',
               u'description': u'MBAIR 13.3 CTO',
               u'color': u'SILVER',
               u'device_family': u'Mac',
               u'device_assigned_by': u'',
               u'serial_number': u'C02DEADBEEF1',
               u'model': u'MacBook Air',
               u'os': u'OSX',
               u'profile_status': u'empty'}]}

More devices to follow: False

Current cursor index: MDowOjE0NTI2NTk5Njc3MTQ6MTQ1

Sending JSON data to devices via post

My device info:
{u'devices': {u'C02SOMESERIAL': {u'response_status': u'NOT_ACCESSIBLE'}}}

As is clear, obtaining data from the DEP API is easy and processing it for use with other systems should be straightforward. The list of implemented commands is:

Full documentation for each DEP command can be found in the code itself. One command that was not implemented due to its destructive and irreversible nature is the disown command which permanently and irrevocably removes a device from DEP. Apple recommends that disowning a device is only done through the DEP portal and not programmatically. This seems like a sane approach which is why it is not implemented in DEPy.


If you can’t (or won’t) use Python and prefer using a different language wrapper there’s also a Ruby DEP wrapper that seems to implement the same commands.


As always I am hopeful this helps someone out there to come up with an integration that serves their organization’s specific needs. Issues and pull requests that fix issues are always welcomed as well. For a more direct discussion or questions about DEPy please come join over 3,000 of your fellow Mac Admins on the Mac Admins Slack where I am @bruienne or find me on Twitter if your question fits in 140 characters or less.