Workspace ONE Assist for Android Release Notes provides information on the new features and improvements in each release. This page includes a summary of the new features introduced, a list of our resolved issues, and known issues.
The VMware Workspace ONE team is excited to announce that VMware Workspace ONE® Assist 21.03 for Android is publicly available.
Workspace ONE Assist 21.03 for Android
- Support for Scoped Storage on Android 11
In Android 11, Google is enforcing scoped storage on all applications targeting API level 30. With the enforcement of scoped storage, an application is limited to only accessing its own file sandbox and specific types of media files that the app has created. To access other file locations on the device, the remote user must explicitly grant permissions to the application requesting it.
Assist is working with partner OEMs to provide a new version of the Assist service application (v2.5) that will automatically grant all file access during a remote file manager session. The latest version of the Assist service application can be downloaded from the Resource Portal in My Workspace ONE.
On OEMs where Assist does not have a service application (for example, Samsung, Sony, and Zebra Android 11 devices), to provide full file access, Workspace ONE Assist will prompt the remote user to “Allow access to manage all files” permission on Android 11. This permission needs to be granted to the Assist application one-time at the beginning of the first File manager session. On the Attended mode, this permission can be granted by the remote user of the device. On Unattended mode, this permission will need to be granted by the Console User through the Screen Share tool. Instructions to grant this permission will be displayed on the Assist console UI during a file manager session.
Once this permission is granted, all files on the remote device can be accessed through the File manager. In the absence of this permission, the Console user has limited file access to the Media and Downloads folder only.
- Support for Android 11 on Zebra devices
Starting Android 11 and above, the Assist agent will leverage Zebra provided APIs to support remote control functionality within Assist. On Android 11 and above, the Assist service application will not be used. As a result, newly enrolled devices do not need the service application to be installed on them. On previously enrolled devices upgrading to Android 11, the Assist service application can be uninstalled if previously installed.
All functionality that existed within Assist by leveraging the Assist service application will be now available through the Zebra remote management APIs.
Fixes to chat notification on Android
In-session chat was introduced as part of the 20.11 release on Android, macOS, and Windows 10 platforms. On Android alone, the chat notifications were failing. This issue is now fixed in this release.
Workspace ONE Assist 20.11.01 for Android
- In this release, we’ve made a few updates containing general quality and performance improvements with no new features.
Workspace ONE Assist 20.11 for Android
- Introducing Session Collaboration
When providing efficient troubleshooting and support to end users, sometimes it is necessary for help desk and IT admins to collaborate with other subject matter experts. For example, higher tiers of help desk and engineering resources. Workspace ONE Assist introduces Session Collaboration to facilitate multiple console users to collaborate with each other by enabling them to remotely view and control the same device.
The primary console user who initiates an Assist session (Host) can invite other participants to join the session by sharing a Session Invitation by Chat or email. These additional participants (Guests) can remotely view the same device and draw over the device using the White Board tool provided within Assist.
A Guest can also request permission from the Host to control the remote device. Once permission is granted, the Guest can control the remote device and access other limited tools like White Board, Shortcuts, and the Virtual Keyboard.
Note: Certain capabilities like the ability to invite additional guests to a session, manage files, run commands remotely through Command line or the Remote Shell tool, Screen Recording, Screenshots, and Ending a session is limited to a Host of the session.
- Introducing Chat within Assist Sessions
To facilitate better communication during an Assist session, Workspace ONE Assist introduces Chat on Windows 10, macOS, and Android devices. The Chat functionality can be used for communication between the console user initiating the session, all participants collaborating on the session, and the remote user on the device.
Chat can be accessed on the Assist console from the tool bar menu and can be used to send text messages to all participants in a session. You can also send private text messages to individual participants and the remote user.
Chat can be used during an Assist session regardless of the tool being used. For example, if only a Manage Files session is initiated with the remote device, Chat is still accessible.
On the remote device, Chat messages can be accessed from within the Chat tab in the Assist application. The Chat tab is available on both Attended and Unattended modes. The end user is notified about new messages only in Attended mode.
- Enhanced Reliability of Connections
To improve the reliability of connections on Assist sessions, a direct notification channel exists between the Assist server and Assist agent on the remote device. The Android Assist agent receives a Firebase Cloud Message directly from the Assist server during the connection process, minimizing request timeouts and improving the overall experience.
On customer environments that have closed networks, additional endpoints must be accessible on the remote user’s device to receive Firebase Cloud Messages. Refer to docs.vmware.com for more details on the end points.
- Introducing Support for Android 11
In Android 11, Google enforces scoped storage on all applications targeting API level 30. With the enforcement of scoped storage, an application is limited to only accessing its own file sandbox and specific types of media files that the app has created. To access other file locations on the device, the remote user must explicitly grant permissions to the application requesting it.
In order to provide full file access, Workspace ONE Assist prompts the Android 11 device end user to “Allow access to manage all files”. This one-time permission must be granted to the Assist application at the beginning of the first Manage Files session. In Attended mode, this permission is granted by the remote user of the device. In Unattended mode, this permission must be granted by the Admin through the Screen Share tool.
Once this permission is granted, all files on the remote device can be accessed through the Manage Files client tool. In the absence of this permission, the admin can only access the Media and Downloads folder.
Assist continues to support the existing features and capabilities of Android 11. Other tools like Screen Share and Command Line are not affected by the above change.
For devices enrolled in Device Owner mode, a new version of the Workspace ONE Assist application must be downloaded from the My Workspace One Portal. For Work Profile enrollments like BYOD and COPE, a new version of the Assist application is available on the Play Store.
On the Play Store version of Assist, admins have limited access to the File System until the following restriction from Google is removed: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/9956427?hl=en
Note: 'Allow access to manage all files' permission must be granted prior to connecting to the Manage Files tool for the first time. As a result, Android 11 devices running Unattended mode must connect to the device using the Screen Share client tool first to enable this permission and then connect to Manage Files.
- Support for the new COPE mode on Android 11
To ensure user privacy is protected when a corporate device is used for work and personal, Google is introducing changes that impact Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) devices.
On Android 8, 9, and 10, the Workspace ONE Assist application operates on the personal side of the device to provide remote control functionality to the entire device. As a result, the Assist application must be installed as an internal application.
On Android 11, the Workspace ONE Assist app can no longer run on the personal side of a COPE device. The Assist application can operate only within the Work profile on COPE devices. As a result, once you upgrade a device to Android 11, you must also uninstall the Assist app from the personal side, then reinstall the Assist app to the Work profile as a managed Play Store application.
More details on changes to Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub for COPE Enrollments on Android 11 can be found here, https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/79915?lang=en_US
Remote View on Samsung devices without Knox
On Samsung devices, Assist uses the Remote-Control APIs provided by Samsung Knox Platform to provide remote control functionality on the device. Samsung is introducing device models that do not support the Knox Platform. For these devices, Assist introduces support for Remote View, Manage Files, and Command Line client tools.
Note: Remote View requires the device end user to permit Screen Sharing at the beginning of a session. This is a one-time prompt on devices running Android 9 or earlier. On Android 10 or later, this prompt must be accepted for each Assist session.
- Removing Certificate dependency on Android Assist agent
The Workspace ONE Assist agent currently contains a deployment certificate that expires at regular intervals. When the certificate expires, the Assist agent fails new registrations to the Assist server. To avoid registration failures, customers needed to upgrade the Workspace ONE Assist agent on the device.
To avoid the need for frequent upgrades to the Assist agent, the dependency of embedding the deployment certificate is removed. The Assist agent builds the certificate chain with the embedded root and intermediaries and receives the deployment and leaf certificates from the Assist server. This implementation ensures that the Assist application only makes enrollment requests to a trusted Assist server and all connections are secure.
- Workspace ONE Assist Console - 21.03.00
- Android 4.4 or later.
- Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub 19.10 or later.
- Workspace ONE UEM 1910 or later.
- Latest versions of Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.
- Remote Control on Samsung BYOD and COPE is available on Android 9 or later.
- For Legacy and Android Enterprise enrolled Fully Managed/COPE devices, Download the Assist Agent and the Assist Service package specific to your OEM from the Resource Portal in My Workspace ONE and follow the included instructions. Push the App to your devices through Product Provisioning or Apps & Books.
- For Android Enterprise enrolled BYOD devices, provision the Assist Agent and Assist Service package specific to your OEM from the managed Play Store.
The resolved issues are grouped as follows.
- Resolved Issues for Workspace ONE Assist 21.03 for Android
- Resolved Issues for Workspace ONE Assist 20.11.01 for Android
- Resolved Issues for Workspace ONE Assist 20.11 for Android
AET-4033 – The Assist application does not display notifications to the remote user when a new chat message is received.
AET-4188 – Security Improvements to prevent sensitive information about the application or its components from being inappropriately disclosed to the users.
AET-4189 – Security Improvements to provide protections against Clickjacking.
Other Security Enhancements.
AET-4405 - Workspace ONE Assist Agent doesn't recognize mouse or keyboard input on Zebra MC18 running Lollipop OS.
AET-3914 - Android 9 Screen unreadable for Samsung Tab T307U & T387V.
AET-3374 - Unable to remotely access Samsung devices without Knox libraries.
AET-4009 - Assist versions 20.03 and 20.07 are not connecting to Assist Server, with the custom proxy set-up.
The known issues are grouped as follows.
- Known Issues for Workspace ONE Assist 21.03 for Android
- Known Issues for Workspace ONE Assist 20.11.01 for Android
- Known Issues for Workspace ONE Assist 20.11 for Android
We haven’t identified any notable known issues in this release. If you are facing any problems, feel free to reach out to our support team.
AET-4033 – The Assist application does not display notifications to the remote user when a new chat message is received.
AET-4033 – The Assist application does not display notifications to the remote user when a new Chat message is received.