What is a device identity?

A device identity is an object in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). This device object is similar to users, groups, or applications. A device identity gives administrators information they can use when making access or configuration decisions.

Devices displayed in Azure AD Devices blade

There are three ways to get a device identity:

  • Azure AD registration
  • Azure AD join
  • Hybrid Azure AD join

Device identities are a prerequisite for scenarios like device-based Conditional Access policies and Mobile Device Management with the Microsoft Intune family of products.

Modern device scenario

The modern device scenario focuses on two of these methods:

Hybrid Azure AD join is seen as an interim step on the road to Azure AD join. Hybrid Azure AD join provides organizations support for downlevel Windows versions back to Windows 7 and Server 2008. All three scenarios can coexist in a single organization.

Resource access

Registering and joining devices to Azure AD gives users Seamless Sign-on (SSO) to cloud-based resources.

Devices that are Azure AD joined benefit from SSO to your organization's on-premises resources.


Getting devices in to Azure AD can be done in a self-service manner or a controlled process managed by administrators.

Next steps