TestFlight: Tips for Beta Testing iOS Apps
We take a quick look at the pros and cons of TestFlight to help you decide if it's right for your testing strategy.
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Anyone who is acquainted with the concept of iOS app development knows that testing an app is a crucial part of the development process. However, many people don't know about an especially important subset of testing — beta testing. Also referred to as end-user testing, or pre-release testing, or user acceptance testing (UAT), beta testing involves the product being tried out by a small section of the target audience. At this stage, apps undergo real-world testing, and the early users' experiences are analyzed to make essential changes before the app is added to the App Store.
While several mediums enable beta testing, iOS apps are known to be quite complicated. There is, however, one alternative that has proven to be quite handy: TestFlight. Launched in 2011, it does away with the inconvenience that accompanies distribution and management of beta builds. It has this ability to ease the entire process to a great extent that led to Apple integrating TestFlight into App Store Connect.
To help you further understand the potential of TestFlight for beta testing your iOS apps, let's quickly take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.
Hassle-free testing: TestFlight allows you to add a tester, no matter if its an external or internal examiner, by just adding their Apple ID. It allows them to install beta builds on their devices.
Groups: TestFlight enables the addition of Groups, which, in turn, makes it significantly simpler for developers to manage external testers for their iOS across a variety of products.
Accelerated process: After the developer has submitted an app for initial review for external testing, subsequent betas can be readied for the external exam immediately after entering the build information.
Well-defined method: With this service, every new submitted build is automatically listed for internal testers, allowing developers to first test the app with internal testers before sending it out to external examiners.
A limited number of builds in external beta testing: This is a significant thorn in developers' sides, but unfortunately TestFlight allows developers to send out just two beta builds every day for external beta testing.
The latest beta build: Your testers can't install older builds — they can only get their hands on the app's latest build.
Tedious approval process: Once the build has been submitted, developers are required to visit App Store Connect and then send it for external beta testing. This will involve filling in some forms and answering a handful of questions about the changes that you have made to the build. It can, admittedly, prove to be a little tedious.
Developing iPhone apps is, understandably, a tad challenging. However, with the right resources, such as TestFlight, in your arsenal, it should be relatively smooth sailing.
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