Key to Flawless Beta Testing – The Simplicity of TestFlight

You may be an iPhone newbie using the device only for calling and other typical things that you could do with any other phones, which would mean you’re probably not reading his article. Or, on the other hand, you could be an iPhone junkie, partaking in online discussions about cool applications, constantly skewering the app store, and other stuff you’d do if you were too addicted to your device. If you’re the latter, like me, you may have taken a role in the beta testing phases on an application prior to the point when the developer submits it to Apple – the main purpose being to provide feedback to the developers. If you’ve ever been in one as such, you’re probably familiar with the painful process of ultimately getting the beta application onto your iPhone or iPod touch. Through my various beta testing experiences, I have truly discovered the key to success.

If you don’t know what beta testing is, I’ll help you out a bit. Beta testing is when a developer gathers a group of experienced iPhone users to install a beta version of their application onto their device to provide helpful feedback in order to squash all bugs and add the needed. The distribution does not use the app store at all, but instead has everything to do iTunes. The developer will send you a .ipa file and a mobile provisioning file (.ipa = app itself, mobile provision = file which ultimately gives you access to use the .ipa), which you’ll drag into iTunes and then sync to your iPhone or iPod Touch. It involves a, possibly, complex process to get the application onto you iPhone because iTunes is practically built by “unknown errors”, for Windows users anyways, that will prevent the app from being installed. Plus, you have to use the computer when you could simply be using your device…

So, you wanna know the secret to a totally flawless, piece ‘o’ cake beta testing period? TestFlight. It is a web app, which will allow developers to distribute beta versions of their applications through it, and let testers download via the web app straight to their device without the added hassle of iTunes. All it takes for testers is to register with an applicable email address, install the web app and then wait for an email reminder that tells you that a beta version has been distributed. Then, you just find the web app on one of your pages and will be able to install the beta application as if you were downloading from the app store – without, of course, an iTunes ID. And a lot of the time, developers will release update versions periodically with fixes for testers to check. At such times, TestFlight will send you an email with a link to the download.

Note to Developers:
The process for developers is also much easier. To distribute, you just drag and drop your .ipa into the right area, after registering, enter the email addresses of the testers, enter a personal message, and send it out. Additionally, you TestFlight displays a counter, which will show you how many people have installed the .ipa.

I’ve used TestFlight a number of times, each being a much better experience than the alternative method of using iTunes. It really is the secret to successful beta testing. As they mention on their website, “Quick. Painless. Magical*”.

Written by nkatti