One of the iOS 8 features Apple spoke about on stage last week is called TestFlight, and it’s aimed specifically at iOS developers who want to offer beta versions of their apps to iPhone and iPad users in a more friendly fashion. While developers were able to offer beta versions of their apps ahead a full-fledged launch, the process was rather tedious and annoying, both for the app developer and for the users looking for access. That’s all about to change starting with iOS 8, and iMore has taken an in-depth look at how TestFlight will work.
Instead of being limited to only 100 devices for testing and previews, developers will be able to offer beta versions to up to 1,000 users, not including 25 internal testers. Extended betas like these will offer developers an even better chance to iron out any bugs and issues with their apps well ahead of launch, not to mention that some users will get to try out apps before they’re actually launched.
What’s more important is the way identification is done, as Apple is ready to ditch the UDID requirement.
“The first significant change is TestFlight will not require developers or testers to deal with UDIDs or provisioning profiles,” iMore writes. “Currently, in order to add a new device, the flow goes like this: 1. Developer asks tester for UDID (and has to provide instructions on how to retrieve it if the tester doesn’t know how) 2. Tester uses an application to retrieve the UDID 3. Tester sends UDID to developer 4. Developer logs into Apple’s Developer Portal 5. Developer adds the tester’s device to the account 6. Developer adds the new device to the appropriate provisioning profile 7. Developer updates app with new profile 8. Developer distributes app to tester.”
App developers will only need the iTunes ID’s of iOS device users interested in testing an app to offer them access to a beta version.
Furthermore, the beta versions of their apps will be curated by Apple, meaning that developers will have to submit betas to the App Store team, before making them available to testers. Moreover, testers will always have access to the latest beta version, and a description inside the App Store for beta apps, as well as notes from the developer will be available to them.
The beta apps will be good for 30 days, at which point the developer will have to reupload them.
Unfortunately, the feature will be available only to iOS 8 developers, meaning that apps that have support for devices running a previous iOS version won’t get beta versions for those iOS versions.