How do you beta test an iphone app?


How can you beta test an iPhone app? I can get it on my own device, and anyone that gives me a device, I can run it on theirs, but is there a way to do a limited release via the app store for beta testing?

Related: Also, see this question on getting your app onto phones without using the App Store.

This question is tagged with ios beta-testing

~ Asked on 2008-09-02 17:52:24

9 Answers


In year 2011, there's a new service out called "Test Flight", and it addresses this issue directly.

Apple has since bought TestFlight in 2014 and has integrated it into iTunes Connect and App Store Connect.

~ Answered on 2011-02-01 22:24:12


Creating ad-hoc distribution profiles

The instructions that Apple provides are here, but here is how I created a general provisioning profile that will work with multiple apps, and added a beta tester.

My setup:

  • Xcode 3.2.1
  • iPhone SDK 3.1.3

Before you get started, make sure that..

  • You can run the app on your own iPhone through Xcode.

Step A: Add devices to the Provisioning Portal

  1. Send an email to each beta tester with the following message:

    To get my app on onto your iPhone I need some information about your phone. Guess what, there is an app for that!

    Click on the below link and install and then run the app.

    This app will create an email. Please send it to me.

  2. Collect all the UDIDs from your testers.

  3. Go to the Provisioning Portal.

  4. Go to the section Devices.

  5. Click on the button Add Devices and add the devices previously collected.

Step B: Create a new provisioning profile

  1. Start the Mac OS utility program Keychain Access.

  2. In its main menu, select Keychain Access / Certificate Assistant / Request a Certificate From a Certificate Authority...

  3. The dialog that pops up should aready have your email and name it it.

  4. Select the radio button Saved to disk and Continue.

  5. Save the file to disk.

  6. Go back to the Provisioning Portal.

  7. Go to the section Certificates.

  8. Go to the tab Distribution.

  9. Click the button Request Certificate.

  10. Upload the file you created with Keychain Access: CertificateSigningRequest.certSigningRequest.

  11. Click the button Aprove.

  12. Refresh your browser until the status reads Issued.

  13. Click the Download button and save the file distribution_identify.cer.

  14. Doubleclick the file to add it to the Keychain.

  15. Backup the certificate by selecting its private key and the File / Export Items....

  16. Go back to the Provisioning Portal again.

  17. Go to the section Provisioning.

  18. Go to the tab Distribution.

  19. Click the button New Profile.

  20. Select the radio button Ad hoc.

  21. Enter a profile name, I named mine Evertsson Common Ad Hoc.

  22. Select the app id. I have a common app id to use for multiple apps: Evertsson Common.

  23. Select the devices, in my case my own and my tester's.

  24. Submit.

  25. Refresh the browser until the status field reads Active.

  26. Click the button Download and save the file to disk.

  27. Doubleclick the file to add it to Xcode.

Step C: Build the app for distribution

  1. Open your project in Xcode.

  2. Open the Project Info pane: In Groups & Files select the topmost item and press Cmd+I.

  3. Go to the tab Configuration.

  4. Select the configuration Release.

  5. Click the button Duplicate and name it Distribution.

  6. Close the Project Info pane.

  7. Open the Target Info pane: In Groups & Files expand Targets, select your target and press Cmd+I.

  8. Go to the tab Build.

  9. Select the Configuration named Distribution.

  10. Find the section Code Signing.

  11. Set the value of Code Signing Identity / Any iPhone OS Device to iPhone Distribution.

  12. Close the Target Info pane.

  13. In the main window select the Active Configuration to Distribution.

  14. Create a new file from the file template Code Signing / Entitlements.

  15. Name it Entitlements.plist.

  16. In this file, uncheck the checkbox get-task-allow.

  17. Bring up the Target Info pane, and find the section Code Signing again.

  18. After Code Signing Entitlements enter the file name Entitlements.plist.

  19. Save, clean, and build the project.

  20. In Groups & Files find the folder MyApp / Products and expand it.

  21. Right click the app and select Reveal in Finder.

  22. Zip the .app file and the .mobileprovision file and send the archive to your tester.

    Here is my app. To install it onto your phone:

    1. Unzip the archive file.

    2. Open iTunes.

    3. Drag both files into iTunes and drop them on the Library group.

    4. Sync your phone to install the app.

Done! Phew. This worked for me. So far I've only added one tester.

~ Answered on 2010-03-11 15:35:23


Note that there is a distinction between traditional "beta testing" which is done by professional QA engineers, and "public beta testing" which is releasing your product to the public before it's ready : )

You can do "beta testing" -- loading to specific iPhones/iPods your testers will be using. You can't do "public beta testing" -- pre-releasing to the public.

~ Answered on 2010-01-27 06:17:24


In 2014 along with iOS 8 and XCode 6 apple introduced Beta Testing of iOS App using iTunes Connect.

You can upload your build to iTunes connect and invite testers using their mail id's. You can invite up to 2000 external testers using just their email address. And they can install the beta app through TestFlight

~ Answered on 2014-12-18 09:07:53


Diawi Alternatives

Since have added some limitations for free accounds.

Next best available and easy to use alternative is




Happy build sharing!

~ Answered on 2017-11-06 06:56:16


There's a relatively new service called HockeyApp, which seems to rival TestFlight, however they claim to give you access to unlimited users, but it does cost some $$ unlike TestFlight which has now been integrated directly into iTunes Connect.

~ Answered on 2013-12-17 15:58:54


Using testflight :

1) create the ipa file by development certificate

2) upload the ipa file on testflight

3) Now, to identify the device to be tested on , add the device id on apple account and refresh your development certificate. Download the updated certificate and upload it on testflight website. Check the device id you are getting.

4) Now email the ipa file to the testers.

5) While downloading the ipa file, if the testers are not getting any warnings, this means the device token + provisioning profile has been verified. So, the testers can now download the ipa file on device and do the testing job...

~ Answered on 2013-02-28 05:16:22


With iOS 8, Xcode 6, iTunes Connect and TestFlight you don't need UDIDs and Ad Hocs anymore. You will just need an Apple ID from your beta tester. Right now you can only beta test your app with 25 internal testers, but soon 1000 external testers will be available too. This blog post shows you how to setup a beta test with internal testers.

~ Answered on 2014-09-12 06:20:21


(As the official guide is still missing in this thread..)

TestFlight, acquired by Apple and now (iOS8+) available for beta testing makes it easy to hand your app to beta testers without the need to collect device UUIDs beforehand (you only need email addresses of your testers). An extensive guide explaining all necessary steps may be found in the iTunes Connect Developer Guide.

~ Answered on 2014-11-10 12:45:07

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