Beta Testing an iOS App Using TestFlight
In software development, a beta test is the second phase of software testing in which a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out.
Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Originally, the term alpha test meant the first phase of testing in a software development process. The first phase includes unit testing, component testing, and system testing. Beta testing can be considered “pre-release testing.”
Beta testing is also sometimes referred to as user acceptance testing (UAT) or end-user testing. In this phase of software development, applications are subjected to real-world testing by the intended audience for the software. The experiences of the early users are forwarded back to the developers who make final changes before releasing the software commercially.
In another way, Beta Testing is one of the Acceptance Testing types, which adds value to the product as the end-user (intended real user) validates the product for functionality, usability, reliability, and compatibility.
Since Beta Testing happens at the end user’s side, it cannot be the controlled activity.
Purpose of Beta Testing
Beta testing is an important part of launching a mobile application. After working on a project for an extended period of time, you often develop a biased perspective on what you’re building. Having a fresh pair of eyes on your product inspires new ideas and uncovers new bugs that otherwise might not have been realized, ultimately leading to a stronger product and a better chance at lasting success.
That’s the main purpose of beta testing as this phase allows developers and testers to evaluate the overall app experience from users’ point of view. Functional testing makes sure all the features of your app are working fine and they would perform as expected. Developers have to maintain the functionality and quality of their app simultaneously as sometimes too much functionality can harm the quality and user experience.
Actually, the usability factor has nothing to do with the quality of the app because it depends on an individual’s preferences and usage. However, the purpose here is to find a balanced and optimal solution that would be suitable for the majority of the target audience. Beta testing provides thorough feedback about the usability and user experience, and based on that feedback developers can improve the app, its features and design to meet the requirements of the users.
That is one of the most obvious and useful advantages of beta testing; the testing phase allows developers to quickly discover bugs and fix them. It is better to discover bugs before users do because once users get annoyed of abnormal behaviour of an app, they never come back.
App stores, especially the Apple App Store have strict guidelines and the submission process could take weeks. Of course, you don’t want to spend many weeks just to discover that your app had some bugs and the app store has rejected it. The beta testing eliminates this chance by ensuring your app is of high quality and built according to the provided guidelines.
The performance tests are designed to analyze the speed and performance difference of apps in a controlled environment and in the real world. There are many factors that can affect the performance of an app and some of those are almost impossible to reproduce in the lab. For example, sometimes an app performs differently on two exact same devices because of other apps installed on them. So, the performance tests conducted in the lab are almost useless in the real world and the only way to analyze the performance of an app is by putting it on test in the real world.
Words of Mouth
Another benefit of beta testing is free advertising and marketing; when you release the beta version of your app to a controlled group of a target audience, they feel themselves privileges and because they know this is a beta version, they expect some bugs and abnormal behaviour. The beta version of your app can encourage early users to spread the word among their friends. However, make sure the beta version is presentable and does not have major bugs.
Even if you have done the market research the right way, it is still a theoretical assumption that hasn’t been tested in the real world. Beta testing provides developers with a platform to test different features of their apps on a controlled group of users and based on their feedback, you can add, remove or alter different functions. The idea behind this is to reduce the overall deployment costs of the product by introducing optimal features that the target audience likes. Of course, this also helps developers improving the quality of their app.
Releasing a beta update is a relatively newer yet highly effective strategy that many developers have adopted in the last couple of years. If you are making drastic changes in your app structure or functionality, it is better to offer beta updates in order to give users freedom. People who are eager to see new feature would update their apps and people who prefer stability and performance would wait for the final release.
Beta testing allows developers to test their app in a limited market where they can control the deployment costs. It is more costly to release the final version of the app for a target audience, discover there is room for improvement, work on the updates and force users to update their apps again. In other words, you can test the waters with the help of beta testing without spending too much money.
Beta Test Your App Using TestFlight
TestFlight makes it easy to invite users to test your apps and collect valuable feedback before releasing your apps on the App Store. You can invite up to 10,000 testers using just their email address or a public invitation link.
To take advantage of TestFlight, first, upload a beta build of your app in App Store Connect. Then add the names and email addresses of people you’d like to test your app or enable a public invitation link in the TestFlight section of your app’s page in App Store Connect. Testers can get started by accepting your email invitation or tapping the public link you’ve shared. They’ll then use the TestFlight app for iOS, watchOS, and tvOS to install your app and provide feedback.
There are two different processes for creating and deploying a TestFlight build for beta testing. You can create either an internal or an external test, depending specifically on your needs. Regardless of which option you choose, the first few steps involved in the process are identical. The next few sections walk you through the shared steps and then branch out to explain the subtle differences between the two setups.
Step 1: Upload a Build
Step 2: Add Metadata for your Application
Step 3a: Running an Internal Test
Step 3b: Running an External Test
Once the build submission is complete, you need to wait for Apple to review it before a teat can start
How Innoventix Solutions Can Help Your In Beta Testing Phase?
Innoventix Solutions is available for Android and iOS devices; both of these platforms have billions of devices each and of course, there are millions of apps and games available for them. The point is the margin of error has become drastically narrow for developers because if one app is not working well because of unresolved issues or bugs, users would immediately move to other apps, providing the same feature. The concept behind Innoventix Solutions is to discover those bugs before users do, and fix them via update. Innoventix Solutions resolves this issue smartly with an innovative idea of providing developers and testers remote access to the logs of the intended app.
If you finish running your beta test before the time window of the test expires, navigate to the internal or external panels in the TestFlight section of iTunes Connect and select the “Not Available for Testing” option for the respective build. This prevents any further users from downloading the build. If you change your mind, you can always re-enable that build or upload a new build to continue the test.
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