Getting started with TestFlight for iOS 8 developers

Apple is making it a bit easier for iOS 8 developers to invite users to test apps and to distribute prerelease builds to testers with a new tool called TestFlight. Here's what you need to know to get started.

Internal Testing

To start, prerelease app builds are uploaded to iTunes Connect by the developer. The appropriate app and build version are selected from the Prerelease menu. Test instructions, description and feedback email can then be specified as details for each build version. Internal user test users are added in the Users and Roles menu, and specified as an Internal Tester in the User Detail page. Please keep in mind; Apple limits the number of testers to 25 users per account for internal app testing.

After all internal testers are chosen for build, TestFlight Beta Testing can be turned on, enabling invites to be sent to the testers via the Internal Testers menu.

External Testing

Apps for external testing first need to be submitted for app review. Up to 1000 external testers per app can be added for testing. Only until after the build passes review, will iTunes Connect permit invites to be sent.

User invites and app installation

Each user invited to test an app receives an email, which contains a link to install the test app. Installed test apps are noticeably marked with an orange dot next to the app name. TestFlight will then automatically install newer build versions for each test app, a handy feature that minimizes hassle and confusion -- especially for end users -- during the app testing process.

Limitations

Besides limiting the number of internal testers, the maximum allotted time a user may test a build is 30 days. The clock starts ticking as soon as the invites are sent, but newer builds reset this "self-destruct" timer. TestFlight is also limited to iOS 8, and each tester must have the TestFlight app installed on each test device. Finally, a maximum of ten prerelease apps can be tested at a time with TestFlight.

Finally...

The TestFlight app can be found here on the iTunes app store. You can learn more about TestFlight from official Apple documentation here.

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