How to Perform Beta Testing for an iOS App

By Rajiv Ramnath

After you run your app on a few devices and are confident that it’s working the way it’s supposed to, consider getting it into the hands of some beta testers. Beta testing allows you to get feedback from actual users and to repair any bugs before the general public sees them.

You may be surprised to see the issues that beta testers bring up. Something that may seem obvious to a developer who is intimately familiar with the app may cause major difficulties for someone who is picking your app up for the first time.

Before your beta testers can start their work, though, you need to go back to the iOS Provisioning Portal and build a package that you can send to them to test, which you can do by following these steps:

  1. In the iOS Provisioning Portal, click the Certificates link on the left.

    The iOS Certificates page appears.

  2. Click the Certificate Signing Request button under Request Certificates Manually.

    If you already have one or more development provisioning profiles defined, click the + button instead.

  3. Choose App Store and Ad Hoc and click Continue.

  4. Continue generating and downloading the certificate using the same process and CSR file you used for the development certificate.

  5. Back in the iOS Provisioning Portal, click the Devices section on the left.

  6. Register each test device using the same process you used to register your own device.

  7. Still in the iOS Provisioning Portal, click Distribution under the Provisioning Profiles section on the left.

  8. Click the Manually Generate Profiles link.

  9. If you already have one or more distribution provisioning profiles defined, click the + button instead.

  10. Click Ad Hoc and then click Continue.

  11. Complete the process of generating and downloading your ad hoc provisioning profile using the same process you used for your development provisioning profile (be sure to select all the test devices you registered).

  12. In Xcode, update the Build field under the General tab of the target editor.

    Updating the build string ensures that the package you create gets synced across the test devices.

  13. Select iOS Device (or the test device if it’s plugged in) in the scheme drop-down menu at the top of the Xcode window.

  14. Choose Product→Archive.

    The Archives organizer appears.

  15. Click the Distribute button.

  16. The distribution wizard appears.

  17. Select Save for Enterprise of Ad Hoc Deployment and click Next.

  18. The profile selection page appears.

  19. Select your ad hoc provisioning profile and click Export.

  20. The save dialog box appears.

  21. Save the iOS App Store Package file to disk.

Now that you have your iOS App Store Package, you can distribute it to your beta testers. Each tester needs to install the package using iTunes:

  1. Connect the device to a Mac running iTunes.

  2. Double-click the package file.

  3. The package file is added to the iTunes library.

  4. Click the Device button in the upper-right corner.

    The device page appears.

  5. Click the Apps button.

  6. Locate your app, click Install, and then click Apply.

    The user is now ready to begin testing your app.