Developers will get more control over the testing of iOS apps, courtesy of an update to TestFlight that allows multiple builds of an app to be tested out simultaneously, as well as providing improvements to the way external app testers are managed, and extending the beta period time to 90 days.
Released on Tuesday, the update to TestFlight, Apple's iOS app testing platform, enables the ability to distribute multiple builds of an app at the same time. This means developers can provide multiple versions of their app to testers to try out, such as to experiment with different user interface options, with testers able to switch between multiple builds assigned to them by the developer.
Apple has also added enhanced grouping options for testers, allowing developers to split their tester pool into multiple groups, providing each with a different build of the app. Splitting into groups allows developers to perform A/B testing of new features or changes to the app, without allowing other versions to interfere with a group's feedback, which potentially allows for a better comparison of feature implementations.
As part of the change, developers already using TestFlight will see Apple has combined together their existing testers into a new "External Testers" group. For testers yet to accept an invitation, Apple has made it easier for developers to resend the requests to participants.
Apple is also allowing testers to continue testing a build after it has gone live in the App Store for the public to use, a change that aims to minimize disruption to the tester's app usage. Users of iTunes Connect are also able to access all active builds of the app, allowing them to "seamlessly compare different builds."
One change not publicized by Apple is an extension to a build's validity period. Previously limited to 60 days, TestFlight builds of an app can now remain active for 90 days after they have been uploaded, giving developers a longer period to beta test newer versions of their apps.
TestFlight allows developers to share their app for testing with other people, including up to 25 internal team members and up to 2,000 external testers. Up to 100 apps can be tested at a time by each developer, including iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and iMessage apps.
The latest version of the TestFlight app is available as a free download from the App Store.