iOS8 App Testing Roundup

Now that iOS8 is out, we’ve got another option for distributing development versions of our app to beta testers. So I thought it’d be useful to do a roundup of all your options, with their pros and cons.

Ad-hoc signing

This is the tried-and-true option where you gather your testers’ UDID’s, input their UDID’s into the iOS Dev Center, and generate an Ad Hoc Distribution profile. It is a bit tricky nowadays to get access to a phone’s UDID, so people often use TestFlight or HockeyApp to install a profile on the tester’s phone in order to gather their UDID’s. Alternatively, you can connect a phone to a computer and use Xcode’s organizer to grab the UDID.

  • Limits you to 100 testers.
  • You need to get testers’ UDIDs. When bringing on new testers, you need to re-generate your provisioning profile.
  • I recommended this for indie developers only.

Enterprise accounts

This is the holy grail for testing: No mucking around with UDIDs is required. It just costs a little more per year, but this is highly recommended for any enterprise situations.

  • Unlimited testers, so long as you abide by the terms of Apple’s agreement.
  • To get an enterprise account, you’ll need to apply to get a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet.
  • Costs a little more (~$300/year as opposed to ~$100/year) to get an account.
  • I recommend this if you work in a big company. And if so, start chasing up the DUNS in the early stages of your project, before you need it!


This is always an option! Most people don’t do this, but I guess it certainly is one way of getting around all this code signing guff.

  • Possibly worth testing if you’re targeting markets (eg China) where most phones are jailbroken, just to make sure your app works fine on a jailbroken phone.
  • I recommend… not really doing this.

iOS8 TestFlight

This is the new option available to us. However, it is not without its cons. This allows you to distribute your app to up to 1000 testers (so, unlimited for most intents and purposes). The catch is that your app has to undergo the scrutiny of App Store reviewers before going out to your testers. Eg a 10-day delay, at the current review rate. That’s a pretty big catch! So this is not useful for day-to-day testing, this is more for distribution to the press just prior to going live.

  • Limited to 1000 Apple id’s.
  • No limit on devices (eg John Doe who owns an iPad, iPhone, and iPod counts as one tester).
  • Apps need to be reviewed by Apple, which means 1 or 2 weeks delay.
  • Possible to avoid the review process for minor updates. I’m not sure what the definition of ‘minor’ is.
  • I’ve read that it’s possible to avoid the review process for this, if the testers are admins on your apple account. But that doesn’t sound very secure.
  • I recommend this for sending your almost-finished versions of the app to the press / reviewers / distributors.

Hope that helps!

Thanks for reading! And if you want to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you: chris.hulbert at gmail.

Chris Hulbert

(Comp Sci, Hons - UTS)

iOS Developer (Freelancer / Contractor) in Australia.

I have worked at places such as Google, Cochlear, Assembly Payments, News Corp, Fox Sports, NineMSN, FetchTV, Coles, Woolworths, Trust Bank, and Westpac, among others. If you're looking for help developing an iOS app, drop me a line!

Get in touch:
[email protected]

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