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How do you handle pre-release for your mobile app?

I'm in the B2B space and before pushing a new version of our iOS app to the app store, I usually allow some current customers to play around with it for a few weeks of beta.
I was using App.io to let customers emulate the app on web, but they are shutting down that service. Testflight is too clunky (can't ask customers to send me their UDID) and Hockeyapp isn't scalable. I looked into using the Apple Enterprise Account certificate but "technically" you can only share apps internally using that.
I was wondering if others had found solutions for such an issue or what they did for pre-release with corporate customers?
Thanks!
Dhruv

16 Replies

Govind Kabra
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Govind Kabra Entrepreneur
foursquare
what issues are you seeing with hockeyapp? (it also needs UDIDs, but that's one time effort).
Dhruv Vasishtha
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Dhruv Vasishtha Entrepreneur
Product Management at Medidata Solutions
Mainly the process to sign up a user. Get their email, add their permissions, have them accept, log in, etc. Not sure if there is a tool that would let me host an ipa file at a url and download the app to the device.
Mounir Benchemled
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Mounir Benchemled Entrepreneur
Software Developer
WithApple Enterprise Account, you can share the app with everyone. We use it for production, our partners can download the app from our website.
Roopnath Grandhi
3
0
Roopnath Grandhi Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
With ios 8 apple is moving testflight to accept apple ids instead of udids. Not sure when that feature will be exactly live.

http://www.imore.com/testflight-ios-8-explained


Clynton Caines
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Clynton Caines Entrepreneur
SharePoint Developer at Discover Technologies
I'm not sure if you aim to avoid asking for UDIDs - but you definitely need them for development builds. You can obtain them through email or via a dedicated web form... whatever works for you/your clients.

You can use these options to host the ipa - among others...
1. https://thebetafamily.com/supersend
2. your own website (needs ssl)
3. dropbox (has ssl)

It's relatively easy to host and then share adhoc/dev ipa files. When you're done with beta, simply create a final prod build and send that to itunes.

Feel free to PM me if something's unclear.

Good luck
Michael Brill
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Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
Just switched from TestFlight (yes, clunky) to Crashlytics Beta... the beta user experience is pretty similar but way simpler to manage on the development side. It has the same requirement for UDIDs but this isn't put into people's faces and I'd hazard very few would know or even care.
Ben Sweat
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Ben Sweat Entrepreneur
Director, Product at Idealab
Just use the enterprise account. It is how everyone does it. I talked to one founder who used it to deploy his beta. He had thousands of people in the beta. He was told by an Apple employee that there was really no way to police it. It's also super easy to distribute: just a link.
Candice Hughes
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Candice Hughes Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO & Founder Hughes BioPharma, AdapTac Games, Digital & Mobile Health, Biotech, Technology Scout
Great discussion! I am about to face the same problem but my customers are consumers. I would love to find an alternative to asking for UDID/TestFlight. I am planning to ask for UDID then we have to input them for a fairly large number of beta testers. This is very awkward and the consumers may balk so also would love to find an alternative. Will try some of the suggested options.
Michael Brill
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0
Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
Candice, just to be clear on Crashlytics Beta... you never ask a user for a UDID. They simply get an invite email, press a few buttons and the app is automatically downloaded. It really is dirt simple on both sides.
Michael Brill
0
0
Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
Actually, this brought another question for me...

I've seen a number of apps in the App Store require an access code to use the app. I guess this doesn't violate Apple's policy on putting pre-release apps up there and it seems to have the benefit of being able to acquire users and still have shaky software.

Any thoughts on the downside of this (e.g., crappy user reviews who are frustrated that they can't get access) vs. more traditional beta distribution?




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