This guide will take you through the process of sending your iOS app to App Store Connect so that you can preview your community app and best practices to test your iOS app before launching using Testflight.
Now there is no need to worry about any of what we have just said above, we have made the process as simple as a single button press.
App Store Connect is Apple’s platform for releasing, updating and managing iOS applications. This is where you will be creating your product page, releasing your iOS app and setting up Testflight.
Testflight is a platform provided by Apple that allows you to send test versions of your app to beta users. It’s important to realize this is different from the App Store (which is available to the general public). Once you send a user a TestFlight invitation, they must download the TestFlight app where they can download and use a specific version of your app for 60 days.
So let’s get started......
Once you are happy with your community you are going to want to start the release process. To do this you will need to go to the release page in the console. This can be found under the configure tab in the left hand menu.
On the release page you will see multiple options for releasing iOS, Android and web versions of your community. In this case we want to Focus on iOS in the Send to App stores section.
All you need to do to send your iOS app to App Store Connect is select the Upload button. Your iOS app will now be on its way to App Store Connect. Expect this to take around 40 minutes .
Once you have pressed upload the iOS card will change to display what version is uploading and also give you the option to restart it. This is just in case you forgot to make any last minute changes and you need to push another new version.
Once the upload has been complete you will see a new message appear on the iOS Card. It can also take around 1 hour to be processed by Apple. Please be aware that sometimes this process can encounter some errors. If any errors occur then it will be displayed on the iOS card on the release page, stating what the error is.
Now you have uploaded your iOS app you can start the testflight process to preview and invite testers.
Please note that you can submit and release your app without using Testflight, however, we do recommend, if possible, that you check everything is as expected before releasing it to your wider community.
To use Testflight you will need to log into App Store Connect with your developer account and select your app. In here you will see a tab labelled Testflight.
Now that you have selected testflight you will see the testflight interface where you can preview your community app, manage your testers, distribute your beta app and manage any feedback that you receive.
Through selecting upload in the Disciple Console you will find that we have automatically added your app into testflight, ready for you to preview and share with your testers.
If you simply wish to preview your community app using Testflight then you will need to have the testflight app installed on your device. To install the testflight app simply click on this link or Search for Testflight on the Appstore. Once installed you will need to invite yourself as an internal beta tester where you will receive a link to install your community app.
Apple allows the use of up to 100 internal testers (your App Store Connect users) to test your app. To become an internal tester you must have an account on App Store Connect with the correct Role. Roles that can become a TestFlight internal tester are Account Holder, Admin, App Manager, Developer, or Marketing role. Please note that this will give them access to manage App Store Connect so should only be given to trusted users. These users will receive an email inviting them to test your app.
To find out more about how to add internal testers please see this tutorial provided by Apple.
Once you have received the invite link you simply need to select the link in the invite email.
Selecting the invite link will open the testflight app where you can accept and install the beta app onto your device.
Once your internal testers have set this up they will receive an email or a notification on their device when you upload a new version of the app to App Store Connect.
If you want to share your beta with members who are not in your internal team then you will need to add them as an External tester. To invite external testers you first need to create a testing group. From here you will invite your external testers to this group, where they will be able to preview and test your beta app.
To find out more about how to add and manage external testers please see this tutorial provided by Apple.
If you wish to provide any of your testers with documentation on how to use and install apps through Testflight then we recommend this public facing info page provided by Apple.