Apple’s TestFlight is service for sharing early release of an app with . From ’s site:

TestFlight makes it easy to invite users to test your apps and collect valuable feedback before you release them on the App Store. You can invite up to 10,000 testers using just their email address.

The great thing about TestFlight, is we’re also able to utilize it with Ionic Pro Deploy. Let’s take a look at what we need to do.

When TestFlight is used in combination with Ionic Pro Deploy code updates can be delivered to the testers throughout the 90-day cycle.

By doing this, our development cycle can be boiled down to:

  • Create an initial native build of an app.
  • Upload the app to the AppStore for use with TestFlight.
  • Deploy HTML, CSS, and JavaScript changes via Pro Deploy.

A new build will only need to be uploaded to the AppStore if native layer changes are made or if the testing time frame expires.

Getting Started

One of the first things you will need to have a Distribution Provisioning Profile associated with your app’s bundle ID. That Provisioning Profile will need to be associated with a valid Production Certificate that you have access to use. Before continuing, please make sure you have all of that properly configured and that your Apple Developer user has the required roles in order to perform the required operations.

With the provisioning profiles and certificates taken care of, we’ll next want to create an app and link it with our Ionic Pro account.

ionic start my-app tabs

If you need some more info on getting started with Pro, take a look at our Getting Started guide

After starting an app, we’ll want to then add the Deploy Plugin.
The Pro Dashboard should also be able to provide you with the exact install command needed when getting setup.

Next, we’ll add the iOS platform

ionic cordova platform add ios

One thing to make sure is that the widget/id in the config.xml is updated to match the App’s bundle ID used with Apple’s certificates. After adding iOS is added, we’ll build the app:

ionic cordova build ios

Then open the project in Xcode

open platforms/ios/MyApp.xcworkspace

From here, you’ll want to follow Apple’s steps for Distributing an app using TestFlight. Note that in some cases the Ionic and Cordova build processes have already performed certain actions such as setting the Bundle ID based on data in your config.xml file. Key points in the steps are:

  • Signing: If automatic signing cannot be used, manually sign the app using a valid Production Certificate and an associated Distribution Provisioning Profile.
  • Select Generic iOS Device in the Scheme toolbar menu on the main window of Xcode.
  • Select Project>Archive from the Xcode menu, this should open the archive window.
  • Add the app in iTunes Connect.
  • From the Xcode Archive window, validate the archive.
  • Press the Upload to AppStore… button.

Once the upload completes, open the app in iTunes connect to add internal and external testers and fill out the information for beta-test review.

Testing the App and Deploying Changes

At this point, internal testers should be able to download your application via TestFlight. External users must wait until Apple approves the app for beta-testing.

Changes to the Ionic application can now be pushed to Ionic Pro and distributed to testers using Ionic Pro’s deploy feature by pushing the code to Ionic Pro and deploying the resulting build to the channel that is being used by the test app.

Parting Words

TestFlight is a power feature that can help get your app distributed to your testers easily. If you would like more in-depth help with the full development cycle of your application including user testing, please contact our Enterprise Customer Success team. Our experts can provide hands-on and highly customized training and advisory services to get you started and keep your project on track.

Learn more by visiting our Ionic for Enterprise page.

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