In this tutorial, you will learn how to generate and use Release Apps for iOS, and how to test Release App builds from TestFlight. You should be doing your regular daily testing and custom development from a Test App, while the Release App is used as the file that will be submitted for publishing to the Apple App Store.
There are some scenarios where you may want to test with an iOS Release App on your device before submitting it to Apple for publishing. If you are using In-App Purchases, you will only be able to truly test the purchases from a Release App. You can still view your products from your Test App and make fake “purchases”, however those products will not be able to display real pricing and product terms (subscription duration, etc.) unless viewed from a Release App, because Apple associates all of your In-App Purchase data with the Bundle ID of your Release App only. By testing from a Release App, you will be able to see the actual pricing and terms in the app, and you will be able to make test purchases of the products using Apple’s official methods.
In order to view an iOS Release App on your device, you will need to use TestFlight, which is Apple’s official method for testing apps prior to publishing. You will need to download the Release App IPA file from the Build History in the BuddyBoss App plugin admin, upload the file to TestFlight, invite testers into TestFlight, and then download the build from the TestFlight app. Follow the steps below to do this:
Create an iOS Release App build
- Log into your WordPress admin
- Navigate to BuddyBoss App > Build
- Click on Request Build
- Select iOS as the Platform, and Release App as the Build Type
- Click Next Step, and then Send Build Request
- Once the build completes, go to Build History
- Click the button on the completed release build to Download IPA File
- Save this file somewhere safe. You will use it in the next steps.
Upload Build to App Store Connect
Next, you will need to upload your build to the TestFlight section of your app in App Store Connect. You can view our documentation about Uploading iOS Builds to App Store Connect for a more in depth tutorial.
Once in TestFlight, you can assign the build to an app version, which can then be submitted to Apple for review. Follow these steps to upload a build:
- In your WordPress admin, go to BuddyBoss App > Upload > Apple App Store
- Select the iOS Release App build you generated in the previous step
- You cannot upload builds that have not already been uploaded to App Store Connect
- You cannot upload builds that have a build version and code higher than any other build uploaded to App Store Connect
- Click Upload Build
Your upload will be completed within 15 minutes. You can check the status at anytime on the Upload History page in your WordPress admin.
Add Testers to TestFlight
- Log into App Store Connect
- Click on Users and Access
- Open the People tab, and click Users > All
- Add the details for anyone you want to be able to access the app from TestFlight
- Click the (+) button to add a New User
- Under New User, add their First Name, Last Name, and Email
- The Email should be the same one they use for their iCloud / App Store on their phone
- Under Roles, select a role
- Any role can be used for testing. You just need to select something.
- If you are unsure, select the role of Developer
- Under Apps, select which app(s) they should be able to test (or select All Apps)
- Click Invite
- Inform the person to check their email, and accept the invite
- Once they have accepted the invite, proceed to the next step
- Go to Apps from the top menu
- Or, log back into App Store Connect and click My Apps
- Click on your app to open it
- Click the TestFlight tab
- Under Internal Group, click on App Store Connect Users
- Under Testers, click (+) to add the previously invited user as a Tester
- In the Testers list, select the user you just added
- Click Add
- You should see the user added to the Testers list
- The user can now access your app from TestFlight app
Install your app through TestFlight
- Download the TestFlight app to your phone, and tell testers to do the same
- You should see your app inside of the TestFlight app
- Click Install, and then Open
- You can now play with your Release App on your device, and test In-App Purchases
Upload new builds to TestFlight
Once you have completed the above steps, to upload newer Release App builds to TestFlight, simply follow the “Upload Build to App Store Connect” tutorial from above again. You can generate a new iOS Release App build, upload it to App Store Connect, and the new version should display in the TestFlight tab in App Store Connect. All Testers will see the new version available for update when they open TestFlight app on their phones, and they will also be emailed from Apple about the new version available for testing.