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Distribute iOS apps to testers using the Firebase console

You can manage your team's testers and distribute builds to them using the Firebase console.

Before you begin

If you haven't already, add Firebase to your iOS project.

If you aren't using any other Firebase products, you only have to create a project and register your app. However, if you decide to use additional products in the future, be sure to complete all of the steps on the page linked above.

Step 1. Build your app

When you're ready to distribute a pre-release version of your app to testers, build a signed distribution archive. You can use your normal build process as long as you meet the following requirements:

  • To distribute your app beyond your development team, you must use either an Ad Hoc or your Enterprise distribution profile.
  • If your app uses Game Center, APNs (and by extension, Cloud Messaging), or iCloud, make sure your provisioning profile uses an explicit app ID, and not a wildcard ID.
  • If you are using an Ad Hoc distribution profile, include the unique device IDs (UDIDs) of your testers' devices. As new iOS testers enroll in your test program, you will need to update the provisioning profile with their devices' UDIDs. See Register additional tester devices.
  • If you have made code changes since the last build (that is, you aren't rebuilding only to update the registered devices), update the build target's user-visible version number (Version) and unique build number (Build).

When the build completes, it saves an IPA file and some log files in the folder you specify. You distribute the IPA file to your testers in the following steps.

Step 2. Distribute your app to testers

To distribute your app to testers, upload the IPA file using the Firebase console:

  1. Open the App Distribution page of the Firebase console. Select your Firebase project when prompted.

  2. On the Releases page, select the app you want to distribute from the drop-down menu.

  3. Drag your app's IPA file to the console to upload it.

  4. When the upload completes, specify the tester groups and individual testers you want to receive the build. Then, add release notes for the build.

    See Manage testers for more on creating tester groups.

  5. Click Distribute to make the build available to testers.

Once you distribute your build, it becomes available in the App Distribution dashboard of the Firebase console for 150 days (five months). When the build is 30 days from expiring, an expiration notice appears in both the Firebase console and your tester's list of builds on their test device.

Testers who haven't been invited to test the app receive email invitations to get started, and existing testers receive email notifications that a new build is ready to test (read the tester set up guide for instructions on how to install the test app). You can monitor the status of each tester-whether they accepted the invitation and whether they downloaded the app-in the Firebase console.

Testers have 30 days to accept an invitation to test the app before it expires. When an invitation is 5 days from expiring, an expiration notice appears in the Firebase console next to the tester on a release. An invitation can be renewed by resending it using the drop-down menu on the tester row.

Step 3. Register additional devices

When testers accept an invitation to test a build not signed with an Enterprise profile, they are asked for permission to share their device's identifier with you. If they agree, App Distribution collects the UDID from the device and notifies you of the UDID by email.

When you receive one of these emails, update your provisioning profile with the UDID and distribute a new build to your testers by following these steps:

  1. Add the devices to your Apple developer portal.
    • Option 1: Import the device UDIDs as a CSV file.

      In the Testers & Groups tab of the App Distribution dashboard, select All testers, then click Export Apple UDIDs to download a CSV file. Next, import the file into your Apple developer account using the Register Multiple Devices option. Refer to Apple's documentation to learn more.

      Note that your Apple developer account may only allow you to import a limited number of devices per year.

    • Option 2: Collect and enter the UDIDs by email.

      On the Add Devices page of the Apple developer portal, register the new UDID specified in the email you received.

  2. Add the registered devices to your provisioning profile.
  3. Download the provisioning profile and use it to rebuild your app. If you are rebuilding only to update the registered devices, don't update the build number or version.
  4. Re-distribute your app from the Firebase console or CLI. If you have already distributed a build with the same build number and version, only users of newly-registered devices receive notification emails.