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Last Updated: February 21st, 2014

If you've ever written an iOS or Android app, or if you've been part of a beta testing group, there's a chance that you've run into TestFlight. The service provides software to help with deploying beta apps to users and collect usage statistics and bug reports for developers. One year ago today, the company announced its plans to expand beyond the iOS world and begin serving Android developers, as well. What followed was a short private beta that ended in May. Despite an apparently successful launch, Testflight is officially dropping support for Android on March 21, 2014.

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No details have been given regarding reasons or how many developers will be affected by the shutdown. This is probably a consequence of Google launching its own support for beta distribution last summer. TestFlight customers have probably been emailed about the impending shutdown with further information and directions, but the public notice was kept extremely brief:

On 2/19/2014 we announced that TestFlight will terminate Android support on 3/21/2014.
What does this mean?

  • After 3/21/2014 no user will be able to upload any Android builds to TestFlight.

TestFlight will continue to offer its services to iOS developers. You know, in case anybody was worried.

Update 1: TechCrunch is reporting that Burstly, the parent company of TestFlight has been acquired, and the likely new owner is Apple. If accurate, this is surely a move to integrate TestFlight's SDK and feature set directly into the App Store's submission process, possibly in response to Google's own beta testing features. This would also explain the brevity of TestFlight's exit.

Update 2: Apple has confirmed the purchase of Burstly. - Source: Re/Code

Source: TestFlight

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Frettfreak

    Dont know why and developer WOULDNT use googles service. updates and tracking in the play store, just a great system and makes it easy to roll into a public release too. Score 1 for google!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I've heard a lot of developers comment that Google's tracking support requires more work to implement. A lot of these services offer more extensive features, since it's all that they do. I don't disagree with you in the least, but I can see why some people would go to outside services in some cases.

      Of course, I'm just talking about the usage statistics. As far as the beta deployment goes, there aren't very many good reasons to go anywhere besides Google anymore.

      • Frettfreak

        Good point.

    • Todd Yates

      TestFlight is useful for internal testing because it's easier to do things like have multiple builds based on different branches at the same time.

    • Roger Heim

      I'll give you a few reasons:
      1. When I post a new build to TestFlight an email with an install link is sent to every tester on the distribution list. From the console I can see instantly who got the email, who opened it, and who installed the app and on what device. So I can instantly tell what testers are helping and which are just along for the ride.
      2. If I have a particular piece of functionality of the app I want to make sure gets real-world testing, I can use the TestFlight API to log messages from the app (called checkpoints.) So I can see exactly who is running the app and what parts they are exercising.
      3. If there's an app crash I can see exactly who crashed and follow up directly with them.
      4. I can see a list of all our testers and exactly what devices they've registered (some of our apps have both an Android version and an iOS version; in the console I can see all a user's devices regardless of which platform.
      5. If I need a user to test a specific scenario (such as an upgrade from build 4 to build 5) it's very easy for them to go back to the TestFlight email, install build 4, then install build 5. If they no longer have the email from build 4, I can resend it or send them a direct link to the TestFlight download without having to email them a multi-megabyte APK file.

      Maybe the Google service can do all this, maybe not. I haven't had to investigate it that closely; now I do. I'm not happy that TestFlight is doing this.

      • Yair Bar-On

        TestFairy can do everything that you mentioned above and a lot more. Check it out.

      • Victoria

        You can use Ubertesters - http://ubertesters.com/ - it supports both Android and iOS, offers the same easy OTA build distribution and all the necessary tools to organize and manage a mobile beta testing process.

  • stokes

    You can't use Google's for apps which aren't allowed (or you don't want) in the Play Store.

    • Frettfreak

      That would be one reason for sure

  • slurivariv

    What the hell? We use TF for QAing at my company. Build it on Jenkins, then have that script upload to TF so the QA team gets a build to test; nothing seems to be wrong with TestFlight's support of Android so WHY are they dropping it!? Ugh.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I'm just curious, did TF actually email you? I was mostly guessing, but the way that Android was dropped with hardly any public signs, I wasn't actually certain. I've never seen a company (other than Microsoft) mysteriously drop support so suddenly for a major platform.

      • ginovva320

        There was no email from TestFlight. But when you upload Android builds now, they warn you that they're dropping support and link you to that support page.

  • Roh_Mish

    Why the hell they did even launched it at first place?

  • Yair Bar-On

    Guys, checkout TestFairy. It can do everything that TestFlight does and a lot more.

    • Steve Rosenbaum

      Looks very cool, way better than TestFlight. Thanks!

  • Anthony Johnson

    That doesn’t bother me much as app developer. I am sure that
    Google will definitely launch its own support for beta distribution in Android apps.

  • Ewald Horn

    I'm using TestFairy - it is brilliant, gives me better feedback than the Google Beta channel and provides rapid release cycling. On average, 15 - 20 minutes after pushing a test release, all my beta testers have their new version up and running!

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

    Update (for commenters): It looks like Apple purchased TestFlight's parent company, Burstly.

    I've got a feeling it's because developers weren't feeling the love after Google added beta testing last summer.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs
    • Björn Lundén

      I'd rather use the official beta and alpha testing functionality anyway so not much of a loss for me. I'm kind of surprised Apple felt the need to buy a company to implement something they could clearly have implemented themselves if they wanted to though.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        I think it was a pretty good move. TestFlight is very popular in the iOS world, so purchasing it brings a lot of benefits over re-implementing it within Apple's own system. Developers probably won't have to change their code (very much) when Apple takes over, and this gives Apple an automatic user base that wouldn't necessarily feel compelled to switch over otherwise.

        Plus, Apple has a really bad reputation within the iOS and Mac communities for straight up copying popular apps and integrating them directly into the OS. A LOT of developers have been burned. Many of them are angry if Apple doesn't offer to purchase the business/code/service. This will make almost everybody happy, except for TestFlight's competitors.

      • charliehill

        Actually it's not important for most people, I only care fashionable real function like good working on Vehicle Wireless Charger

  • Jeff Chapman

    This is anti-competitive practice and should fall under DOJ scrutiny.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    TestFlight sold their souls to Apple. What a bunch of low life chumps.

  • Rachlin

    You should all try Ubertesters.com The only robust platform to
    offer complete, end-to-end mobile app testing solution. It has multi-platform support
    and combines most of the available tools today in a single environment.

    In addition to the controlled build distribution and crash
    reporting, we offer Bug-submission tool that enables the tester to define, edit
    and mark the bug screenshot prior to sending it to the developer from within
    the app. And gives you management tools to control the build/team/devices
    so you can manage internal as well as external team members. Lastly – it offers
    on-demand, professional testers for hire. Check it out at http://www.ubertesters.com

  • Victoria

    There is a good alternative of TestFlight - Ubertesters platform- http://ubertesters.com/. Besides OTA build distribuation and crash reports, it offers a bug submission tool, ability to manage the reported issues, push them to 3rd part bug tracker, manage QA team, track their time, manage devices and builds on the project, so it offers much more really.

  • Yair Bar-On

    Thanks @Ewald :)

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