Tim Bichara

Apple has bought the company behind TestFlight

When TestFlight, the beta testing platform for mobile apps, changed their terms and conditions mid February, it caused a bit of a stir in the mobile dev community. Not only were they discontinuing their recently released analytic service FlightPath, but also last week they also announced they would be dropping any Android support by 21st of March.

Both changes seemed a very odd, but dropping Android spread rumors of an Apple takeover. Earlier this week this was confirmed, speaking to Re/Code, Apple confirmed they have bought the company Burstly, the same one that owns TestFlight. Apple did however not comment for how much the sale was for.

TestFlight when it first appeared it brought two services to the iOS dev community that before has been accessible only to companies with a large enough budget to afford costly premium services.

The first was the ability to get information about their app like the number of installs, number of crashes, what screens customers were leaving the app at, and revenue data tracking.  All the information to better target what areas of an app needs more work and/or improvement.

The second was easy distribution of beta versions of their app over the web; the developers could add testers to their project, and once set up on TestFlight, all they need do to install the latest build would be select install within the web app on their device.

A major improvement over the default method Apple provides. Their entire device certification process, let alone getting the app itself on the phone itself, can be a confusing and daunting task to those not familiar to the process.

It was in 2012 that Burstly, an in-app ad management platform, bought the company. This allowed them to release TestFlight Live, and have continued to grow to the point that in 2013 400,000 different apps had been beta-tested through TestFlight.

While Apple has refused to comment on what the plans are for their latest acquisition. We, and no doubt much of the App dev community will be watching this space closely; it would be a terrible shame to lose such a powerful and easy to use platform for testing apps.

But at the same time perhaps Apple might integrate it into their systems, they have recently been working to improve their testing support and this could be their latest way to improve that.


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