Ever since TestFlight was acquired by Apple back in 2014, they have been constantly iterating on the tool and steadily improving its performance and capabilities. Today, TestFlight has become not just the go-to tool for iOS beta build distribution, but practically the only tool that can do the job well.
While TestFlight and Instabug share a few features, each of these tools has its capabilities, advantages, and use cases. In this post, we compare both tools and take a look at what they do best.
What is TestFlight?
TestFlight is a beta distribution tool that enables developers to distribute their beta apps to their testers via Over-The-Air (OTA) installation. The tool was a huge success when it first launched, revolutionizing the way beta apps are distributed and made available to testers.
Over the years, Apple has integrated TestFlight into App Store Connect and added many features and improved existing ones to help developers beta test their apps. Today, you can use TestFlight to test your app internally with up to 25 testers or externally with up to 10,000 testers for private beta tests and an unlimited number of testers for public beta tests.
Beta tests can be held for up to 100 different builds simultaneously, making it possible to A/B test different builds of your app with different tester groups. Each beta build expires 90 days from release, after which you will need to push a new build if you want to keep the test going.
TestFlight also supports some basic analytics and feedback collection features like tracking downloads and adoption and capturing device details, remote logs, crash reports, and tester feedback. Their latest beta update allows users to send screenshots and feedback to developers without leaving the app. Feedback submitted by users is then visible through App Store Connect’s feedback section. TestFlight's upcoming update also prompts users to submit feedback after app crashes, which is then attached to the crash report.
- A free tool that is included with your Apple developer membership
- Feedback is forwarded to your App Store Connect dashboard
- Distribute beta builds OTA
- Basic implementation of bug reporting, with minimal capabilities
- Bug reporting only available for testers who have both TestFlight 2.3 and iOS 13
What is Instabug?
Instabug is a comprehensive in-app feedback tool that makes it easier for users to submit feedback and for developers to make sense of it. The first versions of Instabug allowed users to submit a screenshot and feedback to developers without leaving the app.
Since then, Instabug has come a long way, continuously improving its features and releasing more functionality. Now, Instabug boasts a host of user feedback and communication features, bringing developers closer to their users and closing the feedback loop. This includes crash reporting, in-app chats, in-app surveys, and in-app feature requests to make sure developers are able to capture different types of feedback about their users.
Apart from the bug reporting and crash reporting features, Instabug and TestFlight don’t share any other features. And since these are Instabug’s oldest features and TestFlight’s newest, Instabug’s capabilities are much more advanced. Besides capturing a screenshot and tester feedback, Instabug also allows users to annotate their screenshots, add more, and even attach audio and screen recordings. And with every report, Instabug also retrieves device details, console logs, network logs, and the exact user steps that led them to the bug. Combined with automation features like rules and integrations with the most popular developer tools, Instabug can help you streamline your bug fixing workflow and save you a lot of time.
Additionally, you can leverage Instabug’s other features to discover more details and insights through user feedback. For instance, you can use in-app chats to reply to bug and crash reports, thanking your users or asking them for more details. You can then create a survey based on this feedback to find out what the rest of your users think, and maybe enable feature requests so your users can add and vote for new ideas.
Instabug now offers application performance monitoring tools as well. With Instabug's APM, you'll get stats on user network latency, UI hangs, screen transition times, and more. Monitoring app performance is just part of a well-rounded approach to building high-quality apps.
- Powerful bug and crash reporting features that make fixing bugs a lot easier
- A great suite of feedback and communication features that complement bug reporting
- APM tools give you valuable insight into your app performance
- Bug reporting is offered on the free tier
- Advanced bug reporting and other features like in-app surveys and in-app chats are only available on paid plans
TestFlight and Instabug are two completely different tools, with completely different goals that happen to have a tiny overlap in their features. It is not a question of which one is better or which one you should choose but rather a question of how you can combine them to maximize the results of your beta test. When it comes distributing beta builds to iOS testers, there is practically no tool that does it better than TestFlight. However, when it comes to collecting tester feedback, TestFlight can help a little but is certainly not enough if you want to make the most out of your beta test. Meanwhile, Instabug is the most comprehensive and most advanced bug reporting tool on the market.
Instabug's comprehensive feedback solution, when combined with TestFlight's powerful beta distribution capabilities, ensures that you keep your testers engaged and maximize their submitted feedback while at the same time minimizing your team's workload. Instabug offers the most detailed and actionable bug reports in the industry, enabling your developers to easily and quickly find and fix bugs. In-app chats open a convenient direct line of communication with your testers allowing you to solicit more details and engage your testers. You can also use Instabug's rules and saved replies to automate much of your workflow and replies to testers.
Additionally, Instabug's in-app surveys and feature request capabilities allow you to find out more about what your users think and make sure your roadmap is aligned with what they want. This is especially important if you want to maximize your beta test's efficiency and maximize the feedback and results you get from it.
- TestFlight Beta Testing: Setting Up Effective Beta Tests
- Comparison Between Top Beta App Distribution Tools
- The Beginner’s Guide for iOS App Beta Testing
- Top Mobile App Performance Monitoring Tools
Instabug empowers mobile teams to accelerate their workflows and release with confidence through Real-Time Contextual Insights across the entire app lifecycle.
Learn more about Instabug's Bug Reporting and In-App Feedback