Time for Apple To Let Go Of The 100 Testing Devices Limit

November 17, 2012
Apple's developer portal

Apple’s developer portal

When you as a iOS developer want to send out beta versions to testers, you need to create a build of your app with an ad hoc profile that contains the UDID’s from all the devices of your testers. Not only is that a painful process, you are also limited to 100 devices. That is, a 100 devices per developer license per year. When the iPhone 3 was released that was OK, but now it is becoming a major hurdle to do testing. It is time for Apple to change this policy. Here’s why:

  1. fragmentation – now you have the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 as well as the iPad 2, 3, 4 and iPad Mini. Don’t forget iPod Touch 4 and 5. Also iOS 5 is still around (not for iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad Mini or iPod Touch 5), so times 2 major iOS versions = 14 different devices.
  2. developers create more apps per year - imagine a company that publishes 10 apps per year, for 10 different demographics. That 100 device limitation is for that one publisher, meaning you can have max 10 testers per demographic.
  3. quality standards have gone up – There are 700,000 iOS apps out there. Only the best that get in a top 25 make money. High quality is required, so developers have to test thoroughly.

What could Apple do?

  1. lift the 100 device limit up to say 1,000
  2. limit the 100 device to a specific app
  3. let go of the limit and allow for temporary ad hoc profiles that expire

Now that last one has my preference. No more collecting the UDID’s, managing them through Apple’s great and user friendly developer portal. Going back for every UDID that you get after testing has began. Let the profile expire after 2 weeks, with a popup “Download this app in the app store?”. No loss of downloads or revenue for Apple, more and easier testing for developers and publishers. What do you think?

Update 8/20/2013: Apple seems to be lifting the limit to 200 devices.

Dirk de Kok

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3 responses to Time for Apple To Let Go Of The 100 Testing Devices Limit

  1. Nicely documented proposal, you have my +1 for solution 3

  2. I like the idea of the short-term expiring ad-hoc profiles.
    In the meantime, there are a couple of workarounds that can be done…

    – If your organization can qualify for an enterprise account, that should take care of all your internal testers and devices.

    – Resigning builds with a different profile can be automated, so you could keep multiple developer accounts for your outside testers and deployment, in addition to the one you use to submit all of your apps to the Store.