The developer’s iOS 9 public beta conundrum

[UPDATE – I’m being trolled by my bank! See the update at the end of the article]

The above is a conversation that I had with my bank about their iOS app and highlight, I think, an increasing issue that developers are going to have with more and more public involvement with beta testing.

I have been running iOS9 for a while now and on the whole it is pretty good but having beta software out in the wild does cause issues for developers of apps. It may not be possible to get fixes that are caused by the beta out or, as is the case for Nationwide, they simply aren’t going to until they know it is stable and released.

Apple has, in part, recognised this and has stopped those on the beta programme from leaving ratings and comments in the app store feeling, rightly, that developers shouldn’t be disadvantaged by negative comments during the test period. However, what hasn’t been addressed is how developers should handle issues during this period. Apple has a reasonably well developed process for reporting (although I can see little evidence for it being acted upon) but how do other developers deal with this?

The above Twitter exchange with Nationwide is a good example of the problem. I found an issue in their app which I felt they might welcome some feedback but the initial response was just to close down the conversation by saying that they didn’t support the app on beta versions, which is absolutely their right to do. That doesn’t help move the app forward at all and it will be interesting to see whether the app works when iOS9 is released or how soon after the release it is fixed.

To be honest I am not sure what the answer is – perhaps allow developers to decide whether their app is available on beta versions of the operating system. Could be an unpopular move if you use the app regularly. What are your thoughts on how to best handle this?

So literally an hour after I pushed send on this article Nationwide pushed out an update fixing the issue I had tweeted about. Maybe they were listening after all!

2015-09-04 16.16.29