There are many times when adversity serves as a great teacher, presenting you with previously unexplored opportunities. This article is about one such occasion when I had to deal with testing an iOS app with only an iOS device in hand and a limited stable internet connection.
Let’s look at what happens when you don’t have a Mac/laptop/desktop and only have a mobile device and a .ipa file to test:
The methods I tried to install an iOS app on my iPhone are listed below:
1. OTA Deployment
OTA (Over the Air) Deployment allows you to install your built apps (.ipa/.apk) over the internet using HTTPS.
The following are the steps to install apps using this method:
- Save the .ipa file to your device or to iCloud.
- Upload the .ipa file to any site that generates a shareable installation link using the uploaded .ipa file.
- There are several paid/free sites (e.g., DeployNinja, AppHost, Diawi, Installonair, etc.) where you can get the installation link by uploading the .ipa file. I discovered the following to be free, simple, and dependable: https://www.installonair.com
- Open the above link and upload the .ipa file you downloaded.
- After uploading the files, click the submit button and wait for the shareable link to be generated.
- Send the link via email or other means to the targeted mobile device.
- Lastly, install the app on the mobile device by opening the shared link through Installonair and you are ready to test once the app gets installed on your device.
2. Using Third-Party Apps
These can be obtained from a variety of external play stores; I used the app cake for this purpose by following the steps below:
- Navigate to https://www.iphonecake.com.
- For more options, click on the three horizontal lines at the top right of the site’s home screen and select the App Cake iOS app.
- Install the required certificates by clicking on the install package.
- After installing the appCake, it prompts for certificate verification, which can be accessed via phone settings such as Settings > General > Profiles and device management > CRCC** profile verification Reopen Appcake and verify it’s profile in settings to see if it was successfully installed.
- Open the downloaded .ipa file on your phone and select the copy to app cake option from the share menu.
- When the app reaches the Appcake download section, it will prompt the user to install it directly on the phone.
- Click on install to begin the app installation, which can be tracked in the device app library.
If the app requires any certificate profile to be verified from its end, it may behave differently because Appcake installs it by verifying it through Appcake’s own profile, which can cause conflicts.
That’s all for now, folks! Comment below with your thoughts, questions, and suggestions about this article. Thanks!