Are you passionate about CalTopo, and looking for ways to help us improve the app? We are looking for Beta testers on both iOS and Android! This blog post will explain the process, what it means for you, and things to know before signing up.
Why do we need Beta testers?
Despite many hours of internal testing, we simply cannot cover every device and situation possible. Beta testers help us expand the number of devices tested and try out many more use cases that we can possibly do on our own.
Once we feel a release has been tested and reworked internally, we will submit this new app version to the app store (both iOS and Android) for a larger round of testing (that is where you come in, Beta testers!).
We need Beta testers at all subscription levels, as some bugs may be specific to a certain account type, or a certain feature. Being a Beta tester will not change your subscription level, so if you are a free account holder, you will have access to free account features, etc.
What does a Beta Tester Do?
Once you download a Beta version, we want you to do what you do best: use the app! Everyone uses the app a bit differently, and you may catch something that we miss during the internal testing process. Bugs can be very small (a mis-spelling of a word even), or larger (issues with zooming/loading). We want to know about anything you find that looks off.
If you find bugs, glitches or anything unusual, please let us know right away! You can email us at email@example.com. Describing the bug in as much detail as possible, what steps you took in the app to get this behavior, and including screenshots/screencasts if relevant is incredibly helpful. Make sure to include the app version as well. You can find this either in the Testflight app (iOS only) on your phone, or by clicking the three bar menu within the CalTopo app, scrolling to Settings, and the app version will be listed at the bottom of this page. If you experience a crash or bug, you can also select “send diagnostic data” right above the app version. This will directly send us a report from your device.
Is there anything I should know about before signing up?
CalTopo users range from first responders to certified mountain guides, and dedicated backcountry enthusiasts. As some of you rely heavily on having an app that works no matter what, we feel that there are a few things you should be aware of before enrolling as a Beta tester.
The Beta version of the app will replace the current version on your mobile device. While we do perform a lot of internal testing prior to sending the app updates to Beta users, it is possible (and somewhat expected) that you will encounter bugs, and this can happen while you are offline. We typically catch the larger bugs (like maps completely not loading), but it is imperative you know this going in. If you are often going on long trips outside of data/wifi, or absolutely cannot navigate in the terrain you frequent without a working app, Beta testing may not be for you.
If you leave the Beta testing group, and re-download the live version of the app, you will need to re-download layers in the areas that you recreate offline (when you get an update to a new Beta version this is not an issue, as it is an update, not deleting and reinstalling the app). Your maps and saved data will not be deleted as these are stored on the cloud, not just your device.
On iOS through Testflight, the Beta app will expire after 90 days. It is very unusual for us to not push a new app version out for more than 90 days. HOWEVER, if this occurs, your Beta app will expire, and you will need to re-download the production version of the app from the app store. This is rare, but it is unavoidable with Testflight. This does not affect Android users.
For iOS users:
Follow this link to join: https://testflight.apple.com/join/lgUcGCij
You will get emails from Testflight everytime there is a Beta version available. You can unsubscribe from Testflight in the email from Testflight itself or in the Testflight app, but still be a Beta user. Please do not ask us to unsubscribe you as we cannot do this without removing you as a Beta tester.
Testflight will be a secondary app that you install on your iPhone. This will alert you when there is an updated version of the CalTopo App for testing. You can open the Beta version through the Testflight app. Once you do this, there will be a yellow dot next to the CalTopo app on your home screen. This means you are on the Beta version.
If for some reason you are having trouble with the Beta version, you can revert to the live production app version by going into the Apple App Store, and re-downloading the prod app. The yellow dot next to the app on your phone should then disappear, and you can always check the app version in settings.
For Android users:
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know the email address that you have associated with your Google Play account, and that you’d like to be a Beta tester. You can still log into CalTopo with your normal log in (even if it is different), but the google play account is what matters here.
Once you are added to the Beta group, you will receive a confirmation email back from us. It will include a link to the Google Play App store, where you can click to join the beta testing. If you ever wish to leave, you can do so from the Caltopo App page in the App Store. If you are having problems with the Beta version of the app, you can leave the Beta testing group, and then delete and re-download the CalTopo from the App store.
You can enable auto updates for the app from this page (upper right hand corner, three dot menu) so that the app will auto update when there is a beta version available.
To start, use the app as much as you can! The more you use it, the more likely you are to encounter something we could have missed.
- Try new features! Don’t usually use the measure menu, give it a go?
- Play with different layers and overlays.
- Plan new routes, and pull up your tried and true daily use maps.
- Live track yourself on a route.
- Download map layers you don’t have yet, or for a new area.
- Create a new map and share it with a friend.
- Don’t wait until the last minute. If you are heading into the backcountry play with the app before you go. Make sure things look good.
- Add markers and lines in the field.
- If you find something:
- Double check that you can repeat the issue.
- Try to replicate on different maps, a saved map, and unsaved map, a friends map.
- Take note of what you were doing that led to the bug.
- Send us detailed notes on what you find.
This is just to get you started, but the more ways you interact with the app the better testing process we have.
Have any questions?
Send us an email at email@example.com.