Before you start, you should decide for yourself the following

What is the goal which you are trying to achieve with your beta test?

Android Developers Console for beta testing purpose

Beta Access Management

Depending on your goal, you can run an Open beta test or a Closed beta test

  • Open beta test is the easiest way to go. It will make your app discoverable on the Google Play and everyone who has a link will be able to get a beta version.
  • Closed beta test. There are always reasons why you may want to run a closed beta test. Your app can be a very popular and you don’t want to receive a lot of spam reviews. You may want to run a targeted research for a limited amount of users. It is possible to submit a list of emails and distribute the app only through pre-selected testers. Another way is to use Google+ community or a Google Group. Community or group can be closed or open and in the meantime, you will need to take some effort on moderation.

Beta App Distribution

You have a link to the Google Play and you can do your best on marketing to promote your app to the users.

Feedback Collection

Users can submit their feedback via Google Play as usual except a possibility to rate your app.

Early Access Promotion

You also can apply to the Google Play Early Access program via this form - Early Access Form if you want your app to be listed in the Early Access section.

Beta Testing goals and possible solutions

To get first users for your Android app

  • Run open beta test
  • (Optional) Create a Google+ community and specify it as a feedback channel
  • Share you OPT-IN link everywhere
  • Submit your app to the TestingCatalog to get early adopters

Google+ community can be used as an additional channel where you can easily talk to your users, run polls and ask specific questions. Also, feel free to ask TestingCatalog to do that for you if you don’t have enough users or community.

Test new features and updates and collect feedback

There are a lot of cases behind but the main difference is that you have your app already released. Even if you just want to promote your app to new users by running a beta test you can easily have the same version in the beta test and release while users can have access to both.

  • Choose Open or Closed beta test and limit access according to your plan. For example, Snapchat is running an open beta with unlimited access Snapchat beta and they are getting tonnes of feedback mixed with spam which they need to filter properly. Gboard is most probably full Gboard beta but sometimes they are increasing testers limit. The Walking Dead The Walking Dead beta requires a membership in a closed Google+ community and testers can wait up to 6 months just to get there.
  • (Optional) Create a Google+ community and specify it as a feedback channel
  • Share you OPT-IN link everywhere
  • Submit your app to the TestingCatalog to get early adopters

How to manage beta releases

This Google help page should be used as a source of truth.

Google Play Console interface was also changed to the Material Design and those screenshots might be useful for new release managers.

  1. Go to Release Management > App Releases > Press on Manage Beta button
  1. Specify beta testing type, limits and a feedback channel. Your OPNT-IN URL will look like
  1. Press Create Release button > Specify changelogs > Release app

Sometimes it may take several hours before it will become available so you can submit your beta app to the TestingCatalog during this

In case if you have any question about how to run a beta test for your app, please leave them in comments.

Happy Testing!