As many of you know, Ionic View was removed from the App Store by Apple last month. We quickly appealed the decision, and after waiting a number of weeks, have finally been able to communicate with Apple and have more information we can share.

Unfortunately, Apple has decided to take a new stance against any testing and sharing apps that allow you to preview in-progress applications, and is removing any app from the App Store that does so, including Ionic View and all similar products for other frameworks or platforms. We have been told this is an ongoing process and it may take a while for them to remove all the testing apps from the App Store.

We regret to say that this decision from Apple has forced us to sunset Ionic View, as View doesn’t have much value when only used on a single platform or as a self-signed app. It also can’t be open-sourced as it depends on a large portion of our backend infrastructure for Ionic Pro.

If you have Ionic View installed on any devices, it will continue to work and be available for sharing until 9/1/2018. At that point we will be removing the option to share with users in View and disabling all access. The Feedback tab will also be shut down, but your feedback will be accessible until 9/1/2018 as well.

The future of sharing in Ionic Pro

We would still like to have an easy sharing solution in Ionic Pro and are working to determine which path we’d like to take forward. While View was the easiest possible way to share an app, it did come with some downsides (like not being able to customize plugins, not reproducing your app natively, etc).

We look at this as an opportunity to make a better sharing product that can remove some of those downsides.

We’d love your input on several options we are considering, let us know in the comments if any of these appeal to you (or if you have any of your own ideas):

  1. Utilizing Sharing in Ionic Package + Deploy in order to build a native IPA/APK file for your app that includes any plugins you would like, and is a true native representation of your app. Then we would allow you to share a downloadable link for both Android & iOS that you can also update on the fly with Ionic Deploy. This would be a way for you to share a true version of your app, and still update it whenever you’d like. You would still have to make certificates and provisioning profiles for phones you’d like to install on.
  2. Sharing a browser version of your app that can be viewed on any mobile device through the native browser. We would make sure this PWA version of “View” would still be installable on devices, but this would fully eliminate any use of native plugins and would only support browser APIs.
  3. Utilizing native sharing platforms such as TestFlight (Apples own testing product) and Google Beta program, by using new APIs from Apple & Google. This option would allow us to help you provision testers and invite people through Apple and Google’s own testing mechanisms, making the process easier than using them directly.

Please note that these are all just options we’ve been investigating, and we have not begun work on anything yet.

Thank you for using Ionic View, and thank you for understanding that this decision is out of our hands. We are excited about coming up with an alternative solution that can improve on the View concept and provide a way forward. We’d love your feedback on some of the alternatives proposed above in the comments below!

P.S. We’ll have a new blog post coming tomorrow on how to use TestFlight with Ionic Deploy to make testing your apps with users easier, as well. Be on the lookout!