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I am fairly new to Apple software submissions and wondering what the difference is between the "Beta testing review" and "Submit for approval"?

We submitted our app for approval and it was approved. We could release to the App Store if we wanted to. Obviously, we wanted to test the app first. I was not sure about the difference between Internal Testers and External Testers. I chose External testers and submitted to beta for review. The app was rejected as it required access to all screens, etc.

I am confused. Can someone explain what Apple reviews in beta that they don't review when I "Submit for approval"?

Do they test different things? Is there a list of requirements?

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The TestFlight App Review (for external beta testing) can be seen as a slightly lighter version of the App Store review process. It is still the same guidelines but the testing might not be as thorough. In my experience, it seems that Apple have a higher tolerance for "known bugs".

Just because the app was approved for App Store release does not mean that it is automatically approved for external testing as well. Apple seems to review the app once more. Typically you would have different app executables in the review queue for the App Store release and beta testing, so in the common case there's no "rework" involved.

Note also that with betas it seems that the app only gets manually reviewed on the first submission. Subsequent test versions are usually approved after automated testing only. Note that sometimes a manual review takes place again. However, it occurs very infrequently in my experience.

I assume that Apple requires the app to go through the manual TestFlight App Review even though it is already App Store approved in order to save various information about your app that it uses for subsequent automatized reviews.

You can find the list of requirements for the review process in the App Store Review Guidelines. Note that the guidelines apply equally to the App Store review as well as the TestFlight Beta App Review.

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  • yeah that makes sense I just wanted to make sure my understanding was correct . many thanks!!! Aug 26, 2021 at 6:12

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