How to Test In-App Purchases on iOS Devices
By Neha Bharati, Community Contributor - May 12, 2022
Mobile app installs across different business domains have been at an all-time high in the past few years, with a 55% jump between 2016 and 2020. These apps may be designed and developed for gaming, productivity, fitness, entertainment, finance, etc. Naturally, many app developers monetize their work by offering in-app purchases to boost their revenue generation and app engagement.
In-app purchases (IAP) work as upgrades to paid versions, premium features, ad-free experiences, subscriptions, etc. Apple lists out a few app monetization models, but freemium apps are genuinely viable these days. The freemium model is where a baseline experience of your apps is accessible to all users. Whether or not they choose to spend more for premium features and services rests with them.
This guide will help you navigate and test the flow of in-app purchases while iOS app testing at scale regardless of the monetization model you choose.
Why are In-App Purchases Popular?
It is always a win-win if any app provides premium or add-ons for monetary benefits. Here are a few valid reasons why developers work towards making their apps relevant and engaging:
- Encourages App Installs: If a developer offers their app for free, it is evident that more users will download and install it. It opens the door for users to try out an app since they are more willing to download a free app than a paid one. Depending on the app experience, users will eventually be willing to pay for extra features.
- Ad Revenue: Developers can also choose to display ads in their apps, and for this, they get paid too. Online giants like Twitter and Linkedin display ads that promote specific products/services, a huge revenue source.
- Monetary Benefits: For initial app releases, developers prefer to offer it for free download. Once the traction picks up, in-app purchases boost profits and make the app highly engaging, popular, and successful.
- Encourages better apps: As more and more users download an app, it encourages developers to add more content and features to provide the best experience to users.
In-app Purchases: Market size
The global in-app purchase market was valued at $76.43 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $340.76 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 19.8% from 2020 to 2027.
In-app purchase market size(source)
A few well-known ways to serve in-app purchases are:
- Consumables: These are primarily for power-ups, in-game currency, and extra health prevalent in gaming apps. They are immediately available after purchase and can be purchased multiple times.
- Non-Consumables: Once purchased, app users have permanent access to these features.
- Auto-renewed Subscriptions: They are subscriptions to apps like Netflix, where the service renews every month with an automatic amount deduction.
- Non-renewed subscriptions: They are manual subscriptions that provide premium content for a limited time.
As per the below graph, it is clear that the subscription models are more popular than the other types of in-app purchases.
In-app purchase market by type(source)
Testing In-App purchases on iOS Devices
Since in-app purchases are the primary monetization factor, app developers should ensure that the purchase flow is easy for their user base. It is straightforward to test in-app purchases using BrowserStack App Live. It allows developers to test their applications on real iPhones and iOS devices with test-dev environments, real-time debugging, and other features.
Dive Into The In-App Purchase Testing (IAP) Flow on a Remote iOS Device
Step 1 – Open BrowserStack App Live and log in to your account.
Step 2 – Once you’re logged in you can choose the iOS device you want to test on.
- Device: iPhone 12 Pro
- App to test: Coursera
Step 3 – Open the App store on the device
Step 4 – Search for the Coursera app in the app store
Step 5 – Download the app and log in to Coursera.
Step 6 – There are a lot of courses available on Coursera to purchase. Select and enroll to any course of your choosing
Step 7 – Click on subscribe to start the purchase.
Step 8 – Click on continue to start the payment process
Step 9 – Enter your payment details to proceed with the purchase
This is how users can test the whole in-app purchase flow on BrowserStack and look for any improvements.
The chances are that your app is already in good health since you’re considering in-app purchases. However, you can always count on testing natural gestures, battery consumption, and simulated GPS & IP geolocation to eliminate any errors.
Your QA team can share bugs via JIRA, Trello, and Slack, and developers can easily replicate these bugs and fix them. You can also integrate CI/CD plugins with tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, etc.
With iOS devices being the fancy choice amongst many, the monetization of apps will only continue to grow. Developers see great potential in this ecosystem, and if dealt with smartly, in-app purchases can become a revenue engine.
When spending money, users will be cautious and expect flawless experiences, and BrowserStack App Live ensures just that. Providing a wide range of real iOS devices for app testing ensures that the process is robust to keep iOS fragmentation at bay.