Alias for the upload_to_testflight action

The best way to manage your TestFlight testers and builds from your terminal

pilot makes it easier to manage your app on Apple’s TestFlight. You can:

  • Upload & distribute builds
  • Add & remove testers
  • Retrieve information about testers & devices
  • Import/export all available testers

pilot uses spaceship.airforce to interact with App Store Connect 🚀


pilot is part of fastlane: The easiest way to automate beta deployments and releases for your iOS and Android apps.


For all commands, you can either use an API Key or your Apple ID.

App Store Connect API Key

The App Store Connect API Key is the preferred authentication method (if you are able to use it).

  • Uses official App Store Connect API
  • No need for 2FA
  • Better performance over Apple ID

Specify the API key using --api_key_path ./path/to/api_key_info.json or --api_key "{\"key_id\": \"D83848D23\", \"issuer_id\": \"227b0bbf-ada8-458c-9d62-3d8022b7d07f\", \"key_filepath\": \"D83848D23.p8\"}"

Go to Using App Store Connect API for information on obtaining an API key, the fastlane api_key_info.json format, and other API key usage.

Apple ID

Specify the Apple ID to use using -u felix@krausefx.com. If you execute pilot in a project already using fastlane the username and app identifier will automatically be determined.

Uploading builds

To upload a new build, just run

fastlane pilot upload

This will automatically look for an ipa in your current directory and tries to fetch the login credentials from your fastlane setup.

You'll be asked for any missing information. Additionally, you can pass all kinds of parameters:

fastlane action pilot

You can pass a changelog using

fastlane pilot upload --changelog "Something that is new here"

You can also skip the submission of the binary, which means, the ipa file will only be uploaded and not distributed to testers:

fastlane pilot upload --skip_submission

pilot does all kinds of magic for you:

  • Automatically detects the bundle identifier from your ipa file
  • Automatically fetch the AppID of your app based on the bundle identifier

pilot uses spaceship to submit the build metadata and the iTunes Transporter to upload the binary. Because iTunes Transporter's upload capability is only supported on OS X, pilot upload does not work on Linux, as described in this issue

List builds

To list all builds for specific application use

fastlane pilot builds

The result lists all active builds and processing builds:

|      Great App Builds          |
| Version # | Build # | Installs |
| 0.9.13    | 1       | 0        |
| 0.9.13    | 2       | 0        |
| 0.9.20    | 3       | 0        |
| 0.9.20    | 4       | 3        |

Managing beta testers

List of Testers

This command will list all your testers, both internal and external.

fastlane pilot list

The output will look like this:

|                    Internal Testers                    |
| First  | Last   | Email                    | # Devices |
| Felix  | Krause | felix@krausefx.com       | 2         |

|                       External Testers                       |
| First     | Last    | Email                      | # Devices |
| Max       | Manfred | email@email.com            | 0         |
| Detlef    | Müller  | detlef@krausefx.com        | 1         |

Add a new tester

To add a new tester to your App Store Connect account and to associate it to at least one testing group of your app, use the pilot add command. This will create a new tester (if necessary) or add an existing tester to the app to test.

fastlane pilot add email@invite.com -g group-1,group-2

Additionally you can specify the app identifier (if necessary):

fastlane pilot add email@email.com -a com.krausefx.app -g group-1,group-2

Find a tester

To find a specific tester use

fastlane pilot find felix@krausefx.com

The resulting output will look like this:

|            felix@krausefx.com             |
| First name          | Felix               |
| Last name           | Krause              |
| Email               | felix@krausefx.com  |
| Latest Version      | 0.9.14 (23          |
| Latest Install Date | 03/28/15 19:00      |
| 2 Devices           | • iPhone 6, iOS 8.3 |
|                     | • iPhone 5, iOS 7.0 |

Remove a tester

This command will remove beta tester from app (from all internal and external groups)

fastlane pilot remove felix@krausefx.com

You can also use groups option to remove the tester from the groups specified:

fastlane pilot remove felix@krausefx.com -g group-1,group-2

Export testers

To export all external testers to a CSV file. Useful if you need to import tester info to another system or a new account.

fastlane pilot export

Import testers

Add external testers from a CSV file. Create a file (ex: testers.csv) and fill it with the following format:

fastlane pilot import

You can also specify the directory using

fastlane pilot export -c ~/Desktop/testers.csv
fastlane pilot import -c ~/Desktop/testers.csv


Debug information

If you run into any issues you can use the verbose mode to get a more detailed output:

fastlane pilot upload --verbose

Firewall Issues

pilot uses the iTunes Transporter to upload metadata and binaries. In case you are behind a firewall, you can specify a different transporter protocol from the command line using


If you are using pilot via the fastlane action, add the following to your Fastfile


Note, however, that Apple recommends you don’t specify the -t transport and instead allow Transporter to use automatic transport discovery to determine the best transport mode for your packages. For this reason, if the t option is passed, we will raise a warning.

Also note that -t is not the only additional parameter that can be used. The string specified in the DELIVER_ITMSTRANSPORTER_ADDITIONAL_UPLOAD_PARAMETERS environment variable will be forwarded to Transporter. For all the available options, check Apple's Transporter User Guide.

Credentials Issues

If your password contains special characters, pilot may throw a confusing error saying your "Your Apple ID or password was entered incorrectly". The easiest way to fix this error is to change your password to something that does not contains special characters.

How is my password stored?

pilot uses the CredentialsManager from fastlane.

Provider Short Name

If you are on multiple App Store Connect teams, iTunes Transporter may need a provider short name to know where to upload your binary. pilot will try to use the long name of the selected team to detect the provider short name. To override the detected value with an explicit one, use the itc_provider option.

Use an Application Specific Password to upload

pilot/upload_to_testflight can use an Application Specific Password via the FASTLANE_APPLE_APPLICATION_SPECIFIC_PASSWORD environment variable to upload a binary if both the skip_waiting_for_build_processing and apple_id options are set. (If any of those are not set, it will use the normal Apple login process that might require 2FA authentication.)

Role for App Store Connect User

pilot/upload_to_testflight updates build information and testers after the build has finished processing. App Store Connect requires the "App Manager" or "Admin" role for your Apple account to update this information. The "Developer" role will allow builds to be uploaded but will not allow updating of build information and testers.

Supported platforms ios, mac
Author @KrauseFx

7 Examples

testflight # alias for "upload_to_testflight"
pilot # alias for "upload_to_testflight"
upload_to_testflight(skip_submission: true) # to only upload the build
  username: "felix@krausefx.com",
  app_identifier: "com.krausefx.app",
  itc_provider: "abcde12345" # pass a specific value to the iTMSTransporter -itc_provider option
  beta_app_feedback_email: "email@email.com",
  beta_app_description: "This is a description of my app",
  demo_account_required: true,
  notify_external_testers: false,
  changelog: "This is my changelog of things that have changed in a log"
  beta_app_review_info: {
    contact_email: "email@email.com",
    contact_first_name: "Connect",
    contact_last_name: "API",
    contact_phone: "5558675309",
    demo_account_name: "demo@email.com",
    demo_account_password: "connectapi",
    notes: "this is review note for the reviewer <3 thank you for reviewing"
  localized_app_info: {
    "default": {
      feedback_email: "default@email.com",
      marketing_url: "https://example.com/marketing-default",
      privacy_policy_url: "https://example.com/privacy-default",
      description: "Default description",
    "en-GB": {
      feedback_email: "en-gb@email.com",
      marketing_url: "https://example.com/marketing-en-gb",
      privacy_policy_url: "https://example.com/privacy-en-gb",
      description: "en-gb description",
  localized_build_info: {
    "default": {
      whats_new: "Default changelog",
    "en-GB": {
      whats_new: "en-gb changelog",


Key Description Default
api_key_path Path to your App Store Connect API Key JSON file (https://docs.fastlane.tools/app-store-connect-api/#using-fastlane-api-key-json-file)
api_key Your App Store Connect API Key information (https://docs.fastlane.tools/app-store-connect-api/#using-fastlane-api-key-hash-option)
username Your Apple ID Username *
app_identifier The bundle identifier of the app to upload or manage testers (optional) *
app_platform The platform to use (optional)
apple_id Apple ID property in the App Information section in App Store Connect *
ipa Path to the ipa file to upload *
pkg Path to your pkg file *
demo_account_required Do you need a demo account when Apple does review?
beta_app_review_info Beta app review information for contact info and demo account
localized_app_info Localized beta app test info for description, feedback email, marketing url, and privacy policy
beta_app_description Provide the 'Beta App Description' when uploading a new build
beta_app_feedback_email Provide the beta app email when uploading a new build
localized_build_info Localized beta app test info for what's new
changelog Provide the 'What to Test' text when uploading a new build
skip_submission Skip the distributing action of pilot and only upload the ipa file false
skip_waiting_for_build_processing If set to true, the distribute_external option won't work and no build will be distributed to testers. (You might want to use this option if you are using this action on CI and have to pay for 'minutes used' on your CI plan). If set to true and a changelog is provided, it will partially wait for the build to appear on AppStore Connect so the changelog can be set, and skip the remaining processing steps false
update_build_info_on_upload DEPRECATED! Update build info immediately after validation. This is deprecated and will be removed in a future release. App Store Connect no longer supports setting build info until after build processing has completed, which is when build info is updated by default false
distribute_only Distribute a previously uploaded build (equivalent to the fastlane pilot distribute command) false
uses_non_exempt_encryption Provide the 'Uses Non-Exempt Encryption' for export compliance. This is used if there is 'ITSAppUsesNonExemptEncryption' is not set in the Info.plist false
distribute_external Should the build be distributed to external testers? If set to true, use of groups option is required false
notify_external_testers Should notify external testers? (Not setting a value will use App Store Connect's default which is to notify)
app_version The version number of the application build to distribute. If the version number is not specified, then the most recent build uploaded to TestFlight will be distributed. If specified, the most recent build for the version number will be distributed
build_number The build number of the application build to distribute. If the build number is not specified, the most recent build is distributed
expire_previous_builds Should expire previous builds? false
first_name The tester's first name
last_name The tester's last name
email The tester's email
testers_file_path Path to a CSV file of testers ./testers.csv
groups Associate tester to one group or more by group name / group id. E.g. -g "Team 1","Team 2" This is required when distribute_external option is set to true or when we want to add a tester to one or more external testing groups
team_id The ID of your App Store Connect team if you're in multiple teams *
team_name The name of your App Store Connect team if you're in multiple teams *
dev_portal_team_id The short ID of your team in the developer portal, if you're in multiple teams. Different from your iTC team ID! *
itc_provider The provider short name to be used with the iTMSTransporter to identify your team. This value will override the automatically detected provider short name. To get provider short name run pathToXcode.app/Contents/Applications/Application\ Loader.app/Contents/itms/bin/iTMSTransporter -m provider -u 'USERNAME' -p 'PASSWORD' -account_type itunes_connect -v off. The short names of providers should be listed in the second column
wait_processing_interval Interval in seconds to wait for App Store Connect processing 30
wait_processing_timeout_duration Timeout duration in seconds to wait for App Store Connect processing. If set, after exceeding timeout duration, this will force stop to wait for App Store Connect processing and exit with exception
wait_for_uploaded_build DEPRECATED! No longer needed with the transition over to the App Store Connect API - Use version info from uploaded ipa file to determine what build to use for distribution. If set to false, latest processing or any latest build will be used false
reject_build_waiting_for_review Expire previous if it's 'waiting for review' false
submit_beta_review Send the build for a beta review true

* = default value is dependent on the user's system


To show the documentation in your terminal, run

fastlane action pilot


It is recommended to add the above action into your Fastfile, however sometimes you might want to run one-offs. To do so, you can run the following command from your terminal

fastlane run pilot

To pass parameters, make use of the : symbol, for example

fastlane run pilot parameter1:"value1" parameter2:"value2"

It's important to note that the CLI supports primitive types like integers, floats, booleans, and strings. Arrays can be passed as a comma delimited string (e.g. param:"1,2,3"). Hashes are not currently supported.

It is recommended to add all fastlane actions you use to your Fastfile.

Source code

This action, just like the rest of fastlane, is fully open source, view the source code on GitHub

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