Notes on beta testing with Firebase App Distribution


  • It's not user friendly, at all. It's technical and scary
  • It took me, a developer, around 8 minutes and around 18 clicks to get the app installed on my phone.
  • It involved at least 5 security warnings
    • can harm your device warning
    • not allowed unknown apps warning (Firebase App Distribution - App Tester)
    • allow unknown apps AGAIN! (My app)
    • blocked by Play Protect warning
    • send app for scanning
  • You can't discount the fact that other apps installed on the phone can mess with your install process (for example: Phone Master)
  • For every release you'll have to download the app (around 52mb for my fairly basic React Native chat app)

I just got the phone less than 24 hours ago and the only thing i have changed so far is enable Developer Mode. so this is all on a fairly default factory setting.

Phone Master

My cheap Android phone (Infinix Hot 9) comes with this app called Phone Master pre-installed. I can't get rid of it. Phone Master starts scanning apps when i install them

Google Play Protect

Google Play Protect is enabled by default. And it'll block the installation with a warning saying Blocked by Play Protect. You have to tap the less prominent Install Anyway button

Send app for scanning

It'll also ask you to send app for scanning

Install unknown apps

This is also disabled by default. You have to enable Allow from this source for the App Tester app that comes with Firebase App Distribution..

To allow app installs from Forces Penpals, follow this steps:

  • Navigate to Setting > Security.
  • Check the option “Unknown sources“.
  • Tap OK on the prompt message.
  • Select “Trust“.

Please note that this site and the posts on it are, and will always be, a work in progress. If i waited for perfection, i’d never get anything done.