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App Center retirement: Here are the tools mobile teams should replace it with

App Center is going away, but your mobile app isn't. Check out several alternatives so you can continue building and shipping incredible mobile experiences.

If you’re reading this post, then you’ve probably heard the news – Microsoft is shutting down App Center on March 31, 2025. Many mobile teams will need to look elsewhere for key functionality that App Center provided, including:

  • Build: Create new app builds for iOS and Android.
  • Test: Run tests on real iOS and Android devices.
  • Distribute: Send builds to test groups and app stores.
  • CodePush: Submit over the air updates for React Native apps.
  • Diagnostics: Monitor app health with detailed crash reports and get notified about new issues.
  • Analytics: Review information about adoption and usage.

In this post, we’ll share several options that your mobile team can consider for replacing App Center functionality. Since there isn’t a single platform that covers everything as a drop-in replacement, we will look at alternatives for the following groups of services:

  • App Center Build, Test, and Distribute
  • App Center CodePush
  • App Center Diagnostics and Analytics

TL;DR

Every mobile team and app has different needs, and there’s no shortage of options in the mobile tooling space. While this post covers several alternatives for each of the service groups outlined above, we recommend the following replacements for App Center:

Read on to learn more about your options when replacing App Center.

App Center Build, Test, and Distribute alternatives

Mobile teams can accomplish these tasks using a combination of CI/CD and Release Management solutions. The best option that covers both solutions within the same platform is Bitrise, so we’ll cover it first. Then we’ll highlight several Release Management options, followed by several CI/CD options.

Bitrise

Bitrise covers the Build, Test, and Distribute functionality of App Center within their Mobile DevOps platform. The two main parts of the platform are the Bitrise CI and Bitrise Release Management. Bitrise has even created a migration guide for App Center users that you can check out for more information.

Bitrise hero section

Key features

Builds
Bitrise uses virtual machines (VM) to run your builds. Every build runs in a new VM, and each VM is discarded immediately after the build has finished. The stack is the type of virtual machine that’s used to run your build. For example, for a native iOS app, the best stack is one of their Xcode stacks. Stacks come with all of the necessary tools pre-installed and are regularly updated to make sure they will serve all of your needs. Learn more in their infrastructure documentation.

Testing
Bitrise supports over-the-air (OTA) app deployment with their public install page so teams can submit test builds to internal test groups. Bitrise has support for iOS testing, Android testing, Flutter testing, and React Native testing. You can easily distribute test builds to Google Play Console or App Store TestFlight. You can check the testing documentation here.

Bitrise also has Test Reports where you can view the results of the different test types on the same page. This streamlines tracking down the source of failing tests. You can also run your tests on real devices with an integration to Firebase Test Labs, so you don’t need to create or manage a Firebase account.

Distribution
Bitrise Release Management aims to simplify the App Store and Google Play release processes for mobile development teams. It’s designed to take the hassle out of the release management process, enabling you to automate updates easily without needing in-depth knowledge of App Store Connect or Google Play Console. Learn more in the Bitrise Release Management documentation.

Other highlights

Code signing
Bitrise supports automatic code signing for both iOS and Android apps. Bitrise Steps are the individual build tasks, and the Steps that support code signing automatically download provisioning profiles and fix common issues through an already set up API key or Apple ID connection.

Bitrise stores your code signing files securely and ensures that they are only used during the build process. This approach to automatic code signing greatly reduces the chance of human error and helps maintain a consistent and secure signing process throughout the app development lifecycle. Additionally, it facilitates team collaboration as the signing assets and the process are managed centrally, without the need for each developer to handle code signing manually on their local machines.

Bitrise Build Cache
Bitrise Build Cache promises faster build and test runs by intelligently caching the outputs of intermediate build steps, generated when compiling your code, and reusing those outputs in future builds.

Test results are also saved by Bitrise Build Cache. This means that tests unaffected by your code changes can avoid being rerun — resulting in massively reduced build and test times. You can check out their caching documentation to learn more. Bitrise also supports dependency caching.

Bitrise Insights
Bitrise Insights is a monitoring tool that allows you to track metrics detailing the performance of your Bitrise builds. You can track your metrics on the app, Workflow, and Step level and use the data to optimize your builds. With the Insights tool, you gain visibility into three main areas:

  • Stability: Which errors have the highest impact on your builds?
  • Velocity: Which area should you focus on to improve the speed of your builds?
  • Usage: Which Steps and Workflows take the most time in your builds?

Learn more in the Bitrise Insights documentation.

Bitrise Integrations
Bitrise offers 400+ workflow steps to perform your CI tasks, which are maintained by Bitrise, partners, and the community. You can learn more on their integrations page.

Other release management solutions

Runway

Runway is a mobile release management platform for mobile. It’s important to note that since Runway doesn’t have native CI/CD functionality, you’ll need to integrate a separate tool for that. Runway has an interactive demo environment where you can click through the entire platform.

Fastlane

Fastlane is an open-source CLI tool for building and releasing mobile apps. You can automate tedious tasks like generating localized screenshots, distributing beta builds to testers, publishing new releases to app stores, and code signing your app. One thing to note is that fastlane does not provide access to actual machines for testing, so you’ll need to provide them and connect them yourself.

Firebase App Distribution

Firebase App Distribution can be used for internal app distribution for testing. It doesn’t support building your app or submitting it to app stores.

Tramline

Tramline is a release coordination and deployment platform for mobile teams. It goes beyond app releases, including release analytics, build storage, post-release monitoring, and more. Tramline’s main functionality is the release train, where you encapsulate all the steps of your release process, like running builds and moving them to distribution channels.

Other CI/CD solutions

Codemagic

Codemagic is a CI/CD for mobile dev teams, and it covers the Build, Test, and Distribute functionality of App Center. It has a workflow editor only for Flutter apps, and for all other frameworks you’ll need to use the codemagic.yaml file to define workflows and run builds. You can check out a demo of how to configure your CI/CD workflows with Codemagic, here.

GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions is a CI/CD platform that allows you to automate your build, test, and deployment pipeline. It works by running jobs that are defined in workflows when specific events (e.g., pull request being opened, an issue being created) occur in your repository.

GitLab CI/CD

GitLab CI/CD allows you to build, test, package, and deploy secure software across your pipeline. The GitLab Mobile DevOps product can be used for native and cross-platform mobile apps. You can see a demo of GitLab CI/CD here.

CircleCI

CircleCI is a CI/CD platform that works in many execution environments, including Docker, Linux (can be used to build Android apps), macOS, and Windows. You can run jobs on your own infrastructure or in CircleCI Cloud. Note that CircleCI does not handle release management, so you’ll need to use another service for this functionality.

App Center CodePush alternatives

CodePush is an App Center cloud service that allows you to deploy React Native mobile app updates directly to users’ devices. There are certain updates that are allowed to bypass formal app store reviews, and those include JS, HTML, CSS, and image changes. This functionality allows mobile teams to save time when addressing bugs and adding small features that don’t require rebuilding a new binary.

Standalone version of CodePush

Microsoft has announced that they will make available a special version of CodePush that can be run independently from App Center. As of writing, you’ll need to reach out to their support team at support@appcenter.ms for more information.

EAS Update

Expo Application Services (EAS) is a collection of cloud services for Expo and bare React Native apps. The main features are EAS Build, EAS Submit, and EAS Update. Because EAS only works for React Native apps, we didn’t include it previously as a general alternative to App Center Build, Test, and Distribution services, but it can definitely be used as a replacement there. You can migrate from CodePush to EAS Update for over-the-air updates.

App Center Diagnostics and Analytics alternatives

When you’re looking for replacements for the Diagnostics and Analytics functionality of App Center, there are many options available, ranging from crash reporting and error monitoring tools to more powerful monitoring and observability platforms.

Microsoft’s official recommendations are Azure Native ISV services like Datadog, Dynatrace, and New Relic. However, given that these solutions are primarily for backend observability as opposed to mobile observability, there are better options for identifying and resolving user-impacting issues within your mobile applications.

Embrace

Embrace is a mobile app observability company that collects the full technical and behavioral details of every user session, providing engineers with the necessary context to identify and resolve issues quickly. Embrace’s native SDKs are open source and OpenTelemetry-compliant, so teams have access to transparent, portable, and extensible data collection across their entire observability stack. Site reliability and developer teams looking to create fullstack observability without sacrificing depth in their mobile telemetry should consider Embrace.

Key features

Built on OpenTelemetry
Embrace’s Android and iOS SDKs are built on OpenTelemetry, so site reliability and developer teams can easily send mobile telemetry to any OTel-supported platforms and tools, including Grafana, Honeycomb, Chronosphere, New Relic, and Datadog. Embrace also has custom integrations with several observability systems, a Metrics API for easily querying the metrics you care about in Grafana and other compatible tools, and Data Forwarding for sending custom metrics to any OTLP-compatible backend system.

Open source
Embrace’s SDKs are open source, so you can fork and modify them according to your needs. The Embrace native SDKs also have a Capture Service, so teams can easily extend instrumentation to any custom library in their app and leverage Embrace’s platform to contextualize the added instrumentation.

User-focused telemetry
Embrace captures signals to model entire user experiences as User Timelines, so mobile teams can immediately understand what led to any issue, even ones spanning multiple foreground and background sessions. Developers can review every view, tap, network call, breadcrumb, error, device state change (e.g., CPU throttling, low power mode, connectivity switch), and more. In addition, by capturing 100% of user session data, developers can immediately know the full impact of any issue, and dive into every impacted user experience to quickly pinpoint the root cause without guesswork.

Mobile expertise
Developer teams can spend less time solving crashes with Embrace’s highly-accurate crash groupings. For Android apps, developers can leverage a unique prioritization and resolution workflow for ANRs that involves stack trace flame graphs and insights surrounding problematic third-party SDKs, like ads.

Other highlights

Custom dashboards
Mobile teams can easily build dashboards to track the adoption, performance, stability, and feature metrics they care about. It’s easy to correlate health metrics over time and across multiple versions without needing to add logs or custom attributes.

App performance
With network span forwarding and performance tracing, site reliability and developer teams can easily track performance issues across the frontend and backend. Easily spot where key screens or user flows are running slow, including where users are abandoning high-value actions like completing purchases.

App exit insights
Understanding where users are force quitting your mobile app is a key signal you should be monitoring because that can indicate broken functionality, app freezes, or blank screens caused by failing network calls, to name a few. Embrace highlights where out-of-memory crashes are happening across your app, so you can prioritize the views and features that may be consuming too much memory.

Sentry

Sentry is an error and performance monitoring solution. It is open source, can be self-hosted, and can be used for many platforms, including web, backend, and mobile. While Sentry’s focus is not mobile, the platform offers several benefits for mobile app developers. Developer teams that don’t require as much visibility into end-user experiences as Embrace should check out Sentry, as it’s a significant improvement over what App Center Diagnostics provides.

Firebase Crashlytics

Firebase Crashlytics can serve as an option for mobile teams who want a replacement for App Center Diagnostics that provides free crash and error reporting. While this solution offers far less functionality than Embrace or Sentry, it’s a great starting point for small teams.

Summary

It’s been a long journey for the service that began as Hockey App all those years ago. As one of the earliest testing, distribution, and diagnostic tools for mobile developers, App Center will always hold a special place in our hearts. The good news is that mobile teams aren’t being left up a certain creek without a paddle. There are many great solutions today that developers can use to replace the functionality of App Center.

If you’re still unsure where to start, consider checking out Bitrise, EAS Update, and Embrace. They are all best-in-class solutions that are built exclusively for mobile and continue to innovate quickly.

To learn more about Embrace, request a demo today.

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