Mobile app crash reporting tools have evolved to become more developer-friendly over time. We’ve seen them become easier to integrate and offer new features. There are a lot of options out there today. With that, we’ve created an infographic—with some supporting notes below—to help “symbolicate” the jumbled mess of iOS crash reporting options into actionable analysis.
We have found that there's a crash reporting tool for every occasion. All of the options included in this analysis we either use regularly now or have in the past. Because of that, we did not declare a clear winner with the options we evaluated. Our goal was to highlight the strengths or weaknesses we see with each tool. That will then allow you to decide which crash reporting framework makes sense to implement in your own app.
Note: Since many of these crash reporting tools are cross-platform, the comments are often applicable to Android too. With Apple's recent upgrade of their own crash reporting tool, we wanted to first focus on iOS.
The feature we like most about Crashlytics is how proactive it is. Unlike other tools, it takes into account how often a crash occurs and assigns it an “impact level." It will then alert you when a specific crash is more critical than another. As a particular crash is reported more and more, Crashlytics tracks that information and says "Hey, you haven’t resolved this issue yet and it’s starting to become something you need to focus on." It’s literally calling out the crashes that should be dealt with next
Most of our team agrees that Instabug provides the most useful information for troubleshooting a crash. That’s not to say that its crash logs are the best (see HockeyApp below). Instead, Instabug has more metadata that helps support debugging, including the specific steps users have taken in the app. Separately, by shaking the device, Instabug takes a screenshot that can be annotated by a user. That screenshot gets submitted along with other diagnostic information, all of which is automatically attached to the feedback
HockeyApp is the winner when it comes to the depth and accuracy of crash logs. It does require more setup compared to other alternatives though. It also requires a manual process for uploading crash symbols. We agree overall with their assessment of the quality of their own and other crash logs
(Free with Core or Push package, parse.com)
Parse is a mid-level crash reporting tool. It doesn’t provide the most detailed console logs or the best alerts. The exciting thing about what we’ve seen with Parse though, is its newness and room for growth. Released in December 2014, we expect Parse to expand rapidly and add new features. It’s worth keeping an eye on, especially if they roll out crash reporting as a separate feature.
Xcode 6.3 #
We’re still experimenting with Apple’s new crash reporting tool as it was released with Xcode 6.3 only a month ago. From what we’ve seen, this tool has the potential to be really good. Its strengths come from its built-in integration and bundled symbolication features. The problem with relying on Apple is that users need to opt in to data sharing with Apple itself. As a result, there will be a much smaller sampling of all crashes happening in your app
Concluding Note #
Take a look at our crash reporting infographic for more analysis. The sheer number of options compared to a couple of years ago is a welcome addition for iOS developers. We look forward to seeing these options continue to evolve and will revisit our analysis as there are significant changes.
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