Published: 07 Jun 2022
A Detailed Mobile Application Testing Guide
Last Updated: 14 Aug 2023
Today, mobile apps have become an essential part of human lives. People across the world use mobile apps to perform various tasks, including banking transactions, fitness updates, insurance claims, etc., on the go. These mobile apps have also enabled businesses to connect with customers, increase sales, and build customer loyalty easily and rapidly. According to Statista, In 2025, consumers are projected to download 187 billion mobile apps from the Google Play Store, up from 109 billion apps downloaded from Google Play in 2020. Therefore, today the importance of high-quality mobile apps is growing in the market. Thus, it has become essential for businesses to ensure their mobile apps in all (app) categories should deliver seamless transactions and enable a great user experience (UX).
1. An overview of mobile application testing
2. Why is mobile application testing essential for businesses?
3. What are the features to be included in a mobile application testing checklist?
4. What are the steps involved in mobile application testing?
5. What are the differences between real device testing and virtual device testing?
6. Overview of simulators and emulators for mobile application testing
7. Benefits of leveraging simulators and emulators for mobile application testing
8. 7 Mobile application testing types
9. What are the challenges faced by testers during mobile application testing
10. Benefits of leveraging AI and RPA-based mobile app testing
11. Major mobile application testing tools 2023
Mobile app categories
Native mobile apps: These apps are designed specifically for one platform, i.e., iOS, Android, or Windows. Native apps are easy-to-use and easy to optimize.
Web apps: These apps run on web browsers of mobile devices. They can be directly used on PC browsers and do not require a separate download. Web apps can work on different mobile operating systems, such as Android, iOS, or Windows.
Hybrid mobile apps: These apps are both native and mobile web apps. Hybrid apps can be installed on devices like native apps, but they run through web browsers.
With the ever-increasing need for these mobile apps across industries, businesses should ensure that they are end-to-end tested, leveraging mobile app testing.
An overview of mobile application testing
Mobile application testing is a software testing process wherein applications designed for hand-held devices are tested for functionality, security, usability, accessibility, etc. Typically, even before the mobile app is released into the app store or play store, these apps are tested to meet all functional and non-functional requirements, business requirements, and user expectations. The main aim of mobile app testing is to improve the quality of mobile apps and deliver a great UX.
Why is mobile application testing essential for businesses?
Helps in achieving fully-functional apps:
The main aim of mobile app testing is to ensure that the app’s functionality work fine as expected. This testing method helps to improve the overall functionality of the app.
Uplifts brand image:
Mobile app testing helps deliver high-quality apps to customers. A high-quality mobile app keeps the customer engaged and increases their trust in the brand, which in turn uplifts its brand image in the market.
Improves the app UI:
During mobile app testing, testers test the product from the end-users perspective and assess the overall app experience it delivers to the user. Testers validate the user interface (UI) compatibility with various devices of varying screen sizes and ensure it is convenient and easy to use. Thus, mobile app testing helps to improve the UI of an app.
Increases user satisfaction:
Mobile app testing ensures the app meets all functional and non-functional requirements. This helps businesses deliver high-quality mobile apps to the user, which increases customer satisfaction.
Improves the overall quality of an app:
Mobile app testing helps improve the overall quality of the app by removing bugs from the apps that hamper its functionality, usability, security, and more. Hence, businesses can deliver high-quality apps to their customers by leveraging mobile app testing.
What are the features to be included in a mobile application testing checklist?
• Compatibility of an app across platforms, OS, and browsers
• Check for the compatibility of in-app features
• Graphical User Interface (GUI)
• Network compatibility
• App navigation
• Security vulnerabilities
• App performance
• App installation/uninstallation
• Memory usage
• Battery consumption
What are the steps involved in mobile application testing?
Identify the testing needs:
The first step is to identify the testing needs. Testers need to decide what is to be tested in an app and decide the scope and the test coverage.
Decide the type of testing to be performed:
Once all the testing needs are identified, testers need to identify the type of tests to be performed on the mobile apps. Various types of tests are performed on new mobile apps, including functional testing, regression testing, performance, and load testing, interruption testing, localization testing, speed testing, usability testing, security testing, accessibility testing, etc.
Create test cases and test scripts:
The next step involves creating test cases and automated test scripts. Testers should ensure that the test cases should cover all the critical areas and functionalities of an app.
Plan to automate/manually execute:
Based on the testing needs, testers need to decide whether to automate or manually execute the test. Testers need to leverage automated mobile testing tools as per testing requirements to perform mobile automation testing to quicken the releases and ensure faster time-to-market.
Track and manage the defects:
Once the testers execute all the test cases, they need to identify the issues in an app and fix them as soon as they are identified.
Lastly, testers must prepare a test execution report detailing all the pass/failed test cases, bugs identified, bugs resolved, and other remarks. The report must be shared with all stakeholders to help them make informed decisions.
However, in today’s fast-paced world, for an app to be successful in the market, it should work seamlessly on all hand-held devices available in the market. But, testing mobile apps on all possible devices is difficult for testers. Therefore, testers need to leverage a combination of real devices and virtual devices (Simulator and Emulators) for mobile app testing.
What are the differences between real device testing and virtual device testing?
|Point of Difference
||Real testing devices
||Virtual testing devices
||Testing on real devices ensures accurate test results as tests are conducted under real-environment
||Virtual devices testing results are comparatively less accurate than testing on real devices
||Debugging on real devices is comparatively difficult
||Debugging on virtual devices is relatively easy
|Validation of battery issues, incoming interrupts, color displays
||Real devices can easily simulate battery issues, incoming interrupts, exact color displays, etc.
||Virtual devices cannot simulate battery issues, incoming interrupts, color displays, etc.
|Simulation of memory-related issues
||Memory storage level for real devices is less as compared to virtual devices
||Memory storage level for virtual devices is more as compared to real devices
||More cost is involved in the purchase of real devices
||Virtual devices cost less as they can be installed for free
Overview of simulators and emulators for mobile application testing
||Simulators are virtual testing software that mimics mobile device software characteristics and configurations. They are made for iOS devices, i.e., iPhone and iPad
||Emulators are software programs that create virtual devices on a computer. They are used to mimic the target device hardware and software on the workstation. There are two types of emulators, namely, android emulators and iOS emulators.
Benefits of leveraging simulators and emulators for mobile application testing
Allows easy download from the internet:
Simulator/emulators can be easily downloaded from the internet. This easy availability of simulators/emulators makes mobile app testing easy and convenient.
Virtualizes various devices:
Simulators/emulators allow virtualizing various devices for mobile app testing. Due to this, testers can ensure the app testing on all possible combinations and device form factors without any need for actually buying the real devices.
Simulators/Emulators allow mobile app testing at less price as compared to real devices. Since these virtual devices need no special labs for storage and maintenance, it reduces high costs compared to real device testing.
Ensures effective testing in time-bound situations:
Emulators and simulators can be used for testing in some time-bound situations where the apps are to be launched quickly. They cal also be used in situations where real devices cannot be bought, as these virtual devices mimic almost all possible combinations of real devices.
7 Mobile application testing types
It is performed to verify the functionality of an application to ensure it works fine as per expectations. The various functional testing methods, including unit testing, integration testing, system testing, acceptance testing, alpha testing, and beta testing, are all performed to ensure a fully functional mobile app.
A group of users are selected and given a specific task to perform on the mobile app in this testing method even before the app is released into the market. The actions performed by these users are observed and recorded by the specialists, such as QA teams, test engineers, etc. Their feedback is collected, and proper actions are taken to improve the usability of an app.
An app should ideally work fine across all different types of devices, platforms, networks, OS, and browsers. Thus, it is important to test the app's compatibility to deliver consistent performance across all platforms.
This test is performed to check the speed, responsiveness, reliability, and stability of an app under fluctuating networks, bandwidths, and user loads. The main aim of this test is to eliminate performance bottlenecks from an app. There are various types of performance testing methods, such as load testing, spike testing, endurance testing, volume testing, etc.
The main aim of this test is to ensure that the applications are free from all vulnerabilities and security loopholes. The different types of security tests that are conducted are vulnerability tests, penetration tests, security scanning, security auditing, etc.
Localization and globalization testing:
This testing method verifies whether the mobile app has compliance with the language and cultural aspects at the local and international levels. This test ensures that proper time zone, i.e., date & time formats, are included in the app, local currency, text, and user interface are used, and L10N and L18N standards are followed.
It is a software testing type that covers the entire range of mobile app testing, which includes functionality testing, security testing, performance testing, and more. It ensures end-to-end testing of mobile apps, i.e., functional, non-functional, compliance testing, etc.
What are the challenges faced by testers during mobile application testing?
Testing different screen sizes:
The screen sizes of mobile devices vary greatly, such as an iPhone differs from android and other smartphones. Testers have to check different layouts and elements against different pixel densities, which is time-consuming.
Varying battery consumption:
Mobile apps tend to consume battery life quickly. Users often use multiple apps at a time on their mobile phones. Hence, the apps that are left open in the background drain the battery power. Testing the battery consumption for various devices under varying conditions forms another challenge for testers.
OS fragmentation is another challenge as testers need to ensure that the app not only works on all OS like android, iOS, and windows but also across various versions of OS, like iOS 5X, iOS6X, etc.
Today’s customers need fast and high-performing mobile networks; however, testing mobile apps for different networks is quite challenging.
Changing customer requirements:
Frequently changing customer requirements is another challenge that testers face with mobile app testing.
Benefits of leveraging AI and RPA-based mobile app testing
With the rapidly enhancing technology landscape, mobile apps are getting advanced too. Therefore, it has become essential to test mobile apps leveraging advanced technologies like AI, ML, and RPA to ensure faster testing outcomes to help businesses go early to market. The usage of these advanced next-gen technologies brings many benefits:
Increases speed of automation testing:
As the app progresses, functional and regression test suites tend to become lengthy. Also, testers need to run all test cases all over again to fix a minor issue in the app. But, by leveraging technologies like AI and RPA, testers can identify the minimum number of test suites that need to be run and help identify and fix the issues in an app quickly and effectively.
Ensures easy bug identification:
AI and RPA bots can quickly check the overall app health much faster and send the overall report back to the testers. This report helps the testers be assured that the bot has visited and tested the most common paths of an application to see if there are any issues in-app. Thus, AI and RPA bots help identify the most error-prone areas in an app that can be fixed further with automated mobile testing.
Enhances the overall test coverage:
AI, ML, and RPA technologies increase the overall depth and scope of testing. These technologies can even check the data tables, memory and file contents, inner programs, and other critical areas of an app to ensure it works as expected. Thus, it enhances the overall test coverage of a mobile app.
Ensures accurate testing:
In comparison to the manual testing method, RPA bots can improve the accuracy of the test. Since RPA bots are much more accurate than humans, these bots can effectively test mobile apps without any error.
Enables scriptless test automation:
RPA bots do not require humans with great coding or scripting skills to run the test. Thus, any subject matter expert or QA with hands-on experience with RPA tools can execute scriptless mobile app testing effectively.
Saves significant costs:
Mobile apps are to be tested repetitively each time the source code is modified. Manually testing of app repetitively is not only time-consuming but costly too. But, with the help of AI and RPA, regression tests can be automated, saving overall time and costs.
Major mobile application testing tools 2023
It is a continuous testing platform used to design automated, functional, end-to-end software tests. This testing tool allows codeless testing for any mobile app with the help of a simple drag/drop functionality. Tricentis Tosca allows testing of native, hybrid, and web applications on iOS and Android devices, including mobile cross-browser testing. It allows scaling mobile testing efforts by enabling testers to run tests in the local environment or execute tests in the cloud on any device, simulator, or emulator.
It is an open-source automated testing tool for testing mobile applications. This tool supports the automation of native, hybrid, and mobile web applications built for iOS and Android. This tool makes use of vendor-provided automation frameworks and is based on server architecture. Appium released its latest version in January 2020 – Appium 1.16.0, which allows beta support for flutter, iOS simulator geolocation setting for testing, and Safari weblogs capabilities.
It is an all-in-one automation testing tool, and it powers on a selenium web driver with capabilities like UI object recognition, intuitive interface, and full IDE. This tool also has a record and playback feature which helps in easy automation. Ranorex allows cross-platform testing and is used for end-to-end testing on web, desktop, mobile, and APIs.
The global mobile app market is rapidly growing and evolving with technology. Today, every business needs high-quality mobile apps to deliver a great UX. These mobile apps should be tested for their functionality, security, usability, accessibility, performance, etc. Therefore, businesses should leverage end-to-end mobile app testing from a next-gen QA and an independent software testing services provider to achieve high-quality mobile apps.