Mobile App Testing

What Is Mobile App Testing?

Android & iOS are the most popular mobile OS. There are millions of applications build for these platforms that need to be tested. a little over 200 billion apps were downloaded worldwide in 2019.

How can we ensure that each element, page, and feature of your mobile app is working as per the requirement here's where mobile app testing steps in.

In such high competency ratio, you have to be sure that apart from offering something innovative and interesting to your customers your application should also be free from any glitches. Hence, mobile app testing becomes very important.

What are Mobile application testing essentials?

Mobile application testing is very different from software testing and web testing.

There are a few specifics that you should consider before performing mobile application testing:

  • Screen resolution
  • GPS
  • Screen orientation (landscape, portrait)
  • Different devices’ manufacturers
  • OS
  • Type of mobile application

Types of Mobile Application

The type of mobile app you are testing plays a very important role in defining the testing process. They are largely categorized into three different types:

  • Mobile web applications: These are the web pages that you open through the mobile browser.
  • Native Apps: These are the applications that are developed for one particular platform. (iOS, Android).
  • Hybrid: It is an combination of mobile web app and Native App.

Strategize your mobile application testing efforts

Strategizing your testing efforts can help carrying out testing in a streamlined manner thus increasing its efficiency and effectiveness.

Selection of the device

Testing on a real device is always the best decision for your mobile app testing. It gives the highest accuracy. But, with markets flooded with hundreds of various brands and various models of mobiles, selecting the most appropriate one for your testing is a challenging task.

Below are some pointers that can help you with the selection of the devices:

  • Research for the most widely used mobile in the market.
  • Look out for the mobile with different screen resolutions.
  • Select the mobile with a different OS.
  • features like compatibility, memory size, connectivity, etc. and pay good attention to them.

Testing on Emulators vs Simulators vs Real Devices:

Web Testing and App Testing has always been an important part of the overall development process. Testing involves finding and solving bugs – be it identifying glitches in navigation, issues with signup forms, breaks in payment processing or just a simple difference in font size. However, testing can ensure that every change does not break the user experience across different devices.

A key part of having a robust testing process is the devices on which the test is being run. A thorough testing procedure can also generate a variance in its results when performed on different devices. Thus, the significance of the testing device is paramount. The significance is even greater for testing on mobile devices, given the variety of devices, with different operating systems, browsers and hardware configuration.

Types of Mobile Testing Device Solutions

As the technology has evolved with time, testing too saw its share of advancements in the form of various mobile testing device solutions that emerged. These mobile testing solutions were built in order to support cross browser testing of websites and mobile app testing on different mobile phones by analyzing the application’s behavior, function and UI aspects.

The main reason for this kind of testing is to ensure consistent behavior of the website and app on different mobile devices. Since these devices differ by hardware configuration, operating system and screen resolution, what might work in a certain way on one of the devices could vary for the other.

There are mainly two types of devices on which mobile testing is conducted:

  • Real Devices
  • Virtual Devices

What is a Real Device?

Real testing devices are the various models of mobile handsets that are used to run the website or app in order to test its functioning and behavioral patterns. These are actual handsets that the end user would use. Testing teams buy a couple of mobile handsets each with iOS, Blackberry, Android phones, tablets and iPads to test their software applications.

Evolution of Testing Devices: From Real to Virtual Testing Devices

Although the results generated by testing on real devices are highly accurate, the cost of testing is on a higher side, as the company has to buy multiple devices and has to update them from time to time as new devices hit the market.

This expense of testing on real devices was a big challenge that companies have overcome by introducing virtual testing devices such as Simulators and Emulators. Thus, virtual testing devices came into regular use while conducting cross browser compatibility testing for the software.

What is a Virtual Testing Device?

A Virtual Testing Device is a software program on the computer, that provides simulation for most of the important features of an actual smartphone device. It mimics the nature of the smartphone, which helps the testers to run the software application on it to get an idea about how it would run on the designated real device.

Although virtual testing devices happen to mimic the devices and are cost-efficient, it cannot replace real devices due to accuracy and reliability factors.

There are two types of virtual testing devices:

  • Emulators
  • Simulators

What are Emulators?

An emulator is a software that mimics the hardware and software of the target device on your computer. They do this by translating the ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) of the target device to the one used by the computer you are using to conduct testing using binary translation.

ISA is the set of instructions that are written in Machine Language by each of the processor families, which they use to build their own device configuration depicting the functionality and behavior of the device.

By translating the ISA of the target mobile device into your computer, you can mimic the way your target device works, forming a virtual environment for testing.

Android emulator, Galaxy emulator and iPhone emulator are some of the widely used emulators for software testing.

What are Simulators?

A simulator is a software that helps your computer run certain programs built for a different Operating System. They are mostly meant for iPhone and iPad devices, unlike Android devices that can be emulated easily.

The iOS simulators mimic iOS and run the required application inside it, by sitting on top of the computer’s Operating System.

Simulators unlike emulators, do not mimic hardware. Thus one cannot investigate certain functionalities like battery usage, cellular interrupts, etc. while using simulators for testing.

Stages of Mobile application testing

  1. Documentation Testing:

The beginning of mobile testing takes place from Documentation testing -preparatory stage. Even before the development of the app starts the testers are handed over screen layouts, navigational charts, and other requirements that are obscure on the design.

In this phase, you need to analyze the requirements for wholeness and discrepancy. All the discrepancies found in this stage are required to be resolved before the development begins

Documentation phase marks the creations and analysis of requirements, Specification, Test Cases, Test Plan.

2.   Functional testing

It helps you test whether your mobile application works as expected and in accordance to the requirement specifications. While you are performing functional testing for your app keeps the following factors in mind.

It helps you test whether your mobile application works as expected and in accordance to the requirement specifications. While you are performing functional testing for your app keeps the following factors in mind:

  • Business functionality of your app like banking, social networks, ordering and delivery of food, education, tickets, the game industry, etc.
  • Target audience like companies, students, entrepreneurs, etc.
  • Distribution channels like Google Play, direct delivery, App Store, etc.

The basic validations that you need to test in functional testing are:

  • Installing and running the application
  • Fields testing
  • Business functionalities testing
  • Interruptions testing
  • Constant users feedback testing
  • Update testing
  • Device resources testing

3.    Usability Testing

Usability testing ensures that your application offers convenient browsing to your customers and match the industry standards. It promises fast and easy-to-use applications. Usability of your application is judged based on these basic three criteria:

  • Satisfaction
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness

4.    UI (User Interface) testing

User Interface (UI) testing ensures that your application’s GUI meets all the required specifications.

5.    Compatibility (Configuration) testing

Compatibility (Configuration) testing validates the optimal performance of your application on different devices based on their size, screen resolution, version, hardware, etc. Compatibility testing also takes care of

  • OS Configuration
  • Browser Configuration
  • Database Configuration
  • Device Configuration
  • Network Configuration

Compatibility testing can be further divided into:

Cross-platform testing: Testing your mobile application compatibility with different operating systems: Windows, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, etc.

Cross-browser testing: Testing your mobile application compatibility in different browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera Mini, etc.

Database testing:  Testing your mobile application compatibility in different database configurations: DB2, Oracle, MSSQL Server, MySql, Sybase.

Device Configuration testing:  Testing your mobile application compatibility on different devices based on

  • Device type: smartphone, tablet, etc.
  • Device configuration: processor type, RAM, battery capacity, screen resolution, etc.

Network configuration testing:   Testing your mobile application compatibility in different network configurations and standards e.g 3G, 4G.

6.    Performance testing

Performance testing helps you test your application reaction and constancy under the specific workload.

Performance testing attributes:

  • Load Testing: It is done to check the application’s behavior under normal and extreme loads.
  • Stress Testing: It is done to test the application’s ability to sustain stress. It ensures that your application is capable to bear undue stress.
  • Stability Testing: It tests if your application can work well for a longer period within normal loads.
  • Volume Testing: It is conducted to test your application’s performance when subjected to a huge volume of data.
  • Concurrency testing: It tests the performance of your application when multiple users are logged in.

7.     Security testing

Security testing validates the security features of your application. It also analyzes the risks of application hackers, protection, viruses, and unauthorized access to extremely sensitive data.

8.   Recovery testing

Recovery testing tests the ability of your application to withstand and successfully recover from possible and potential failures caused by software issues, hardware failures, or communication problems.

10.     Change related testing

when complete testing is done, you might find some bugs, resulting in a certain piece of code to change to eliminate those bugs. After these code changes you again need to carry out a round of testing. This basically includes:

  • Re-testing or Confirmation testing: to test that all the detected defects are successfully fixed.
  • Regression testing: sometimes code changes can even disturb the working of existing and properly working functions. Regression testing is done to ensure that the new changes did not lead to the appearance of new bugs.

Challenges of mobile application testing:

  • Testing approach based on device
  • Availability of multiple mobile user interfaces
  • Greater security issues.
  • Time constraint to market app
  • Constantly changing environment and usage pattern of mobile phones
  • Testing of touch screens is more complicated.
  • User Experience & Issues with App Performance

Tips to test mobile application

  • Be very familiar with your mobile app. Learn it in and out
  • Keep in mind that you are testing a mobile app and not desktop software
  • Take into account the hardware specifications and operating system of the device you are testing on
  • Use real devices whenever possible for better testing results.
  • Use the mobile application testing tools that you are familiar with and not pick any because of its popularity.
  • Try using cloud mobile testing.
  • Try using development menu options to the maximum.
  • Emulators and simulators can be your protectors, use them whenever required.
  • Remember performance testing is important.
  • Don’t run after automation have a balance between automation and manual testing
  • Beta testing is always an added advantage.
  • Plan out your time for various testing activities.

Popular Mobile app testing tools:

For functionality testing:  Appium, Selendroid, Robotium, Ranorex.

For usability testing: Reflector, User Zoom, Loop.

For mobile application interface testing: iMacros, FitNesse, Jubula, Coded UI, LoadUI.

For compatibility testing:  CrossBrowserTesting, BrowserStack, Browsera, Litmus, Rational ClearCase, Ghostlab.

For performance testing: Apteligent, NeoLoad, New Relic.

For Security Testing: OWASP Zed Attack Proxy, Retina CS Community, Google Nogotofail, Veracode.