Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Application Testing

Introduction to Mobile Application Testing:

Gone are the days when the telephone used to be an appliance that sat in a corner and had to ring to get our attention or a computer was a machine only a few people used – they are now an extension of our being- a window to the world and virtual servants that do as they are told. Computers were a rage and changed how we humans thought, behaved, learnt and existed.

Mobile technology and smart devices are the trend now and will change the future of the world as we know it. We all can vouch for it, can’t we? Now, it will be amateurish if I list what we use these mobile devices for. You all know it – Maybe better than we do. J

Let’s get straight to what this tutorial is going to be about.

This tutorial will be both an introduction and your guide to Mobile Testing. So, read through!

What You Will Learn:

Types of Mobile Testing

There are broadly 2 kinds of testing that take place on mobile devices:

#1. Hardware testing:

The device including the internal processors, internal hardware, screen sizes, resolution, space or memory, camera, radio, Bluetooth, WIFI etc. This is sometimes referred to as, simple “Mobile Testing”.

#2. Software or Application testing:

The applications that work on mobile devices and their functionality are tested. It is called the “Mobile Application Testing” to differentiate it from the earlier method. Even in the mobile applications, there are few basic differences that are important to understanding:

a) Native apps: A native application is created for use on a platform like mobile and tablets.

b) Mobile web apps are server-side apps to access website/s on mobile using different browsers like Chrome, Firefox by connecting to a mobile network or wireless network like WIFI.

c) Hybrid apps are combinations of native app and web app. They run on devices or offline and are written using web technologies like HTML5 and CSS.

There are few basic differences that set these apart:

The rest of the article is going to be about Mobile Application Testing.

Significance of Mobile Application Testing

Testing applications on mobile devices is more challenging than testing web apps on desktop due to

As with any application, Mobile application testing is also very important, as the clientele is usually in millions for a certain product – and a product with bugs is never appreciated. It often results in monetary losses, legal issue and irreparable brand image damage.

Basic Difference Between Mobile and Desktop Application Testing:

Few obvious aspects that set mobile app testing apart from the desktop testing

Types of Mobile App Testing:

To address all the above technical aspects, the following types of testing are performed on Mobile applications.

Mobile Application Testing Strategy

The Test strategy should make sure that all the quality and performance guidelines are met. A few pointers in this area:

1) Selection of the devices Analyze the market and choose the devices that are widely used. (This decision mostly relies on the clients. The client or the app builders consider the popularity factor of certain devices as well as the marketing needs for the application to decide what handsets to use for testing.)

2) Emulators – The use of these is extremely useful in the initial stages of development, as they allow quick and efficient checking of the app. The emulator is a system that runs software from one environment to another environment without changing the software itself. It duplicates the features and works on the real system.

Types of Mobile Emulators

List of few free and easy to use mobile device emulators

i. Mobile Phone Emulator – Used to test handsets like iPhone, Blackberry, HTC, Samsung etc.

ii. MobiReady – With this, not only can we test the web app, we can also check the code.

iii. Responsivepx – It checks the responses of the web pages, appearances and functionality of the websites.

iv. Screenfly – It is a customizable tool and used to test websites under different categories.

3) After a satisfactory level of development is complete for the mobile app, you could move to test on the physical devices for more real-life scenarios based testing.

4) Consider cloud computing based testing: Cloud computing is basically running devices on multiple systems or networks via the Internet where applications can be tested, updated and managed. For testing purposes, it creates the web-based mobile environment on a simulator to access the mobile app.



5) Automation vs. Manual testing

Two kinds of automation tools are available to test mobile apps:

Object-based mobile testing tools– automation by mapping elements on the device screen into objects. This approach is independent of screen size and mainly used for Android devices.

Image-based mobile testing tools– create automation scripts based on screen coordinates of elements.

6) Network configuration is also the necessary part of mobile testing. It’s important to validate the application on different networks like 2G, 3G, 4G or WIFI.

Test Cases for Testing a Mobile App

In addition to functionality based test cases, Mobile application testing requires special test cases which should cover following scenarios.

Download Some Sample Test Cases for Testing Mobile Applications:

=> Download Mobile app sample test cases

Typical activities and proceedings in Testing Mobile Application

The scope of the testing depends on a number of requirements to be checked or the extent of changes made to the app. If the changes are few, a round of sanity testing will do. In case of major and/or complex changes, a full regression is recommended.

An example application testing project: ILL (International Learn Lab) is an application designed to help admin, publisher to create websites in collaboration. Using a web browser, instructors choose from a set of features to create a class that meets their requirements.

Mobile Testing process:

Step #1. Identify the types of testing: As an ILL application is applicable for browsers, so it’s mandatory to test this application on all supported browsers using different mobile devices. We need to do usability, functional and compatibility testing on different browsers with the combinations of manual and automation test cases.

Step #2. Manual and Automated testing: The methodology followed for this project is Agile with the iteration of two weeks. Every two weeks dev. team releases a new build to testing team and testing team will run their test cases on QA environment. Automation team creates scripts for the set of basic functionality and runs the scripts that help determine if the new build is stable enough to test. The Manual testing team will test the new functionality.

JIRA is used for writing of acceptance criteria; maintaining of test cases and logging /re-verification of defects. Once the iteration gets over, iteration planning meeting held where dev. The team, product owner, business analyst, and QA team discuss what went well and what needs to improve.

Step #3. Beta Testing: Once the regression testing is completed by the QA team, the build moves into UAT. User Acceptance Testing is done by the client. They re-verify all the bugs to make sure every bug was fixed and the application is working as expected on every approved browser.

Step #4. Performance test: Performance testing team tests the performance of the web app using JMeter scripts and with different the loads on the application.

Step #5. Browser testing: The web app gets tested across multiple browsers- both using different simulation tools as well as physically using real mobile devices.

Step #6. Launch plan: After every 4th week, the testing moves into staging, where a final round of end to end testing on these devices is performed to make sure the product is ready for production. And then, it goes Live!


Designing the right test strategy, choosing the right mobile simulators, devices and mobile testing tools can make sure that we have 100% test coverage and help us include security, usability, performance, functionality and compatibility based tests into our test suites.

Well, this has been our effort to fulfil multiple requests from our readers on a mobile application testing guide.

About AuthorThis is a guest post by Nancy Ratnakar. She is a Senior QA Engineer, in an MNC with more than 5 years of experience in QA and mobile testing. With extensive experience in STLC, she is an expert handling projects from initial requirement stage to the final release.

Please let us know how we did in the comments.  Also, share your experiences if you are working or have worked on this kind of mobile testing. Your questions and suggestions are most welcome!