Mobile App Testing: QA’s Guide to Types, Challenges, and Best Practices

Mobile apps have become the default option for businesses across the globe, so testing them rigorously before the final launch becomes paramount, which is a complicated task. This blog provides you with the nitty-gritty of mobile app testing by covering types, challenges, best practices, and processes.

What is mobile application testing?

Mobile application testing refers to the process of how mobile app testers examine functionalities, usability, stability, performance, security, etc. With testing, app developers can know bugs and errors, and before the final launch, they can work on them to make the app robust. You can either conduct testing manually or take the assistance of any mobile app testing automation tools or software.

Types of mobile app testing

1. Usability testing

It checks the user-friendliness of your mobile app in terms of intuitiveness, navigation, and usage. Identifying customer experience-related bugs is a mobile app usability testing example that helps you provide a satisfactory experience to the end-users.

2. Compatibility testing

It’s a non-functional mobile application testing that verifies whether your application can run smoothly under various operating systems, browsers, mobile devices, screen resolution, network environments, and hardware specifications.

3. Performance testing

Conducting native app testing or hybrid mobile app testing to ensure the application performs at peak level under various circumstances such as different loads, mobile connectivity (3G, 4G, WiFi), document sharing, and battery consumption, etc.

4. Interface testing

It involves all the aspects related to the user interface of an application, such as menu options, buttons, bookmarks, history, settings, and navigation flow. You can also test connectivity between two operating systems with the help of interface testing.

5. Operational testing

It involves checking the operational readiness of a product, service, or system before it goes into production. Checking backups, assessing the recovery time in case of data loss, and verifying disaster recovery mechanism comes under operational testing.

6. Service testing

It helps you know whether your services work correctly online and offline. So, it should be a part of your checklist for mobile app testing. It’s also one of the mobile app testing techniques that checks an API’s functionality, reliability, performance, and security.

7. Security testing

One of the mobile app testing methods checks whether your application’s data is secure under various device permissions. Mobile app vulnerability testing is also a part of security testing as it uncovers vulnerabilities, threats, and risks associated with a mobile app.

8. Functional testing

Mobile app functional testing verifies whether all the mobile application functionalities get executed as needed. The principal purpose of functional testing is to validate the mobile application against the initial functionalities or requirements laid out.

9. Installation testing

It verifies whether the application gets installed or uninstalled properly. It also helps you to know whether the app updates get applied correctly or not. Mobile app testing companies can also verify whether the app installed has the features enlisted in the document.

10. Storage testing

It checks whether the application performs storage-related functionalities well, which involves storing and retrieving data from the storage, adding, updating, or deleting data on the hard disk, etc. It also checks the application’s behavior in case of low or no storage.

These were some widespread mobile testing that apps need. While performing any of these tests, you’re likely to encounter challenges. Let us explore them in our upcoming section.

Mobile app testing challenges

1. Device fragmentation

Users will use your application on various devices with different screen sizes, carrier settings, OS, and forms. Therefore, implementing a mobile app test strategy without solving the device fragmentation would be a significant obstacle.

Here are some solutions that you can implement to overcome this issue:

  • Conducting mobile app testing on emulator and simulator
  • Buy a limited number of devices and test your app on them rigorously for a limited budget
  • If you have got an extensive budget, create an in-house lab that includes a range of devices

2. Third-party integrations

Most mobile app testers integrate third-party extensions without verifying their impact on the current app environment. Instead, you should always test the working of third-party integrations because they’re not part of the source code you have written. They also bring a different set of dependencies you need to manage and check whether it works with your current ecosystem.

3. Browser fragmentation

Testing your application on various browsers is critical. You should test your mobile application on major mobile browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. Sometimes, your mobile app can be a progressive web app that operates through browsers.

4. OS fragmentation

Different mobile phones have different operating systems installed. So, if you haven’t tested your app on them, it could bite you at the time of production and release. In addition, Android and iOS are major mobile platforms, which have 13 and 16 versions, respectively. Thus, covering all the mobile app testing strategy bases could prove challenging.

5. App security

During the initial phase of an app release, the QA team should conduct in-depth security testing of the application as security threats have become more dangerous. The nature of your app, OS features, phone features, etc., plays a vital role in forming an app security test plan.

Here are some ways to mitigate challenges caused during app security testing:

  • Conducting threat analysis and modeling
  • Perform vulnerability analysis
  • Check out the topmost security threats at that point of time
  • Watch out for security threats from hackers
  • Watch out for security threats from rooted and jailbroken phones

6. Battery life

The usage of batteries has also increased significantly. So, optimising the battery consumption for highly demanding apps is the major obstacle for QA teams. Most applications today are highly complex and consume a significant portion of the battery life. Therefore, testing battery life consumption for various application scenarios is the only way to deal with it. If the app consumes too much power, users are more likely to uninstall your application.

7. Usability

The mobile app test plan often involves testing functionality but neglects usability or exploratory testing. You can provide hundreds of functionalities in your app, but if the user interface and user experience are poor, customers won’t like it. Striking a balance between functionality and usability is challenging for developers and testers.

CrayPay is a mobile app aiming to ease payment processing in retail stores. As the application was related to online shopping, you expect a lot of visitors. The challenge for us was to retain a significant portion of users. Our engineering team configured Firebase A/B testing to know the user behavior. Based on this usability testing, we tweaked the app’s user interface, which helped CrayPay increase user engagement and retention ratio.

8. Changing user requirements

The users’ needs keep changing with time, and developers must develop new features. But unfortunately, these new features would also bring new bugs or errors. So, the challenge for the QA team is to have first-hand knowledge of each update and carry out a holistic mobile app regression testing.

These were some of the significant challenges involved with mobile app testing. However, with challenges comes solutions, and in the next phase of this blog, we will explore some of the best practices for mobile app testing that will help you overcome the challenges.