The ultimate guide to Mobile App Testing

Mobile applications have become an integral part of our lives. In this competitive environment with evolving user expectations, a buggy app can decimate the brand through negative user reviews, decreased user engagement, and, ultimately, loss of revenue.

So, whether you’re a startup or a large-scale enterprise, if you’re releasing apps of any kind, let’s be clear. You need mobile app testing. Investing in comprehensive mobile app testing strategies will mitigate risk, enhance user satisfaction, and differentiate your app from competitors.

Let’s dive into mobile app testing. We’ll look at why testing is so crucial and share insider tips ranging from staffing a mobile app testing team to creating efficient test cases to ensure your app reaches its full potential.

Table of Contents

What is Mobile App Testing?

Today, mobile app testing encompasses a vast array of coverage areas, including functional testing, usability testing, performance testing, security testing, compatibility testing, and more. It aims to deliver users a seamless and optimized experience while maintaining the app’s stability, security, and performance.

Types of Mobile App Testing

  • Functional testing verifies the app’s features and functionalities, ensuring they work as intended.
  • Usability testing focuses on the user experience, assessing how intuitive and user-friendly the app is.
  • Performance testing evaluates the app’s responsiveness, speed, and resource usage under different conditions.
  • Security testing aims to identify vulnerabilities and protect user data from potential threats.
  • Compatibility testing ensures the app works seamlessly across devices, operating systems, and screen sizes.
  • Localization testing verifies app adaptation to different languages and regions.
  • Regression testing checks for any new bugs introduced during updates.

Manual Mobile App Testing

Manual mobile app testing involves human testers executing test cases while assessing functionality, usability, and user experience. Manual testing benefits include flexibility, experience, real-time issue identification, and the opportunity for exploratory testing to uncover unexpected bugs.

Automated Mobile App Testing

In-House Mobile App Testing

Crowdsourced Mobile App Testing

The drawback? It can be challenging to manage large tester communities and ensure quality control, so finding the right partner is crucial. Additionally, there may be limitations in terms of confidentiality and intellectual property protection. Crowdsourced testing is perfect for organizations needing extensive device and platform coverage, quick feedback from a large user base, simulating real-world usage scenarios, or ramping up quickly.

Crowdsourced vs. Outsourced Testing

Crowdsourced Testing

This model involves hiring a distributed team of testers worldwide as needed. Benefits include access to a larger talent pool, lower costs, and access to specialized skills or language requirements. However, crowdsourcing also has some drawbacks, such as less control over quality, difficulty building collaborative team dynamics, and slower turnaround times. Traditionally, crowdsourced testing is used for product launches or when companies need extra capacity quickly, as well as ongoing maintenance and support tasks that require specific expertise or language skills.

Whether you scale QA in-house or through a partner, it’s essential to understand which options best match your app testing needs. Do you hire in-house testers? Do your engineers need to shift left and take ownership of code issues? Do you augment testing with crowdsourced QA? 

Outsourced Testing

Nearshore Software Testing

Nearshore software testing refers to outsourcing testing work to a team in a nearby country. Nearshoring offers some benefits over offshoring to a distant country, including:

  • Cultural and language similarities that can improve communication
  • Minimal time zone differences, allowing for easier collaboration

However, nearshoring can also come with some drawbacks:

  • Higher costs than offshoring to a lower-cost country
  • Less access to a large talent pool, which can make hiring more difficult

Traditionally, nearshore testing teams have been used to gain the cost benefits of outsourcing while mitigating some risks. Nearshoring is a good option for companies that value close collaboration and communication with their testing team.

Offshore Software Testing

Offshore testing has been a leading methodology in software testing for some time. It offers benefits such as:

  • Reduced costs
  • Greater access to skilled resources
  • Faster time-to-market

Hiring an offshore team can also enable around-the-clock testing and faster bug-fixing times. However, offshore testing does present challenges like:

  • Language and communication barriers
  • Cultural differences
  • Time zone conflicts

Choosing a partner with a strong track record in offshore testing is essential to maximize results while minimizing the challenges.

Creating a Mobile App Testing Strategy

  • Define the objectives, scope, and target audience of the app. This helps determine the testing requirements and priorities.
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  • Set up your testing environment, including selecting devices, platforms, and tools. Prepare test environments to simulate real-world conditions accurately.
  • Design test cases and scenarios to cover the app’s functional and non-functional aspects. Prioritizing test cases based on criticality is essential. Collaboration and communication among the testing team and stakeholders are vital throughout this process.
  • Execute tests. Defect tracking and reporting are essential to monitor the progress and quality of the testing. Regular reviews and iterations refine the strategy and improve the testing process.
  • Implement automation. Automation plays a critical role in a holistic software testing strategy. It’s a repeatable, efficient approach — especially for unit, API, and UI tests . Choose which test cases to automate and which to keep manual.

With the right strategy – planned at the start of coding if possible – you stand the best chance of reliably delivering high-quality products.

How many devices do I need to test?

The short answer is “all of them” – if possible. That may not be realistic, but you should come as close as possible to that goal. As you decide which devices to test, follow a few best practices:

  • Consider your target users – There’s no reason to test Android 2.0 users in Argentina if your app won’t be sold to them. Who is using your app, and what devices are they using? Instead of targeting as many use cases as possible, start with the most likely users + profiles.
  • Consider testing types – Manual testing is slower, so you may want to dial back the number of devices you test manually. With an excellent automated strategy, you can utilize programs and virtual device labs.
  • Reassess device lists regularly – The market changes rapidly, and new devices are constantly released. Be sure to stay up to date.
  • Use an expert partner – Your best bet for proper device coverage is to use a trusted partner. For example, Testlio offers testing in over 150 countries with more than 1200 real devices.

Defining Mobile App Testing Test Cases

  1. Cross-platform testing: Define each platform’s objectives, project requirements, and acceptance criteria.
  2. Feature functionality: Focus on functional testing on a single device and expand to various platforms during compatibility testing.
  3. Type of application: Evaluate the pros and cons of native, mobile, web, and hybrid app types and align them with your app development approach.
  4. Front-end testing: Perform graphical user interface (GUI) testing and check for regression, performance, and front-end functionality changes.
  5. Back-end testing: Test your app’s server-side and database functionality and verify data integrity, security, and performance.
  6. Multiple network compatibility: Test installation, functionality, data exchange, and user interface across various devices and platforms.
  7. Storage: Test how your app utilizes and impacts storage.
  8. Performance: Use performance testing to identify speed, responsiveness, and stability issues across devices, locations, and varying network conditions.
  9. Application flow: Evaluate your app’s visual flow and usability and identify design elements that hinder user tasks.

Further Reading

When you’re ready to dive even deeper into mobile app testing, these resources provide a wealth of information, support, and perspectives:

  • Ministry of Testing: A comprehensive platform with articles, tutorials, forums, and events for software testers and QA professionals.
  • TechBeacon: An online publication offering insights, articles, and expert opinions on mobile app testing, development, and quality assurance.
  • uTest: A global community of testers providing crowd-testing services, resources, and a platform for accessing real-world testing on various devices.
  • Ministry of Testing Forum: An active online community where testers can ask questions, share experiences, and seek advice from fellow professionals.
  • Sauce Labs Blog: A blog that covers various topics related to mobile app testing, automation, continuous testing, and best practices.
  • Stack Overflow: An online community where developers and testers can ask questions and find answers for mobile app testing and development.