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Mobile App Testing

A Beginners Guide for Testing Mobile Apps with a Holistic Approach

Real-life testing is essential since emulators simply cannot cover all the issues that may occur during a real user experience.

IOS App Testing
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In the past, mobile phones were mostly intended for making phone calls, they offer fundamental features like digital phone book, access to text messages, etc… With limited memory. After the emergence of smartphones their offerings are phenomenal – they’re considered as miniature version of a computer that can fit in once pocket. It is able to run programs and games, access the internet, send and receive email, travel with map, GPS positioning and much more.

With extensive memory storage capability they have can run multiple applications in parallel, devices now supports mixed reality and interestingly, batteries last for days instead of hours. Hence the advancement of mobile technology continues to grow constantly and have irrevocably changed our lives. Two primary operating systems have evolved within the smartphone market. There are few other smartphones available in the market along with the two giants, they are:






Among the list of operating system’s Android and iOS are the trending OS’s. Google’s Android has been adopted by a number of hardware manufacturers to compete with Apple nevertheless many people around the globe use iPhone for its astonishing features, design and security. We will see more about iOS platform and its testing methodologies in the following paragraphs.

Unlike Android, Apple has very limited device variants like iPhone, iPad, apple watches. iOS is specifically designed for Apple and they follow stringent rules and guidelines to release the app on their app store. The distribution of app has to follow the guidelines they suggested, even the apps distributed for software testing should follow the same. Let’s see more in detail about the best practices to be followed while testing an IOS based application.

iOS APP testing

We deal with so many applications in our day to day life, most of the applications we come across are intended to support multiple platforms to hit the target market.

There are three kinds of applications that we must be aware of, especially the mobile apps.

Web based applicationThese applications are designed in a way that they run on mobile web browsers, for apple, the default web browser is Safari. We might have to do an http or https to see how the application renders a web page.

Native applicationThe native application, is a software application built in a specific programming language, for a specific device platform. A native app is intended for the use of a particular device and its associated OS, it has the ability to use device-specific hardware and software. Native apps can provide optimized performance and take advantage of the latest technology. Native iOS apps are written in Swift or Objective-C.

Hybrid applicationHybrid applications are a combination of native and web apps. The internal functioning of a hybrid application is similar to a web app, but once downloaded it installs like a native app. Hybrid applications are built with HTML and CSS. Developers create a code base, then make small changes to tailor the app to suit each platform. Hybrid apps typically run a web app through a container or WebView, there is no offline mode for a hybrid application — it only works with an internet connection. Native apps, by contrast, can operate offline. Yelp, Facebook, Instagram are examples of Hybrid apps.

Testing Mobile Applications

One should put focused efforts into testing an mobile application. The choice of tools and methods will affect the quality and terms of mobile app deployment and updates fundamentally. It’s essential to ensure timely and cost-efficient testing while taking into account the evolving user needs. And if we talk about the ways to test a mobile application, there are two ways to go: real devices and emulators.

Many teams see actual value in using emulators for both manual and automated testing. They are a great starting point and are less expensive than purchasing real devices. There are many problems in testing apps using emulators as it cannot emulate battery issues, network connectivity and other real-time data: GPS, sensors, gestures, touch force, etc. Mainly Touchscreen issues cannot be emulated. To overcome these, testing on real devices is the ultimate way to truly understand the user experience. No worries about false positives and negatives, just real results and any performance defects related to the device or the environment are visible.

Let’s see some of the testing which are done using real device.

UI/UX testingUser interface quality is important for any application to be successful, it’s crucial to provide seamless, user-friendly experiences across platforms. The demands placed on mobile websites and apps are unique: screen “real estate” is extremely limited, navigation relies on gestures instead of mouse clicks. Below are some elements that needs to be thoroughly tested as part of this UI/UX testing.

InputsFor mobile apps, we feed inputs through different user gestures by soft touching, prolonged touching, scrolling, tapping, pinching and accessing the buttons present on the UI. We as a user should be focusing that all the design is apt and the application is accepting the inputs without having any problem.

Hard/Soft keysThere are some native apps which would respond to the hard panel buttons such as pressing the home button, volume keys and even some apps support other gestures like bumping, shacking, double tapping etc. We need to test these gestures/ hardware buttons functions while using the app as well.

ScreensAttractive screens with good design will always grab the attention of the user. We should have a hawk eye on each and every field that’s available and validate the color of the element, width and position of the element and its workflow. We can greatly differentiate the UI between the conventional android and the IOS. We tend to see IOS behave the other way in most of the cases (Main app navigation – bottom navigation), hence careful observation is must. Eg: Alerts appear in the center of the screen with buttons confirm and cancel, whereas android displays in the opposite order.

Messages & NotificationsAn app may face various interruptions being in active mode, such as incoming calls or network coverage outage and recovery. This kind of testing shows what the app will do in this variety of cases.

Security testingIt is very important to check the vulnerability of the app to hacking, authentication and authorization policies, data security, session management and other security standards. The fundamental objective of security testing is to ensure that the app data and networking security requirements are met according to standards.

System testingSystem testing is done only when the complete application is available, in this testing the end-to-end flow of a business use case is tested. System testing can be done via emulator and via real devices. We need to test all the components of the app to ensure that the product at the pre-launch stage meets the specified requirements. It can be tested in the environments really close to the actual in which users will get their experience once it is deployed.

Integration testingWhen two or more components are integrated or when we add a new component to the existing one then we need to test to check whether the app communicates with the other systems properly and gives the expected result, we can do this testing with the help of an emulator without having to rely on the hardware components.

UI testingUser Interface (UI) testing is performed to ensure the graphic user interface of your app meets the specifications. Especially for IOS apps, we need to make sure the correct display of various elements on retina and non-retina screens. Also one should verify all elements displayed with portrait and landscape page orientation.

Automated TestingWe all know how crucial automation testing is in the testing world. It saves us a lot of time, effort and the cost. Automated testing is preferable mostly while performing load and regression testing. But manual mobile testing tools are better to be used for usability and exploratory testing. Appium is the right choice to perform automation testing on mobile apps.

Below types of testing are ideal candidates to be automated to save time and cost:

Regression The regression test cases are automated to ensure the previous features are not broken or altered due to the new implementations.

Compatibility Doing repetitive testing on different mobile devices is time consuming and a mundane task, in order to achieve faster test results, it is recommended to adopt automation to verify different device compatibility within a short period of time.

Best practices to adopt You can’t build efficient processes without a mobile app testing strategy. A perfect balance of manual and automated testing, proper choice of testing methods, and an experienced team – all of these components are vital.

In Conclusion

The percentage of users running your mobile app on an emulator is zero. Real-life testing is essential since emulators simply cannot cover all the issues that may occur during a real user experience. Hence, planning your selection of target devices through a mix of emulators and physical devices—combined with other mobile testing strategies will help you to move towards a successful release.

Happy learning!


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