Testing Mobile Apps – Pro Tips & Best Practices For Success (2024)

Testing mobile apps is crucial for success in today’s digital landscape. With the ever-growing number of mobile devices and platforms, ensuring that your app functions seamlessly across all of them is essential. 

As users increasingly turn to mobile apps for everything from banking to socializing, the need for thorough testing is more important than ever before. 

This in-depth guide will cover the key considerations, tips, and best practices for successful mobile app testing to help you deliver an app that meets the needs and expectations of your users. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out, this post will provide valuable insights to help you achieve success in testing mobile apps.

Mobile App Testing: Key Considerations

When it comes to testing mobile apps, there are a number of key considerations that developers and testers need to keep in mind. From understanding the importance of mobile app testing to choosing the right testing tools and frameworks, it’s essential to take a comprehensive approach to mobile app testing.

Understanding the Importance of Testing Mobile Apps

Mobile app testing is critical for ensuring that your app functions as intended on a range of devices and operating systems. Testing can help to identify bugs, performance issues, and other potential problems before they impact the app’s usability.

In addition to ensuring that your app is free from bugs and glitches, testing can also help to improve the overall user experience. By conducting usability testing and gathering feedback from real users, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes to your app accordingly.

The Role of Mobile Testing Tools and Frameworks

There are a number of mobile testing tools and frameworks available that can help to streamline the testing process and ensure that your app functions correctly across a range of devices and operating systems. Some popular mobile testing tools include Testflight, Appium, Selenium, and TestComplete.

Mobile testing frameworks, such as the XCTest framework for iOS app testing and the Espresso framework for Android, can also be helpful in automating the testing process and identifying issues more quickly. However, it’s important to choose the right tools and frameworks for your specific needs, as not all tools are created equal.

For example, let’s say you specifically want to run beta testing for your iOS app. In this scenario, testing your app with Testflight would be a good option to consider. 

However, if you wanted to run regression testing or check for bugs on an Android app, you’d need to use a completely different tool. 

Common Challenges Associated with Testing Mobile Apps

Testing mobile apps can be challenging—particularly given the wide range of devices and platforms that apps need to be compatible with. Some of the most common challenges associated with mobile app testing include:

  • Device Fragmentation: With so many different devices and operating systems on the market, it can be difficult to ensure that your app functions correctly on all of them.
  • Testing Environment setup: Setting up a testing environment that accurately reflects real-world usage scenarios can be challenging.
  • Network Conditions: Mobile apps need to be able to function well even in areas with poor network connectivity, which can be difficult to test for.

Recognizing these challenges helps developers understand that even a passing test doesn’t always mean that the app is perfect. There will always be some gaps in the testing process that need to be accounted for.

Types of App Testing: Manual vs. Automated Testing

There are two main types of mobile app testing—manual and automated testing. 

Manual testing involves testing the app manually, typically using a physical device or emulator, to identify bugs and other issues. Conversely, automated testing for mobile apps uses software and tools to run tests and identify issues automatically.

Both manual and automated testing have benefits and drawbacks. Manual testing can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it allows testers to identify issues that may be difficult to catch with automated testing. While automated testing can be faster and more efficient, it may not catch every issue.

Tips for Effective Mobile App Testing

Effective mobile app testing requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the various factors that can impact the user experience. In this section, we’ll discuss some tips for testing your mobile app to ensure that it functions correctly and meets the needs of your users.

Test Your App on Real Devices

One of the most important tips for effective mobile app testing is to test your app on real devices. While emulators and simulators can be useful tools, they don’t always accurately reflect real-world usage scenarios. By testing your app on a range of real devices, you can identify issues that may not be apparent when testing on emulators or simulators.

Here’s a good comparison that highlights the differences between testing on a real device compared to virtual devices.

When you’re going through this process, it’s important to account for factors like screen size, network connectivity, and operating system version. For example, if your app is designed for both iOS and Android, you’ll need to test it on both types of devices to ensure that it functions correctly on both platforms.

Ensure Your App is Compatible with Multiple Operating Systems and Devices

Ensuring that your app is compatible with multiple operating systems and devices is crucial for reaching the widest possible audience. However, this can be a challenging task when you consider the wide range of devices and operating systems on the market.

To ensure compatibility, it’s important to conduct thorough testing across a range of devices and operating systems. This can help to identify issues and ensure that your app functions correctly on all technology that could be in the hands of your end-users.

Conduct Usability Testing

Usability testing helps gather feedback from real users to identify areas for improvement in your app’s user interface and user experience.

Usability testing can come in many forms—from in-person testing with real users to remote testing with online tools. It’s important to conduct usability testing throughout the development process to ensure that your app meets the needs and expectations of your users.

Some tips for conducting effective usability testing include:

  • Choose a diverse group of test participants that accurately reflects your target audience
  • Provide clear instructions and tasks for test participants to complete
  • Observe test participants closely to identify areas of confusion or frustration

These tips help ensure you get actionable data from your tests, instead of information that you don’t know what to do with. 

Prioritize Security Tests

With the increasing prevalence of cyber attacks and data breaches, security testing is more important than ever before. Prioritizing security testing can help to identify vulnerabilities in your app and ensure that sensitive user data is protected.

Penetration testing is one of the best ways to identify potential vulnerabilities in your app.

You should also take steps in your testing process to ensure your app is compliant with all relevant data privacy regulations. This is really important if your app is available in multiple countries and regions where data privacy laws vary. 

Someone on your team should also stay up-to-date with the latest security threats and vulnerabilities. Your app might pass security tests today, but if a new form of malicious software is released in a few months, you may need to continue hardening the app to prevent all new threats. 

Conduct Regression Testing

Regression testing involves testing your app after making changes or updates to ensure that existing functionality has not been affected. This can be particularly important when making changes to critical functionality, such as payment processing or user authentication.

Beyond these steps, it’s also helpful to:

  • Create comprehensive test cases that cover all critical functionality
  • Automate regression testing where possible to save time and improve accuracy
  • Conduct regression testing regularly to ensure that new changes have not introduced unexpected issues

When it comes to regression tests, these tips can help you succeed.

Measure Performance and Stability

Measuring the performance and stability of your app is critical for ensuring that it functions correctly and meets the needs of your users. By monitoring key metrics such as load times and crash rates, you can identify performance issues and make improvements to your app accordingly.

Start by setting clear performance benchmarks and goals for your app. From there, you can use analytics tools to monitor KPIs and identify performance issues against your benchmarks.You should also conduct load testing to determine how your app performs under heavy usage. 

We have a complete guide on mobile app KPIs and metrics that you can use as a reference to help with your tests. 

Best Practices for Successful Mobile App Testing

Mobile app testing requires a strategic approach and a range of tools and techniques. Follow the best practices below to ensure your mobile app tests achieve your goals and deliver a high-quality app to your users.

Collaboration between Developers and Testers

Collaboration between developers and testers is crucial for successful mobile app testing. By working together closely, developers and testers can ensure that the app functions correctly and meets the needs of the end user.

One effective approach is to involve testers early in the development process. This can help to identify potential issues before they become more difficult and costly to fix. It’s also important to establish clear communication channels between developers and testers to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Early Testing in the Development Cycle

Piggybacking off the last point, testing early and often helps eliminate issues before they biome a bigger problem. The longer you wait, the more difficult and costly it becomes to solve problems.  

For example, if you wait to test your app a week before it launches, only to discover problems that will take a month to fix, you’re now forced to push back your launch date. But if you begin running regular tests on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, most bugs can be fixed within a day or two.

Test-Driven Development

Test-driven development (TDD) is an approach to software development that involves writing tests for each piece of functionality before writing the code. This approach can help to ensure that the code is fully tested and that any issues are caught early in the development process.

TDD can be particularly effective for mobile app testing, as it helps to ensure that each piece of functionality is fully tested before it is integrated into the app. This can help to reduce the risk of issues and ensure that the app functions correctly across a range of devices and platforms.

Continuous Integration and Delivery

Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) in software development automates the testing and deployment process. This can help to ensure that changes are tested thoroughly and delivered to users quickly and efficiently.

CI/CD works really well for testing mobile apps—as it allows for continuous testing and integration throughout the development process. Not only does it find problems early, but it helps get your app in the hands of users as quickly as possible. 

Building an Effective Mobile App Testing Team

It’s important to assemble a team of testers who possess the right skills and experience to ensure that your app functions correctly and meets the needs of your users.

To do this correctly, the first thing you need to do is identify the specific skills and experience that users need for your app. For example, let’s say you’re creating a project management app. You’d want your testers to be familiar with project management concepts and, ideally, have some experience as a project manager. 

Once you’ve identified the skills required, it’s time to recruit testers who have that experience. You can also provide ongoing training and support to your testers so they’re always up to date with the latest tools and techniques related to your app’s goal and primary purpose. 

Common Pitfalls to Avoid During Mobile Testing

While effective mobile app testing is essential for success, there are a number of common pitfalls that developers and testers need to avoid. From neglecting usability and accessibility testing to relying too much on automated testing, these pitfalls can impact the user experience and lead to issues down the line.

  • Ignoring Testing Altogether — Some developers may believe that their app is functioning correctly without testing, but this approach can lead to serious issues down the line. Without proper testing, it’s difficult to identify bugs, performance issues, and other potential problems that can impact the user experience.
  • Relying Too Much on Automated Testing — While automated testing can be a powerful tool for mobile app testing, it’s important to balance it with manual testing. Relying too much on automated testing can lead to missed issues and potential problems, particularly in areas such as usability and accessibility testing.
  • Failing to Test on a Range of Devices and Platforms — With so many different devices and operating systems on the market, it’s essential to test your app on a range of devices to ensure that it functions correctly across all of them.
  • Neglecting Usability and Accessibility Testing — Usability and accessibility testing are critical components of effective mobile app testing. Neglecting these areas can lead to issues with user satisfaction and even legal problems. It’s important to ensure that your app is usable and accessible for all users, regardless of their abilities.

For example, consider the case of an ecommerce app that neglects usability testing. If the app is difficult to use or navigate, users may become frustrated and switch to a competitor’s app instead. 

Ultimately, the key to avoiding these common pitfalls is to take a comprehensive approach to mobile app testing. By balancing manual and automated testing, testing on a range of devices and platforms, and prioritizing usability and accessibility testing, you can ensure that your app functions correctly and meets the needs of your users.

Final Thoughts on Testing Mobile Apps

At the end of the day, mobile app testing is an ongoing process that requires continuous attention and effort. By staying up-to-date with the latest tools and techniques, prioritizing user feedback and testing, and working collaboratively with your team, you can deliver a mobile app that provides a great user experience and delivers real value to your users.

Take a comprehensive approach that includes manual and automated testing. Always test your app on a range of devices and platforms. Prioritize usability and accessibility testing as well, and you can increase your chances of delivering a high-quality app that stands out from the competition.

Daniel Hindi, CTO

Daniel is the CTO, COO, and Co-Founder of BuildFire. Throughout his career, he successfully launched and scaled five companies in the tech space. Daniel is an operations and systems specialist with 20+ years of experience managing and scaling lean startups.