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Mobile App Testing Checklist for releasing apps

Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack -

Table of Contents

According to data from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, “worldwide consumer spending and first-time installs of mobile apps climbed to $33.6 billion and 35.7 billion, respectively, across Apple’s App Store and Google Play in the third quarter of 2021.”

Estimated spending on Mobile Apps

Source

Clearly, mobile apps have taken over the world. For every app developer and tester, this means that every app they roll out will be competing with thousands (possibly, millions) of other apps providing a similar service.

In such a competitive industry, every mobile app must be released in its best possible state. Every bug that escapes QA checks risks dissatisfying a user and causing them to uninstall or delete the app. In fact, almost 1 in every 2 apps is uninstalled in 30 days.

Naturally, every mobile app tester needs a practical checklist at hand. They need to know exactly what to test, check for, and verify. This article provides a list of such app elements.

Main Challenges of Mobile App Testing

  • Increasing Device Fragmentation

Fragmentation refers to the variety of devices, browsers, and platforms used at any given point in time. For example, a website can be accessed from multiple devices such as mobile, laptops, desktops, or tablets. These devices have unique screen sizes, operating systems, and browsers. Additionally, each browser and operating system has multiple versions which add to the complexity. For example, there are thousands of handsets powered by the Android operating system. Given that Android has multiple versions, it would be safe to assume that the same device model is running multiple Android versions (OS fragmentation) by different users across the world. This makes a highly fragmented landscape.

To solve this issue, mobile apps have to be tested on multiple real mobile devices of different models, devices sizes, resolutions, and operating systems. It is the only way to ensure that an app will run flawlessly, no matter what device is used to access it.

BrowserStack offers thousands of real mobile devices (Android and iOS) for an instant, on-demand testing on the cloud. The real device cloud allows testers to choose among both the latest and older mobile devices, run their app, and check how it responds in real user conditions.

  • Testing Security Parameters

Concerns about data safety are more common among end-users than ever before. Apps must ensure that customers do not have their information compromised via malware, hackers, or other malignant elements. Given the extent of device fragmentation (constantly increasing), evolution in domains of software and the internet, as well as the various digital usage patterns by users – creating comprehensive security measures can be difficult. There are thousands of scenarios to create security for, and missing out on an important one may cause data breach and loss, revenue loss as well a drop in brand credibility.

  • Evolving User Preferences and Demands

Technology is changing at a pace faster than ever before. Newer features and abilities are introduced at breakneck speed. To remain relevant, apps have to offer such new features or lose out to the competition. For example, the pandemic brought with it a massive increase in the demand for video conferencing abilities. Keeping up with these demands, implementing new features, and testing them for public usage, is a time-consuming, effort-intensive process that must be rolled out in short timelines. This can place undue pressure on development and QA teams, especially if they do not have access to the right infrastructure, tools, and other resources.

  • Network Issues

You can create the most incredible app in existence, but if it cannot function at low internet speeds, a lot of users will abandon it. Not everyone has access to high-speed internet 24X7, and they won’t always wait to use the app in better network conditions. Solving this is easy enough. Test how the apps work in different network conditions – Edge, 2G, 3G, 4G. Once the app starts demonstrating anomalies in a certain connection, you’ll know what conditions to reoptimize the app for.

  • Unpredictable Circumstances

In the real world, there are a million things that can cause apps to fail in one aspect or another. For example, a call can come in, battery power may hit especially low levels, the phone may restart or shut down in the midst of the app’s running, the user may leave the app running and turn to something else. To prepare for such disruptions, apps need to be tested in real user conditions i.e. in test environments that exactly replicate the real-world settings in which the app will be used.

Test Apps on Real Mobile Devices

Mobile App Testing Checklist

There are 6 important aspects of a mobile app testing checklist

  1. Cross-platform compatibility
  2. Security
  3. Customization
  4. Memory Consumption
  5. Interruptions
  6. Location and Language

Let’s explore each point in detail.

1. Test app for cross-platform compatibility

Every app needs to function flawlessly on all major platforms and devices. This refers to all major platforms running on all widely used mobile devices. The best way to accomplish this is to use real devices and browsers. All users will be running apps on real devices, so they need to be tested on the same.

Use a cloud-based service that provides real devices to test on. BrowserStack offers thousands of real devices and browsers for both manual and automated testing. It offers thousands of real Android and iOS devices for automated app testing. The mobile devices are also available for mobile app testing.

Try Mobile App Testing for Free

2. Test app for Security concerns

In the digital age, data is the most valuable commodity. Concerns about data security are foremost in every user’s mind when they download an app. Run every possible test to ensure that user data is protected from unauthorized access. Identify possible scenarios that may result in a data breach, and run extensive tests to fortify the app against them. Keep in mind that security assurance is a non-negotiable part of any mobile app QA checklist.

3. Customization

A successful app is versatile. Expect that users will be accessing any app from multiple mobile devices. So, every app should be able to run perfectly on each device.

For example, if the same app is opened via two devices with different screen sizes, it should be optimized to fit both screens perfectly. A big screen should not cause pixelation of graphics in the app, and a small screen should not lead to any cut-out images.

Again, this is where apps need to be tested on multiple real devices to ensure all features are working on all devices. Efficient functioning cannot be compromised, irrespective of the device.

4. Memory consumption of Mobile Apps

Every mobile app testing checklist must focus on an app’s memory consumption. While every user wants a greater number of useful features in every app they use, keep in mind that implementing certain features results in greater memory consumption. For example, push notifications almost always increase memory usage in Android apps.

Remember that not every user is using the latest device or any device with good battery life. If an app consumes too much memory, users may delete it. Similarly, if an app drains the battery, users will uninstall it.

5. Mobile Apps should handle Interruptions effectively

A set of questions an app developer should think about –

  • How does the app handle notifications from other apps on the device?
  • How does the app behave when it is interrupted by incoming calls?
  • Does it operate well under low battery, low network connectivity, a weak signal, and other non-optimal conditions?

Most apps can perform well in perfect conditions. The apps that provide a good user experience amidst interruptions are the ones that stand out. Every mobile application testing checklist must take this into account, without fail.

Here, it’s important to emphasize that emulators and simulators are inadequate for handling such interruptions. They can be useful in the initial stages of development but are completely unfit for final-stage testing. Emulators and simulators cannot replicate real-world conditions, which means any tests run on them provide inconclusive results. The only way to get 100% accurate results is to test on real browsers and devices.

6. Location and Language

Most apps tend to customize their offering based on the user’s current location. This is especially true for apps with some kind of delivery mechanism (Amazon is a prime example). Each app must be tested to ensure that it interacts with the device’s GPS to pick up location and customize its offerings accordingly.

Similarly, any app that wants to become truly global must offer services in multiple languages. Testers must ensure that the app offers the exact high quality of user experience in every language. Users must be able to switch between languages with ease, and not face any issues while doing so.

Keep in mind that each of the points discussed above involves running multiple tests. And since every test corresponding to every point needs to be run on multiple devices and OSes, manual testing alone can be extremely taxing for testers.

By supplementing manual tests with automated tests, organizations can cut down on test times while boosting app quality. Automate the repetitive tests (regression tests, tests that execute the same processes with different input values, etc.), while manually testing features that require human judgment.

When designing tests for mobile apps, read each point detailed above and ask the questions that a user would be likely to ask when judging a new app.

  • Does the app work well if the device is locked?
  • Does the app resume operations when it comes back into active network connectivity from a non-connected area?
  • Does the work well if the device goes into sleeping mode and then resumes into active use?
  • How does the app behave to natural gestures like tap, zoom, scroll, etc.?

By asking these questions, testers can identify what functions to test and create test suites accordingly. This makes the entire process faster, easier and more organized from the beginning.

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