The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Testing

Mel Sucuoglu

Reading Time : 11min read
The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Testing

In today’s fast-growing market, mobile applications have become a standard for smartphone users to access creative new ideas and resources. An undeniable influence can be made when software solutions are tailored to these portable devices. In 2022 alone, it was reported that 86% of the world’s population uses smartphones. This figure proves a large market exists to create and develop valuable solutions.

As an app developer, leveraging mobile testing is a skill that can’t be understated. The mobile experience covers more elements than web testing. Therefore, creating a high-quality app requires suitable mobile device testing structures and skills. To make mobile testing an ingrained practice for your app development team, it’s essential to understand what it really means.

In this ultimate guide, you’ll learn about mobile app testing on a fundamental scale. It covers the different mobile apps you’ll encounter and some of the significant types of testing used by app developers. Further, into the guide, you’ll learn more about automated testing and how to choose an appropriate direction for your organization. Finally, it provides a solid list of steps for creating your first mobile testing strategy. 

What is Mobile Testing?

Mobile testing is a general term used to cover how mobile software and applications are evaluated for efficiency and usability. For an app to be considered good, it must be tested for errors, bugs, and issues affecting its usefulness.

There are many forms that mobile testing can take, but it will mostly be separated into two types. Manual and automated. Within these two categories, you’ll find tests for various elements, including compatibility testing, security testing, functional testing, performance testing, and more.

Smartphones are manufactured by many companies that are situated worldwide. Therefore, you’ll see different design philosophies, hardware configurations, CPUs, resolutions, cameras, and more. If you want an excellent mobile app, having a testing practice that accounts for all these variables is unequivocally essential.

Types of Mobile Applications

Although mobile applications is a term used to describe downloadable apps, the term mobile app actually spans apps that are native to a device, as well as web apps. There are three main categorizations to keep in mind:

Native Mobile Applications: These apps are developed specifically for certain mobile platforms. Most of the time, this refers to Android or iOS-specific apps. These are developed with programming languages and tools designed for the respective platform. Also, these apps are tailored to have more secure access to your device’s features, such as contacts, cameras, and GPS.

Web Applications: When a mobile application requires an internet connection while being exclusive to a browser, it’s known as a web app. These apps are primarily built with the same tools used for desktop web apps, namely HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They are also platform-independent, designed to run on any device with a browser.

Hybrid Mobile Applications: These are a combination of the first two. Web technologies are used to develop these apps, but they are distributed through native app stores instead of browsers. Popular apps like Twitter, Uber, and Gmail are some great examples of hybrid mobile applications.

Types of Mobile Testing

The different types of mobile testing are worth paying attention to. These variations are equally crucial for the overall mobile experience. For good mobile device testing to take place, we’ve compiled some of the most important ones. These categories need to be adequately addressed and accounted for.

1. Functional testing

Functional testing is an essential component of mobile testing, aimed at scrutinizing an application’s features, user interface, and navigability. This intricate form of testing allows the testers to detect discrepancies between the app’s intended behavior and the actual execution while ensuring that the app aligns with the end user’s requirements.

The ultimate goal of functional testing is to thoroughly evaluate the application’s functionality and ascertain that it fulfills its intended purpose with precision and reliability.

2. Performance testing

Performance testing is a detailed process that inspects an application’s speed, stability, and responsiveness under various conditions, such as network speeds, low battery, and poor signal strength.

By conducting such a comprehensive evaluation, testers can assess an application’s ability to perform consistently and efficiently, irrespective of the operating conditions, and ensure that the app’s performance remains uncompromised.

3. Usability testing

Usability testing is a detailed process designed to ensure an application suits a user’s needs. This includes their preferences and what they tend to lean towards. Ease of use, intuitiveness, and design are all peeked into with a magnifying lens. This form of testing allows developers to gain valuable insight into the best ways to satisfy their end users and keep them using an app.

The mobile experience can be tailor-fitted to the needs of their target audience once usability testing is conducted correctly.

4. Compatibility testing

Compatibility testing is a thorough and detailed process involving analyzing the application’s compatibility with different devices, operating systems, and networks. Through this intricate process, testers can identify any discrepancies or performance issues related to the application’s compatibility with various platforms and configurations.

By conducting this testing, developers can ensure that the application functions optimally and seamlessly on all intended platforms, providing a consistent and reliable user experience.

5. Security testing

Security testing is an intricate and comprehensive process that involves evaluating the application’s security features and analyzing its vulnerability to external threats such as hacking, data breaches, and unauthorized access. This type of testing aims to ensure that the application is adequately secured against any malicious activity and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive user information.

By conducting such a detailed evaluation, developers can identify potential security threats and address them promptly. This ensures the application’s security and maintains the user’s trust in its credibility.

Testing on Simulators vs. Emulators

Mobile testing has an interesting point of contention regarding testing environments. There are simulators and emulators. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but you should know what each entails to decide between them.

The ultimate choice will come down to your personal goals for the mobile app you’re developing and what you’d like to achieve with testing.


A simulator is software-based and designed to mimic a mobile device’s functionality. This makes it easy to set up, implement and begin testing. Sims offer fast mobile device testing cycles and quick feedback. They also don’t require physical hardware in your office, so they are less expensive to set up.

With the budget-friendly model, simulators can use your budget to test new configurations and scenarios far more than your initial intentions. One drawback with Sims is that they fail to accurately represent a device’s hardware, making it likely that the test results aren’t an exact match for real-world performance. However, it still provides a firm idea of the app’s performance.


On the other hand, we’ve got emulators. They are designed as a hardware-based environment meant to replicate a smartphone. An emulator does this by imitating the hardware specifications and software. This creates grounds for more accurate testing, particularly how it mimics a device’s behavior and performance.

Unfortunately, they are limited by the long and arduous setup process. For an emulator to even run in the first place, it requires a powerful computer system. Getting everything for a proper emulation rig is costly and less flexible.

Which is Better?

Comparing the two directly, you’ll need to inspect what matters most to your organization. The emulator is a safer bet if you’d like to experience a more direct correlation between mobile app testing and real-world performance. However, ensuring that your app works on a broader range of specs and configurations won’t be as easy to confirm with emulation. That’s why simulation is worth considering. It’s not like simulator results are inaccurate; they just fail to be a more accurate testing environment.

If your testing structure is ambitious enough, it’s possible to eliminate fears using real device testing. It’s a solid solution that is viable thanks to services like Kobiton taking the hard labor away from your team. The secure connection is also good enough to avoid hackers or data loss.

How to Create a Mobile Testing Strategy

A comprehensive mobile testing strategy is a crucial need for mobile app developers. It ensures that applications are reliable, convenient to navigate, and capable of meeting users’ expectations. Here are some appropriate steps to consider with a mobile testing strategy:

1. Define Testing Objectives: Before jumping into any form of testing, your organization needs to create a clear intention of what it would like to give 100% priority to. For most, this includes compatibility with different devices, operating systems, and networks. There’s also the performance to consider. Security and usability fall in line as well. The rest can be easier to handle with the assurance of what you intend to test.

2. Identify Testing Tools and Environments: Selecting the appropriate testing tools can be crucial for assessing a mobile app. Automated testing tools are popular, especially when paired with simulated environments. This can make testing streamlined, accounting for a range of variables. They also reduce the chances of errors popping up in the process. The testing environment for automation can be simulated or emulated, depending on what you prefer.

3. Create a Testing Plan: A testing plan allows your team to outline the entire testing process. It contains testing objectives, tools, environments, test cases, and a schedule. A testing plan also has to be comprehensive, covering all possible scenarios that may arise.

4. Conduct Testing in Iterations: Testing done in iterations can space out the process, allowing your team to digest results for each stage of development. This will make it easier to spot bugs and errors. It will also allow you to change certain aspects of the app that don’t seem to translate well to multiplatform use. For example, heavy animations will be laggy on older devices.

5. Analyze and Report Test Results: The test results are the main focus of a testing strategy. From the feedback, you can begin to generate comprehensive reports. This will highlight issues or bugs that may have existed during testing. Remember to address the issues in a way that can encourage further development while meeting the correct quality standards.

6. Continuously Improve the Testing Strategy: The mobile experience is something that will continue to evolve. Likewise, you’ll also need to update your testing strategy by incorporating user feedback, updating testing tools, and regularly refining the testing process.

Creating a Mobile Testing Powerhouse with Kobiton

With various device operating systems and specs to cover, a large browser matrix, and accounting for the volatility of user requirements, setting up a cohesive testing strategy can feel like a minefield. However, with Kobiton, you can quickly get into the mix of things. This testing platform has all the resources you need to create top-tier apps for your users.

The testing platform accounts for automation in a way that is hard to beat, thanks to simulation and emulation on a large scale. Real device testing is also available to use. This is a fantastic choice if you plan to serve thousands of users with a stable product.

All in all, mobile testing is a necessary step when releasing a new app. It’s essential to understand the different types of mobile applications, different types of mobile testing, and how emulators and simulators can enable a powerful mobile testing strategy.

With the proper techniques and Kobiton’s help, you can create an unbeatable testing powerhouse to help you confidently launch apps. If done correctly and with enough attention to detail, your app will be ready to take commercial success by storm.

If you need further information and help setting up your mobile app testing strategy, be sure to contact Kobiton for support. A member of our team will always be available to help!

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