The basics of mobile application testing — where to start?

What should a mobile application tester know?

  • ways to download / install the mobile application for a given platform — if you’re new to mobile testing, here’s a bit of a warning: for tests other than the verification of the production version of the mobile application, it will not be a GooglePlay store, AppStore or AppGalery. You will more often come across other tools for distributing mobile apps such as Bitrise, Firebase / Apptester, building the mobile application yourself based on the code or directly installing the .apk file on the device.
  • types, number and distribution of operating system versions — currently the main ones are iOS, Android and HMS. Others have a low market share, have ceased to be supported, or are used only in specific markets, industries, etc.
  • selling device types and existing versions of OS in a given area and quantitative statistics of amount used devices there
  • different screen sizes and resolutions
  • different methods of data entry

Types of mobile apps

Native mobile apps

Browser-based web apps

  • Mobile versions of websites and applications. Most often, a mobile browser refers to the mobile version of the application, e.g., redirecting to They are often “stripped” of the functions available, for example, on a computer.
  • Adaptive / responsive web apps adjust the design according to the size or device of the user. Different devices have other application view, e.g. a website displayed with several columns on the computer, with two on the tablet and one on the smartphone. Compared to mobile versions of a website, responsive versions of a website should offer the same content and functionality for different devices, although there are some minor exceptions.
  • Progressive web applications create shortcuts to certain web pages on the screen. Any platform which use standard browser can be used to run that type of app. Progressive web app can work offline, it is fast and can use some features of user device.

Hybrid apps

Problematic issues that may occur during mobile app testing efforts

  • Mobile devices are diverse, as are mobile application distribution channels, types of apps themselves, and ways of their use by users.
  • There are individual system settings of users that allow for relatively large personalization of selected elements, e.g. font size, color brightness, etc.
  • The market of mobile devices and the most frequently used software versions or overlays is diverse — it is worth using statistics on user preferences in a given region for which the application is created, e.g. the most frequently used brands, operating systems, etc.
  • Hardware / resource differences across devices, UI designs, screen sizes.
  • Diversity of development tools required / supported / provided by platforms / producers.
  • Availability of physical devices, emulators, simulators or the use of external test laboratories.
  • The introduction of new technologies, devices and / or platforms during the application lifecycle.
  • Installing and updating the application itself, storing data and settings.
  • The range of the mobile Internet network, its quality, changes of transmitters, location.
  • Quick feedback from users resulting from errors, publication of feedback on the application.
  • Time and process of publishing the application on the given stores.
  • Maintaining the state of the logged in user or correct logging out of the user after a given time.
  • Support for animation on various platforms.

Programming platforms and selected tools that can support mobile application testing

  • Flipper — a platform for debugging iOS, Android and React Native apps, with many plugins for logs, error reports, database browsing, network traffic and layout.
  • Charles proxy — a tool for viewing, monitoring and editing network traffic also from mobile devices.
  • Postman / Insomnia / Soap UI — in the context of testing mobile applications, these programs are useful for verifying data returned to the app from the server.

Mobile application testing types

Testing user interface

  • scaling interface elements / images of different resolutions and whether they do not overlap,
  • if there is no problem with the selection of displayed options,
  • whether the arrangement of elements is correct after changing the screen orientation, the application is still functional, the previously entered data do not disappear, etc.
  • changing the text size in the system settings,
  • so-called multitouch tests, single touch, short press and long press — if the application supports these functionalities and if they work properly.

Testing device input sensors in the context of application, connectivity

Interrupt testing

  • during incoming and outgoing calls / messages,
  • in the absence of network / internet access,
  • when connecting the charger,
  • during “Do not disturb” mode, etc.,
  • after turning off the smartphone or updating the operating system while the application is running.

Notifications testing

Testing the behavior in the system settings application

Installation testing

Stress / performance testing

Usability, accessibility, input and functionality testing

  • meets the business assumptions,
  • allows the user to make mistakes,
  • is intuitive and consistent,
  • displays correctly data with e.g. enlarged font size,
  • allows many social groups to use it, such as disabled, left-handed, etc.
  • works with the most popular keyboards,
  • supports gestures, captures images, photos, scans codes, etc.

Post-release verification testing

We don’t have the right number of physical devices? — simulators and emulators

Mobile app testing — is it the right job for you?

Communicativeness, clarity in asking questions and cooperation

Coaching and assertiveness

Creativity and curiosity

Analytical thinking



  1. Certified Tester Specialist Mobile Application Testing Foundation Level Syllabus, © International Software Testing Qualifications Board, Vipul Kocher, Piotr Wicherski, José Díaz, Matthias Hamburg, Eran Kinsbruner, Björn Lemke, Samuel Ouko, Tal Pe’er, Ralf Pichler, Lloyd Roden, Nils Röttger, Angelina Samaroo, Yaron Tsubery
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  6., access 31.05.2022



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