14 Types of Mobile App Tests and When to Use Each

Releasing a new app successfully requires significant attention to detail to avoid app crashes or product failure. Review some essential ‌mobile app tests and learn why and when to use them.

Here are 14 essential types of mobile app tests:

1. Functional Testing

Functional testing is used to determine whether the app works according to the app's functional requirements in terms of the core and business-critical features. A combination of manual or automated methods works best for this. Some of the common things to test for include user flows, responses to a poor internet connection, payment gateways, and error messages.

2. Accessibility Testing

Accessibility tests determine whether your app is intuitive enough for any user to navigate through it, including users with a disability. Accessibility testing will also ensure your app meets legal requirements such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act & Sec 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the US. Accessibility tests can be a test for text simplicity and readability, the logic of user flow, and screen readers. Learn more in Google’s guidelines and resources documentation on accessibility

3. Single-User Performance Testing

Before deploying your app to users, you need to make sure that your app can perform efficiently under any kind of scenario. A single-user performance test requires testing the app performance at the user-level and not just the server-level. This involves testing for app startup and response time, memory and data consumption, network condition and changes, and interaction with other apps.

4. Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing, or user acceptance testing (UAT), is used to verify if the application satisfies the acceptance criteria for the users to use the application. This testing can be automated using what is called “automated acceptance testing,” using the method changes and new releases that can be made directly to users based on their acceptance rate.

5. Black Box Testing

Black box mobile app testing involves testing the functionality of the mobile app without looking at the internal code structure or the logic of the application. This is done to compare the expected behavior of an application to the output behavior based on the input passed into the application. Doing this eliminates any form of bias or assumptions about the app’s functionality or performance.

6. End-to-End Testing

End-to-end testing tests the application in the same way the end user would use the app. This involves testing the whole user flow of the application from start to finish and is usually one of the last tests performed on a finished or near-finished release. Because this replicates actual user experience, this takes longer than other types of tests and is often done by testers manually.

7. Integration Testing

Integration testing involves testing the integrated units of an application and all of the logic. This will test for bugs created when modules are integrated in a mobile app and must interact with each other. For instance, this can mean testing the authentication of an application. 

8. Regression Testing

Regression testing is critical for ensuring a consistent user experience when updating a mobile app. Before redeploying, regression testing must be done to check that new bugs have not been introduced into the existing code. Regression testing has  several components:

  • Corrective regression testing: Fix minor issues that are required to make the application run.
  • Retest all testing: With this, the entire codebase is optimized for a better result.
  • Progressive regression testing: This is used after the product or app is completely changed.
  • Complete regression testing: This is done when the main app code is modified after a system update.

Here are some regression testing tools.

9. Smoke Testing

Smoke testing involves finding faultiness or issues in a system by testing for key functionalities. For example, when running a test on an app, you log some key activities, such as login, sign-up, the add to cart function, and profile image upload.

10. Sanity Testing

Sanity testing works hand in hand with smoke testing. With sanity testing, we test the new build of the app that has undergone the smoke test to check if it is free of the previous issues or has developed another issue because of the previous fix.

11. Push Notifications Testing

Push notifications are a critical feature within mobile apps, as users rely on these reminders and messages for notice of events like news, market trends, and group messages. Push notifications should be tested with each code release. Some ‌things to test for include the visibility of the push notification, the arrival time of the message, and navigation from the push notification to the app. Learn more about push notification testing

12. Backgrounding the App

The ability of mobile apps to persist after being minimized is important for a good user experience. Here you need to test the behavior of your application in the background and how it works when opened again. This is not easily automated and is often done with manual testing.

13. In-App Purchases

Testing in-app purchases involves checking your app's purchases functionality provided by Google Pay or Apple Pay. To do this, you can use demo credit card details to test the success and error messages, as well as mail notifications.

14. Third-Party Payment SDKs

It is very important to test and secure every third-party payment SDK in your app, such as PayPal. If these do not work correctly, payments could fail to process or even worse, could create security breaches. Some important things to test for include success and error messages of demo credit card tests, mail notifications, and the protection of API credentials.

Mobile Application Testing Checklist

Before deploying your application to users, there are also important general testing checks to consider to avoid app crashes or system failures:

  • App display: Check the app display to see if it is adaptable to various display modes, such as landscape and portrait, as well as different screen sizes.
  • Text display: Ensure all text is readable and clear on the mobile app.
  • App loading: Ensure the mobile app launches and installs properly without crashing.
  • Battery consumption: Check the app function under different battery levels and temperatures.
  • App loading time: Verify that the app loading times aren't too long.
  • Network performance: Ensure that the app functions under different network conditions, such as 2G, 3G, or 4G.
  • Navigation keys: Verify that the navigation keys are working correctly and that they navigate the user to the ‌appropriate screen.
  • Background activities: Check the function of the app, after being minimized, when there’s an incoming call, message, or notification pop-up.

What Are the Challenges of Mobile App Testing?

Testing mobile apps is ‌challenging. Here are some of the challenges your team might face:

  • Different devices and platforms: Developers must create apps for and test on both of thee major operating systems -- Android and iOS --as well as account for variations across hundreds of mobile devices.
  • Different network conditions: Varying network conditions can affect the behavior of your application.
  • Monitoring: It can be difficult to monitor the performance of apps once they are live.
  • Security: Using third-party API libraries can expose your application to security vulnerabilities, which can cause damage to your app even after it passes all security tests.

What Tools Are Used for Mobile App Testing?

Testing an application can be very ‌tedious and prone to errors, especially when done manually. Luckily, there are some tools that can help make testing fast and error-free.

Developer Tools/IDEs

  • Android Studio is the Google IDE for Android development. With it, you can create and manage emulators, configure different builds, measure app performance, and capture and read bug reports.
  • Xcode is Apple's IDE. You can run your app on a simulated device, monitor app performance, simulate locations, and run and manage tests.
  • Chrome DevTools is a web browser and also a dev tool. It can simulate a mobile viewport and throttle the network and CPU.

Screen Tools

  • DU Recorder is used for recording and editing videos for Android testing.
  • Monosnap can be used for recording and taking screenshots.

Automated QA-as-a-Service

  • Mobot can check the performance of your application on over 200 devices and in a variety of situations.

Wrapping Up

Before deploying your application to the app store or user, it is essential to perform tests to avoid issues in production. Depending on the complexity of your app, you can carry out some form of manual or automated testing based on the types of tests we listed here.

This post was written by Jethro Magaji. Jethro is a frontend engineer who’s passionate about the tech world and uses creative thinking to solve business problems with a user-centered approach.

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