Mobile Application Testing: 10 Steps Approach

Mobile application testing is crucial in order to create a reliable product. In this post, we’ll go over the entire testing process step-by-step.

Testing is a crucial part of the mobile application lifecycle. However, due to all the time and effort, it takes to complete the full cycle of app testing, it gets overlooked by developers more often than not. In order to create a reliable app that’ll be enjoyable for an audience to use, a product should be tested on every stage.

Essentially, mobile application testing process is similar to website testing. In this post, we’ll cover all the stages of application testing to and describe how to test mobile applications.

Table of Contents

Mobile testing process

how to test mobile applications

The increasing competition in mobile application markets has forced developers to create a testing road map before starting an actual sprint. A typical end-to-end testing process consists of ten steps that go as follow.

Step 1. Outlining the process

Before a developer gets to decide which use cases he’ll be testing manually or automatically, it’s better for him to outline the list of all the cases he’s going to test. Create a test plan for mobile application with all the use cases you’d like to access, briefly describe the tests you intend to run, and the expected result for the sprint.

Step 2. Choosing the type of mobile tests to run

app testing

Deciding whether a test will be manual or automated is the next step in the mobile testing process. While it’s a challenging choice to make, here are a few ways to decide whether testing mobile applications should be automated or manual.

Use automated testing when:

  • You run a use case frequently. If there are any routine tests you’re running on a regular basis to check the basic functionality of the app, consider automating them. In the long run, automating routine tasks pay off as you save a lot of time and avoid potential errors caused by repetition.
  • If a test has a predictable outcome. Test automation is a go-to choice for any conditional testing (‘if a user clicks the button, the tab opens’). When a test has a predictable result, there’s little need for a developer to actively monitor the outcome and oversee the testing process.
  • Automat tests on device fragmentation. There’s a huge variety of devices and screen dimensions – in order to ensure app’s compatibility with this array of hardware, a lot of tests are needed. Conducting this much testing manually is too challenging so it’s better to write manual tests for different operating systems or screen dimensions.

Keep in mind that smaller tests are easier and more efficient when automated. For instance, you can consider running automated unit testing in order to save time but it’s still better to go manual when testing the system back-to-back.

Step 3. Preparing test cases for different functionalities

mobile application testing

The next step in mobile app testing is defining the cases you’d be writing tests for. There are two approaches to this stage:

  • Requirement-based testing: the performance of specific app features is tested;
  • Business scenario-based testing: the assessment of the system is conducted from the business perspective.

Defining the test cases for mobile application depends on the type of test you want to run as well. All application tests are divided into two broad groups: functional and non-functional.

Functional testing includes:

Non-functional testing includes:

After you’ve decided which type of test you want to run on the app, it’s time to move on to the actual testing process.

Step 4. Manual testing

test plan for mobile application

While there are developers who favor automated testing over a manual methodology, when it comes to Agile testing framework, it’s recommended to use the combination of manual and automated testing.

When a developer kicks off a testing sprint according to the mobile app test plan, it’s better for him to start off with exploratory manual testing. Also, as manual testing doesn’t require initial investments which is another reason to start it early on.

Make sure to keep consistent logs of all the testing sessions as a Word or Excel document. If you have a possibility to engage a few testers simultaneously, consider running manual test sessions simultaneously to save more time at the later stages.

Step 5. Automated testing

After you’ve conducted a few manual testing sessions and detected the patterns of outcomes and the frequency you need to run a test with, consider automating the most routine or predictable ones.

Also, when it comes to Performance Testing, Load testing, Stress Testing, or Spike testing, running these tests automatically is a commonplace practice.

When it comes to testing automation, selecting the right tool is essential. There are a lot of choices in the market – here are a few points you might want to take into account while looking for the right fit.

  • Supports a wide range of platforms. You might need to test your app for iOS or Android, run tests for different programming languages – .NET, C#, etc. Being constrained by testing tools can really be a hindrance to the entire testing project so it’s better to have a wider range of platforms available even if it seems you don’t need all of these tools at the moment.
  • Has rich features. It’s very convenient for a developer to have a tool that supports playback and record tests. Having said that, make sure you can write automated tests manually as well as sometimes it’s the only option that allows people to target the scope of the app precisely.
  • Tests are reusable and change-resistant. Tools that allow developers to create reusable, easy-to-maintain tests are highly helpful as you can save a ton of time while testing new projects.

Step 6. Usability and beta testing

There’s a common misconception around testers that beta-testing can substitute usability testing completely as they pinpoint the same issues. However, it’s worthwhile to perform both.

  • Start a sprint with a usability testing session. During the design stage, it’s highly helpful to get some exposure from real users. With usability tester, a developer gets to showcase a potential feature and narrow down the list of application features to those that were well-received by the user base.
  • Beta-testing, on the other hand, is a better fit when a product is built from beginning to end and you want to get the feedback on the entire system before putting the application out. Similarly to usability testing, beta-testing allows developers to understand which features will be more and less needed by application users to know what direction the app should take in the future.

So, all in all, both usability and beta testing are worth running. However, there’s the difference between the two: usability testing mainly indicates if the feature works while beta-testing provides a developer with an understanding on whether or not people will be using a particular application feature frequently.

Step 7. Performance testing

After you’ve tested the performance of your applications feature-by-feature, it’s time to assess the performance of the entire system. That’s when performance mobile testing comes into play. It helps to evaluate the speed, scalability, stability under the high amount of traffic, checks the app for system errors or discrepancies.

Before starting app performance testing, determine the capabilities the application is supposed to offer, what are its intended use cases as well as the favorable conditions under which the system would strive.

While performance testing normally doesn’t come until later in the overall testing framework, starting it early on and running performance testing sprints along with unit testing is a solid strategy as well.

In order to assess the efficiency of performance testing, be sure to set realistic benchmarks. While it’s tempting to evaluate the app from a developer’s perspective, try to distance from it as much a possible and look at the app as its user.

Step 8. Security and compliance testing

There are a lot of data security guidelines mobile apps have to meet. Depending on your app’s features, there’s a separate data security standard to be implemented (at times, a few). Here are the most common security guidelines:

  • PCI DSS – the set of data security requirements for mobile applications accepting payments;
  • HIPAA – security practices for mobile healthcare applications that collect, store, or process medical data;
  • FFIEC – a set of guidelines that require for banking and financial institutions to install control and security measures to protect sensitive financial data.

When conducting security testing, it’s important to follow up with the industry standards and translate these guidelines into practical measures. Also, a security tester should be ready to deal with exceptions and unpredictable situations. Each security practice has to be documented meticulously in case it needs to be reviewed by a controlling organ.

Step 9. Final version release

After all is said and done, a developer runs an end-to-end testing sprint to ensure the application works properly on the back-end and server level and is ready to be uploaded. If after a set of revisions, no major bugs are identified, a developer releases an application to app stores. In case there are issues in the app, they are fixed and the end-to-end testing sprint is repeated.

Step 10. How Can Performance Lab Be Helpful During Testing?

We are a software testing company that provides testing services and consults on how to do mobile testing for startups and SMEs. We offer quality assurance services to companies in retail, finance, education, entertainment, healthcare, and many other industries.

Here are some of the services Performance Lab can help you with when it comes to mobile application testing:

  • Manual testing. By conducting tests under human supervision, the team of Performance Lab is capable of providing customers with deeper insights that would normally be neglected during an automated test.
  • Usability testing. This includes gathering the focus group, creating a recruit survey for test scenarios, conducting individual testing sessions with each participant, and analyzing the results. Thanks to usability testing at Performance Lab, businesses are able to raise the effectiveness of the system workflow and increase user satisfaction with the application;
  • Load back-end testing. Its aim consists of revealing bugs and system discrepancies by increasing the traffic load on the system. For load testing, we use common protocols, support system’s proprietary protocols, the system with complex encrypted protocols or asynchronous calls as well as web services and service buses. We provide customers with a summary of a testing sprint as well as recommendations on resolving the issues detected during load testing.
  • Security testing. By simulating directed attacks on the system, testers are capable of detecting its weak points and create the best strategy to improve the level of data security. At first, we conduct thorough research to get to know the system. Then the pentest is concluded, and the detected system vulnerabilities are carefully analyzed. Our testers right scripts and exploits and offer their practical application. The records of the test along with recommendations from the team are gathered as a report for the development team so that they can further improve the product.


Mobile application testing is an essential part of the entire application life-cycle. Successful testing ensures the efficient and enjoyable performance of the entire system as well as compliance with security guidelines.
If you’re looking forward to testing a mobile application, look no further than Performance Lab. We’ve tested hundreds of software projects across various industries – that’s why we are always updated on new trends and practices in the field. Take a look at our services to choose the one that fits you best. Are you in to discuss your project with us? Contact the team of Performance Lab – we’ll reach out to you right away!

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