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How to test android apps

How to test android apps
December 3, 2021


Even without statistics, it is obvious that today Google Play Market is chock-full of applications. What is important is that the number of Android applications is continuously growing. Therefore, the subject of Android app testing is still relevant. Taking into account severe competition it is indeed important to meet users’ expectations and do not let them down in terms of app quality. This mission is possible in case a QA team leverages the right approach to Android app testing. If this kind of software testing is your weak spot or you are a newbie, this article will provide you with a host of useful tips and tricks.

What is mobile testing?

We offer to start with basics and briefly review the conception of mobile testing in general.

Mobile testing is a process of checking mobile applications, i.e. software programs running on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, for functionality, performance, security, usability, etc. It can be carried out with the help of manual or automated tests. Whatever method is applied the main mission is to ensure that a mobile app meets either business requirements or end-users’ needs and expectations.

Traditionally, the following major types of mobile applications are differentiated:

Native apps are designed for a particular platform with corresponding languages and SDK and are generally installed via a corresponding app store.
Mobile web apps are developed with the help of server-side technologies and are accessed via mobile browsers. Both responsive website versions and progressive web apps are classified as mobile web apps.
Hybrid apps also run on mobile devices and are installed via app stores but are developed with web technologies. Compared to mobile web apps, these apps can make use of the in-built capabilities of a mobile device and features of the operating system.

Automation vs manual testing of Android mobile app

Automation testing is gaining traction day by day. So the question of whether to automate your Android app testing arises. As a matter of fact, it depends on your app.

Usually, for small and simple Android mobile apps there is no sense to implement automation testing. But even in this situation automation can be still used in case of tight deadlines, extensive market targeting, immense device coverage, etc. Besides, you will have to use automation for performance testing that just cannot be conducted manually.

When it comes to large-scale and complex Android apps, automation testing is definitely the most winning scenario that lets a QA team achieve maximum efficiency, accelerate test procedures, and save a ton of time, effort, and money in the long run. Apart from performance testing, regression testing is the main candidate for test automation which can be implemented via test automation solutions available today on the market. Frankly speaking, the range of automation testing tools for Android apps is rather wide. The market leaders are Appium, Android Studio, Selendroid, Espresso, Roboelectric, etc.

Generally, the optimal share of automated tests in the whole testing scope is about 70 – 80%. The thing is that manual testing is still irreplaceable for particular test scenarios. So the implementation of test automation is not a reason to put manual testing aside.

Stages of Android mobile app testing

To gain excellent results it is essential to have a proper testing strategy and provide a smooth workflow. In this context, we offer you to get acquainted with the main stages of Android app testing.

Test planning

A thorough test planning is half the battle. It is essential from the early beginning to define the most important aspects of mobile app testing and design its strategy. At this stage, a QA team outlines test scope, test coverage, device coverage, required resources, estimated deadlines, and others. Besides, a decision is made whether to implement test automation and which test scenarios to automate.

Test environment set up

It is necessary to have all the required real devices in place. If there is a need to make use of emulators, simulators, or cloud devices, corresponding preparations should be done as well.

Test case/script writing

As long as it has been decided which app functionality should be covered with tests, QA experts get to test case design. In a broad sense, a test case is a list of steps to be done in order to check if an app behaves as expected in a particular situation. Test scripts are designed if the team has arrived at a decision to cover certain test scenarios with automated tests.

Test execution and bug reporting

The next stage is test execution and bug reporting. Usually, the active testing phase starts with functional testing to guarantee that all the core functionalities of an Android app work well. Firstly, it is better to execute manual exploration testing, and if an application under test (AUT) is stable enough move to automated testing.

UI testing and usability testing are also of high importance as they let QA experts evaluate user experience and understand whether an Android app under test is easy to use, intuitive, user-friendly, and without UI defects.

Compatibility testing must be executed to check whether an app works properly on all targeted device models. This type of testing also gives an opportunity to ensure great user satisfaction.

Performance testing plays a crucial role in any app testing. In essence, there are several types of performance testing - volume testing, stress testing, stability testing, load testing, spike testing. In general, performance testing checks app behavior within and far beyond estimated workloads. As the required levels of loads can be simulated only with the help of special tools, performance testing is all about automation.

As app performance and main functionality are checked it is high time to make sure that the app is secure enough and meets corresponding standards. It is a turn of security testing and compliance testing.

Apart from all the above-mentioned tests, it is essential also to pay attention to installation testing, update testing, interruption testing, recovery testing, device resource testing, and network configuration testing.


So it is predictable that the last stage is reporting and making conclusions. At this stage, a comprehensive report on the results of Android app testing is generated. The detected and fixed bugs are analyzed, the most vulnerable app modules are defined, and a decision on further improvement or readiness for release is made.

The peculiarities of testing Android mobile apps

Undoubtedly Android app testing has certain peculiarities that we just cannot miss out on in our article. So, let’s take a look at them.

The necessity to test apps across a great variety of devices

Android is open-source, in such a way multiple manufacturers use and modify it. Consequently, there is a great diversity of Android-powered devices and the task of a QA team is to make sure that on whatever devices an application is run, the user experience is equally awesome.

In fact, such fragmentation of mobile devices leads to other three peculiarities described below.

Screen size

The variety of Android-powered devices comes with a variety of screen sizes. In these terms, it is essential to verify whether a mobile application support all screen sizes or at least those that are the most popular among the target audience.

Hardware diversity

Different manufacturers produce mobile devices with considerable differences in hardware specifications. It must be also taken into account as an Android application can use resources of a mobile device in a different way depending on the hardware.

Backward compatibility

Each manufacture decides on its own when to provide users with OS updates and whether to do this at all. It results in a situation when a great share of users run applications on devices with older OS versions. Therefore backward compatibility testing is a must for Android applications as there is always a need to test an application on at least a few latest OS versions.

Several distribution channels

When it comes to Android applications, they can be installed on a mobile device not only from the official Google Play Store but also from different external websites and memory cards. This inevitably has an impact on security. Consequently, Android applications must undergo more comprehensive security testing, compared to iOS applications for example.

Useful tips for Android app testing

To help you provide efficient Android app testing and easily overcome possible challenges, we have completed a list of tips that may be useful for you.

Execute testing on the most popular mobile devices

According to the perfect scenario, an app should be tested on as many mobile devices as possible in order to make sure that users will enjoy the app whatever device is used. In practice, it is pretty time-consuming and expensive. In this case, the happy medium is to identify the most widely used devices and conduct testing on them. Samsung Electronics, Google, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo are currently the main players on the market. So choose the most appropriate models and add them to your stock of testing devices.

Always test your app on various Android versions

Over the years of its existence, twelve Android versions have already come out. To have a wider range of happy users, consider supporting and therefore testing on as many OS versions as possible. Nevertheless, Google Play requires apps to target recent Android versions foremost. So, it is a good idea to start testing on devices powered by the most popular Android versions and the latest version and then proceed to the older ones if time permits.

Do not use emulators for manual testing

What is suitable for development is not always good for QA. While developers make active use of emulators, a QA team would rather test mobile applications on real devices. There are lots of reasons for this. First of all, you can emulate how an app looks, but not how it feels - using it with a full-size keyboard and mouse cannot be compared with a real-life experience. Certain user interactions, like pinching, scrolling, and zooming are considerably different on the touchscreen. So accurate usability testing of mobile apps can be executed only on real devices.

The necessity to execute proper performance testing is one more argument for the importance of testing on real mobile devices. With an emulator or simulator, it is just impossible to define and assess memory consumption, CPU consumption, or battery draining out. Besides, using emulators it is impossible to experience and check network issues.

Last but not least, by testing an Android app on a device you can get it affected by different third-party software, which you cannot reproduce on the emulator.

Pay particular attention to memory issues

High memory consumption is a common problem for many mobile apps. Far too often apps or games do not run on particular Android-powered devices due to extremely high memory consumption. As a rule, the most popular and highly rated apps in the Google Play Store do not have this problem. So to ensure Android app success it is important to check and test app memory handling across the range of different Android devices, including high-end and low-end ones.

Check compliance with Google Play Store guidelines

Google Play Store guidelines define the Privacy Policy and Content Policy with which an Android app must comply. In case your application does not meet these requirements its deployment in the Play Store can be refused and you may not meet the deadlines.

Do not ignore beta testing

As beta testing is executed by the real app users, on real devices, and in real-life conditions, it can provide a QA team with numerous useful insights enabling it to increase the quality of an Android app before its official release. Beta testers can provide you with feedback on the app running on different devices and with different network variations (Wi-Fi, 5G, 4G, 3G, and 2G) and report bugs that have been left out by the QA team. Due to beta testing, you can launch your Android app being confident that it will be well accepted by end-users.

The most commonly used testing tools for Android applications

Now, as you know what Android app testing is like, you understand that it is a holistic process addressing the multiple aspects of the app running. As a consequence, there is a lot of tools for this purpose helping QA teams efficiently automate different types of tests. The most commonly used among them are listed below:

UI Automator;
OWASP Zed Attack Proxy, etc.

Why Android mobile app testing is so important?

As a matter of fact, testing of any software is of primary importance, and Android applications are not an exception. The success of your app depends not only on the offered set of features but on its quality which covers the most diverse criteria - app performance, stability, security, convenience, user-friendliness, and many others. All these are covered with software testing. Experienced QA experts conduct a wide range of different tests to check your Android app inside out and provide high app quality and high user satisfaction. In spite of additional time and investments, Android mobile app testing justifies itself and lets you stay confident of the app taking off and high ROI.


To wrap it up, we would like to say that today’s mobile users are indeed picky which is why it is crucial to provide a high quality of your Android app to let it take off. Android app testing has certain peculiarities that are mainly caused by the fact that this operating system is open source. The article provides a set of tips that can help to overcome difficulties and execute Android app testing in the best possible way.


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