A Complete Guide to Mobile App Testing: Terms, Phases, Costs, & More

Alona O. by Alona O. on 02/16/2024

A Complete Guide to Mobile App Testing: Terms, Phases, Costs, & More

Most people can’t go an hour without their mobile gadgets — or, to be more precise, the apps installed on them. Mobile tech has revolutionized every aspect of our lives, setting fresh benchmarks for mobile software development. Now, just rolling out a mobile app doesn’t cut it. To stay ahead in the game, it’s crucial to create apps that catch user’s attention and make a lasting impression on them.

In this article, we’re going to unveil the main secret behind successful mobile app development: effective mobile testing. We’ll cover why it is important, what phases it consists of, how much it costs, and how to find a tech partner that can help release high-quality and bug-free mobile applications. 

Importance of Mobile Testing

Often underrated by companies, mobile testing is a crucial phase in the development process. But why is this the case? And why is skipping this step something no business can afford? The short answer to this question is that testing your app gives you confidence that it runs smoothly on a variety of devices and operating systems and meets end-user expectations. And if you want us to elaborate, we suggest you take a look at some numbers that speak for themselves.

  • By the end of 2026, the number of mobile users is expected to reach 7.5 billion.
  • 70% of users don’t use an app if it takes too long to load. 
  • If an application doesn’t meet user’s expectations, 65% tend to think less of a brand overall. 
  • Among the biggest user concerns associated with mobile apps are bugs (58%), crashes (57%), and overall poor performance (48%). What’s more, if an app crashes at least one, 71% of users would uninstall it immediately. 
  • If an application takes too long to launch, 28% of Americans say they wouldn’t bother fiddling with it and instead would use a competitor’s digital product. 
  • 88% of Americans feel negative about brands with poorly performing websites and mobile apps.

Looking at these numbers, it’s obvious that mobile app performance isn’t something you can take lightly. It’s a key aspect that can make or break your app’s success. So, if you want your app to generate conversions and sales, it should be optimized for peak performance.

We’ve been testing mobile apps for more than two decades, and we can say with confidence that it makes no difference whether your app is small or large – they are equally prone to bugs and defects. Therefore, investing time and resources into mobile testing isn’t a luxury but a necessity for a successful release of an app.

Here are some more reasons why mobile app testing is as important as planning, development, and technical support:

Early testing is cheaper than last-minute fixing

History is replete with examples of product owners being careless when it comes to software testing. You must have heard about Amazon’s case. In 2014, a technical glitch caused prices on thousands of items to drop down to just 1p, giving eagle-eyed customers the chance to buy themselves Christmas gifts from the pockets of family-owned businesses. 

Another notorious case worth mentioning is the Google case. Because of a glitch, there was a sudden change in search engine results, leading many SEO specialists to think that Google had rolled out another algorithm update. This glitch was resolved fairly quickly, but it goes to show how big of an impact even minor issues can have on a business. 

These are examples of technical errors from two tech giants. Both faced huge money losses, and both were able to overcome them in a relatively short time. However, the story is totally different when it comes to smaller companies. This kind of mistake, in most cases, would simply be insurmountable for product owners and could even jeopardize the existence of the entire project. 

The good news is, software errors are preventable. With professionally executed mobile QA testing, a potential glitch can be detected long before it reaches production. Moreover, even if a bug is detected, fixing it at early stages is going to be 15 times cheaper compared to later stages of development, which isn’t something to sniff at. 

You can’t afford any time for errors

According to Quettra, 77% of people start to abandon an app in just three days after installing it. In 30 days, this number grows to 90%, and in 90 days, it reaches the 95%-mark. This means that a mobile app has only 72 hours to get the user on a hook. And if an app crashes, there’s little chance it won’t be deleted at the same moment. At the end of the day, when there are millions of other similar apps, who’s going to bother using a buggy product? 

Besides bugs, mobile apps can simply feel boring and uninteresting. If you notice that you need to send a lot of push notifications because people don’t use it, it’s also a bad sign. A mobile application can only be considered successful if people are genuinely interested in using it and don’t require additional stimulation. Sounds like an utopia? However, this is more than achievable with a strong mobile app testing strategy in place. 

End users are not your beta testers

With mobile development, speed is important, but it can’t come first. If you release a raw product quickly hoping it can be improved later, the truth is, you never get a second chance to make a great impression. People are highly likely not to give a lot of attention to the app that has already disappointed them. 

Moreover, putting your name on the app with questionable performance may leave a stain on your brand’s reputation and cause you to fall out of favor. Therefore, rather than conducting experiments with your target audience and risking your business’s reputation, it’s best to concentrate on testing. This will ensure that your app won’t get uninstalled within the first minutes of use or get abandoned like half of downloaded apps and people will be able to see its value.

How Is Mobile Testing Different From Web Testing?

It’s wrong to think that mobile software testing and web testing are the same thing. From the purpose of use and intended users to the complexity of testing, the differences between them are numerous, demanding strategically distinct testing approaches. That’s where understanding of how web and mobile application testing work is important. 

One of the most obvious distinctions between the two lies in the need to test on different screen resolutions. Mobile apps are designed for smaller screens, while web apps require testing across a broader range of screen sizes, including larger desktop monitors.

Another difference is the complexity of testing. In general, web apps are easier to test. They only require evaluation across various browsers and OS without the need for additional checks on different hardware configurations. In contrast, mobile apps have to be tested on various platforms, plus, there’s a dependency on the power of the device, requiring testing with both a fully charged and drained battery. 

Furthermore, mobile applications involve quite a lot of interaction with users, like gestures, noise, speech, and so on. While web apps also involve these interactions, the scope is considerably larger in mobile testing. Plus, since mobile apps are often used along with other peripheral devices like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and pacemakers, testing must account for potential interferences or dependencies on these devices too, which adds an extra layer of complexity to the testing process. 

As you can see, the nature of web apps and mobile apps is different, and therefore, their testing requirements will be different too. Broadly speaking, mobile testing is about testing an app across all mobile gadgets, while web app testing is primarily focused on testing the performance of your app across multiple mobile browsers. 

Types of Mobile Apps

Before we delve into details, let’s start by saying that mobile apps are not created equal. There are three main types of mobile apps, each requiring different testing methods. Here they are:

  • Native apps – these apps are designed for specific platforms and operating systems.
  • Mobile web apps – also known as progressive web apps, mobile web apps can work on any mobile device while also being accessible through mobile browsers. 
  • Hybrid apps – these apps combine the functionality of both native and mobile web apps. They are created using a mixture of technologies like CSS, HTML5, PHP, and Java and take less time to deploy compared to native apps.

Types of Mobile Testing

Mobile testing is an intricate process that can’t be done by running a single test. It’s important to conduct a combination of various testing types to ensure that the app performs well on all devices and every one of its features functions as intended. 

Further down, we’ll walk you through the many different types of mobile application QA testing that take place on mobile devices.

By and large, all testing types fall into two main groups:

  • Hardware testing – a type of testing focused on verifying the physical attributes and interactions with the device itself. This includes internal components of mobile devices, screen sizes, camera, space and memory, WiFi, Bluetooth, and so on. When people speak about hardware testing, they usually refer to it as mobile testing. 
  • Software testing (or application testing) – this type of testing focuses on applications, in particular their features and how they work on mobile devices. 

In addition, there are three software testing approaches, which include:

  • White box testing, an approach that involves testing from the point of view of a developer with knowledge of the code structure and system architecture;
  • Black box testing, which allows QA analysts or focus groups to test an app from the end user’s perspective, without having any idea how it was built or even programming skills;
  • Gray box testing, a hybrid approach that assumes partial knowledge of the internal structure of the system. 

Now, let’s go over the many different types of mobile tests and approaches used for testing mobile applications. 

  • Functional testing. It verifies that the application’s functionality meets the documented project requirements. 
  • Compatibility testing, or non-functional testing. It defines how an application works across various operating systems and platforms, and whether its codebase is bug-free, scalable, and reusable.
  • Usability testing. As the name suggests, this type of testing is all about the app’s user-friendliness, e.g. whether it’s got bugs and how end users perceive it.
  • Performance testing. It checks how the app behaves under a particular load.
  • Security testing. This testing is carried out to ensure that the application doesn’t violate user data and maintains a high level of security across various device permission requests. 
  • Installation testing. It checks how the application installs and installs and whether mobile app updates work smoothly. 
  • Exploratory testing. It helps detect key errors in the app functionality and ensure it works according to the requirements. 
  • Storage testing. This testing is done to check how the app performs its storage-related tasks, such as storing, retrieving, and deleting data on and from the storage device when there is enough or not enough space on the device. 
  • Interruption testing. It helps detect the amount of interruptions (calls, messages, notifications, etc.) an average user gets during a day and find solutions to keep them to a minimum. When performing this type of testing, a tester takes into account everything, from user experience issues to crashes and performance issues under the load.
  • Input testing. Finally, a tester should explore all scenarios of input actions on the device when using a mobile app, such as finger gestures, voice search, and sensor inputs like proximity sensor, pressure sensor, temperature sensor, humidity sensor, gyroscope, and so on. 

Aside from the above-mentioned testing types, mobile app QA testing involves the following: 

  • Battery usage testing. Testers check the app under various battery capacities.
  • Hardware-specific testing. You check the compatibility of the app with different hardware configurations.
  • Standby testing. The app goes through tests to check how quickly it awakens from the standby mode.
  • Beta testing. The app is tested in real-world environments to gather feedback about its functionality and UI. 

Manual vs. Automated Testing for Mobile Projects: Which One Is Preferred?

Since the advent of automated testing in software testing, it has never left the front seat, remaining the main driving force behind the rapid development of digital products. However, when it comes to mobile projects, the choice between manual and automated testing isn’t that simple. Both approaches bring their own set of advantages and limitations to the testing table. Let’s look at the pros and cons of manual and automated testing and see which one is best to use and in which case. 

Automated testing

Automated testing is a process where QA engineers write test scripts that run the tests themselves without the need for human intervention. These scripts target certain results, and whether they meet them or not are compared and analyzed by testers at the end of the test. In this way, mobile QA testing teams can save significant amounts of time and resources required for thorough quality control.  


  • Speed. The main strength of automated testing is the speed at which it runs tests. Automated testing can quickly execute repetitive tasks, covering extensive scenarios in a fraction of the time it would take for manual testing. 
  • Reusability. Another advantage of mobile test automation is that it allows for test scripts to be reused across different phases of development and various devices, ensuring consistent test coverage.  
  • Accuracy. Finally, automation means there’s less of a risk of human errors, providing precise and reliable results. 


  • Initial setup. Creating and setting up automated tests takes considerable time, effort, and technical skills. Unlike manual testing, automated testing requires a deep expertise in coding and frameworks, which can be a hurdle for some teams.
  • Maintenance. As the application evolves, automated tests may need continuous updates and maintenance to align with the changes in the codebase. This may put additional stress on smaller companies with limited resources. 

Manual testing

Contrary to automated testing, where tests are performed automatically, manual testing means all the program checks are being executed by QA analysts by hand. It’s a classic way of software testing, and it can never be replaced by automated QA. Why? As long as mobile apps are being developed for people, it’s only people who can adequately judge whether the app meets their needs and requirements.


  • Adaptability. Manual testing allows testers to quickly adapt to changes.
  • Intuition. Human intuition is invaluable in uncovering unexpected issues and providing insights into user experience, something automated mobile testing will never be good at.
  • Cost-effective for small projects. Manual testing may be a more cost-effective option for smaller projects or those with limited resources. 


  • Time-consuming. The main drawback of manual testing is that it can be rather time-consuming, especially when dealing with repetitive test scenarios. 
  • Limited scalability. As the application grows and extends with new features and functionality, it may become challenging to cover all possible test scenarios manually.
  • Prone to mistakes. Since this testing type is executed by people, it’s not protected from human errors, potentially leading to inaccurate results. 

While you might have the impression that automated testing offers more benefits, in reality, it’s not possible to say which of the two approaches is the most preferred way of testing mobile applications. In mobile testing, the choice largely depends on the project’s specific requirements. 

For example, for large-scale projects with frequent changes, it may be best to apply a holistic approach that would incorporate both manual and automated testing. In this case, automated testing would help handle repetitive and regression testing effectively, while manual testing would provide the needed adaptability required for exploratory scenarios. 

On the other hand, if the project is relatively small and isn’t likely to scale in the near future, the use of manual testing may be optimal. Moreover, not all tests can and should be automated. A case in point is UI interactions and device compatibility. In both scenarios, automated tests may struggle to capture the intricacies of user interactions and replicate the real-world conditions of different devices, making manual testing an important part of mobile app testing.

2 - Challenges of Mobile Application Testing

Challenges of Mobile Application Testing and How They Can Be Overcomed


One of the biggest pain points of mobile app quality assurance is fragmentation – a term that describes the many physical devices with different screen sizes, form factors and operating systems. And even if we only have two operating systems – Android and iOS, the number of existing versions is much larger. Add to this a ton of smartphones and tablets, flagship and old-but-still-in-use devices, and you get a complex matrix of combinations. 

The tester should be able to identify the most commonly used device models and OS versions and create a test plan that covers all possible combinations to eliminate compatibility issues. Obviously, it’s impossible to test every single combination, but using the most prevalent of them as guidance is necessary. In this regard, there are a number of measures that organizations can use to overcome these challenges:

  • Take advantage of simulators and emulators;
  • Acquire a small number of devices that will be explicitly used for testing (if the budget is rather limited);
  • Invest in a good range of mobile devices to create extensive testing coverage;
  • Opt for a cloud-hosted device farm – another very popular and reliable testing technique;
  • Delegate testing to an external testing team with an extensive physical device network. 

Emulators vs. simulators

Many people, including testers, use these two terms interchangeably without fully understanding their differences. However, they aren’t the same, and it’s essential to understand how they work to pick the right one for your project. 

An emulator is a software solution that allows QA teams to test the performance of an app based on the hardware part of the mobile phone, including the OS, processor, RAM, battery performance, and so on. That way, if you run a fairly resource-intensive game that lags on, say, a particular Android smartphone, it will also lag in the emulator of the same phone, signaling you about the problem.

Similarly, if there are any issues with particular browsers and mobile devices, emulators will help replicate the entire mobile device environment, enabling QA engineers to catch those issues and prevent them from slipping into the production phase. All told emulators give you a full picture of mobile platforms with all the required details. 

On the other hand, a simulator is a software solution that simulates the operation of software on your system without installing it. One of the best examples to explain how this works is to look at flight simulators. By using these simulators, pilots can adjust the flight’s speed, inclination, and altitude and evaluate the overall flight conditions without leaving the ground or even getting inside the airplane. Similarly, mobile simulators can mimic a mobile device on your desktop and run an application through it without the need for actual hardware emulation. 

Most often, simulators are used in cross-browser testing and responsive testing, where you want to check how an application responds to different screen sizes, resolutions, and operating systems but not delve too deeply into the intricacies of specific hardware components. 

Both emulators and simulators are helpful when it comes to testing applications, but they can’t help with everything. For example, things like the device’s performance, battery usage, and power can only be evaluated using real devices. Moreover, you won’t be able to understand the perception of the app’s UI without checking it through the real testing environment. Therefore, testing with real mobile devices is essential.

Mobile OS release cycles

In addition to fragmentation, testing teams face another challenge: the frequency of OS release cycles. Competition in the market is fierce, and mobile hardware manufacturers have no choice but to compete for the attention of end users by bringing us new releases and updates as often as they can. Traditionally, market leaders present their new flagship mobile devices every year, and many of them release software and new hardware. Altogether, this sets a new standard for the entire mobile software industry in terms of user interfaces, screen aspect ratios, navigation tools, and APIs. 

A great example of such a drastic change that has revolutionized the industry is the release of the iPhone X and iOS 11. These were the first two mobile phones featuring new safeAreaInput values, gesture interface, a display shape aka “screen fringe”, artboard size, pixel density, new typography, and so on. What seemed rather unusual and even redundant at first very soon became a permanent feature of modern mobile hardware. Now, most any recent phone has one or all of these features. This highlights the significance of staying on top of the trends and balancing out new OS versions with older ones. 


Unlike iOS, which is exclusively distributed by Apple Inc. and runs only on Apple-branded mobile hardware such as iPhone, iPad, etc. without customization, Android’s policy is far more democratic when it comes to customizable OS features. Hardware producers who choose to build their products on Android are allowed to create custom user interfaces, hiding the core Android mobile architecture beneath any design patterns of their choice. 

The most known custom user interfaces based on Android include One UI by Samsung, EMUI by Huawei, and MIUI by Xiaomi. These interfaces not only differ in aesthetics, but they also perform differently and have a different speed. Understandably, when it comes to Android app testing, QA teams need to spend extra time checking performance and usability on different custom user interfaces in addition to devices, screen sizes, resolutions, and OS versions.

Open and closed systems

In terms of codebase accessibility, the two operating systems also have drastic differences. iOS is a closed-source system based on the XNU kernel. Programming languages prevailing in iOS are Swift, C, C++, and Objective-C. Apple’s mobile software development standards are rather strict, and adhering to these standards is among the key responsibilities of iOS app testing teams. 

Android OS, in turn, has an open-source codebase owned by Google, with the OS core being mostly based on Linux and written in C and C++. Google’s policy toward software development and Android application testing has always been rather open and welcoming for engineers. This doesn’t mean that Android mobile app testing and development standards are lower, but they are certainly more lenient for Google Play contributors. For example, in iOS mobile testing, application updates rarely get approved by Apple’s App Review team after the first attempt, while in Android testing, this isn’t such a rare case. 

Deployment cycle

Due to the fact that Apple maintains its mobile operating system strictly unified, the deployment process with iOS apps is usually faster compared to Android. This is because Apple is trying to keep optimizations and performance similar across all versions of iOS currently in use. Obviously, the phase of preparing your iOS app’s build to be uploaded to the App Store will still have lots of steps to follow, but because they will be more or less the same for all iOS versions, the process will be expedited considerably. 

As you have guessed, this can’t be said about mobile devices running on the operating system by Google. Any smartphone or tablet that didn’t receive the latest OS version or runs on a custom UI will require much more extensive testing. To streamline this process, testing teams can engage more sources and incorporate automation tools. 

Update tolerance 

Application updates are an important part of mobile software development and testing. However, they don’t just go to the store like that. Both Google Play Market and App Store have established review and approval processes to validate the updates before they reach users’ devices. In the case of Apple, this usually takes from 24 to 48 hours, while Google may take from 4 up to 6 days. 

While it takes a bit longer with Google, the Apple review process is more rigorous, meaning you won’t necessarily get approved on the first try and may end up waiting longer. Therefore, if you’re planning a synchronized update for iOS and Android devices, it’s important to ensure that your app is vetted for bugs and errors and can be reviewed and approved on both platforms at the same time.

Mobile Web Development Stages and Corresponding Mobile App Testing Techniques

App quality assurance can’t be discussed separately from software development, as both activities are interconnected. In fact, if we take the Waterfall model that was used by the majority of companies just a few years ago, testing there is included as yet another phase of the development lifecycle that can’t be moved or replaced. Here is how it looks:

  • Research and conceptualization;
  • Project planning;
  • Design;
  • Development;
  • Testing;
  • Deployment.

Over time, the “develop first, test later” approach has discredited itself by being inefficient for many IT teams. Now, it’s being gradually replaced by Agile, offering a holistic approach to software quality assurance. The main concept of Agile is that testing should start as soon as the team begins developing a digital project – and, in many cases even far before the actual programming. This way, teams can detect poorly functioning code and high-level errors affecting the whole application.

Following that concept, here are the steps the mobile development process is divided into and the corresponding testing techniques for each of them.

Application prototyping and concept testing

The first step in app development is creating a prototype. A prototype serves as an initial blueprint that offers a tangible representation of the future application with basic features and functionality.

Prototyping testing allows teams to assess the usability of a future product, its core functions, and the validity of the concept as a whole. Unlike the ready-made application, a digital prototype has no large codebase behind it, which means it doesn’t take long to create one. In fact, you can easily make one in design programs like Figma or Invision.

MVP & key features testing

MVP is a software development method used to “test the waters”. As the name implies, the product has only the core features that make it viable and allow it to be launched into the market. The idea behind an MVP is to collect user feedback, understand what they like and don’t like about the product, and whether it’s needed at all. If the MVP is successful, the team can proceed with further development, expanding its functionality with new features. This way, your application reaches users (or a focus group) faster without wasting time or resources on major rework. 

Unlike prototypes, the MVP has an actual codebase that can later be used as the basis for the final version. When it comes to UI/UX design, it usually doesn’t focus much on aesthetics, though you can also test the overall style and color scheme of your application at this stage. In terms of MVP testing, QA specialists not only test the shortened version before deploying it but also follow it up with the analysis of feedback from early adopters. 

Release & functional testing

When people think about QA, most don’t think it is just functional testing. However, functional testing is, without a doubt, the fundamental step of mobile QA testing. The purpose of functional testing is to compare the functional requirements of a product to what is actually developed. It focuses on accessibility, core functionality, basic usability, potential bugs, and how to fix them, and it is done in conjunction with the other types of testing.

Post-release support & regression testing

The work of development and testing teams doesn’t end when the app hits the App Store or Google Market. Regular updates of mobile applications are just as important as a successful launch. However, even the slightest glitch in the codebase can lead to serious errors and even program crashes. This is when regression testing comes into focus.

Mobile regression testing is the process of checking whether new code conflicts with old software or causes lags. Compared to desktop testing, regression testing of mobile applications can be more difficult to perform due to the many technical combinations (application architecture – native or cross-platform, mobile platform, its version, etc.).

What Features Are Analyzed in Mobile App Testing

As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s unrealistic to test every single feature of an app. Firstly, the deadlines are usually quite rigid. And secondly, comprehensively testing every feature may simply be impractical given resource limitations. Therefore, testers are expected to focus on the features that are the most important to the audience. Generally, the most critical features of an app are:

  • Design;
  • UI;
  • Security;
  • Functionality.

Let’s take an eCommerce app. Its core features would be the catalog, shopping cart, and payment mechanism. If we take an e-learning course, for example, we’d be looking at the features such as content accessibility, user interface, and the functionality of interactive elements like assessments and quizzes if they are implemented in the app. These are the key features that need to be tested thoroughly because any lags or glitches in these areas will detract from the user’s experience or – worse than that – make the use of an app impossible. 

Ideally, your testing team should have a diverse expertise in testing applications from different industries to be able to determine which features are most important quickly. At the same time, it’s always a good idea to engage with a control group of potential users, seeking their opinions on the features they deem most significant. This strategy ensures a comprehensive evaluation that aligns with both industry standards and user expectations. 


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How to Create a Mobile Test Plan

Creating a detailed mobile test plan is the key to ensuring the successful development and deployment of a mobile application. Here’s what a good mobile test should include:

3 - Challenges of Mobile Application Testing


  • Objectives and scope. The test plan must clearly outline the objectives of the testing process. It’s important to specify the scope of testing, including what devices, platforms, and OS versions will be covered through testing. 
  • Testing types. The test plan should provide guidance on the types of testing required for each stage of development, as well as any additional types of testing needed along the way. 
  • Resources. The roles and responsibilities of the testing team should be clearly specified in the plan. Based on these roles, it’s essential to ensure that the team has access to the necessary hardware, devices, and mobile testing tools. 
  • Testing tools. The plan should specify testing tools that will be used to test an app. They should be selected based on the mobile platform and technologies used in your application.
  • Test cases. Each identified feature and functionality should have a detailed test case, including positive and negative test scenarios, edge cases, and boundary tests. Furthermore, each test case should include the expected outcome. 
  • Order of priority. Test cases must be prioritized based on the criticality of features and functionalities and their impact on user experience.
  • Execution plan. The test plan should include a timeline for each testing phase, including both manual and automated testing.  
  • Data management. It has to provide details on how test data will be managed throughout the testing process.
  • Bug tracking and reporting. The test plan should incorporate a robust bug tracking and reporting mechanism. This involves providing clear criteria for the severity and priority of bugs and identifying means for communicating them to stakeholders.

More importantly, it’s important to maintain documentation throughout the testing process, marking down test results, issues, resolutions, and any modifications made to the test plan. This documentation will expedite future development cycles while reducing the number of potential errors. 

When developing a test plan, a testing team should also consider a few more things, such as:

  • Device testing. It’s important to clearly define the devices, including smartphones and tablets, on which the application will be tested. Additionally, the team should know the device-access-security policy of each device the app is designed to support to ensure effective testing. 
  • Operating system versions. You should have a clear idea of the range of operating system versions that will be included in the testing process. Mobile applications should be compatible with both the latest and earlier versions of popular OS. If you’re using a mobile device lab, make sure their products are optimized for various OS combinations. 
  • Browser compatibility. If the mobile application involves web-based components, the plan should include testing for browser compatibility.
  • Network conditions. The performance of an app can be directly affected by the carrier used. Therefore, a QA department must test a mobile application under different mobile network conditions, including 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi. This will help identify and address potential challenges users might face in real-world usage.  
  • Security considerations. One of the most important types of testing is security testing. It ensures that your mobile application complies with security best practices, and if there are any vulnerabilities, they are fixed upfront. 
  • Interrupt conditions testing. This testing type is aimed at checking how the app behaves when interruptions like phone calls, messages, or notifications occur.

Who Should Perform Mobile App Testing?

As a rule, mobile apps are tested by dedicated QA teams. However, quite often, the testing of mobile apps involves engaging non-QA specialists such as stakeholders, product owners, developers, and potential users, which benefits development a lot. 

First off, non-technical participants can look at the app from different perspectives and notice things that might escape the attention of a QA manager. Secondly, there’s also a chance that they may come up with a feature or functionality that will help improve the app and make it more attractive and well-rounded in the eyes of the end users. So, it’s always good to have a control group of non-technical people as well. 

When it comes to the testing team, it usually includes the following composition:

  • QA Lead – a person who manages all the testing activities and delegates workload across the team. QA Lead is responsible for high-level things associated with quality control like the choice of testing strategy, resource planning and allocation, performance review of the team members, etc. Also, it’s the person who takes care of external communication with stakeholders and product owners and gathers project requirements.
  • Test Architect – this role is the highest technical position in the team. The QA architect must analyze application requirements and develop the most suitable testing strategy and mobile testing framework. Also, if the team has any questions regarding app development, it will be the test architect who is expected to provide support. 
  • QA Analyst – the role of QA analysts is aimed at balancing software quality control with the current state of the digital market. They need to have strong testing skills as well as a good industry-specific background. QA analysts closely collaborate with UI/UX designers, marketing department, and product owners, helping them come up with a product that would deliver a great mobile experience. 
  • Automation Tester – a software testing engineer who’s well versed in QA automation tools like HP Unified Functional Testing or Selenium. The role of an automation tester places greater emphasis on programming proficiency and software testing skills next, although this is debatable (manual testers disagree with this, and many of them actually become excellent automation QA specialists. For example, at QArea, some of the best automation testers have done manual testing in the past). The main duties of automation testers mostly involve writing test scripts and validating the outcomes. 
  • Manual Tester – manual QA engineers test the apps by hand. Manual testing is very important when it comes to the app’s usability, intuitive UI/UX, and other user-facing features of an application. In addition to testing, manual testers are often responsible for maintaining project paperwork, e.g. documentation and bug reports. 
  • UI/UX Tester – a person who has a web design background and can easily distinguish high-quality elements from bad ones. Although UI/UX designers closely work with the design department, they are still considered part of a QA team. The role of a UI/UX designer includes evaluating the app’s interface, detecting and reporting any inaccuracies, and re-checking everything after bug fixes. 

Now, you might be wondering which option is best – hire an in-house team or outsource mobile testing to a remote team. Here, it all boils down to the workflow you have. For example, if you’re a studio specializing in developing applications, you might benefit from assembling your own team of QA specialists. Having your internal team will give you control over the testing process and allow you to quickly address issues as they arise. However, in most cases, mobile app owners choose to turn to outsourcing, and here are the reasons why:

  • Most often, mobile applications do not require too many resources for ongoing maintenance and technical support in the long term, so it’s more cost-efficient to hire a remote team for a project.
  • Outsourcing provides access to a wide pool of tech talent, allowing you to find specialists with the knowledge of any technologies and tools required for your application. 
  • Outsourcing will save you from investing in physical testing devices as most of the mobile testing teams are equipped with a proper device lab. 
  • With outsourcing, you won’t need to worry if you can’t provide the team with full-time work. It’s a working model perfectly suitable for both short-term and long-term projects. 

Outsourcing proves more cost-effective as there are no overhead costs, plus, the average rates of testers from popular outsourcing destinations tend to be lower.

How Much Does It Cost to Test Mobile Applications?

The average salary of a software testing engineer in the USA, according to Indeed, is $43.37 per hour, which brings us to $90,207 per year. Junior testers charge slightly less. Their hourly rates start at $26.44, which is still quite a lot. 

In contrast to the USA, the average salary of mobile testers from Latin America starts at $4,000 per month. This makes it one of the most cost-effective locations for outsourcing, though not the only one. Western Europe and Eastern Europe are two other attractive options often considered for outsourcing. For example, the annual salary of a tester from Germany, known for its skillful testing experts, ranges from $40,000 to $68,000 per year. In France, it will be $45,000-76,000. In the Netherlands, you’ll pay around $34,000- $90,000. And if you hire testers from Ireland, you’ll be looking at a bill of around $47,000 to $55,000. 

Eastern Europe is even more budget-friendly. For example, the median salary for a Ukrainian tester is $26,148. For senior-level engineers, this number goes up to $35,000 per year. In Poland, the average salary of a mobile tester is $37,000, depending on the experience and technology stack. 

If we take the Asian region, the prices will go down even more. Indian software testers earn from $2,600 to $11,000 annually, while the average salary of a QA analyst from Pakistan is $5,000. On the downside, these regions aren’t known for the best possible quality, which means you’ll need a larger control group to ensure the outcomes match your quality standards. 

As you can see, the cost of mobile testing may vary drastically depending on the location of a testing team. The Asian labor market is huge and provides testing services at comparatively lower rates. However, note that this market may not always be synonymous with the highest quality work. On the other hand, Eastern Europe has made a name for itself as an attractive destination for outsourcing due to a perfect balance of rates and quality. On top of that, it doesn’t have a shortage of IT talent, allowing foreign clients to access diverse skill sets. 

What to Look for in a QA Team

Choosing a testing team can be rather difficult, especially for those who have never done this before. You need to analyze the IT service market and ensure that the team you plan to hire actually means business. That’s where you should consider the following things:

  • Official website. A website is a touch-point that represents a company in the business world, especially if we’re talking about a company that works with software products. Take the time to look through it, paying attention to the content and all the little things like menus, buttons, etc. The site should work smoothly without any lags. If the team has launched their own website without testing, this isn’t the team you need.
  • Company’s portfolio. The portfolio should reflect the company’s background in mobile testing. Make sure that you don’t just look at the number of delivered projects but also estimate their relevancy and business domains. Teams with industry-specific experience will have a better understanding of product requirements and user expectations. 
  • Testing coverage. One of the most important aspects to consider is whether the testing agency has a good set-up of devices to test mobile applications. For example, at TestFort, we have 250+ physical testing devices, which means we can provide thorough testing across a wide range of devices. 
  • Client testimonials and reviews. Usually, mobile app testing companies publish customer testimonials right on their website, but don’t stop just there. You will definitely find more interesting information if you look up websites such as Clutch or Techreviewer.co dedicated to collecting client reviews and ratings. 
  • Awards and certifications. Companies that have been in the industry for quite a while and put a lot of effort into their work eventually receive public recognition. This doesn’t mean that those that haven’t been awarded yet should be crossed off your list. However, awards and certifications certainly add points to the company’s reputation. 
  • Employee feedback. If you really want to get the lowdown about the company’s in-house operations, you should go to the job review websites. Though these sites don’t always reflect unbiased information – for obvious reasons, they may still provide you with some valuable insights you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere else. 

Final Thoughts

Mobile testing shares common objects with any type of software quality assurance, aiming to verify if the app works as intended. However, the unique challenges of mobile testing, the fast-paced evolution of development standards, and many other issues we’ve discussed in this article set it apart from desktop software testing. A mobile application should not only operate smoothly across various platforms, devices, and operating systems, but it also should bring value to users so they want to come back to it and use the app again and again.

Seeing the rise in the number of mobile devices and the growing dependence on gadgets for almost everything in daily life, mobile app companies cannot afford to ignore the testing phase. Without it, it simply will not withstand the competition and will not generate leads. Therefore, investing in a professional team of testers who can run end-to-end testing is an important step in mobile app development to increase your chances of creating a successful mobile application that resonates with users and doesn’t lag. 

Written by
Alona O., Сopywriter at TestFort

A copywriter with 13 years of experience in marketing and tech-related fields. Loves researching about topics and investing them in depth. Has a passion for learning new things and expanding her horizons. Her greatest joy is bringing value to readers by imparting her knowledge and insights through well-researched and compelling content.

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