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Posted November 2, 2022

8 Steps for Planning a Mobile Testing Strategy

Learn the best practices and steps for creating a winning mobile testing strategy.


To put any idea into a practical action plan, you need a strategy. Same goes for mobile app testing: if you don’t have a strategy, you can’t test your apps effectively or efficiently. 

In this blog post, we’ll explain the best practices and steps for creating a winning mobile testing strategy.

1. Understand Mobile Testing Challenges

Mobile app testing is more complex than testing desktop and web applications. To create a testing strategy you have to know what challenges may stand in your way. Common mobile testing challenges include device fragmentation, screen size and OS fragmentation, manufacturer fragmentation, localization, mobile network operators and users mobility, and different types of mobile apps and testing tools.

2. Select Your Mobile Device Mix for Testing

With so many mobile device models and manufacturers in the market, it’s no longer a safe bet to test only on Apple and Samsung devices. While iPhones are still the most popular mobile phones in every region, manufacturers like Xiaomi, Huawei, and OPPO are disrupting markets in densely populated regions like China and India. Given the magnitude of possibilities, deciding which devices to test on can be overwhelming.

Learn how to choose mobile devices for testing, including our recommended devices to test on by region and business size.

3. Incorporate a Mix of Real Devices and Emulators and Simulators

Now that you have your test cases and device mix in place, it’s time to choose where to run your mobile tests.

To get the most out of your mobile testing efforts, we recommend using a mix of both real devices and virtual devices (Android emulators and iOS simulators) as part of your mobile testing strategy. One option promises more accurate test results, while the other delivers greater agility.

Learn more about real devices vs. Android emulators and iOS simulators, including what to test on each.

4. Know the Types of Mobile Application Testing

Mobile app testing has three major points of focus, each complementary to the others. You should plan to incorporate each type of testing into your mobile testing strategy:

  • Functional testing: Functional testing includes a range of testing techniques where clearly defined requirements are used to verify the application is working as designed. Functional tests occur at the atomic level (unit tests) and throughout the development lifecycle.

  • Hardware device testing: Hardware device testing is specific to the device itself and usually requires physical devices rather than simulators or emulators. 

  • Attribute testing (or non-functional testing): Attribute testing (sometimes called “non-functional testing”) explores qualities of the software outside of pure functionality. Performance, localization (region-specific, not just converted language), user experience (UX), security, scalability, and compatibility are all types of non-functional testing.

5. Determine Your Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing Use Cases

Deciding between manual testing and automated testing is the first step in building your mobile testing strategy. Many people see manual testing and automated testing as two opposing testing methods. However, they are complementary and should both be used to test apps efficiently and comprehensively.

Given the benefits and capabilities of each testing method, an integrated testing approach that incorporates both manual and automated tests is the way to go. And with this approach, a best practice is to automate 80% of your test cases while performing 20% manually.

Learn more about manual testing vs. automated testing, including which test cases to automate.

6. Don’t Forget Mobile Beta Testing

Beta tests allow mobile development teams to validate the applications with “real users” in real-world environments. It helps teams to get feedback from end users who represent an app’s actual user base. By testing application performance and functionality with a beta group prior to general release, teams gain a deeper level of validation that the software meets end-user requirements. They also significantly reduce the risk that an unforeseen application problem post-deployment will necessitate the application release to be rolled back or require the team to push out an update quickly in order to fix a problem with the production release.

Read more about the best practices of mobile app beta testing to learn how beta testing works, why it’s important, and how to get the most out of beta testing processes.

7. Choose Your Test Automation Tool

Choosing the right automated testing framework will help your development and QA teams write and execute automated tests more effectively and efficiently. With Appium, Espresso, XCUITest, and so many others on the market, how do you know which is best for your organization?

To help you in your evaluation, see our comprehensive guide to mobile test automation frameworks for insight into: 

  • Criteria to consider as you select a mobile test automation framework

  • Popular frameworks for automated functional testing

  • The unique benefits and limitations of each framework with a comparison view

8. Choose Where to Run Your Mobile Tests: In the Cloud or In-House

Mobile QA and development teams that use local devices for mobile testing (that is, devices located on premises, shipped to remote developers, or centralized in an in-house device lab) soon discover that this “DIY” approach is not ideal for scaling and automating their testing. This is where cloud mobile testing swoops in to save the day.

Like real devices on premise, cloud-based real devices run tests on actual phone hardware and software. Cloud-based real devices are hosted in a cloud-based test infrastructure and are accessed remotely by sending test scripts to the devices over the web. These scripts are executed on the devices, and test results are sent back in the form of detailed logs, error reports, screenshots, and recorded video.

Getting Started With Your Mobile Test Automation Strategy

Winning at mobile testing requires a strong understanding of mobile app development and testing challenges as well as a strong mobile testing strategy. To get started with mobile app testing today, sign up for a free Sauce Labs trial.

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