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How to run performance testing on a mobile application

The mobile app test pipeline is dependent on performance testing. You will be able track and predict changes in performance for spikes in connection (LTE, 4G, or LTE), user location change, traffic load increases, and other factors.

Mobile apps require that you test your product on various devices in order to determine if android performance testing is affected by changes in screen size.

This post will explain how to perform mobile app testing. It also includes tips and tricks that can help improve the tester's work flow.

What is a mobile application?

A mobile application, by definition, is software that can be run on a mobile device (either a smartphone or tablet). They can be either web-based or standalone. Due to software limitations, one-screen constraints and poor comprehension, mobile apps do not allow multitasking.

Although porting an existing PC app to a mobile-based project is possible, it's not the best way to go. Developers tend to create mobile software from scratch in order to take advantage of the unique features of mobile devices.

What kind of performance testing are you looking for?

What is Mobile Application Testing?

To assess the app's performance in simulated environments (or multiple), mobile app testing is done. This allows us to predict the user's experience following a public release.

Performance assessment is usually done by testers. They test the system's response on a variety of devices. The app's performance at peak traffic loads is also checked.

These are the stages of mobile app testing:

  • Connectivity-related testing. Most mobile apps require internet connectivity. A developer must ensure that the tool works if there isn’t. This includes testing connections with changing bandwidth and predicting user behavior in flight mode.
  • Understanding the device-specific characteristics. Mobile devices' screen sizes can vary greatly - from 5-inch smartphones to 13.-inch tablets. Other tech specs to consider include camera, GPS, touchscreen capability, and range of supported gestures. It is important for testers to be able to understand these characteristics and how they affect the user experience.
  • Location simulation. This step is essential for GPS-reliant apps. The product's performance must not be affected by a user moving to another location. Location simulators can help you achieve this.
  • Testing for fragmentation. The development team must ensure that the app is compatible with different operating systems. Make sure you specify the devices that you are looking to support and run tests on them.
  • User experience testing. The key requirements for are clarity in navigation, intuitiveness of interface, look and feel of app layout, error messages and handling. UX testing is crucial in order to have the app accepted by the store.
  • End to end integration testing. System Integration Testing. This test validates the performance of the solution against key features of Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems.
  • Mobile performance app test. Performance quality varies between high-end and lower-end devices. Developers must ensure that the app can perform consistently on devices with lower capacities. They also need to ensure that the app is able to handle high server loads and is immune to latency and bandwidth changes. This stage also includes load testing, which involves increasing the amount of traffic to test the application's ability to respond. These tests can be either modular or integrated, as a rule.
  • Security testing. Many mobile apps store data from the device. To ensure that a user's privacy does not get compromised in the event of a lost or stolen phone, testers must establish a secure authorization system and create a system for recording all events within the app.

Who needs to perform test mobile apps?

It is tempting to ignore mobile app performance testing when development teams are under time pressure. This is not a good idea. Otherwise, the tester will ignore any bugs that aren't obvious and distributers would likely reject the app (App Store for iOS and Google Play Market for Android).

The list of goals that performance test can help testers achieve is extensive. It includes:

  • Test the application's performance during large workloads. Product owners can measure the system's performance as users and actions increase. The app's peak times will be known by a tester. This information is extremely useful in cases where your app experiences traffic spikes (where the number of visitors increases or decreases during a specific season or time period).
  • Validate hardware usage. Product owners can perform performance testing to ensure that the app runs as expected.
  • Calculate the application's capacity. This will allow you to see if your current software can meet the metrics set up beforehand (peak traffic load, response time, etc.
  • Assess the performance of your app at the protocol level. Testers will be able create a load profile and measure the response times.
  • Test the app's performance in critical conditions. Developers can use performance testing to determine the app's limits. You'll be able predict and prevent system crashes.

Strategy for Performance Testing Mobile Apps

For newly-funded startups, it can be difficult to create a strategy. Good news: The app performance testing approach works for all industries and scales.

A project manager must develop a strategy in order to execute successful performance testing. The following steps are typical for a step-by–step performance testing plan.

Step 1.

Performance testing is only as good as the goals it aims to achieve. It is important to set objectives that are relevant to the business goals of each case. The top priority for a tester would be to evaluate the functions of an app that are critical for lead generation, such as the cart feature for ecommerce stores and the registration and contact forms.

This stage is where the testing team learns the most about the product's architecture, including its business and data levels.

Step 2.

You can determine if your execution was successful or not by setting benchmarks. The following KPIs can be used to test mobile apps:

  • Rate of error
  • Maximum response time;
  • Average response time
  • Maximum number of requests
  • The average throughput and peak number of concurrent users per device and OS are measured.

Step 3. Prioritize scenarios

A beginner tester can fall into the trap of trying to test all features at once, without having selected cases. It's better to describe multiple scenarios that are critical for reliable app performance.

Once you are confident that critical features are working properly, it is time to dig deeper and test lesser-important scenarios.

Step 4.

It is essential to test the app in a testing environment. This will allow you to assess the user experience and how it compares to what people will have after it goes live. System emulators are a common tool used by QA specialists to accelerate the testing process.

These tools are able to simulate the operating system's basic parameters and give testers a feel for the interface. It's best to test the performance of features that are dependent on camera permission, GPS, or other device-specific functions.

Step 5.

The company's overall development plan should include testing. Agile testing requires that the tester is able to use continuous integration principles. Waterfall is a preferred method of testing, so testers should be able to align their workflow. This includes regular bug reports and regression test.

The same testing and development methodology allows all parties to be on the same page about the project. This improves communication and speeds up the decision-making process.

Step 6.

Mobile devices can be connected to the internet via third-party carriers. This means that latency and bandwidth can differ. A QA specialist can optimize the app's performance while focusing on the differences between carriers to improve the user experience.

Testing Environments for Mobile Application Performance

Any test can be gathered. These steps are necessary to set up an environment for performance testing an app or mobile website.

  • Disable all other activities. You'll compromise the accuracy of your test results. You'll also increase the server load by having several users access the platform simultaneously, which can slow down the process and cause it to be less accurate.
  • Test data generators are used. Most tests rely on database records. It is important to pay attention when performing performance testing. Data writing, reading, deletion are all known to slow down the app's performance. Data generation tools are used by QA specialists to match database records with test environment system records.
  • To isolate the network. This action is necessary to avoid timeout errors. This is not a guideline. If the bandwidth is sufficient to support both testers and other users, isolation should be avoided. It is not possible to support multiple concurrent activities on most networks without affecting the app's performance.
  • Disable proxy servers from the network. Proxy servers can cause a slowdown in the app's performance. This problem can be fixed by performing server transfers in a secure environment.

You don't want to do the tests yourself.

Mobile App Performance Testing: Challenges

Testing mobile apps can be more difficult and tedious than testing PC software. Testers can be frustrated by the large number of devices available, their mobility, and the need to use specific features.

Here are some of the biggest challenges in performance testing mobile apps.

  • There are many device-specific features. It is difficult to replicate these features with an online tool. A tester must purchase a variety of hardware, which in turn increases the test budget.
  • There are many UI options. The page layouts and fonts can vary depending on the operating system. The publishing process can be delayed or stalled if you don't follow the guidelines for Google Play Market and App Store.
  • To test an app, a tester must purchase multiple devices or install emulators. Mobile device markets are extremely fragmented. The screen size, built-in features, and capacity all vary greatly. Developers need to have as many hardware options as possible in order to test their apps on as many devices as possible.
  • Context-based problems. To test an app efficiently, a quality assurance (QA) must consider the network quality and the user's location. Mobile app performance testing is more complex than PC software. This means that the process can be more costly and more time-consuming.
  • Several complications due to touchscreen testing. It is difficult to translate all the movements that a touchscreen offers users using a PC emulator. The testing of physical hardware is more complex and harder to automate.

Handy Tools for Mobile Performance

Two approaches can be used by testers to evaluate the performance of mobile applications. First, test the product's server-side performance. The development team can then check the logic and readiness of the app. The second is to evaluate the performance on a device, either physical or emulated. A tester can see the product through the eyes of a user.

These are the top tools to test server-side performance.

Server-side Performance Testing


JMeter is one of the most popular tools for mobile performance testing. It is an open-source tool that allows for plugin support and has an easy-to use interface. It offers a variety of testing options, including multiple load generators or controllers.

It can also be used to test availability and volume. JMeter provides data visualization tools as well as HTML-rich reporting.

Users are provided with detailed documentation by the development team that helps them to use the tool.


Gatling, an open-source tool to perform performance testing, was created in 2012. It features the following key features:

  • Support for HTTP/S, JMS and JDBS
  • Rich HTML reporting;
  • Broad OS and browser support
  • Scala and DSL support

Gatling's interface is easy and simple - it's an ideal fit for junior performance testers. However, developers should not mistake a simple interface with a lack of functionality. Gatling allows for up to 600 concurrent users to run tests. Two executables are available for the tool: to run tests and record them.

Performance Testing Client/Device

After testing the server-side performance, the team executes a code test on the physical devices in emulated settings. These tools are useful for such testing.

Sauce Labs

Sauce Labs is an online platform for testing. It supports 800 browser types, creating a bug-free environment for testers. You can run parallel tests that do not interfere with each other using the tool.

Sauce Labs makes it easy for developers to manage large test volumes and automate mobile tests using very little programming knowledge.

Appium Studio

Appium Studio is a tool that allows you to test mobile performance. Appium Studio is widely praised on the internet due to its easy-to-read and write code, a variety of supported tests and a unique XPath.

Appium Studio allows app testers to access device-specific features such as TouchID, barcode scanning and many other.

UI Automator

UI Automator, an open-source tool to test mobile apps' performance, is available. JavaScript-based scripts can be written by testers and executed. UI Automator features an intuitive interface and an integrated Android emulator. The app does not support iOS apps at this time.


Robotium is an automated testing tool that supports both native and mixed Android apps. Developers have enough freedom to create custom systems and functions as well as test scenarios using the framework.


Selendroid is a Selenium framework that allows QA professionals to simultaneously test multiple Android apps and switch between cases. You can run multiple emulators simultaneously with the tool. However, the downside to this tool is that testers must write code using Selenium 2 API.


Testdroid can be used for automated and manual tests. You can record the process of execution and sort through test cases as well as their reports. It is free to use, and it also has its own API.

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Drop us a note. We have probably dealt with similar problems in 300 of our previous projects.

Examples of App Performance Testing

Testing mobile app performance is a complex task. A QA specialist must perform a variety of tasks to ensure that the product functions as intended.

These are some of the most popular examples of performance testing:

  • Load Testing. To determine the app's load threshold, a tester increases the number and concurrent transactions. It is used to test the app's response speed and performance under heavy traffic loads. This is also called 'Volume Testing' or 'Endurance Testing'.
  • Stress testing. Used to assess the app's performance when the CPU, system memory or other specs reach their limits. These tests are designed to verify that the app behaves at its best.
  • Capacity testing. This allows developers to determine how many users and features an app can support. Developers can improve their workflow visibility and understand the limits of the app by conducting several capacity tests.
  • Spike testing. The test is performed when traffic to the app increases for a brief period. When the app is subject to extreme conditions, a QA specialist can validate its performance.

Hire Software Experts - Performance Testing of mobile app services

A team of professionals certified in mobile performance testing can make it efficient. Hire Software Experts offers QA resources for mobile apps in finance, retail and insurance.

Our goal is to lower testing costs and reduce the time it takes to bring an app to market. You'll have the opportunity to reach an account manager and receive status updates and reports.

Hire Software Experts's team of testers is fully integrated with the software engineers and DevOps who are working on your project. To ensure smooth workflow, we adapt to the client's project management method.
To learn more about Hire Software Experts, take a look at our services


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