Challenges in Performance Testing On Mobile Devices

June 24, 2021
Prathitha Iyengar

With work from home becoming the new normal, more and more people are spending their time on mobile phones. Millions of applications are being downloaded daily. In such a competitive battlefield, the retention of a mobile application depends on its performance. Users uninstall applications if they face glitches regularly and download some other application with better performance. Therefore, it is vital to conduct performance testing on mobile devices before launching the application to the end-user.

What Is Performance Testing?

Mobile application performance testing is done in a simulated environment to determine the application’s performance and forecast the end user’s experience after launch. However, for a tester, performance testing refers to running parallel tests on multiple devices for system responsiveness. It includes testing application performance during high traffic load, stability in poor internet connectivity and compatibility with transactions that are device-specific, etc. Hence, all performance testing is crucial to roll out an application that is robust and glitch-free after its public release.

What Are The Common Challenges Faced In Performance Testing On Mobile Devices?

In comparison to testing PC software, performance testing of applications on mobile devices is tedious and challenging. Here are some of the typical challenges faced during performance testing on mobile devices.

Compatibility With Wide-Variety Of Device-Specific Features

Some of the standard features of a smartphone that most applications use include GPS, microphone, camera, etc. However, while testing, it is difficult to mimic all the features to evaluate application performance. Therefore, testers have to spend enormously on hardware to emulate such device-specific features. This not only increases the testing budget but complicates the testing due to a wide range of hardware. The only way to overcome this challenge is to test on real devices preferably in locations where the majority of the users are located.

Compliance With Mobile's UI Guidelines

Various mobile operating systems are there in the market, such as Android, Windows, Apple iOS, etc., with respective user interfaces. Specific guidelines and rules govern these UIs. Hence, a mobile application needs to adhere to guidelines failing which the app’s publishing can get delayed or worse stalled. A tester needs to ensure compliance in advance for zero complications and quicker release. Artificial Intelligence based testing platforms which provide automated testing help us with overcoming this.

Procuring Multiple Devices

The smartphone market is highly disintegrated due to a plethora of options such as screen dimensions, storage capacity, in-built features, etc. Hence, to ensure the perfect performance of an application after launch, a tester needs to procure multiple devices. This is expensive, time-consuming, and difficult as many devices may not be available for testing simultaneously. So, it is better to opt for a platform that has an extensive device farm readily available for testing.

Complex Touch Screen Testing

Touch screens are the new keypads for today’s smartphones and tablets. Significant user experience depends on the application’s interaction with touch screens. However, the same experience and complete range of movement can be hard to emulate over PC. Moreover, the data input in hardware can be complex and needs stability in touch screen testing. The way to resolve this issue is by connecting your own device to a testing platform and checking the touch functionality.

Context-Driven Testing

Context is vital to ascertain the performance of an application on a hand-held device. It can limit or expand the mobile application’s operations and functionalities based on its environment. For example, a tester needs to keep in mind the target users’ location and general network quality for efficiently testing the application. Testing with devices placed in data centers which are geographically located in the user’s location would make for a fool-proof launch.


Each day a new mobile application is being developed and launched over the digital platforms making the retention rate low. Only when your application performs well and is glitch-free can it make a home in its user’s device. Hence, performance testing is vital to ensure the success of an application regardless of its various challenges.