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The difference between Android and iOS app performance testing

Android vs. iOS App Performance Testing - How are These Different?

May 15, 2023
 Rohith Ramesh Rohith Ramesh
Rohith Ramesh

There isn't room for a poorly performing application today. In the current hypercompetitive market scenario, an app needs to compete with a myriad of peers in the industry and aim to offer the best-in-class experiences to its users to edge the industry. When appropriately executed, app performance testing helps determine how well the system meets the specified requirements or criteria for both responsiveness and robustness. Teams need to ensure building suitable plans for executing the performance tests and consider app-specific criteria to prevent performance bottlenecks in the developed application. These testing plans and strategies, tools, environments, and other resources vary from one operating system to another.

In this article, we will cover how the performance testing of Android apps differs from that of iOS apps.

What is performance testing?

Application performance testing enables QA and development teams to determine bottlenecks and issues against the team's key performance indicators or KPIs. This testing type focuses on testing the system against its: 

  • Speed - It helps determine whether the app responds quickly
  • Scalability - This factor assists in evaluating the maximum user load that the software can handle
  • Stability - This helps determine if the app is stable under varying loads

Most performance testing tools support both operating systems, and the setting is universal. However, emulation of system operations, traffic recording and the diversity of OSs make it important to consider the attributes and their performance analysis differently.

Difference between Android and iOS performance testing

Following are the grounds where iOS and Android app performance testing differ from each other:

1. Open-source software

Android, being open-sourced, can be easily modified by developers, where they can have their own personalized version of the OS. Each aspect of the OS can be altered to suit the requirements. On the contrary, iOS can be modified and released by Apple alone.

2. Hardware options

iOS devices and the different models feature typical hardware and OS specifically designed for them. Though testers generally use emulators or rent device farms, these are often tested on a limited number of real devices. But on the other hand, Android-based smartphones and tablets are tested on a more extensive and diverse range of devices. In fact, the Android fragmentation has become so vast with the large diversity of devices that there are innumerable combinations of processors, RAM, display models, resolutions, and other hardware and software elements. Hence, effectively conducting performance tests requires a large combination of devices to ensure that the app performs optimally across the widespread user base.

Also read: Appium vs. Espresso — which one to use for automating Android app testing

3. The app store ecosystem

When comparing the popularity and usage of the two operating systems, comparing the requirements of users of the specific OS niche is critical. We might all have observed that user expectations often differ between Android and iOS users. In the course of testing the performance of these devices, testers and QA teams must ensure to define the specific requirements of the consumers, the privacy concerns, and the unique elements of each OS for executing the test correctly.

4. Device configuration

Multiple elements of device configuration vary between Android and iOS devices. For instance:

  • Layout — In the case of Android devices, it is often more complex for testers to verify applications on every possible device, meanwhile which is different in the case of iOS, as Apple has a limited device portfolio.
  • Resolution — Camera specifications and screen resolutions today have improved enormously in Android devices with a wide range of variations. Again, as different layouts and sizes might result in resolution variation from device to device, chances are that Android apps might not perform uniformly or as intended on all devices owing to the wide range. This indicates the need for optimizing the app for each device, increasing the number of test scenarios, thus making the testing process more cumbersome.
Don’t Rely on iOS Emulators & Android Simulators. Test on Real Devices

5. General Criteria for performance testing

As mentioned earlier, each OS's requirements are often different; based on that, the testing types differ as well. For Android, performance testing most often focuses on testing the application's speed, responsiveness, and stability. Whereas, in the case of iOS, performance testing focuses more on ensuring the application's battery consumption, memory usage, and network performance.

Optimizing performance across iOS and Android apps with HeadSpin

Irrespective of the unique and common characteristics of iOS and Android applications, the AI-augmented HeadSpin Platform simplifies mobile app testing on both Android and iOS devices. The data-driven Platform helps test on real devices across different network scenarios and browser combinations and configurations to help build superiorly performing apps. 

With HeadSpin's Android testing capabilities, organizations can eliminate any simulation and access thousands of real remote devices through the secure global device infrastructure. Testers and QA teams can select from a wide range of Android devices with different specifications in terms of varying screen sizes and any version of Android and run multiple automated tests. 

Unique capabilities of HeadSpin for Android app testing:

The data science models help enterprises to:

  • Capture critical KPIs that impact the performance and user experience of the application.
  • Avoid interruptions generally caused by remote testing; In several cases, remote testing compromises the quality of performance testing for Android apps. However, with HeadSpin, interaction with the Android app is similar to that of using the apps on real devices in your hands. 
  • Eliminate connection drop-off issues; sudden connection losses or drops impact the outcomes of performance tests, but with HeadSpin, testers are able to garner strong connectivity throughout their performance measuring sessions and testing. 
  • Obtain AI-based testing insights to understand user experiences better; with features like microphone quality and real-time audio playback, users teams can test audio quality for speech-enabled apps, audio streaming, quality of voice messaging features and many more. 
  • Debug easily with capabilities to identify and resolve high-priority issues across the app and resolve critical bugs that impact performance. 

In addition to HeadSpin's capabilities for Android performance testing, the Platform enables companies to improve and simplify their iOS app automation testing. HeadSpin streamlines iOS app performance testing by providing access to several iOS devices across the globe and meeting the user's requirements and adherence to every App Store guideline. 

Unique capabilities of HeadSpin for iOS app testing:

  • Capture detailed and insightful KPIs into performance-impacting issues like memory and battery usage; the data science models also help identify the root causes of the issues to optimize app performance better.
  • Run multiple tests parallelly; the HeadSpin Platform allows teams to easily integrate CI environments to drive test execution for a 24/7 testing experience.
  • Debug apps remotely
  • Automate performance tests and improve testing coverage 


The rising prominence of mobile applications makes it mandatory for app-developing companies to invest in the right tools for addressing performance issues and delivering optimal-quality apps. With no space for performance glitches, it is essential that teams focus on identifying and precisely demarcating app-specific needs to choose a testing tool suitably. Ensuring superior performances of the apps on both Android and iOS platforms is the key to the app's success and brand reputation.

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Q1. What are the key performance testing metrics that are measured for improving app quality and effectiveness?

Ans: Among the different metrics used, some vital performance metrics include the following:

  • Response time
  • Wait time
  • Average load time
  • Peak response time
  • Error rate
  • requests per second

Q2. What are the differences between performance testing and performance engineering?

Ans: Performance testing refers to the discipline of testing and reporting the current performance of any application under different parameters to identify performance issues and ensure the optimal quality of the app. On the other hand, performance engineering refers to the process by which software is tested and tuned with the intention of realizing the required performance. This aims to optimize the most critical app performance trait, which is user experience.

Q3. Why is it essential to enable GZIP compression for iOS performance monitoring?

Ans: As it is important to consider network load and optimize app performance, it's crucial to enable GZIP compression to improve the download and upload speeds of the iOS app. There are different compression levels available, of which the suitable one should be chosen for your file type. In case of large files that need to be transferred frequently, leveraging GZIP helps reduce the time consumption for completing the process.

Android vs. iOS App Performance Testing - How are These Different?

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