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Mobile App Testing Is Not The Same As Desktop App Testing

October 20, 2020 | BY Sukhwinder Hanspal

Mobile App Testing Is Not The Same As Desktop App Testing

Let us analyze this statement closely. It is indeed true that most of the organizations often make an assumption that there is no difference between testing of Mobile Apps and desktop Apps.  Hence, the testing process applied is the same as traditional desktop applications. Here are some points that shed light on how Mobile App Testing differs from traditional testing.

Mobile Apps run on different devices, the device is an independent machine in itself, which can have different Operating Systems, OS Versions, Carriers, and Processors. Therefore, mobile testing should never be considered the same as that of Desktop Apps.

Let’s see an example of how using same practices for testing both mobile and desktop apps can be problematic.

A Lesson about Mobile App Testing

Jeff Morgan is a seasoned veteran in the IT industry with 18 years of technology experience and he has long been associated with the leading IT giants in North America and Canada. He is a pioneer at strategizing new sales tactics coupled with implementing advanced know-how of technical trends.

Jeff received an offer from a Mobile App Dev Company, a start-up to join the venture which he decided to go ahead with. He took up the challenge and was soon onboarded as the Head of Sales. His main motive; drive sales for the Mobile Applications developed by the company.

The Strategy

Apps developed by the company included Web Apps, Native Apps and Hybrid Apps. Jeff took stock of all the technology and testing methodologies and was confident that he would crack the deal for an Automotive Service Giant, where he was to deliver his premier sales presentation for an App that the company had developed for such business models.

The Mobile App

The App was built on Jelly Bean Android Platform Version 4.3 specifically designed for Car Service Center chains across North America and Canada.

The App would help the Supervisors and the Technicians working at the Service Center make informed decisions while routing the car owners to a particular Service Station within 4 miles in case that the car bay at any given station was at full capacity. This situation would mostly happen over weekends and in such cases, the customers wouldn’t have to experience long wait times to get their cars fixed or serviced. The App would also correctly route customers to stores based on the availability of parts.

The App would provide a benefit to the client – effectively manage the inflow over weekends and would also improve customer satisfaction, which in turn would positively impact the bottom line of the business. It was tested thoroughly and a limited-feature version was put on the Android Play Store available as a FREE download.

The Presentation

Jeff flew to Orlando, FL to present the App at the Car Service Company. This deal would be a milestone for his company if it was cracked.

Jeff was to present the salient features of the App to the top brass of the company which included 12 people across the different verticals of the organization. He started his presentation with his Android device connected to a device projector.

He ruled the roost when it came to presenting the App and the value it would add to the company. Soon everyone was impressed and the work seemed done before he even closed on the presentation to solicit any queries.

He was standing on the podium with confidence until…..

The Bug

A rather amplified voice from the Manager of Services asked Jeff whether he could download the same App to his Android device. Jeff smiled and gave him the instructions to download. The Manager became busy with his mobile device for some time and soon he found out that he was unable to download the App on his device and every time he would do so, he would get an error: “<insert app name >” could not be downloaded due to an error. (403)

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, he raised his voice yet again “it just won’t get downloaded on my phone”. Everyone in the boardroom seemed curious about what was going on. Jeff was left with no answer and he was just beating around the bush handling queries. Then someone from the team suggested to try downloading the App on WIFI without using the Carrier provided Network.

That worked and the App downloaded in a flash. But it would not work on the Carrier provided network. There it was, “A BUG”, everything seemed so well if this nasty bug had not surfaced. Skepticism overruled optimism and it all came to a grinding halt!

The Retrospection: Autopsy of Disaster

Jeff‘s disappointment slowly transformed into a thorough retrospection during the long trip back to the pavilion. “Why was this not tested?” was the question that was hitting the neurons of his brain again and again. “What’s going on? We are a service based company with a special focus on products, how could such a thing happen?”

Jeff’s retrospection uncovered that the QAs were accustomed to testing their Apps only on a selection of devices, but carriers required more money for procurement. It was not long before Jeff realized that Mobile Testing was completely different compared to Desktop Testing.

There are different ways mobile testing can be done:

  • Crowd-Sourced Testing: Accommodate the need of a wide array of devices and different carriers to cover testing the app on all the possible hardware combinations
  • Performance Testing: Mobile Apps NEED to be tested on various Networks such as 3G, 3G+, H+ and 4G LTE
  • Mobile App Battery Consumption Testing: Usage of Freeware tools to analyze the battery consumption by an App on a device.
  • Automated Testing: Automation testing is one of the most recommended ways but it comes with the cost and infrastructure challenges. Cloud-based tools which provide a gamut of devices on various carriers also require technical knowledge but as far as the cost is concerned; such tools require careful assessment in terms of efficiency & ROI.


There are different ways you can make your App interesting, efficient and effective. But the most important part is strategizing for your app design with a dedicated process for rigorous mobile testing to reduce functionality, usability and security issues.

In today’s era, where Mobile Apps are part of everyday lives and can make a whole lot of difference in terms of serving customers efficiently, there is no substitute for a dedicated mobile testing initiative in your App journey.

Relevant Case Studies

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