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Quick Guide: Performance Testing on Mobile Applications


Today’s digitally aware app consumers do not tolerate slow-performing, sluggish apps with faults or crashes. Users will delete your software and look for a better alternative if it doesn’t operate well on all fronts. This illustrates why you should thoroughly test your mobile app before releasing it to the public.

Performance testing is integral to the software development process since it allows companies to provide high-quality apps. Despite its importance, performance testing is sometimes disregarded and only carried out immediately before an application is released. When this occurs, apps may be subjected to time-consuming and costly patches, or worse, a terrible and unreliable user experience.

This post will teach you about:

  • What exactly is performance testing?
  • When and how should performance tests be conducted?
  • Software performance testing best practices

What do you understand by mobile application testing?

Before a mobile app is available to the end-user, it must be tested to ensure that it functions as intended under a variety of performance indicators and that it predicts the user’s experience. As a result, performance test software guarantees that app functionalities work as expected by locating and resolving issues and detecting and removing any app performance bottlenecks.

Mobile app performance testing can be done on native, hybrid, and web-based mobile apps. The purpose is to understand a program’s features like speed, robustness, proper sizing, and scalability. Your end-users may face poor app performance, user experience, and usability across many mobile devices if you don’t test the mobile app.

Types of Software performance testing

You can performance test mobile apps with the help of the following:

Load Testing

This process determines whether a mobile app’s performance can manage the required number of users while still operating and performing at its best. It analyses an app’s performance under normal and peak conditions (when many people use it) to find any software bottlenecks.

Capacity Testing

Capacity testing determines how many users an app can support before performance degrades to undesirable levels. It predicts the scalability and future user-base expansion difficulties.

Volume Testing

Volume testing, often known as flood testing, assesses an application’s ability to handle and process enormous amounts of data without slowing down, failing, or losing any data. It influences an application’s overall capacity.

Stress Testing

Stress testing evaluates an app’s performance in high-stress situations. It reveals the app’s breaking point, which aids in determining the app’s robustness and capacity to handle data and respond to high-traffic quantities. It deliberately overburdens a program to decide which components break first.

Spike Testing

Spike testing resembles stress testing in that it assesses an app’s capacity to perform amid unexpected increases in workload or volume. It’s done by fast raising the workload created by a large number of users to see if the app can handle the unexpected increases in load or not. Spike testing is essential for applications that see significant increases in user numbers.

Scalability Testing

Scalability testing determines the ability of an app to handle and process a growing workload. Response time, CPU consumption, network utilization throughput rate, hits, requests per second, and transaction processing speed are measured metrics. Scalability testing aids in cost-cutting and mitigating potential performance difficulties during planning and design development.

Endurance Testing

Endurance testing (sometimes known as soak testing) is a technique for determining how well the software works under demand over time. Load testing involves replicating or applying high traffic for a lengthy period to ensure that an app can withstand high traffic and other performance demands.

Different stages of software performance testing:

Performance test mobile app: Strategy

Developing a strategy from the ground up might be difficult for newly funded firms. The good news is that the app performance test approach is consistent across industries and scales.

A project manager must devise a strategy to carry out performance testing properly. The following phases are usually included in a step-by-step performance testing plan:

Step 1: Make sure your test objectives and business requirements sync.

Performance testing can only be as effective as its objectives. Ensure that your goals for each case correspond to the business scope of developing an app. The main priority for a tester would be to evaluate the app’s capabilities that are critical for lead generation, such as the cart functionality for e-commerce businesses and the registration and contact forms.

At this point, the testing team learns as much as possible about the product’s architecture, including its presentation, business, and data layers.

Step 2: Determine the test KPIs.

By establishing testing standards, you’ll be able to determine whether the execution was successful or not. The following KPIs should be taken into account to performance test the mobile app:

  • Rate of error
  • Response time maximum
  • Average time to respond
  • The number of requests at their peak
  • The average throughput and the highest number of concurrent active users.

Step 3: Determine which possibilities should be prioritized.

A common mistake for a beginner tester is to test all of the app’s features simultaneously without first selecting cases. Instead, it’s preferable to create a list of different packet instances that are critical to the app’s dependable performance is preferable.

Feel free to go deeper and test less important scenarios once you’ve ensured that critical functionalities are working effectively.

Step 4: Create a simulated real-world testing environment.

The testing environment is critical for understanding the app’s user experience, as users will experience it after it goes live. QA specialists commonly use system emulators to speed up the testing process.

These tools are effective at simulating the fundamental parameters of an operating system and allow testers to acquire a sense of the interface’s look and feel. However, it is preferable to use actual hardware to evaluate the performance of features that require camera authorization, GPS, and other device-specific tasks.

Step 5: Align the test strategy with the development process.

Testing should be incorporated into a company’s overall development strategy. The tester for Agile should be prepared to use continuous integration principles. If an organization uses Waterfall, a tester’s workflow should reflect this, which entails accepting regular defect reports and regression tests.

Using the same testing technique as development allows both sides to be on the same page about the project, increase communication, and accelerate decision-making.

Performance test mobile app: challenges faced

The complete end-user experience must be considered while testing mobile applications. As a result, testing must closely simulate the circumstances the user may encounter. Testing must account for an application’s performance across various types of applications, various mobile devices on the market, and varied network connectivity. These considerations heighten the difficulty of mobile app performance testing.

1. Dealing with a Variety of Networks and Connectivities

Although the mobility of a portable device allows for quick access to information, network circumstances vary by the service provider, speed (2G, 3G, 4G, creating ability. As a result, the mobile application must be tested under various network situations to determine the load and reaction time that will ensue.

Additionally, mobile devices may execute some programs with sporadic or no connectivity, or even offline, especially while on the move. The reliability of network connections here will impact client-server communication and, as a result, data transmission and overall program performance. Overall, applications must be tested under various network settings to ensure that the latency experienced by the application is acceptable.

2. Experimenting with Various Application Types

Another consideration unique to mobile devices is performance testing across various application platforms. Mobile applications that are both native and web-based must be evaluated separately. Native applications run on a platform installed directly on the device and act differently on mobile devices than mobile browser-based apps.

Different types of mobile browsers must be considered when testing the performance of browser-server applications, as performance is dependent on the server and network connection. Browser-based applications rely on connectivity, but native applications save data locally on the device.

However, when numerous programs operate in parallel on the device, the application type will behave differently. As a result, various client-server reaction times, device consumption, and overall performance will have to be evaluated.

3. Numerous Mobile Devices

Mobile phones come in various hardware specs, software, operating systems, and screen resolutions. The app’s performance must be tested on several mobile devices to ensure that it works consistently for an Android user versus an iPhone user, for example.

Screen sizes and resolutions vary according to the device. Performance testing is required to ensure that the software adapts to various screen sizes to load an app on a mobile device. The iPhone, for example, comes in multiple sizes with each generation of the iOS operating system. They must load reliably across all screen sizes without losing usability, graphics quality, or other visual characteristics.

Performance testing on real devices, on the other hand, could be time-consuming and expensive. The tester could define minimum hardware requirements for the program to execute to limit the number of mobile devices evaluated.

When should performance software testing be done?

Performance software testing should often be performed early in the software development life cycle (SDLC). Correction costs for performance issues, like general software bugs, often rise as the SDLC progresses.

Performance issues discovered in the production environment can easily taint the user experience, negatively impacting user growth rates, customer acquisition costs, retention rates, and other key performance indicators.

If performance issues are not discovered or fixed before an application is released, organizations will be forced to invest numerous person-hours that might have been spent earlier when the application or web server was configured.

Performance Testing Tools

Testers use two methods to performance-test mobile apps. The first is to evaluate the product’s server-side performance. The development team will be able to check the logic and readiness of the app in this manner. The second step is to evaluate the app’s performance on a device (either physical or emulated). A tester can see the final product through a user’s eyes.

Client/Device-side performance testing tool

After validating the app’s server-side performance, the team runs a code on physical devices in emulated environments. The following tools can be helpful for this type of testing.

1. HeadSpin

It is the world’s first digital and one of the most potent performance testing tools available, and it is used to provide performance testing for a wide range of protocols, technologies, and application settings.

HeadSpin is a quick and easy way to receive sophisticated insights and recommendations on improving an app’s performance and dependability.

2. Appium Studio

Appium Studio is a free performance testing tool for mobile devices. It’s praised over the web for its easy-to-read and write code, many supported tests, and a unique XPath.

Appium Studio allows app testers to use device-specific functionality such as TouchID, barcode scanning, and more.

3. UI Automator

UI Automator is a free and open-source performance testing tool for mobile apps. Testers can create JavaScript-based programs for automation. UI Automator is simple to use and includes an Android emulator. The app does not support iOS apps.

4. Robotium

Robotium is a performance testing tool that supports native and hybrid apps. Developers can design bespoke systems, functions, and test scenarios because of the framework’s flexibility.

5. Selendroid

Selendroid is a framework for Selenium, a popular performance testing tool that allows QA professionals to test several Android apps simultaneously and transition between instances. You can use multiple emulators at the same time with the tool. The tool’s disadvantage is that it requires a tester to create code using the Selenium 2 API.

Server-side performance testing tools

The most widely used server-side performance testing tools are listed below.

1. JMeter

JMeter is a performance testing tool that may evaluate static and dynamic resources. It can also simulate a strong demand on a server, network, or item to assess its strength or examine overall performance under various load scenarios. Finally, consider utilizing it to create a definitive performance study or to determine the behavior of your server/script/object under a high concurrent load.

2. Gattling

Gatling is an open-source performance testing tool founded in 2012. The following are some of the solution’s primary features:

  • HTTP/S, JMS, and JDBS support
  • Comprehensive OS and browser support
  • Rich HTML reporting
  • DSL and Scala support.

This performance testing tool comes with two executables: one for performing tests and the other for recording them. Developers shouldn’t confuse a simple interface for lack of functionality; in reality, Gatling allows up to 600 concurrent users to run tests.


Any app development process should include a performance test mobile app.

It doesn’t matter which technique or tools you use regarding performance testing tools—a dedication to a strategic testing strategy that tailors app features to user requirements matters. Your mobile app performance testing strategy should address customer needs and provide good value to them. Then and only then are the benefits of mobile app performance testing worth the effort.