New feature: SofySense – Manual test case & test results AI generator to help you speed up your testing process. Try it today.  

Sofy launches product feature suite to deliver effortless test maintenance and ensure continuous precision – learn more.

sofy logo

Mobile App Performance Testing: What the Big Deal?

In the QA world, mobile app performance testing is crucial. But what is it? And why is it so important? We're glad you asked.

No app succeeds without quality mobile app performance testing. It’s a fact.

Listen, you and your DevOps team work hard to get your apps to market. But if you want to make sure all your dedication pays off, you need to thoroughly test and optimize your applications prior to launch.

While all forms of mobile app testing play a role in the success of your project, performance testing is one of the most critical means of evaluating your application.

In this quick crash course on mobile app performance testing, we’ll take a look at this type of testing, discuss why it’s important, and how you can expedite your testing process by going no-code.

What is mobile app performance testing?

Mobile app performance testing gauges the quality of your application under varying loads. This non-functional software testing tactic assesses how an app fares when exposed to a workload.

During each round of performance testing, the app will be tested under varying capacities. The performance factors your team will monitor during testing include:

  • Speed
  • Scalability
  • Responsiveness
  • Stability 

By analyzing the results of the test, your DevOps team can evaluate many technical aspects of the application, including:

  • Data transfer velocity
  • Network bandwidth usage
  • Memory utilization
  • Command response
  • Maximum concurrent user capacity
  • Workload efficiency

They can then pinpoint and remedy potential shortcomings in the app’s performance. 

Why performance testing is essential

Performance testing enables your DevOps team to obtain actionable insights about an application’s capabilities. More specifically, performance tests can help your team:

  • Identify computing bottlenecks
  • Determine whether the app meets performance requirements 
  • Compare multiple systems
  • Measure app stability in peak usage events

From a broader perspective, performance testing is important because it enables you to deliver a higher-quality app to your target audience.

If your app is rife with bugs and glitches, or worse, crashes frequently, the uninstall rate will likely be substantial. This is a major concern, as the uninstall rate of many mobile app categories already sits above 50%.

For instance, the app uninstall rate for Android gaming applications was 65.87% in October 2022, according to Statista. Utilities (52.63%), education (53.4%), and social (59.71%) apps also experienced extremely high uninstall rates. 

You can keep your uninstall rate in check and deliver for your customers by conducting extensive mobile app performance testing.

Image: Sofy x J.Robert Williams, Shutterstock

Types of mobile app performance testing

Generally speaking, there are six commonly used types of mobile app performance testing:

Load testing

Load testing involves placing an application under a simulated load. This test measures its performance under peak and normal use conditions. Load testing is a foundational performance testing technique and should be a part of any app development process.

Stress testing

As the name suggests, stress testing is meant to test the limits of your app. Essentially, you’re pushing your application to its breaking point by subjecting it to excessive workloads. Even if you don’t think usage will ever reach the levels simulated in your test, it’s important to know exactly what your app is capable of. 

Endurance testing

Endurance testing is like a marathon — it involves putting your app under a steady load for an extended time frame. Endurance testing mimics user behavior like playing a mobile game for hours on end or spending an entire afternoon scrolling through a social media feed.

Spike testing

Most types of performance testing focus on exposing your app to a steady workload. Conversely, spike testing is the process of suddenly increasing the app’s workload at unpredictable intervals. Ideally, the app will adapt and prevent any performance disruptions. 

Scalability testing

Scalability testing involves steadily increasing the workload to see if your application can keep pace. This test simulates the gradual rise in usage that occurs throughout a given day.

For instance, a small number of users may be logged onto your app between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. However, as the day progresses, users continuously log in to your app, thereby increasing its workload. 

Volume testing

Volume testing measures your app’s performance when it receives large quantities of data.

Your app will likely be exposed to the largest influx of data immediately following its launch, especially if you promote it using a multifaceted marketing strategy. If hundreds of users attempt to sign up all at once, your app will need to have some robust data-processing capabilities. 

Common mobile app performance testing hurdles 

Mobile app performance testing is essential to the success of your project. That said, there are three major hurdles you must overcome in order to effectively test your app’s performance.

Inconsistent networks and connectivity issues

Network conditions are often in a state of flux. As a user moves about, their mobile device may experience changes in signal strength and connectivity stability. Other factors that impact connectivity and network reliability include the service provider a consumer uses, network type (i.e., 3G, 4G, LTE, 5G), and so on.

To account for these variances, you need to test your applications under a wide range of conditions. Under less-than-ideal conditions, your app will experience some latency. However, by engaging in performance testing and optimizing your app, you can ensure that the level of latency is acceptable.

Device diversity

Another concern is the overwhelming number of devices out there. While the majority of mobile devices fall into one of two camps (iOS or Android), each model differs in terms of screen resolution, processing speed, and storage capacity.

Don’t underestimate this issue. If you want to maximize your reach and make your app appealing to as many customers as possible, you must test your application on many different mobile devices.

Setting up and managing your own device-testing lab is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and often prohibitively expensive. However, it’s difficult to accurately measure performance with emulators, which is why addressing device diversity has proven so challenging. 

Variances in application type 

The final hurdle you’ll need to overcome is the variance in application type. Web-based mobile apps and native apps must be tested differently. If your DevOps team creates both classes of applications, you need separate performance testing protocols for each type.

When testing browser-server apps, you must consider the various mobile browsers your audience may use to launch your application. Conversely, when testing native apps, you should keep in mind that users will likely be running other apps in parallel. When users run other apps in the background, your app’s performance could suffer.

No-code mobile app performance testing is the way to go

As you can see, mobile app performance testing can quickly devolve into a complicated mess that can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. However, cutting corners on performance testing can undermine all your hard work and prevent your app from gaining traction among your target audience.

Fortunately, you can make performance testing more efficient and cost-effective by using no-code testing technology.

Going no-code streamlines the process of creating and running performance tests. Thanks to cloud-based, remotely managed device labs, you can even run these tests on real devices without taking on the headache of setting up your own lab.

Want to further expedite your testing processes? We recommend a no-code approach to regression testing. As its name implies, no-code not only enable you to create and run tests without writing a single line of code but also feature automation capabilities.

Performance testing is too important to ignore. The good news is you don’t have to forego this vital phase of development, thanks to today’s innovations in automated no-code testing solutions.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed above are those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official beliefs or positions of Sofy.