Mobile ApplicationMobile Application


Mobile app usage is increasing, as is evident from the statistics of 3.8 trillion hours spent using mobile apps in the year 2021. From the reports published by Statista, over 2.9 million apps are available in the Google Play Store and 4.75 million apps available in the Apple App Store as of the year 2021. Mobile apps are predicted to generate more than $935 billion in revenue by the following year.

Excessive data usage has been listed as a dealbreaker for many popular apps, such as Pokémon Go, which, although initially going viral, was later deleted by many. On the other hand, 37% of millennials consider data usage a critical factor for liking a mobile app. Hence, to succeed in such a competitive market, companies need to launch the best quality apps. 

The mobile app testing process is a crucial step of app development for all developers and QA teams involving specialized mobile testing tools. Mobile testing is becoming increasingly important as more enterprises want a portion of the mobile customer audience, more mobile devices and versions are entering the market, and more brands are launching mobile products.

Mobile application testing is essential as more companies launch mobile products, like mobile website builders, and the marketplace has more devices, versions, and platforms. The correct choice of mobile application testing tools has to be made for each company from the multitude of available options, each with different pros and cons.

What are mobile testing tools?

The software used for testing mobile applications is called mobile testing tools. They include the following: 

  • cloud-based testing tools
  • performance testing tools
  • automated UI testers 
  • crash reporting tools
  • app distribution tools
  • mobile phone emulators 
  • mobile optimization and A/B testing tools
  • defect logging tools. 

How can mobile app testing be automated?

The process of mobile app testing can be automated using an automation framework that provides an environment for executing automated tests. They comprise additional features for more efficient testing, like parallel testing, testing bots, and headless testing.

What are the benefits of mobile application testing?

The benefits of testing mobile application testing are as follows: 

  • It reduces the risk of launching a broken application leading to unsatisfied customers.
  • It can identify and resolve bugs and regression that could lead to unwanted costs in the future.
  • It protects the brand reputation, increases the install rates, and, in turn, leads to positive reviews with the launch of a high-quality app.

Criteria for selecting mobile testing tools

The five most important criteria that should be used for the evaluation and comparison of mobile application testing tools are as follows:

  1. User Interface: Much data is generated by automated mobile testing, which should be presented attractively and clearly by the UI.
  2. Usability: A regularly updated platform with evolving technology and good customer support with training resources pave the way for efficient and easy mobile testing.
  3. Features & Functionality: 
    1. Root cause analysis: Scenarios can be replayed by looking at a log of all the details, including system metrics, screenshots, crash logs, and clicks. A root cause analysis can follow this.
    2. Comparisons: Test application builds can be compared to analyze the best performance, and those versions can be chosen. 
    3. Reporting tools: Bugs and defects can be identified for the effective generation of reports. 
    4. Scaling and Automation: This provides features that can increase the efficiency of the testing process, like the ability to test bot creation, perform parallel and distributed tests, and so on. 
  4. Integrations: Integrating mobile testing tools with mobile platforms like Android and iOS and other automated testing tools, like the open-source Appium test automation platform, is required for cross-platform testing. The mobile application testing tools should be compatible with web editors, bug trackers, CI platforms, and databases. 
  5. Value for money: It should be ensured that the price is suitable for the features, the use case, and the capabilities offered. The costs should also be transparent, clear, and flexible.

The Top 10 mobile application testing tools

The top 10 mobile application testing tools are listed below and their prominent features.

  1. Appium

Appium is an open-source and cross-platform mobile application testing tool for hybrid and native iOS and Android, from version 2.3 onwards. It functions like a server in the background, similar to the Selenium server.

This automated mobile application testing tool supports several programming languages, including Ruby, Java, and C#, and uses the WebDriver interface to run tests.

Appium automates Android via the UIAutomator library, provided by Google in the Android SDK. It can control Chrome and Safari on mobile devices and be synchronized with the testing framework TestNG. UI Automator, similar to Ranorex, can produce detailed and informative reports.

Hence, the benefits are as follows.

  • The app does not require recompilation or modification since standard mobile automation APIs are used on all platforms.
  • Any language compatible with the WebDriver library can be used for writing the test cases, including Ruby, Java, JavaScript, Python, PHP, and C#.
  • Any testing framework can be used.
  • Setting up on different platforms is easy.
  • The Appium mobile testing tools for mobile apps support many languages like Java, Ruby, Node, PHP, and Python.
  • The process of installation on devices is effortless.
  • The Selenium Webdriver JSON wire protocol can be used.
  • It is supported on both Android as well as iOS platforms.
  1. Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio is an efficient automated mobile application testing tool that can also be used for API, web, and Windows.

It wipes out the troubles of building test automation frameworks from scratch and provides low-code programming prerequisites, making it the best competitor of Appium.

Katalon Studio supports Android and iOS platforms and is compatible with many operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The essential characteristics are as follows:

  • Built-in keywords, pre-made project templates, records, and playback options for swiftly creating tests.
  • Two modes called Manual and Script are available for both low-code and scripting options.
  • Execution is possible in local, remote, and cross-environment modes on real devices, simulators, or customized cloud-based devices on various testing platforms like HeadSpin.
  • The visual elements can be captured and located using the Image-based Testing feature.
  • The maintenance efforts can be reduced with the help of object refactoring and Page Object Model design.
  • The test assets can be easily transferred from one project to another with the Test artifact sharing feature.
  • A built-in advanced reporting option is available for detailed, analytical insights that can speed up troubleshooting.
  • It can be integrated with many standard CI/CD systems like Bamboo, Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI, and Azure DevOps.
  • Katalon Studio is free to use. 
  • Katalon Studio Enterprise and Katalon Runtime Engine are available for $1,899 and $1,499/license/year as of May 2022.
  • Katalon Academy is a website for free learning resources with video tutorials, sample projects, and detailed technical documentation.
  1. Espresso

Espresso is an open-source test automation platform for Android developed by Google. It is a platform-specific framework with a straightforward and flexible API, popular for advanced native Android mobile applications. The drawback of Espresso is that it can only perform Android UI tests.

The essential features are as follows.

  • It supports JUnit and Java for native Android apps.
  • It has lightweight APIs for easy maintenance.
  • It can synchronize UI elements and testing actions automatically. 
  • It can compile Android UI tests to APKs.
  • It is generally used for unit and black-box testing and enhancement of the functionalities.
  1. XCTest

XCUI Test is an open-source framework for scripting and running UI tests with Xcode IDE, developed by Apple. This automated mobile application testing tool is only applicable to iOS devices and does not support Android systems. 

The essential features are as follows.

  • Swift and Objective-C are the scripting languages available.
  • XCode integration can be used to simplify the coding process via subclasses, methods, and assertions.
  • It can connect with Xcode and other third-party tools and frameworks for recording tests. CI/CD integration support is available.
  • It is suitable for black-box testing.
  1. Robotium

Robotium is an automated, open-source mobile application testing tool for Android applications, with versions higher than 1.6. The setup needs Eclipse, Android SDK, Android Development Kit, and JDK.

The essential characteristics are:

  • It supports both the Native and Hybrid versions of Android.
  • Java is the scripting language. 
  • It has a simple API for rapid generation of tests.
  • It is used to write system, functional, and user acceptance tests.
  • CI/CD integration is supported on Gradle, Maven, or ANT.
  • The execution is supported on Android emulators as well as real devices.
  1. Selendroid

Selendroid is a test automation platform that forces out the User Interface of Android native and hybrid apps and the mobile web. API tests are written with the help of Selenium 2 clients.

The essential characteristics are:

  • It is one of the best automated mobile application testing tools, compatible with JSON wire protocol.
  • The automation process does not require any modification of the application under test.
  • The concept for the automation of both native and hybrid apps is the same.
  • UI elements can be found using different types of locators.
  • It can interact with more than one Android device simultaneously.
  • It supports the hot-swapping of hardware devices.
  • Selenium Inspector is a unique feature for scrutinizing the current state of the User Interface of the mobile app.
  1. Flutter

Apart from Espresso, Flutter is another open-source platform by Google for developing mobile, web, and desktop apps. Statistics have revealed that over 10% of the mobile applications available on Google Playstore were developed using Flutter.

The essential features are as follows.

  • It can be used to create both Android and iOS applications.
  • It can be used to develop mobile, web, and desktop apps.
  • Code modifications and updates can be easily performed on simulators, emulators, or real devices, and the results can be viewed in real-time using Hot Reload.
  • Service workers are used for background caching. 
  • Null reference exceptions can be reduced with the ‘Sound null safety’ option.
  • Widgets and rich motion APIs can be used to build expressive UIs.
  1. Robot Framework

Robot Framework is a keyword-driven test automation platform for testing mobile, web, and desktop apps. It is for various testing levels and types, like robotic process automation and ATDD or acceptance test-driven development.

The characteristic features are as follows.

  • It can support cross-platform testing.
  • It enables keyword-driven testing.
  • It offers a vast array of standard as well as third-party test libraries.
  • It can perform, develop and modify tests in integration with many supporting mobile testing tools. 
  1. Xamarin

Xamarin developers use UITest to build and perform UI acceptance tests on both Android and iOS apps on mobile devices. It can be used to test both Xamarin apps and native apps like the Android platform by Google, iOS by Apple, and iOS by Xamarin.

The characteristic features are as follows.

  • Form-built applications. It is an easier option for Xamarin.
  • It can connect to Microsoft Visual Studio products effortlessly.
  • It offers efficient cross-platform testing. 
  1. iOS Driver

The iOS Driver framework can be utilized to integrate both iOS hybrid and native mobile apps for testing with Selenium. This is done via Selenium or WebDriver API. It performs more efficiently on emulators as compared to real devices. The system requirements should be verified before installing because this testing platform works with two different frameworks from Apple.

The characteristic features are as follows.

  • The features of the X-code of Apple can be used when it is compatible.
  • Modification of the application code, third-party agents, or jailbreaking is not required to test applications.
  • The feedback time for GUI testing can be reduced by using the iOS Driver platform as a Selenium Grid Node. 


From the wide range of automation tools available, developers and QA teams need to understand the requirements of the particular mobile app and choose the corresponding mobile application testing tool.

HeadSpin is an automated platform offering efficient Appium test cycles. It offers Appium IDE as the first custom desktop application. Some of the advancements made by HeadSpin to the Appium testing are:

  • Testing on open-source Appium without vendor lock-in and proprietary versions
  • Speeding up the test cycles by 30%
  • Capturing performance data for more actionable insights
  • Conducting parallel tests to save time
  • Testing on Android as well as iOS devices
  • Testing for audio and video performance
  • Compatible with two-way audio and biometric testing
  • No changes to the test script are required.