Mobile App Performance Testing: A Complete Guide

If you are a QA (Quality Analyst), you would surely want to know how an app performs before it goes live. But you may be worried that the app would not be able to

  • Handle an increasingly high number of users
  • Cope with a large volume of data
  • Perform well under some critical conditions

Surely you don’t want users to encounter poor usability. In fact, Statista reported mobile users in the USA spent 4 hours and 9 minutes using mobile apps daily. Users are not ready to compromise on the performance of mobile apps.

So, to ensure that the app is performing seamlessly and meeting your set KPIs, you need to conduct mobile app performance testing. Since 2010, we have been a leading mobile app development services provider. We have come up with this guide that will help you strategize the testing process for your app.

From this blog, you will learn:

  • What is mobile app performance testing?
  • What is the purpose of performance testing?
  • How to conduct performance testing

Let’s get started.

What is Mobile App Performance Testing?

To put it simply, mobile app performance testing means testing the mobile app’s performance in order to identify issues and challenges after comparing it to the standard KPIs.

Mobile app testing is also executed in a simulated environment to predict the experience of an app user just after the launch of the application. Also, this will help you to ensure that the app normally performs on a range of devices even if there is a peak in traffic loads and internet connectivity is poor.

Also, know that the mobile app’s performance is measured in three different categories.

Take a look at the below table to have a better understanding.

3 Pillars of Mobile App Performance
Device PerformanceServer/API PerformanceNetwork Performance
To check whether your app is slow or not, you perform a device performance test.Check if the response time is increasing or decreasing while the app interacts with the API server.You carry out this test on different networks to find the network performance of the app.
For device performance, check following:

  • App Start-up
  • Battery time while using the app
  • Memory consumption
  • Hardware/software variation
  • Usage with other apps
For server performance, check following:

  • Data to and from server
  • API calls generated from the app
  • Server downtime
For network performance, check following:

  • Jitters
  • Packet loss
  • Network speed

There is a range of app performance testing types that, generally, the QA team performs to ensure the app is running seamlessly on multiple platforms as well as devices.

But why are performing these tests essential? If you are still looking for an answer, then check the next section.

Why Conduct Performance Testing of Mobile Apps?

Suppose you miss testing your application before launching it on the app stores. In that case, you are probably ignoring various bugs and defects and increasing the chances of your app getting rejected by the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Apart from this, there are many reasons you need to conduct mobile performance testing.

Have a look.

  1. You need to conduct a test to evaluate the performance of the app during big workloads. Being a tester, you will check for the response time and the data on resource consumption. Additionally, this will help you in managing the app in handling high traffic spikes.
  2. With testing, it is easy for you to validate the use of hardware, and you can ensure that the mobile applications are performing seamlessly, even with low CPU usage or little server storage.
  3. Performing mobile testing will determine the capacity of your app so that you know how much it is capable of the designed metrics, such as response time and peak traffic load.
  4. You will be able to identify the performance of the app under critical conditions and predict and prevent system crashes beforehand.

Let’s check what these testing types are in the next section.

Which are the Different Types of Performance Testing?

Mobile application performance testing is critical for you to ensure that being a tester you are able to make some valuable decisions and make performance test strategies. Here is the list of mobile application testing that you need to look for.

  1. Load Testing

    You perform a loading test to ensure that the application is performing as expected under increasingly high numbers of users. Or you confirm how much the application is capable of handling the required number of users and observe whether it still can offer a high level of performance.

    Doing this will ease you as there will be fewer chances of facing day-to-day issues in loading performance. With this, you will be able to determine the general behavior of the app, latency, and throughput. Additionally, it will help you to verify your quality criteria.

  2. Stress Testing

    The stress test is performed to see which components fail first when there is a higher-than-expected workload on an app. Taking initial precautions will help you mend the application in a serious traffic situation.

    In short, you test the application to find its breaking points and evaluate its ability to process data and respond to high volumes of traffic. The launch of a new iPhone leads to a sudden spike in traffic on the official website of Apple is the right example you can consider for the stress test.

  3. Endurance Testing

    Endurance testing is performed to check the ability of the mobile app in extended periods of high traffic. This means it will evaluate the app’s performance under load over time.

    This test is executed by applying various loads to the app for an extended timeline and seeing how the performance requirements regarding the production loads and durations of those loads are met.

  4. Spike Testing

    Spike testing is performed to determine how well an app can cope with a sudden spike in traffic. Generally, the aim behind performing this test is also to find whether the app will fail to handle the load or will manage the dramatic changes in the load.

    It is similar to stress and load testing; the only difference is that it is modeled as a sudden burst of traffic. Spike testing is an effective way to find whether you are making good use of elasticity while planning to run a campaign through the app.

  5. Volume Testing

    Volume testing is also known as flood testing, which is performed to determine the ability of the app to handle a large volume of data. The QA team calculates the impact on response time and the behavior of the app at the time of handling load.

    With this testing method, the QA team also determines the challenges and the capacity of the system. So if you know that your app is going to deal with big data, then performing this test is essential for you.

  6. Scalability Testing

    Scalability testing is performed to determine the ability to handle additional capacity when you add new features and functionalities to the app in the long run. It measures response time, requests per second, processing speed, CPU, and network usage under such conditions.

    The aim behind performing this test is to plan and design phases of development in such a way that it helps stakeholders to reduce costs and mitigate potential risks beforehand. So while performing stress tests, you steadily increase the app’s capacity and determine the scalability of the application.

Want to Develop an App That Performs Seamlessly on Various Devices?

Contact us with your mobile app development requirements. We will help you build and perform app testing to identify and mitigate all bugs at the seedling stage, making your app flawless.

Moving ahead, we are going to discuss the mobile app development tools which are required to perform app testing. Have a look at the list of server-side and client-side each.

Which Tools are Used for Mobile App Performance Testing

In this section, we are going to discuss the tools separately for the server side and client side. Also, we will talk about these tools along with the platform information and pricing details. Let’s get started.

ToolDescriptionPlatform Compatibility (iOS/Android)Pricing
Server-side Performance Testing
MeterJMeter is an open-source testing automation tool and an easy-to-use interface. It offers features like multiple load generators and controllers and also supports data visualization tools and HTML-rich reporting.
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Free
GatlingGatling offers various features like HTTP/S, JMS, and JDBC support, rich HTML reporting, and DSL and Scala support to help you automate the testing process.
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Scout: 69€/month
  • Scale: 276€/month
  • Corporate: 1380€/month
Client/Device-side Performance Testing
Sauce LabsSource Labs is a cloud-based test platform that simplifies your testing process by covering over 800 browser types and creating a bug-free environment. With this, you can handle large testing volumes without interfering with other tests.
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Live Testing: $39/month
  • Virtual Cloud: $149/month
  • Real Device Cloud: $199/month
Appium StudioAppium Studio is widely known for mobile as well as web application performance testing. You also get access to device-specific features, such as TouchID and barcode scanning.
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Free
RobotiumIt is a useful automated testing tool that tests both native and hybrid Android apps. It provides freedom to Android mobile app developers to write custom functions and test scenarios.
  • Android
  • Free
SelendroidWith Selendroid, it is easy to test multiple Android apps simultaneously, and possible to switch between cases frequently.
  • Android
  • Free
TestdroidWith Testdroid, you can perform both manual and automated tests while recording the execution process. Additionally, you can use plugins and API for free.
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Free
  • 499€/month

After discussing all the mobile app performance testing tools, let’s discover how you can use a strategy to make the most of the testing process.

How to Conduct Mobile App Performance Testing

If you are unaware of how to proceed with the testing process, then look at this section, where we have come up with a strategy. This step-by-step testing strategy is specially designed for newly funded startups to help them successfully execute performance testing.

Step 1. Set your objectives for each case that aligns with the business requirements. This is the stage where you will know the mobile app architecture of the project, including functionalities, data, and UX.

Step 2. Ensure you have set your priorities for each scenario and test each mobile app feature one by one.

Step 3. At this step, you need to set the key performance testing metrics & mobile app KPIs in order to check whether the execution was successful or not. Here are the KPIs to consider.

  • Error rate
  • Latency/maximum response time
  • Average response time
  • The peak number of requests
  • Average throughput
  • App crashes
  • Device performance

Step 4. To check the look and feel of the interface and understand the user experience of the app, simulate a real-life testing environment.

Step 5. Depending on the mobile app development methodology you are using, align your testing approach to embrace regular bug reports and regression tests, also to improve communication, and speed up the testing process.

Step 6. While testing the app, you need to focus on the latency and the bandwidth of a carrier network in order to optimize the app and improve the overall user experience.

Step 7. At the end of the testing process, focus on resolving issues and retesting the app to ensure a bug-free app.

We have discussed the strategy. Now, if you want to test the app and see what you can check in the app to measure the performance, below is a quick checklist for you.

Mobile App Performance Testing Checklist

Testing the mobile app against its performance has always been an essential part of the mobile app development process. Therefore, here is a quick checklist for you to test the performance of the mobile application.

  • Check the requirement of the RAM usage for the app
  • Validate the speed and response time of the app under various circumstances and network conditions
  • Check the user experience of the app
  • Ensure you are getting the expected results with multiple connectivities
  • Check the app has no bugs and is not getting crashed
  • Ensure the app is performing seamlessly while using data, Wi-Fi, or other connectivity
  • Monitor the uptime and challenges associated with the mobile API usage
  • Ensure it is capable of handling the traffic load

Looking to Hire Dedicated Quality Testers?

Talk to us. We have an experienced team of quality analysts who are well-versed in optimizing Android, iOS, and hybrid mobile apps.

If you still have some doubts, like how much it will take to do performance testing for a mobile app or how you can actually automate the testing process, check the next section. We have addressed a few FAQs on app performance testing. Have a look.

Frequently Asked Questions About Performance Testing

What is the difference between performance testing vs performance engineering?

Performance testing is mainly associated with measuring the performance of an application under certain conditions and loads.

On the other hand, performance engineering is tuned accordingly to attain an expected performance result. To meet the rapid changes in the app development process and delivery, the QA team goes beyond traditional performance testing and does performance engineering.

How much time does it take to do mobile app performance testing?

Testing has always been a crucial stage of the mobile app development process. It takes 4 – 6 weeks to test a mobile application. While testing, it is essential that you consider several factors like:

  • Network bandwidth and carrier networks
  • User experience (UX)
  • Performance tests
  • End-to-end security
  • Stable across operating systems
  • Usability
  • Compatible across different mobile devices
  • Scalability of the app

Is it possible to automate performance testing?

Yes, you can automate the performance testing process with the help of tools. Here is the list of best tools for automating the testing process:

  • Selenium
  • Appium
  • Katalon Studio
  • Cucumber
  • HPE Unified Functional Testing (UFT)
  • SoapUI
  • TestComplete
  • Worksoft
  • IBM Rational Functional Tester (RFT)

Start Testing Your App to Get Performance

With this blog, you get to know why it is essential to test mobile app performance in order to maintain the consistency of the user experience and satisfy the work performance across the mobile device (iOS and Android devices) as well as the operating system and network. Furthermore, with the ever-rising demand for mobile applications, it is essential to test the mobile app for its long-lasting success.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.