Mobile app performance testing: CheckList, Tools (Android & iOS)

Tram Ho

Performance matters for every mobile application. If your Mobile App is not performing well, the end user will uninstall your app and find another that performs better.

Your mobile app needs to be thoroughly tested before it is released to the end user.

Mobile app testing strategy

Application performance on a mobile phone or any smart device is usually measured in the following three categories.

  • Equipment performance
  • Server / API performance
  • Network performance

Equipment performance

When customers experience a slow application, they get annoyed.

For device performance, you will test the following:

  • Start the application

How long does it take your application to start up? This is the first performance parameter evaluated by the user. According to the thumb rule, after the user touches the app icon, the first screen appears after 1-2 seconds.

  • Battery time when using the app

In continuous use, some mobile applications consume a large amount of battery and heat up the phone. This factor greatly affects the performance of any mobile application, and can usually happen when your app is using more resources than required. Excessive resource usage will put a heavy burden on the processor and overheat the phone.

  • Memory consumption

When testing an application, it is necessary to check that application’s memory consumption. By performing certain functions in the app, memory consumption also increases. For example, in Android apps when push notifications are deployed, memory consumption increases.

In some cases, it has been found that memory usage of the entire operating system is only 14%, but a new application is consuming 11%. Therefore, these elements must be processed before the application is deployed into the real world or delivered to the customer.

  • Hardware / software compatibility

When testing a mobile application, it is imperative to test the applications on different devices. It could be the case that the app runs smoothly on one device but not on another. As with different Android device vendors, we can test the app on Samsung, HTC, and Lenovo phones. Similarly, the application should be tested with different RAM and processor specifications like 1 GB or 2 GB.

Compatible with other applications

When the application under test is running in parallel with other applications, there should be no interference. The best way to test it is to switch back and forth between the application under test and other applications.

  • Application in the background

An application running in the background is reopened, it will remain in the same state as before. If this scenario is not handled properly, the data will be lost. Again, you must import data from scratch when retrieving the application.

Server / API performance

When an application interacts with the server through the API, the response time becomes important. For Server performance, you will test the following:

  • Data to and from the server

The application will efficiently process the data sent from the server. It doesn’t take too long while downloading data. In certain applications, data is sent in a specific format. So before displaying it in the app it should be converted to a suitable format. During this process, applications sometimes become slower and response times become longer.

  • API calls are generated from the application

The number of calls to the server made from the application under test will be less. In some cases, multiple API calls are made for the same function. For better performance, this should be handled with less number of calls.

  • Server downtime

For any reason if the Server is down or inaccessible, we can save the data in the original database. So, whenever the server is down, we can display the data stored in the original database. Another solution might be to use failover database servers, ie if one of the servers is faulty or is in a maintenance phase, the standby server will be available for the switch. Backup / backup servers must be continually replicated and synchronized with the primary server.

Network performance

Application performance across different networks and network properties should be measured.

For Network performance, you will test the following:

  • Jitters

When there is a delay in receiving information on the network, it is called a jitter. There is a problem with disconnected networks or with network packet switches. As information is distributed into packets, the packets may travel in different paths from sender to receiver. When data reaches the intended location, it will be scrambled compared to when it was originally sent. In the case of Jitters, the mobile app has to be able to handle it.

You need to display appropriate messages to the end user, to resubmit the request, or wait until the system responds.

  • Lost Packet

In the event of a complete loss of the Packet, the application will be able to resend the requested information or generate a corresponding alert. If the data is incomplete, then the user will not be able to understand the information displayed in the Application. This can be stressful for the user. So it is better to display a suitable message or prompt the user to try again.

  • Network speed

Application needs to be tested on multiple networks with variable rate. Application should be tested on 2.5G, 3G and 4G networks, both Wi-Fi and mobile networks. In particular, when both networks are available and the migration occurs from one network to another, the application behavior needs to be monitored.

For example, a problem may arise in an app for the user while switching the phone network from 4G to WIFI and vice versa. In this scenario, the application becomes unresponsive and may request to restart the application in order to use it.

Mobile Application Performance Troubleshooting

After exploring the issues while testing the performance. It is time to track and fix the bugs.

Issue 1) Mobile Application slow response.

The cause of this delay could be RAM, Cache, etc.

You need to clear unnecessary processes or clear the cache. Troubleshooting the connection can resolve some issues that are causing latency

Issue 2) App restart, lock, freeze or become unresponsive.

It can be fixed with a few steps

  • Optimize the application’s code
  • Software should be patched and updated.
  • Automatic recovery
  • Manage RAM or in some cases ROM when using an external card
  • Wipe the cache partition
  • Verify the app works with other third-party apps and APIs
  • Mobile application mapping by device

Useful mobile app testing tool

Mobile app testing tools vary by device or mobile operating system. Some popular mobile applications Performance testing tools are


  • Robotium

It is like Selenium for Mobile Application. A tester can record and play some of the steps necessary to perform the test.

  • Monkey Runner

MonkeyRunner can run tests on real devices connected to a PC or emulator. This tool has an API, which allows controlling a smartphone, tablet or emulator from outside the Android code.


  • Automator (Mac)

Automator is an application developed by Apple for OS X. It does point-and-click (or drag and drop) to automate repetitive tasks into batches for faster change. This saves time and effort for human intervention to manually change each file individually.


The main challenges faced while Performance Testing include

  • Organize the different mobile platforms and their operating systems
  • Simulate activities like Edge, 3G, 4G or WiFi, etc.
  • Mobile device limitations such as battery and resource consumption
  • Ability to use mobile phones
  • Variety of mobile device sizes to run the same application

Set up a mobile application performance testing environment

To configure a Test Environment, you need-

  • Mobile app understanding needs to be tested
  • Determine the different operating systems the application needs to run
  • Build Test setup
    • Build emulators or simulators
    • Set up real prototypes
  • Choose the right tool for the test

Mobile app performance checklist

Mobile app performance testing is an important pre-release measure. Performance testing is done to test

  • How much RAM is required to use this application?
  • To verify the application’s speed and response time in different networks and circumstances.
  • Realistic user experience guaranteed under some network conditions
  • Be sure to get the necessary results in case of a lot of connections
  • Make sure the app doesn’t crash.
  • Make sure mobile apps work well when using data, Wi-Fi, or another connection
  • Monitor uptime and bottlenecks using mobile APIs
  • To ensure maximum number of concurrent users
  • Finally, to test the limitations of mobile apps

In brief

  • Performance testing requires mobile app understanding, resource users, virtual users, emulators, and many testing strategies.
  • Mobile application performance is measured in the following three categories.
    • Equipment performance
    • Server performance
    • Network performance
  • Performance Testing challenges include mobile device compact size, resource availability, cost and budget.

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Source : Viblo