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Implementing Robust Mobile App Test Automation: Challenges and Solutions

Implementing Robust Mobile App Test Automation: Challenges and Solutions

24 May 2023 14 Minutes Read BY Satya Madhavi Mukku

With digitalization across industry domains, mobile apps form the crust as major business enablers across the world. The latest research data shows that there are 8.93 million mobile apps and roughly around 255 billion mobile app downloads. This whopping mobile app data depicts the importance of mobile apps for various businesses. People use mobile apps for performing various activities such as banking, e-shopping, buying insurance products, booking doctor appointments, obtaining medical advice, paying power bills, etc. Mobile App Test Automation plays a significand role in testing and perfecting these apps.

Today, undoubtedly mobile apps continue to be the major business enablers and mobile users tend to use high-quality mobile apps which deliver a seamless user experience and are easy to use. Therefore, businesses should ensure their business-critical mobile apps are high-performing and high-quality by leveraging mobile app test automation to deliver seamless and fully-functional mobile apps.

The process of effectively automating mobile app testing leveraging different open source and commercial test automation tools is broadly what mobile app test automation revolves around. We create and execute automated tests on mobile devices, which significantly saves the testers’ time and reduces overall costs. These automated tests ensure more reliable testing outcomes and ensure fully-functional and high-quality mobile apps. According to GlobeNewswire, the mobile application testing solution market is poised to reach USD 21.5 Billion by 2030, registering a 20.2% CAGR throughout the forecast period (2021–2030).


 Table of Contents


What is the need of Digital businesses for automating mobile testing?

Mobile apps are the major modes for conducting business for today’s digital businesses such as Healthcare, Banking, Insurance, Fintech, Airlines, and Logistics, to name a few. Businesses need high-performing and quality mobile apps at a faster pace to go-to-market early which is all possible by adopting mobile app test automation.

By leveraging automation, it helps businesses deliver fully-functional mobile apps with seamless performance and security that is bound to increase user engagement,  generate more sales and deliver improved user experience (UX). Hence, businesses should ensure their mobile apps are scalable, robust, and seamless in delivering an enhanced UX by leveraging mobile test automation which delivers many benefits to businesses.


Major benefits of Mobile app test automation

Digital businesses get many benefits as they leverage mobile app test automation which has been detailed below:


benefits of Mobile app test automation


  • Fastens mobile app testing with test script automation.
  • Delivers faster and more accurate testing outcomes.
  • Quicker defect resolution in collaboration with Dev teams.
  • Ensures faster releases as testing becomes automated due to tools usage.
  • Speeds up the overall testing process.
  • Improves mobile app performance with near-zero defects.
  • Improves scalability of the app.
  • Significantly saves QA teams time.
  • Saves overall costs.

Therefore, digital businesses need to leverage different types of mobile app test automation methods to get the complete benefits of software test automation which includes:

  • Functional test automation: We validate all the functional aspects of the mobile app according to the requirements.
  • Performance & load test automation: We perform this testing to ensure seamless app performance and scalability under varying user loads.
  • Security testing using automation: We remove any security flaws or vulnerabilities in the app.
  • User interface testing: This is highly important as the UI should be intuitive and easy to use for end users.
  • Accessibility testing: This testing method ensures the app is accessible as per WCAG guidelines and rules to people with disabilities such as color blindness, motor impairment, etc.
  • Compatibility testing: We ensure compatibility across networks, OS, and platforms for the apps.
  • Cloud testing: This testing ensures seamless app performance and security in the cloud environment.


What are the commonly seen challenges with mobile test automation for QA teams?

QA teams take up the critical process of executing mobile test automation, and they tend to encounter some typical challenges. The below sections highlight some of the mobile app test automation challenges and similarly on how to overcome these challenges.


commonly seen challenges with mobile test automation


Different screen resolutions across devices:

As mobile users tend to access mobile apps with different devices, hence testers should test mobile apps with different screen resolutions which poses a challenge.

Different device fragmentations, operating systems, and cross-platforms:

Developers create mobile apps for different OS such as Android, iOS, Windows, Safari, etc. Therefore testers should ensure the developed automated tests are compatible across devices, OS, and platforms which is quite challenging for testers while testing.

Network bandwidth and connectivity:

The mobile apps should support different networks and hence QA teams should ensure the app performs seamlessly across different networks without any issues, which is quite challenging.

Flaky tests:

While testing, the QA teams may encounter false positives and false negatives that might give rise to flaky tests,  which is also another challenge.

Lack of proper usage of the right test automation strategy and tools:

The usage of the right test automation strategy forms the key to test automation success. When selecting the proper mobile test automation tool, testers face another important challenge based on the application under test.

Battery usage:

Mobile apps should run on any battery for any device without draining the device’s battery. Testers face the challenge of testing battery drainage across devices.

Fragmented platforms:

The Android and iOS platforms are highly fragmented, thus making it difficult for the testing teams to create a unified test automation framework.

Multiple user interfaces testing:

Testing of multiple user interfaces is also another challenge for testers.

Limited device availability:

The mobile apps should be tested on real devices but due to their limited availability with teams, testers test them on emulators and simulators which might cause some challenges.


What should be done to overcome mobile test automation challenges?

While performing mobile test automation, the QA teams need to adopt the below-stated measures and methods to overcome mobile test automation challenges.


overcome mobile test automation challenges


Leverage cloud-based mobile testing platforms along with emulators and simulators for seamless outcomes:

A physical lab along with a cloud-based mobile app testing system will form a robust testing method. In addition, testers should use emulators and simulators to get effective testing results.

Use reliable networks and VPN:

It is important to use reliable networks connections along with using a virtual private network (VPN) to overcome network bandwidth and connectivity issues.

Ensure to develop good and effective tests:

It is necessary to create good and effective tests that are compatible with multiple platforms to get accurate results.

Leverage the right mobile test automation strategy and tools:

QA teams should brainstorm on adopting the right mobile test automation strategy while also selecting the right test automation tool for effective results.

Test apps for battery drainage:

It is essential to test the mobile apps for battery discharges across devices and minimize battery drainage for enabling enhanced UX.

Leverage Open source platforms:

It is necessary to leverage open source frameworks to overcome the above challenge of fragmented platforms as these support multiple platforms.

Leverage tools that support multiple platforms:

Use both open source or commercial tools that support multiple platform testing.

Test with simulators and emulators:

As the number of real devices to test is limited for teams, it is suggested to test on simulators and emulators to get.


What are the 6 main factors to consider for robust mobile app test automation?

  • Ensure to adopt an effective test automation strategy which includes the right test automation tools selection along with test automation frameworks.
  • We determine which area of the mobile app testing to automate and decide the type of tests (functional and non-functional) to conduct..
  • Ensure to use and maintain proper test data for seamless results.
  • Ensure the tests are compatible with different versions of operating systems.
  • Set up the test environment by maintaining a production-like environment by choosing simulators, emulators, and real devices for testing.
  • Analyze the test results to draw effective results with comprehensive dashboards.


Testvox - Software Testing Services


Top Mobile test automation tools to leverage in 2023


Appium - Mobile test automation tool

It is one of the most commonly used open-source mobile test automation tools used for automating tests of native, hybrid, and mobile apps for both iOS and also Android OS.

Pros of Appium:
    • Supports multiple programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, PHP, etc.
    • Supports cross-platform testing.
    • It is easy to setup and use and can be used on real devices, tablets, and simulators.
Cons of Appium:
    • Does not support image recognition.
    • Does not support playback and recording.
    • Does not support testing of native Android apps on Windows and testing on embedded systems.


Test Complete

Test Complete - Mobile test automation tool


This tool is used for automating tests for web apps, desktop apps, and mobile apps. Its hybrid object and visual recognition engine provides maximum test coverage.

Pros of Test Complete:
    • Supports multiple languages and multiple platforms testing.
    • Best suitable for Unit, functional testing, and API testing.
    • Easily integrates with source control systems, test management, and defect tracking systems.
Cons of Test Complete:
    • Initial setup and configuration might be time-consuming. 
    • Does not support visual testing.
    • An expensive tool and does not support all types of testing.



Ranorex - Mobile test automation tool

It is a powerful all-in-one mobile automation tool that powers on Selenium webDriver, and has a record and playback feature that best suits automation. It supports cross-platform testing and supports desktop, web apps, mobile apps, and API testing.

Pros of Ranorex:
    • Tool is very easy to learn and can be easily used by non-programmers also.
    • Built-in features to support debugging and for troubleshooting of automation scripts and supports data-driven test scripts.
    • It offers comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities.


Cons of Ranorex:
    • The tool is not compatible with all programming languages and is limited to Windows OS.
    • Does not support advanced test automation efforts.
    • It is not the most cost-effective tool.


Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio - Mobile test automation tool

This is an effective tool for testing web, mobile, API, and desktop application test automation. It supports all platforms and OS, regardless of application complexity. This tool also delivers a low-code experience for beginners.

Pros of Katalon Studio:
    • It is an integrated environment and has user friendly GUI for creating, executing, and debugging automated tests.
    •  Has a wide range of built-in keywords for quickly creating tests.
    • Integrates with Jira, Jenkins, and Test Rail.
Cons of Katalon Studio:
    • The user interface is not so user friendly as compared to other tools.
    • Does not support record and playback and has no built-in reporting system.
    • It does not have much open source user support.



Perfecto - Mobile test automation tool

It is a cloud-based test automation tool for automating both web and mobile app testing and supports both code and codeless test automation.

Pros of Perfecto:
    • Has an easy to use interface and is used for testing mobile, web, and APIs.
    • Seamlessly integrates with multiple testing frameworks.
    • Has automated visual validation and continuous integration support.  
Cons of Perfecto:
    • Has a complicated setup process.
    • Limited mobile platform support and limited UI testing support.
    • It has an expensive pricing structure.


Important Test Automation Frameworks for Mobile app test automation

Mobile test automation tools are pre-built and can be used for testing either Android or iOS platforms whereas mobile test automation frameworks are custom-built and can be across multiple platforms. Test automation tools have pre-built features such as recording, playback, reporting, etc. while test automation frameworks need more coding and more maintenance than tools.

Appium Robot framework:

It is a keyword-driven mobile automation framework that provides test scripts for mobile applications. It is compatible with iOS and Android platforms and provides remote control of mobile apps. 


It has a simple API and powerful integration with the Xamarin cloud and can automate tests and generate detailed reports. It has cross-platform and multi-language support and is used for parallel testing and integrates with DevOps CI/CD.


This framework supports testing of both native and hybrid mobile apps and is easy to write test scripts. It supports multiple versions of Android devices and versions and is easily customizable. It easily integrates with most of the continuous integration tools.


This framework supports multiple devices, emulators, and Android APIs. It is used for native application testing and utilizes Android UI Automator. Selendroid supports integration with other frameworks such as Appium, Cucumber, and Robotium.  It supports an intuitive UI to perform test automation.


This is a testing framework developed by Google for creating user interface and functional tests. It is a robust framework that supports easier creation and maintenance of tests with an inbuilt synchronization.


What are the crucial features to consider while selecting mobile test automation Frameworks/Tools?

  • Should support a wide range of mobile platforms (Android, iOS, Windows)
  • Support all common scripting languages such as PHP, C#, and more
  • Should support testing on real-devices and virtual devices (emulators and simulators)
  • Should be secure and compliant with industry standards
  • Should be easy to learn and use for testers
  • Should easily integrate with DevOps CI/CD tools and analytics platforms
  • Deliver comprehensive reporting dashboards
  • Cost should be comparatively low to choose



Mobile apps continue to be the major business enablers for businesses across industries. End users need mobile apps that are high-performing, secure, and deliver superior user experience. Businesses should leverage mobile test automation to get high-quality apps and go to market faster.

QA teams tend to encounter some challenges while performing mobile test automation such as OS fragmentations, battery drainage, network bandwidths, and fragmented platforms, to name a few. Thus, testers should use cloud-based mobile test automation platforms,  test apps for battery drainage, use reliable networks and VPNs, and leverage open- source platforms to overcome the challenges.

Therefore, businesses to get high-quality mobile apps should leverage mobile test automation to get faster and high-quality releases along with more accurate results.

Satya Madhavi Mukku

An experienced Technical Content Writer and Content Strategist with over a decade of experience in Content Writing. My work experience spans in different domains like core technology blogs, articles, White Papers, eBooks, Case studies, and Web page content for industries.