ASO Blog

Getting Started With Mobile App Testing: What You Need to Know

Mon 11 Aug 2014, 3:45 PM - laurie

Testing your app before you launch is more than advised; it’s inevitable if you want your app to succeed and avoid bad surprises. There are multiple ways of evaluating your app’s efficiency. In this post we will give you various options that hopefully will guide you in your app pre-launch phase.

Preliminary Testing with iOS Simulator

If you’re an app developer, you probably already know the iOS Simulator, installed as part of the Xcode tools along with the iOS SDK. It allows you to test your app on your computer during its development. It’s a very good start to get a global idea of how your app would work, look and feel. Indeed, this Simulator is a rapid way of testing your app’s features. It is also a good way to identify various bugs.

However, the iOS Simulator has some serious limitations. As it is running on a Mac, the rendering of your app won’t be very accurate. Plus, because the memory of a computer is bigger than a device’s, the performance of your app will be biased. You app may actually be slower or less smooth in the real world compared to what it looks like in the iOS Simulator. Moreover, the simple usage of a mouse rather than a direct screen touch will inevitably alienate the interaction of your app.

It is therefore indispensable that you test your app on actual devices with real users. Of course, you can buy your own devices and test your app on each of them but - except from the technical side - you won’t be able to test your app’s efficiency in depth. You need to get beta testers do it for you. And it would be better if these testers were not related to you. Your family and friends may not be enough partial or critical.

Some awesome third party tools and services can help you find testers and submit them the beta version of your app very easily thanks to the implementation of a SDK.

1)    TestFlight

TestFlight is a great app beta testing service, recently acquired by Apple. During the WWDC14, it has officially been announced that TestFlight would come along with iOS8 this Fall – for free.

This move clearly reflects Apple’s will to offer its app developers the best experience possible so that they would obviously stay fond of developing apps in the Apple Store. And we can guess that it will certainly please more than one developer. At the same time, it improves app users experience as well, since less buggy apps will be released in the App Store.

It also shows that Apple is willing to open-up in the app ecosystem, probably to stay in line with its main competitor Google Play.

TestFlight is a great way to ask volunteer beta testers to test pre-release versions of your app and report bugs. You can actually invite up to 1,000 unique beta test users for an unlimited number of devices. All you’ll need is their email address.

You’ll then be able to track metrics through detailed analytics informing you how your users have been doing with your app. You’ll also get statistics on bugs and problems that occurred during the tests.

2)    Applause (Utest)

Applause is a 360° app quality company. It provides a development and testing service through the Applause SDK.

Very easy to install, this SDK allows you to test your app in multiple ways. With build distribution you can ensure that your app stays up-to-date so that your testers won’t bother testing an older version. The in-app bug reporting can be done instantly and directly within your app. Your beta testers can easily interact with you by sending screenshots or details about the bugs they’ve found. They can also reach out to give you their general feedback in-app.

A very useful feature that Applause SDK offers is the Automated Crash Reporting: every time your app crashes it will be reported and tracked.

Applause SDK supports iOS, Android, Windows and Unity apps. Unlike TestFlight, Applause is not free but you can get a free trial. It seems that it can be a good alternative if your app is not on iOS and if your app beta testing needs more framing and guidance.

3)    Hockey App

Hockey App is another testing service providing an easy-to-install SDK. The major testing features are all available: distribution, live crash report & analysis, in-app feedback and analytics with advanced metrics and powerful segmentation.

Testers can also send you screenshots with annotations, directly within the app. Hockey App also helps you to collect new users.

Hockey SDK is supported by iOS, Android and Windows. Plans starting at $10/mo (with 1 month free trial).

There are many other services such as Ubertesters, ElusiveStars, Bugsense, AppThwack, Testin, etc. They all provide different features and SDKs at various prices. You therefore have plenty of choices to find the one that suits the best your app, expectations and budget. But spare yourself some trouble and test your app as much as possible and the best you can if you want to succeed.

To find beta testers, use various social media and post to specific groups. Reddit is also a good way of asking people to test your app.

Also, be sure to check out PreApps, a famous website where you can discover and test new mobile apps before their release. You can post your app on the website for free and ask users to test it.

Did you find this article useful? What’s your experience in app beta testing? What method are you using to test your app? Share your thoughts in the comments below, thanks!

By Laurie Galazzo

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App Store Optimization ("ASO") is the process of improving the visibility of a mobile app (such as an iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows Phone app) in an app store (such as iTunes or Google Play for Android). App Store Optimization is the mobile equivalent of Search engine optimization. Specifically, App Store Optimization includes the process of ranking highly in an app store's search results and top charts rankings. ASO marketers agree that ranking higher in search results and top charts rankings will drive more downloads for an app. - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.