How to Automate Mobile App Testing: 2 Approaches

Anna Thorsen

Automation Expert

Automation is a fundamental part of making your business agile, and as bug-free as possible. But how does it actually work?

In this brief post, we’ll explain how businesses can automate mobile app testing, what to automate, and the types of testing you should be doing.

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Skip ahead to: 

What mobile app tests should you automate?
What types of testing should you perform in mobile apps?
2 approaches to automating mobile app tests

What mobile app tests should you automate?

Automation doesn’t entirely remove the need for manual testing. Every time a new feature is released, it has to be tested manually. 

After that, it can be automated. But even then, it may not be a good fit for automation. 

So what makes a test a good candidate for automation?

Predictable. The test follows a predictable path. 

Repetitive. Automating repetitive tests like regression testing limit the possibility of human error.

Data-intensive. Validating large amounts of data when it is moved from A to B. This task is less prone to human error when it’s automated. 

Complex features. If a feature is prone to breaking easily, or it’s a sensitive case that could lead to downtime if it breaks, it should be automated. 

Cross-technology. These are tests that require testing across devices, software and platforms. 

What types of testing should you perform in mobile apps?

End-to-end. Tests that span across multiple platforms and software. 

Regression testing. When new features are built, regression testing checks that old tests are running as intended. Every time a new feature is built, it’s then added to the regression suite after being manually tested.

Performance testing. Testing the speed and effectiveness of the app.

Penetration testing. Making sure that the mobile application does not have flaws in security that make it prone to attacks.

UI testing. Testing the user interface of an application. 

2 approaches to automating mobile app tests

  1. Code-based framework

Appium is an example of a code-based automation framework for mobile apps. It’s open-source, meaning there are no upfront costs (other than those running it on a server).

There are, however, a lot of hidden costs. That’s because you have to pay someone with programming knowledge to build and maintain the framework. 

Related reading: 4 steps businesses miss when calculating the ROI of test automation

The workload required to maintain your Appium codebase is immense as it is still a relatively new tool meaning that tests are limited and unreliable. 

As a result, it is difficult to match the pace of development, and it is difficult to scale. Why? Appium (and most frameworks) is built for one application type — mobile. 

Overall, code-based approaches like the Appium framework make it difficult to contribute toward automation. 

2. Visual language with no-code

Visual test automation doesn’t need coding to build tests. It’s an intuitive way to automate that gives more people the ability to build automated tests. 

Usually, this is done through record and playback features — a user clicks through actions (such as logging into an app, or moving an item to a shopping cart) and they are turned into a test. However, it’s not uncommon for vendors to use different approaches — learn how Leapwork uses codeless Appium test automation

It enables a level of agility that frameworks don’t have. Developers don’t need to spend time writing and maintaining Appium scripts, and testers don’t have to learn how to code to build tests. 

You can learn more here about codeless Appium test automation, or get the full to learn more about mobile app automation and the tools you should be adopting

mobile app testing with test automation guide