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Test Automation of Native Apps on Real Devices

Maria Homann

Maria Homann

Enterprise mobile apps are mission-critical, but most enterprises have not yet solved the puzzle of how to perform test automation of native iOS and Android apps on real devices.

In this blog post, we show how easy it is to do just that with Leapwork and BrowserStack’s real device cloud.

If you can’t wait to see how it works, jump straight to the video below. Otherwise, read on as we discuss whether to use an on-premise or cloud device lab and how to make automation work without being stopped by a mountain of complex and unmaintainable code.


Watch full video below

Getting an enterprise-grade device lab

In order to automate native apps on real devices, the first thing you need is access to some iOS and Android devices.

Due to security concerns, some enterprises want to use on-premise devices. Unfortunately, keeping a handful of old iPhones and some charging cables in a locked-down cabinet or on a shelf in the server room won’t work. You need a device lab with a lot of different mobile devices and well-proven processes to keep the lab running.

It’s very time-consuming and cost-prohibitive to setup an enterprise-grade device lab and then keep it constantly updated with the latest devices, browsers and OS versions. From hardware, to IT operations to DevSecOps, a lot of processes and infrastructure are needed to manage things like charging the devices appropriately and testing low battery scenarios, varying geographical locations, bad network connectivity and more.

The solution is simply to use cloud providers such as BrowserStack and Sauce Labs, who provide enterprise-grade, SOC2/ISO compliant device labs in the cloud at a fraction of the cost of running on-premise. These device labs scale up from a few concurrent devices to thousands in a completely managed infrastructure.

Getting automation to actually work

Next, there are major challenges in actually getting automation to work, even if the device lab is set up properly. The logistics and glue-code needed to get open source native app frameworks such as Appium up and running is complex and time-consuming, and on top of that comes the challenge of actually writing robust, maintainable and scalable test code.

Some of the frameworks even require changes to the underlying native app code, which should be avoided if at all possible, as it may invalidate the results. Native apps should be tested through the eyes of real users – on real devices and using the apps without modifications.

The solution is to use Leapwork’s built-in no-code building blocks for image and text recognition in combination with a real device cloud like BrowserStack. It’s simple to set up, easy to learn, doesn’t require any coding skills and produces results in minutes and hours, instead of weeks and months.

Video demo: Automating native apps on real devices

The following is video demonstration of how to use Leapwork to automate native apps on real devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android devices. We’ll access the devices through the cloud from our friends at BrowserStack, but this works the same with Sauce Labs and other providers as well.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for our webinar on no-code automation with Leapwork to learn more:

Watch the no-code test automation webinar