Mobile App Compatibility Testing

Mobile App Testing, iPhone and Android QA, Compatibility

Mobile App Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing can be very useful in the field of mobile app testing. Particularly, as the mobile device market is so varied, it becomes virtually impossible to test an app on all supported devices. At this moment in time an iPhone app can potentially be tested on just a handful of devices, but Android devices include a much larger range, and so compatibility testing can really help here.

The purpose of a mobile app compatibility test in general, is to ensure an app’s key functions behave as expected on a specific device. The compatibility itself should only take a few minutes, and can be planned well in advance.

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The following example shows a typical situation where compatibility testing would be suitable:

You have been tasked with testing an Android app, and your client wants it tested on the top 10 Android devices. They have a fixed budget which; if you performed a complete test would not be enough. So, here you could suggest a complete test on the three top Android devices followed by a compatibility test on the remaining seven devices. This de-risks the app on the Android platform and provides good device coverage. To enhance the compatibility test, issues found during the complete tests can be checked to see if they exist on the devices used in the compatibility test. This can form the basis of your ‘5 minute test of key functionality’ or added as an additional test, time permitting.

Compatibility Testing can also be used in its own right, i.e. all testing takes the form of a compatibility test across any number of given devices. This is not ideal from a test perspective, but if this is the request from a client/manager then its a task that a mobile app tester may come across. If this request is made, then it is the duty of a mobile app tester to point out that a compatibility test cannot be used to gauge the quality of an app due to its limited test coverage.

While typically used for spreading the testing across a range of devices. The compatibility test can also be used to test a range of operating systems/firmware. A common request from a client/manager is to test the app on previous versions versions to ensure the backwards-compatibility of the app.