How to Test Mobile Application Manually?

January 19, 2024Aayush Saxena
how to test mobile application manually

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Testing mobile apps by hand is super important, even though we have lots of fancy tools to do it automatically. Did you know that more than half of people won’t give an app a second chance if it messes up the first time they use it? That’s why it’s so important for testers to really use the app like a regular person would, to catch any annoying bugs. In this guide, we’re going to walk through how to test mobile apps manually or the old-fashioned way – by hand. Whether you’re new to testing or you’ve been at it for years, you’ll find some handy tips here to make sure the apps work great on all kinds of phones and tablets. We’re going to make sure that every touch and swipe works just right so users have a smooth ride from start to finish.

Why Manual Mobile Testing is a Must?

  1. The Personal Touch: There’s nothing like a human touch to catch those tiny glitches that computers just don’t get. Manual testing is like giving your app a test drive to make sure everything feels right.
  2. Expect the Unexpected: Users will always surprise you with the creative ways they use their phones. Manual testing helps you play out those real-life scenarios to make sure your app can handle the curveballs.
  3. First Impressions Are Everything: You want your app to not just work smoothly but also to make users say “Wow!” That’s where manual testing comes in, making sure your app is as attractive as it is functional.
  4. The Many Faces of Mobile Devices: With so many shapes and sizes of phones and tablets out there, manual testing ensures your app looks good and works well on all of them.

The Best Times for Manual Mobile Testing

  1. Exploring the Unknown: In the early stages when your app is still a bit of a mystery, manual testing lets you poke around and discover how it behaves in different situations.
  2. User-Friendliness Check: To make sure your app is as easy to use as snapping a selfie, have real people test it out. They’ll point out anything that’s less than intuitive.
  3. The Final Polish: Think of manual testing as the last round of spit and polish before your app steps out into the world, ensuring it’s ready to make a great impression.
  4. Bug Hunt: When bugs are playing hide-and-seek, manual testing becomes the ultimate game to catch them all.

In essence, manual mobile testing is about marrying tech smarts with human savvy. It’s not just about squashing bugs; it’s about crafting an experience that feels good for the user. And that’s a human job through and through.

Mobile Applications Manual Testing – Is it Viable?

The debate around the viability of manual testing in the mobile app sector is nuanced, especially considering the technological advancements and the rise of automation. Here’s a breakdown of why manual testing still holds its ground:

Market Growth & Demand

  • The mobile application testing services market is expected to hit USD 15,441.37 million by 2023, as per LinkedIn, indicating robust growth and a sustained demand for testing services.
  • This growth underscores the need for diverse testing methods, including manual testing, to ensure comprehensive app quality.

The Role of Manual Testing

  • Despite the prevalence of automated tools, manual testing is indispensable for certain types of testing such as exploratory, usability, and ad-hoc, as per insights from Scriptworks.
  • For startups, manual testing is often the go-to due to its cost-effectiveness and flexibility, crucial for testing MVPs.

Tools and Efficiency

  • The market offers a plethora of manual QA testing tools, as Droids On Roids reports, which enhance the efficiency of manual testing processes.
  • These tools support the argument that manual testing is not only viable but essential for a detailed and nuanced testing approach.
  • The blend of manual testing tools and methodologies is key to maintaining the high quality and performance standards expected in the competitive mobile app landscape.

Mimic Real User Behavior

One of the strongest arguments for manual testing is its ability to mimic real user behavior. Testers can replicate the exact user actions, from swiping through screens to entering data or handling the app under various conditions. This human touch is invaluable for uncovering issues that automated scripts might miss.

Complex Use Cases Can Be Simplified

Complex user scenarios often require a nuanced approach that manual testing is well-suited to provide. Testers can break down intricate workflows into simpler test cases, ensuring that even the most complex functionalities are vetted for user-friendliness and reliability.

Better Judgement of UI and UX

The subjective elements of an app’s user interface and user experience are where manual testing truly shines. A human tester can provide insights into the aesthetic appeal, ease of navigation, and overall user satisfaction that automated tests cannot quantify.

Incorporating recent data and trends, it’s clear that manual testing continues to be a viable and necessary part of mobile app development. It offers a level of scrutiny and user-centric evaluation that is crucial for the nuanced demands of today’s app users. As technology evolves, the role of manual testing adapts, ensuring that apps not only function flawlessly but also deliver the intended user experience.

Manual Testing Process for Mobile App

A structured approach to manual testing ensures that a mobile application is thoroughly evaluated for both functionality and user experience. Here’s how to navigate the manual testing process with a focus on key strategies:

1) Have a Definite Plan Before diving into testing, it’s crucial to have a clear plan in place. This plan should outline the objectives, scope, and criteria for the test. It should also include the specific functionalities to be tested, the order of testing, and the metrics for success. A well-defined plan ensures that testing is systematic and comprehensive, covering all aspects of the app.

2) Test Equally on Real Devices and Emulators Testing should strike a balance between real devices and emulators. While emulators provide a controlled environment for initial testing phases, real devices offer insights into the app’s performance in real-world conditions. This dual approach ensures that the app is tested for compatibility across different hardware, operating systems, and network environments.

3) Pick Complex Use Cases Selecting complex use cases for manual testing can reveal how the app behaves under challenging scenarios. These use cases should represent real-world situations that a user might encounter, such as handling interruptions (like incoming calls or notifications), changing network conditions, or multitasking with other apps. Testing these scenarios manually can help identify potential issues that could affect user satisfaction.

4) Exploratory and Adhoc Testing: The Beauty and Difference It Makes Exploratory testing allows testers to go beyond predefined test cases, using their creativity and intuition to explore the app’s functionality. This approach can uncover issues that structured testing might not catch. Adhoc testing, on the other hand, involves testing the app without any plan or documentation, relying on the tester’s experience and understanding of the app. Both methods bring a human element to the testing process, often leading to the discovery of subtle bugs.

5) Write Better Click Paths Click paths refer to the sequence of steps a user takes to perform a function within the app. Writing better click paths means creating clear, logical, and efficient routes for users to achieve their goals. In manual testing, evaluating these paths helps ensure that users can navigate the app with ease and that there are no dead ends or confusing workflows.

By following these steps, testers can execute a manual testing process that is both rigorous and flexible, adapting to the unique challenges of mobile app testing. This process not only ensures that the app works as intended but also that it delivers a user experience that meets the high standards of today’s mobile users.

How to Test Mobile Applications Manually?

Testing mobile applications manually requires a strategic approach that utilizes both real device clouds and emulators/simulators. Here’s how each plays a role in the process:

Real Device Cloud

  • Accessibility to Actual Devices: Access a wide array of mobile devices with different configurations and operating systems.
  • Real-World Testing: Experience the app as users would, with real-time interactions and access to device-specific features like cameras, GPS, and battery usage.
  • Network Conditions: Test under various network types and speeds, including 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, and even offline modes.
  • Gesture and Interaction: Check the app’s responsiveness to multi-touch gestures, screen rotations, and other physical manipulations.

Emulators and Simulators

  • Early Bug Detection: Identify and fix bugs early in the development cycle, saving time and resources.
  • Parallel Testing: Run multiple instances simultaneously for different versions and screen resolutions.
  • Cost-Effective: Reduce the need for multiple physical devices, especially for initial development phases.
  • Environment Control: Simulate different environments and conditions, such as low battery, interrupted connections, or incoming calls.

Best Practices

  • Hybrid Testing: Combine the use of emulators/simulators for early development testing with real device clouds for final-stage validation.
  • User Experience Focus: Prioritize real device testing for final user experience checks, as this cannot be accurately gauged on simulators.
  • Continuous Integration: Integrate both testing methods into the CI/CD pipeline for efficiency and consistency.

Current Trends

  • Shift to Cloud-Based Testing: With the rise of cloud services, there’s a trend towards using cloud-based real device testing for its scalability and comprehensive coverage.
  • Balance in Testing Workflows: Approximately 65% of testing workflows involve manual testing, with a growing trend towards incorporating automated testing for routine checks.
  • User Engagement Metrics: With users spending significant time on mobile apps, ensuring a flawless app experience through thorough testing is more critical than ever.

Incorporating both real device clouds and emulators/simulators into the manual testing process ensures a thorough and efficient testing cycle, leading to a robust and user-friendly mobile application.

When to Automate your Mobile Test Cases?

When you have test cases that are being executed repeatedly and it would save you cost and time to automate and execute them, those are the scenarios when you should think about automating your mobile test cases. 

Let us explore how you can autmate your testing with TestSigma, it is user-friendly and really easy to create a test case – 

  1. Login to your TestSigma Dashboard.
  2. Go to “Create New”, in the top right corner, and click on Project.
Testsigma Dashboard

3. Next, give a name to your project, for example “Mobile Application Testing”. You can also choose to give it a small description if you’d like. Then, make sure you select the “Application Type”, for example, if it is an android app, select android, otherwise select iOS. You can also select multiple applications, if there is a combination of app and APIs you need to test together. And then, click “Create”.

Mobile application testing

4. Now, all you have to do, is upload your .apk file, or .ipa file and create the test case. You can head over here, and learn in detail about how to create a test case in the best possible way.

Testsigma is a low code test automation platform that lets you automate your tests for web, mobile as well as APIs from the same place, without the need for learning to code. 


In wrapping up, the art of manual mobile application testing remains a critical component in the QA process. It’s a blend of technical acumen and the human touch that ensures our digital products resonate with real-world users. By leveraging both real device clouds and emulators/simulators, testers can create a comprehensive testing environment that mimics a wide range of user conditions. This dual approach allows for the nuanced detection of issues and the assurance that the application will perform reliably in the hands of users.

 As technology evolves, so too does the landscape of manual testing, but its core objective remains steadfast: to deliver an exceptional, bug-free user experience. With the insights and methods discussed, testers are well-equipped to navigate the complexities of mobile applications, ensuring they meet the high standards of today’s tech-savvy consumers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which one is better for Mobile apps – manual or automated testing?

When it comes to mobile app testing, the debate between manual and automated testing is ongoing. Each method has its own set of advantages and is better suited for different scenarios.

Manual Testing is preferable when:

  • The test case requires human observation to notice the subtleties of UI/UX, such as colors, font sizes, and layout.
  • Exploratory testing is needed to simulate the actual user behavior and experience.
  • The application is in the early stages of development, and the cost and effort of automating tests may not be justified.

Automated Testing excels when:

  • Running regression tests need to be executed repeatedly over time.
  • Performing tests that are time-consuming and tedious for manual testers.
  • Testing requires precise timing or is too complex to perform manually.
  • A large number of devices and OS versions need to be tested simultaneously.

In practice, a balanced approach often yields the best results. Combining manual testing’s exploratory and nuanced user experience evaluation with automated testing’s speed and repeatability can provide comprehensive coverage and a high-quality user experience.

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