Interruption Testing - How To Perform In Mobile Applications

Interruption Testing – How To Perform In Mobile Applications

In today’s fast-paced and digital world, mobile applications have become an integral part of our daily lives. From entertainment, communication, productivity, and even commerce, these applications play an important role in enhancing user experience. Imagine being engrossed in a mobile game application, navigating its features with excitement, when suddenly a call comes in, or even a message notification comes up. What happens next can make or mar a user’s experience. This is why it is important to ensure that mobile applications can handle interruptions properly before releasing for production. In this blog, we will be diving into the world of interruption testing in mobile applications.

What is Interruption Testing?

Interruption testing is a type of mobile app testing and is the process of testing a mobile application’s response and ability to handle and recover from unexpected interruptions effectively. 

For example, let’s say you are in the middle of an online transaction on an e-commerce mobile application when you receive an important message from a potential client, and you switch to your messaging app to check the message, and upon returning to the e-commerce mobile app, you realized that all the goods you have previously added to the cart are no longer there. In this scenario, it means the e-commerce app is unable to return to its previous state after an interruption. 

The primary objective of interruption testing is to ensure that an application maintains its integrity during and after the occurrence of interruptions, with the end goal of providing users with a smooth and uninterrupted experience.

Categories of Interruption Testing in Mobile Applications

There are three categories of interruption testing in mobile applications:

  • Device Dependent – This has to do with testing a mobile app’s ability to handle interruption that is based on the built-in features of the device that is being tested. Some of these interruptions include device locking, low battery, and shutting down the device. 
  • Network Dependent – This has to do with a mobile app’s ability to handle interruptions that are based on network, for example, switching from one network provider to another or switching from one type of network signal to another (3G to 4G).
  • Functionality Dependent – This has to do with testing a mobile app’s ability to handle a combination of interruptions from other mobile applications or from the device. These can be incoming calls, message notifications, and notifications from other applications.

Types of Interruptions in Mobile Applications

There are different types of interruptions in mobile applications, some of which we are very familiar with. They include and are not limited to:

  • Incoming phone calls
  • Incoming messages
  • Charging a device while using a mobile application
  • Disconnecting a device while using a mobile application
  • Alarm notifications
  • Network disconnection
  • Network switch 
  • Low battery
  • Full battery
  • Network restoration
  • A device shutting down
  • Clicking on an external link
  • Changing network providers while using a mobile application

Resolution in cases of an interruption

In the context of interruption testing in mobile applications, resolution refers to the actions taken by the mobile application to handle and recover from an interruption. When an interruption occurs while using a mobile application, the application is expected to respond appropriately to ensure that the user’s experience remains seamless and uninterrupted. Here are some common resolutions for different types of interruption.

1. Show Alert

This can be explained as when a mobile application is in use and messages from the device or from other applications come up. The application should show incoming messages in a non-intrusive manner, like an alert or a notification banner, providing the user with the option to read, dismiss or respond to the message without leaving the mobile application entirely.

2. Run in the background

In this case, the interruption takes over while the application takes a back seat. When an interruption occurs, some mobile applications have the capacity to run in the background, which allows the app to continue performing certain tasks while the user attends to the interruption. For example, a user is using a navigation application to find their way to a train station, and they receive an incoming call. The navigation app should run in the background, allowing the user to answer the call without leaving the navigation. Once the call ends, the user can seamlessly return to the navigation and it would look like there was never an interruption.

3. Call to Action

There are cases where an interruption in a mobile application may require a user’s input or decision-making. For example, a user is playing a game on the mobile phone and they receive a notification that the device’s battery has become critically low. The application displays a call to action message asking if the user wants to switch to a power-saving mode to conserve battery. The user can then choose to enable power saving mode to conserve the device’s battery life while continuing with the game.

4. No impact

In some certain situations, an interruption may have no significant impact on an application’s activity or a user’s experience. For example, when a device is plugged in for charging while using an application, there is no alert or call-to-action resolution. This ensures that the application continues to run seamlessly without requiring any immediate action or input from the user.

How to Perform Interruption Testing In Mobile Applications

Performing interruption testing in mobile applications means simulating interruptions to evaluate how the application handles and recovers from them. Here are steps on how to conduct interruption testing in mobile applications.

1. Identify critical scenarios 

It is important to identify the interruptions that are relevant to a mobile application and could potentially impact a user’s experience. Highlight common interruption scenarios like incoming calls, incoming messages, alarms, low battery warnings, and network interruptions.

2. Develop and Design Test Cases 

After identifying these interruption scenarios, create test cases for them, highlighting the expected behavior of the mobile application to the identified interruptions and the desired outcome that is expected after the interruption has been resolved.

3. Set up Testing Environment

Prepare a testing environment to carry out the interruption testing. Use tools or scripts to automate the interruption events.

4. Implement Automation

Automation can significantly enhance the coverage and efficiency of interruption testing. Consider using automation tools or frameworks to automate the process. This enables us to carry out repeated testing and to ensure consistent and fast testing.

5. Execute Test Cases

Carry out testing on different mobile devices and operating systems (Android, iOS) to ensure comprehensive coverage. During the process, observe closely how the app responds during and after the interruptions.

6. Analyze the Test Results

At this stage, thoroughly analyze the test results to identify any issues or unexpected behaviors experienced during the testing. Determine if the app performs as expected in each interruption scenario and if there is room for improvement.

Automating Interruption Testing

Automating interruption testing involves leveraging specialized testing tools and frameworks to simulate interruptions automatically without the need for manual intervention. Utilizing specialized testing tools and frameworks to automatically mimic disruptions without operator involvement is known as automating interruption testing. Using an automated process, QA teams and developers can thoroughly test how well their mobile apps can manage various interruption scenarios. 

Automated testing mimics real-world disruptions to make sure that the app can reliably pause, restart, and recover data, ensuring a positive user experience even under difficult circumstances.

Software development and testing teams can harness the full potential of automation testing by exploring various automated testing platforms. Testsigma is a powerful example of such a platform. 

Interruption Testing Checklist

Now that we have covered the basics of interruption testing and how to perform it, this checklist will help you get started with it. This checklist has been listed based on the three categories of interruption testing in mobile applications.

1. Device Dependent

  • Create an interruption by setting an alarm or running a timer to see how well the mobile application handles it. 
  • Lock the device when performing a task on a mobile application and unlock it to see how the mobile application responds.
  • Check that every feature is operational when the device is hot because some features, like the flash, won’t function in such conditions.
  • Check to determine if the progress achieved on the mobile app is saved by performing a sudden device restart.
  • Make sure the mobile app doesn’t lag or crash when using it in battery-saving mode.
  • Use the mobile app when the device is charging to see if any overheating issues are present.

2. Network Dependent

  • Switch from WiFi to a mobile network while using a mobile application to see if it has any impact on its performance.
  • If the device supports two networks, try switching from one network to another while the mobile app is being used.
  • Connect and disconnect the mobile device to and from an external source like a speaker or earphone to see if the mobile application’s audio is routed correctly.
  • Check if the offline functions of your mobile app work as expected by activating Airplane mode and using it.
  • If a file download or upload feature is available, ensure that it continues when you reconnect to the network after any disruption.
  • Use your mobile app when the network is throttled to make sure the functionality is unaffected.

3. Functionality Dependent

  • Use the pop-up reply feature or mark a message as read to see if the mobile app responds to it appropriately.
  • Answer/Reject an incoming call while using your mobile app and see if the user can resume from where they left off.
  • See if there are any effects by opening YouTube or another media app that supports picture-in-picture mode over the app you are evaluating.
  • Update your mobile app to the latest version and see if all the saved data is retained safely.
  • Make sure all background-operating features on your mobile app, such as those that download files, track scores, and so forth, function as intended.
  • Use your mobile app with an active pop-up for any app like Facebook Messenger and see if it works as expected.


Interruption testing is a crucial aspect of mobile application testing that ensures uninterrupted and seamless user experiences. The resilience and recovery capacities of a mobile application can be evaluated by software testers by identifying and simulating different interruption scenarios. Utilizing automated testing tools and platforms can make the process of interruption testing more efficient and reliable.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it possible to perform interruption testing on a device emulator?

Yes, it is possible to use device emulators to perform interruption testing by simulating various interruption scenarios to see how mobile applications respond and recover from them.

2. Why is interruption testing necessary?

Interruption testing is needed to guarantee a smooth and seamless user experience and to also ensure the reliability of mobile applications. By simulating real-world scenarios, it ensures that mobile applications can handle interruptions effectively, prevent data loss and crashes, and ultimately improve user satisfaction.

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