The mobile market is growing at such rates that manufacturers seem to have new devices and lines coming out every day. Mobile device testing is a must for apps, but trying to test and support all these devices is a QA nightmare. The sheer amount of time and resources needed to fully test these devices isn’t really feasible for small and huge companies alike. To help you test on the right mobile devices, we created this guide.
Choose what your app will support
When starting out a mobile app journey, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. What is the app designed to do? Who is it for? When will it release? The size of your mobile team and target audience determine the resources you will need for testing. Which is why very early in the process, all the stakeholders involved with your mobile team need to agree on two important things:
- Operating systems the app will support
- Types of devices the app will support (mobile, tablet, smartwatch).
Know your target audience
After figuring out what you will be supporting, who your app is aimed at and what it does can be the biggest determining factors in what devices you'll need to test. One of the basic things to consider that makes a huge difference in device coverage is the release countries. Not all apps can support a global audience and many serve a specific purpose in a specific region.
Bitbar’s research into the most common mobile devices per country showcases just how much geography makes a difference. For example, in the US market, the top 20 mobile devices totaling 73.43% of the total devices, consist of only iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. This means that if you are planning on releasing an app to the US market you should prioritize testing on:
- All iPhone variants from the iPhone 6 to the most recent iPhone 11
- All Samsung Galaxy variants from the S7 to the most recent
Keep a global audience in mind
Looking at India, another huge market for mobile devices, the top 20 devices tell a different story. They are only 32.16% of the total mobile devices and only one iPhone is included, in the 19th spot. What dominates the Indian market is the Chinese Xiaomi brand, not available in the US. If you are planning on releasing an app to the Indian market you should prioritize testing on:
- Samsung Galaxy variants, especially the J series
- Xiaomi variants, especially the Redmi series
Financial status is another thing to keep in mind about the global audience. Everyone has access to smartphones now, even in developing countries. However, it’s unlikely that every smartphone user will be a potential user for you. Cheaper smartphones will likely show up in the device share stats more often than $800 smartphones. This needs to be kept in mind when knowing which members of the global audience are part of your audience.
Don't rely only on stats
It’s an age-old piece of advice that you should never rely fully on numbers and stats. This is one of those times, as the numbers you will find in this article and during your research will give you a good indication but not the full story.
Nothing can replace a more personal approach of getting in touch with your potential users to understand what you might need. This could be a key factor in determining what devices you will need to keep in mind when testing. For example, if you're targeting developers with your app, they might be more inclined to niche devices compared to the casual consumer. This might not be reflected in overarching stats that reference your target audience in general terms.
As mentioned before, if you’re developing an app in the US and need to test on Xiaomi devices, this can be difficult. Depending on your target market, coming by all the devices you need to test on might not always be feasible. Also, resources are often limited to QA when it comes to accessing real devices to test on. In these extreme cases, your best solution will be to make use of emulators. Note that emulators should not replace real device testing. If you work in tandem with real device testing, they can help you test on the right mobile devices.