Testing Mobile Apps – Is your app hungry for battery power?

Posted on Posted in Functional Testing, Mobile Apps Testing, Tools

I mentioned in my previous post that I will focus on testing mobile applications and will share tips, tricks, and tools which might be useful for testing mobile applications. Today I am covering a topic which is critical for the user. This feature, However, is invisible (most of the time) and is often not covered by conventional non-functional testing types (accessibility, security, performance, etc..).

In my previous article, I briefly mentioned that unique non-functional requirements are one of the main differentiators between mobile and desktop applications. Let’s explore one such requirement – Power Consumption and answer two fundamental questions –

  1. Why is it important to test the power consumption of mobile applications?
  2. How can you get insight on power consumption by the application and improve it?

Let’s get started.

Battery – If you are not careful, I will drain

We do not need any research to prove that battery life is one of the top most thing user care about in mobile devices. Not many people would want a mobile which is connected to power socket most of the time and thus loses mobility.

Power consumption for mobile devices is not constant for all the applications. The power consumption of a simple application such as phonebook is very different from a resource intensive application such as maps. However, as evident from the research, poorly coded applications are the cause of biggest drain on batteries. In the mobile app world, where reputation is everything – it’s a risky affair to get your application listed on the naughty list.

As a tester (or developer wearing a testers hat), it is vital to understand the effect of various operations on the battery and how efficient application handles them. As a tester, we need to be able to interact with battery and analyze how it behaves with the application under test.

Okay got it, but how do I test power consumption?

Analyzing battery consumption should be the part of standard profiling, however, as far as I know, it is not possible to get information on power consumption with the debugging tools shipped with the Android. However, with tools like the little eye, it is possible to get insight on how much power is consumed by the application.

With the little eye, it is possible to identify energy consumption related defects for Android devices and see if your application is draining battery unnecessarily or not.

By the way – If you want to understand power consumption for mobile devices in detail, you may find this presentation useful.

So that was my first useful/actionable advice related to mobile application testing – keep an eye on power consumption – hope you found it useful. Have you encountered any power consumption related defect in mobile devices? Do you use or have used any other tool to get similar insight? Let’s discuss.

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