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Android vs iOS App Performance Testing: What’s the Difference?

Dec 9, 2022
5 min read

In broad-brush terms, there is only one scenario for mobile app performance testing, no matter what the OS is. You choose the tool, start an emulator or a device, connect it to the network, and configure your proxy server. In one of our previous blog posts, we shared an algorithm on how to start mobile app performance testing using JMeter.

However, when it comes to practice, it turns out there are more differences than it seems at first glance. In this post, we are sharing the list of such differences between Android and iOS app performance testing, as we do not want anyone to make these kinds of surprising discoveries when in the middle of the testing process.

How does performance testing on Android differ from one on iOS

Good news first: most of the performance testing tools support both OSs, and the settings are universal. That being said, emulation of system operations, traffic recording, and all the available diversity of OSs make it reasonable to approach performance analysis differently.

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The hardware aspect of mobile app testing

Mobile gadgets with iOS are all produced by Apple (latest Apple event at Spotlight). It comes down to several dozens of models with typical hardware and an operating system specifically developed for it. Although testers often use emulators or rent device farms, it is easy to imagine an app being tested on a limited number of real phones and tablets.

On the other hand, Android-based smartphones and tablets are innumerable. There are just too many producers–each device can be a unique combination of processors, RAM, and other hardware modules. The number of possible variations is basically endless. To get the idea, try to imagine the number of display models with different matrices and resolutions. A display is, meanwhile, only one component of a smartphone.

A random sample of Android-based devices makes no sense for performance testing. All you will learn is how your application will perform on a dozen (or three) particular devices, but thousands and thousands of smartphones with different technical specifications will be out of your reach. Rather than running performance testing of your app in such a way, it is much more reasonable to make a list of models that are most popular among your target audience.

The number of operating systems available

The situation with operating systems is similar. iOS versions in active use can be counted on fingers, while there are dozens of available Android versions. Android is open to everyone, which enables every manufacturer to, theoretically speaking, add their own OS shell. That is exactly what large companies do: Samsung and Xiaomi have been developing customized Android branches for years. However, nothing prevents smaller vendors from doing the same.

Multiple versions of operating systems influence the process of update releases in a very specific way. iOS developers usually release a single update for all the line of devices on a scheduled date. It may seem that Google does the same, but concerning the manufacturers’ affection towards unique firmware, end users get their systems updates at different times and with different sets of functions.

Thus, the number of Android versions installed on the end user’s device increases again. Overall, when preparing for the performance grating process, you have to keep in mind the OS version, the manufacturer’s shell, and the (not-)installed updates.

iOS / Android emulator choice

Software emulators can reduce the uncertainty caused by the variety of software and hardware, as well as significantly reduce the cost of testing. Unfortunately, there is no universal solution that helps run both Android and iOS applications on all platforms, so each operating system will require its own tool. Here is our choice from the offers of the strongest players in the market.

iOS emulators

  • 01
    Smartface is primarily focused on cross-platform application development and debugging but has a fairly simple interface, not overloaded by multiple settings. Smartface works on Windows only and costs about $70.
  • 02
    Appetize can model an iOS environment with multiple parameters. The system is oriented to work in a Windows environment, but can also be run from a cloud. Low computer resource consumption is listed among its advantages.
  • 03
    Xcode is a free emulator designed for developing, testing, and running applications in the iOS environment. It allows not only to run scripts but also to perform user actions such as scrolling or rotating the screen. Xcode is designed to work only in the MacOS environment.

Android OS emulators

  • 01
    MeMu Play is a fast and convenient emulator with multiple settings. You can choose a pre-installed version of Android or download an external profile, as well as specify additional options, such as screen permissions or CPU.
  • 02
    BlueStack, like most emulators, is perfect for games, but it is great for performance tests, too. Among the advantages of the program is low computer resource consumption, although it is better to disable this optimization feature for the time of the tests.
  • 03
    Android Studio is one of the most advanced Android emulators with endless customization capabilities for a specific device model. In fact, it is not even an emulator, but an IDE – an integrated development environment that allows you to simulate a variety of conditions for your application testing.

Proxy configuration on your device

For an application to send information from a mobile device or emulator to a tool used for testing, you will need to redirect your mobile traffic to a PC. This is done using a proxy server. Here’s how to configure it, depending on the OS.

  • Proxy configuration in iOS
    01. First of all, make sure that your computer and mobile device are connected to the same wireless network.

    02. Select Wi-Fi in the device or emulator settings.

    03. Open the settings of the network your device is connected to, and click Manual on the HTTP Proxy menu.

    04. Now, add your computer’s IP address to the Server field and specify a free port number, for example, 8888.

    05. To complete proxy configuration, install a security certificate on your device that will be created by the program you have chosen to run the tests.
  • Proxy configuration in Android OS
    01. Similarly to iOS, go to the Settings menu and select Wi-Fi on an Android device.

    02. Next, click on the current wireless network and select Modify Network to open the settings screen.

    03. Activate the Advanced Option switch and set the Manual value to Proxy.

    04. Then, fill in your computer’s IP address in the Proxy host Name field, and a free gateway number in the Proxy port field.

Is that it?

It may seem that the differences between performance testing mobile apps on iOS and Android are not that striking. They are not. But it is definitely better to be prepared even for the tiniest issues beforehand than try and make changes during the testing process. If you want to test your application performance, our engineers can help you understand all the intricacies of working with iOS and Android and test them using the innovative PFLB platform.

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