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Mobile Apps, Battery Life, and Why Testing Is Critical

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Mobile Apps, Battery Life, and Why Testing Is Critical

We've all been there: A quick drive to work, and your phone's battery dips from 100% to 60%. Here's why mobile app testing is crucial, and the effect on battery life.

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It might be a first-world problem, but having a low battery on your smartphone and plenty of daylight left can be a scary situation. The need for smartphones emerged from the "in case of an emergency" mindset, but soon, we demanded to be connected at all times. "Fear of missing out" is a real thing, and your customers don't want to be left in the dark thanks to your mobile app eating up battery life. 

However, that isn't the only problem you might face regarding your mobile app and battery consumption: Apps can perform worse when running on low power, and you must always consider users with aging mobile devices that can't even last 24 hours on a single charge. 

Let's examine the mobile app-battery life relationship and how you can improve it. 

The Top Battery Drainers
Mobile apps are going to use battery, but some take it to the next level, and there is a common thread between those specific apps.phonebatteryAccording to a report from AVG, Snapchat, Netflix, Walmart, Amazon Kindle, a flashlight app, Twitter, Samsung WatchOn and Amazon Shopping all made the list of the top 10 mobile apps that drain the most battery on Androiddevices. Many of these mobile apps use phone features such as the camera and the camera's flash, while others put pressure on phone displays -- frequently changing images or remaining backlit. These capabilities certainly excuse a few of these mobile apps, but that doesn't mean that their developers and testers can't do better. 

You should be able to identify the power-consuming aspects of your mobile app before it ships, and use that knowledge to adjust how the mobile app operates. API testing is particularly useful in this regard, as it tests the core functionalities of a mobile app and the device it runs on, ensuring that any spikes in battery use can be caught and mitigated. Then, with agile testing strategies, you can inform dev teams and solve the problem before launch.

"You need to make sure your app works when power-saving modes are enabled."

Power-saver Modes: Friend or Foe?

Both the new Android versions and the recently released iOS 9 provide users with the ability to enter power-saving modes. IT Pro reported that on iOS 9, this is donewithout users knowing, and that could cause problems for your mobile app. What if users want to perform a resource-intensive action, but their iPhones are in this low power mode? You need to make sure your app works, regardless of the scenario, and the best way to do that is to conduct mobile app testing on real devices. 

On Android 6.0 Marshmallow, users can take advantage of "Doze," a capability that puts the device into a power-saving mode that disables radios and background processes. According to Gizmodo, Google will enforce the inclusion of Doze on every new Android device running Android 6.0, so there is no getting around this problem. You must put your mobile app through rigorous testing under these low-power state scenarios, or your app could crash, function improperly and ultimately get deleted by users. It is also critical to test these functionalities on a variety of devices, as the variations of Android smartphones and tablets all have different batteries. 

Low Battery Performance

Mobile app development and testing teams must also be aware of how an app performs on devices that do not throttle battery use when the tank is running on empty. You don't want your app to be the straw that breaks the battery's back, and the only way to be sure that your mobile app is able to perform on low battery is to test how it functions on real devices throughout the development process. 

Testing your mobile app in actual user scenarios is just as important as testing its core functionality, so make sure low battery life performance is a chief concern throughout the dev and test lifecycle.

Analysts agree that a mix of emulators/simulators and real devices are necessary to optimize your mobile app testing - learn more in this white paper, brought to you in partnership with Sauce Labs.

Topics:
mobile ,mobile app testing ,app testing

Published at DZone with permission of Shane O'Neill. See the original article here.

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