Step-by-Step Guide: How to find Bugs in your Mobile App

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As of 2024, there are 1.96 million downloadable apps available in the Apple App Store. Meanwhile, the Google Play Store offers a larger selection, with 2.87 million apps available for download. Bugs are flaws or issues that impact a mobile app’s functionality, performance, or user experience. They can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, and even security vulnerabilities for both users and developers. Consequently, identifying and fixing bugs is a crucial skill for any mobile app developer. In this article, “How to Find Bugs in Your Mobile App,” you’ll learn various tips to help you find and fix bugs in your mobile app.

What is a bug in a mobile application?

A bug in a mobile app is a mistake or problem in the software that makes the app act weird or not work right. Bugs can be minor, like typos or errors, that you can ignore, or big, like when the whole app crashes.

These bugs can happen for many reasons, like if the app’s developers made a mistake or if the app doesn’t work with your phone’s software. To find and fix bugs, developers and testers try different methods, like testing the app themselves or using special tools.

Fixing bugs is crucial to keeping the app working well and making users happy. If bugs aren’t fixed, people might get frustrated and stop using the app, which can make it less popular and successful.

There are several types of bugs in mobile apps.

  • User Interface Bugs
  • Functionality Bugs
  • Compatibility Bugs
  • Security Bugs

1. User Interface Bugs:

User interface bugs are issues that affect the visual elements and interactive components of a mobile app, such as misaligned buttons, unresponsive controls, incorrect layouts, and display errors that detract from the overall user experience.

  1. Screen layout issues can mess up the look and function of an app by making elements overlap or appear in the wrong size.
  2. Navigation problems make it hard for users to move through the app smoothly, which can cause frustration and make them stop using it.
  3. Mistakes with graphics and images can make the app look bad by showing blurry or missing pictures, which makes it seem less professional and harder to use.

Addressing these issues is crucial for maintaining a visually appealing, user-friendly interface that enhances engagement and satisfaction.

Real Time Examples

User interface bugs make the app look messy or confusing, like a puzzle with missing pieces. Imagine you’re playing a popular mobile game, and when you tap the “Jump” button, instead of your character leaping over obstacles, it just stands there. That’s a user interface bug! The button isn’t working as it should, making the game frustrating to play.

Another example could be in a messaging app where the send button is hidden or doesn’t respond when tapped, making it hard to send messages to your friends.

2. Functionality Bugs:

Functionality bugs in mobile applications refer to issues that disrupt or impair the proper functioning of the app’s features and capabilities. These bugs can cause certain functionalities to malfunction, produce incorrect results, or fail to perform as expected, thereby hindering the user’s ability to utilize the app effectively.

  1. Crashes and freezes, in particular, can cause the app to become unresponsive or shut down unexpectedly, resulting in a poor user experience and potentially lost data.
  2. Performance issues such as slow loading times or lazy animations can frustrate users and deter them from using the app regularly.
  3. Inconsistent behavior undermines user trust and confidence in the app’s reliability, leading to confusion and dissatisfaction.

Detecting and resolving these bugs promptly is crucial to ensuring a smooth user experience that meets user expectations.

Real Time Examples

These bugs mess up how the app works, making it unreliable or even unusable at times. Let’s say you’re using a shopping app, and when you try to add items to your cart, nothing happens—it’s like the app is ignoring your taps. That’s a functionality bug!

Or imagine you’re using a weather app, but when you try to refresh the forecast, it keeps showing old information. That’s another functionality bug.

3. Compatibility Bugs:

Compatibility bugs in mobile applications are issues that arise when an app is not fully compatible with certain devices, operating systems, or software versions. These bugs can cause the app to behave unexpectedly, display incorrectly, or even crash on specific devices or platforms.

  1. Operating system compatibility issues can prevent the app from fully leveraging the features and capabilities of different OS versions, limiting its functionality and performance.
  2. Device compatibility bugs may arise due to variations in hardware configurations or screen sizes, causing layout issues or rendering errors.
  3. Network compatibility bugs can impact the app’s performance under different network conditions, affecting responsiveness and reliability.

Ensuring compatibility across various platforms and environments is essential for maximizing the app’s reach and usability.

Real Time Examples

Consider a scenario where you download a cool new app recommended by your friend, but when you open it on your phone, everything is jumbled up and hard to read. That’s a compatibility bug! The app wasn’t designed to work properly on your specific device, so it looks all wonky.

Another example could be an app that works fine on iPhones but crashes constantly on Android phones. 

4. Security Bugs:

Security bugs are vulnerabilities or flaws in a mobile application that can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access, steal data, or cause other security breaches. These bugs can compromise the app’s integrity, confidentiality, and availability, putting both the application and its users at risk.

  1. Data leakage bugs can result in the unauthorized exposure or transmission of sensitive user information, leading to privacy breaches and legal liabilities.
  2. Insecure data storage vulnerabilities may allow malicious actors to access or manipulate stored data, compromising user confidentiality and trust.
  3. Unauthorized access bugs enable attackers to bypass authentication mechanisms or access restricted features, potentially causing financial loss or reputational damage.

Prioritizing security measures and conducting thorough security assessments are essential for safeguarding user data, maintaining the app’s credibility, and complying with privacy regulations.

Real Time Examples

Imagine you’re using a popular social media app, and you receive a strange message from someone you don’t know. You open it out of curiosity, and suddenly, your account gets hacked! That’s a security bug. The app had a vulnerability that allowed hackers to gain access to accounts and send malicious messages.

Another example could be a banking app that accidentally stores passwords in plain text instead of encrypting them, making it easy for hackers to steal sensitive information.

How to find Bugs on your Mobile App?

To effectively find and address bugs in your mobile app, consider the following steps:

Application Overview:

To effectively find bugs in your mobile app, start with a thorough application overview. This involves understanding the app’s architecture, features, and user flows. Familiarize yourself with the key functionalities and the intended user experience.

    • Before diving into bug testing, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the mobile application. It includes its purpose, target audience, core features, and expected user experience.
    • Review the app’s documentation, specifications, and design mockups to gain insights into its functionality and behavior.
    • Understand the app’s key use cases and user flows to guide your testing efforts effectively.

Preparing for Bug Testing:

Preparing for bug testing is an important step to make sure your mobile app works well and is reliable. This process includes setting up different testing environments, like real devices, emulators, or simulators for various platforms and configurations. Also, you need to install testing tools such as debugging consoles, network monitoring software, and bug tracking systems to help find and report bugs effectively.

    • Set up testing environments, including physical devices, emulators, or simulators representing various platforms and configurations.
    • Install necessary testing tools, such as debugging consoles, network monitoring software, or bug tracking systems, to facilitate bug detection and reporting.
    • Define test scenarios and test cases based on the app’s requirements and user stories to ensure comprehensive coverage during testing.
    • Establish clear communication channels within the testing team to report bugs, share findings, and coordinate testing activities efficiently.

Manual Testing:

Manual testing involves testers using the mobile app as end-users would to find bugs. This method allows testers to explore the app’s features and functions in real-time, identifying issues that automated tests might miss. Testers follow predefined test cases and scenarios but can also perform exploratory testing to uncover unexpected bugs. Manual testing is essential for assessing the app’s usability, visual elements, and overall user experience.

    • Manually explore the app’s functionalities, interfaces, and features to identify potential bugs or usability issues.
    • Execute test cases and scenarios covering various use cases, user interactions, and edge cases to uncover hidden bugs.
    • Verify that the app behaves as expected under different conditions, such as input values, screen orientations, or network states.
    • Pay attention to details such as UI elements alignment, text formatting, error messages, and responsiveness to user input.
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Manual Testing vs Automation Testing

Automated Testing:

Automated testing uses specialized software tools to execute predefined test cases on your mobile app automatically. This method helps quickly identify bugs and ensures consistent testing across different versions of the app.

    • Utilize automated testing tools and frameworks to perform repetitive tests and regression testing efficiently.
    • Develop automated test scripts covering the app’s critical functionalities, workflows, and integration points.
    • Execute automated tests across multiple devices, platforms, and configurations to ensure broad test coverage.
    • Analyze test results and logs generated by automated tests to identify potential bugs or performance issues.

Test the app on different devices and platforms:

Testing the app on different devices and platforms ensures that it works correctly across various hardware and software configurations. This process involves checking the app’s functionality, performance, and user experience on different models of smartphones, tablets, and operating systems

    • Ensure the app works correctly across various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices.
    • Test the app on various operating systems and versions, including iOS, Android, and others, to identify platform-specific bugs.
    • Consider factors such as screen sizes, resolutions, hardware capabilities, and device orientations that may affect the app’s behavior.
    • To ensure smooth operation, validate the app’s compatibility with different network conditions, such as Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, or offline mode.

Collect feedback and reports from users:

Collecting feedback and reports from users is crucial for identifying and addressing issues that may not have been caught during testing. Encourage users to share their experiences, report bugs, and suggest improvements.

    • Encourage users to provide feedback on their experience with the app, including any bugs or issues encountered.
    • Set up user channels to report bugs, such as in-app feedback forms, email support, or community forums.
    • Monitor user reviews and ratings on app stores and social media platforms actively to identify common issues or pain points.
    • Regularly review and prioritize user-reported bugs for investigation and resolution.

Prioritize and categorize the bugs:

Prioritizing and categorizing bugs is essential for efficient bug management. Start by assessing the impact and severity of each bug on the app’s functionality and user experience. Categorize bugs into groups such as critical, major, minor, or cosmetic. Then, prioritize fixing them based on their severity and the frequency of occurrence.

    • Evaluate the severity and impact of each bug based on factors such as functionality, usability, and security.
    • Prioritize bug fixes based on their criticality to the app’s core functionality, user experience, or business objectives.
    • Categorize bugs into different types or classifications, such as UI bugs, functionality bugs, compatibility bugs, or security bugs, to facilitate efficient triaging and resolution.

Check Performance under Limited Storage:

Verify the app’s performance under limited storage conditions to ensure it functions optimally even when device storage is low. This involves testing how the app behaves when the device’s storage capacity is nearly full, checking for any degradation in performance, responsiveness, or stability.

    • Test the app’s performance under limited storage, memory, or resources to identify potential performance bottlenecks or crashes.
    • Simulate scenarios such as low disk space, low memory availability, or background processes competing for resources to gauge the app’s resilience under such conditions.
    • Monitor system resource usage, such as CPU, memory, and battery consumption, during testing to detect any abnormalities or inefficiencies.

Conduct Repeated Testing:

Conduct repeated testing to ensure the reliability and stability of the mobile app over time. This involves running the same tests multiple times to check for consistency and to detect any intermittent or recurring issues.

    • Perform regular testing cycles throughout the app’s development lifecycle to catch new bugs introduced by updates, changes, or new features.
    • Schedule periodic regression testing to verify that previously fixed bugs have not reoccurred and that new code changes have not introduced regressions.
    • Continuously iterate and improve the testing process based on feedback, lessons learned, and evolving requirements to enhance the app’s quality and reliability over time.

Final Verdict

Bugs in mobile apps are common but must be managed effectively to ensure a good user experience. Developers can maintain the app’s performance and reliability by thoroughly testing it and promptly fixing bugs, following the steps listed in this guide. Addressing bugs keeps users happy and preserves the app’s reputation and success in the market.

FAQ's

What causes bugs in apps?

App bugs can stem from a range of factors such as

  • Coding errors
  • Hardware or software conflicts
  • Operating system updates
  • Third-party dependencies
  • User input mistakes
  • Insufficient testing or quality control procedures.

How do you check for bugs in apps?

You can find bugs in apps through manual, automated, and exploratory testing. Manual testing simulates user interactions, automated testing uses scripts, and exploratory testing uncovers new issues.

What are the common bugs found in mobile testing?

Common mobile app bugs includes

  • Crashes
  • Data errors
  • Synchronization issues
  • Performance lags
  • Security vulnerabilities
  • UI problems

Ifra Ayesha

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