Difference between Web App Testing and Mobile App Testing

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by Mit Thakkar | March 18, 2021 | Mobile App TestingWeb Testing | 0 Comment |
Difference between Web App Testing and Mobile App Testing
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In today’s times, consumers have several ways to sail through the World Wide Web. Though desktops (or laptops) have always been the preferred mode for browsing the web, mobile phones are gaining pace. The ubiquity of mobile phones has revolutionized how we consume content.

With changing consumer mindsets, an increasing number of enterprises are looking to leverage the mobile app testing solution route to gain as well as retain customers. However, the testing methodologies followed for mobile app testing are entirely different than the approach followed for web app testing.

Here, we unlock the standout differences between web app testing and mobile app testing. The blog can be used as a starter kit by enterprises planning to expand their reach via web and mobile mediums.

Different Types of Applications

As discussed earlier, consumers have the privilege to access content available on the internet through three major mediums – mobile, desktop, and web. However, we would limit our discussion to mobile applications and web applications – the two major forms (or categories) of applications.

Web Applications

As the name indicates, web apps (or web applications) are programs that are stored on a remote server and accessible via the web browser. Since web apps are accessed from the browser, the performance depends on the mobile readiness and responsiveness of the app.

Since users use web browsers of their choice, the web app should perform seamlessly across different browsers, browser versions, and device combinations. Reduced business cost is one of the biggest advantages of web applications when compared to native and hybrid apps.

Mobile Applications

Mobile application (or app) is specifically designed to run on mobile devices. When we say mobile devices, it encompasses the gamut of handheld devices like mobiles, tablets, foldables, etc. The plethora of devices with different hardware configurations and viewports poses significant challenges for mobile app testing. Mobile apps can belong to the native, hybrid, or mobile web category.

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Native Applications

Native apps are designed for a particular operating system (e.g. Android, iOS). These apps are developed using the SDKs provided by the platform provider and have the privilege to interact with the device’s hardware such as GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, and more.

Native iOS applications are developed using Swift-C (or Objective-C) whereas native Android applications are developed using Java. The biggest advantages of native apps are:

  • Speed
  • Performance
  • User Experience

Since the native apps are developed using platform-specific languages, they are fast compared to hybrid or web applications. Facebook, the social networking giant parted ways from the hybrid app approach to develop a native Facebook app (on iOS and Android) way back in 2012.  Apps like SMS, Contacts, etc. that are available out of the box in the mobile device are prime examples of native applications.

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Hybrid Applications

Hybrid applications (or hybrid apps) combine the best of both worlds – native app and web app. They are developed using popular web technologies like HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, along with other native elements. Gmail, Instagram, GDrive, and many other consumer apps belong to the hybrid app category.

Hybrid apps are platform-independent websites that are displayed in a native webview. The native components provided by the OS provider (i.e. iOS or Android) are used for loading the web content. These apps can be downloaded from the corresponding app store and installed on the requisite device.

Here are some of the major advantages of hybrid apps:

  • Lower cost due to reduced development effort
  • Single codebase can run seamlessly on multiple platforms, thereby reducing the TTM (Time To Market)

However, native apps win big time when it comes to performance and user experience as they leverage the advantages of the capabilities offered by the mobile’s hardware.

Now, let’s look at the differences when it comes to testing web apps and mobile apps.

Difference between Mobile App Testing and Web App Testing

Though the target audience for mobile apps as well as web apps are the same, the testing methodologies differ a lot. The difference is primarily due to the medium through which the information in the app is presented to the user.

In the mobile app, a separate app has to be created whereas, in a web app, users access the required information using their preferred web browser.

Mobile App Testing

User experience and performance are the two key metrics that have to be evaluated during the testing process. Companies like KiwiQA that have expertise and experience in providing mobile app testing services can be a big value-add in case you are planning to outsource mobile app testing.

Here are some of the primary activities that have to be performed during the process of mobile app testing:

  • It is important to test on real devices as simulators (or emulators) might not be enough to gauge the performance of the apps. Testing on real devices also helps in checking the app’s compatibility when it is downloaded across a range of devices.

  • Device emulators can be used for testing the user-flow of the app whereas real devices should be used to evaluate the app from the angles of speed & performance.

  • Irrespective of the type of app (i.e. hybrid or native), it is important to check whether there are any security vulnerabilities in the app. This is where penetration tools in Android and iOS can help in unearthing the app’s vulnerabilities. It is essential to perform a timely security audit of the app to prevent any chances of cyber attacks.

  • Usability testing of the mobile app will help in checking the user-friendliness of the app. User experience plays a vital role in user retention and helps in building a positive brand experience.

  • It is important to test the performance of the app under varying load conditions. The performance of the app must not deteriorate if a large number of users are concurrently connected to the app.

  • Performance and load testing of the mobile app checks the app’s performance in different workload scenarios. JMeter and LoadRunner are preferred tools for performance testing and you should choose the one that is best suited for your project.

  • Manual testing is not a scalable approach if the tests have to be run on a range of mobile devices. Automation testing should be leveraged for testing the app on different devices in parallel. This in turn helps in expediting TTM and improving the overall quality of the app.

Web App Testing

As web apps run in the mobile web browser, it is essential to perform cross-browser compatibility testing. With this, the app can be tested across different browsers, browser versions, and mobile devices. Cloud-based automation testing should be performed to test the mobile readiness and performance of the web app.

Rather than investing in creating in an in-house device farm, it is recommended to perform tests on real devices using cloud-based device farms that let you test Android, iOS, and web applications on a range of devices (i.e. phones, tablets).

The web app should be free from broken links else your users will encounter 404 errors which can be a huge dampener to the user experience. Functionality testing is a must to test the business flow, database connectivity, and other aspects related to the usability of the web application.

Final Showdown: Web App Testing and Mobile App Testing

Web App Testing Mobile App Testing
Testing is performed on devices with different viewports like laptops, tablets, etc. Testing is performed on range of handheld devices like mobiles, tablets, etc.
Cross browser compatibility is an integral part of this testing methodology Usability testing, performance testing, and load testing are some of the major forms of testing considered for testing mobile apps
Existing website is tested for mobile friendliness. Mobile app has to be downloaded from the corresponding app store and downloaded on the target device
In web app testing, the test is performed from a usability and UI/UX perspective. Depending on the app type (i.e. native/hybrid), the app needs to be tested for access to the necessary hardware peripherals (e.g. GPS, Bluetooth, etc.) in the device


Irrespective of whether the app is a native app/hybrid app/web app, it is important to perform testing at scale to unearth issues in the app. In today’s competitive times, an increasing number of enterprises prefer outsourcing app testing to providers like KiwiQA. This helps expedite the testing process and help in releasing a top-notch quality app in a much shorter time span!

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