Automated vs. Manual Mobile App Testing: Do You Need Both?

Updated on Dec 2nd, 2022

Automated-vs-Manual-Mobile-App-Testing - Do-You-Need-Both

Taking a right operational step without the best qualities doesn’t deliver, causing all your strategies to fall flat. It has been studied that Customers who have had a negative experience on mobile are 62% less likely to make a purchase in future-no matter how data-driven or intuitive your marketing is.

Software testing is an integral part of the custom software development process. Ensuring an efficient testing cycle helps brands ensure a cutting-edge digital product that further boosts their reputation. Not only this, any bugs missed during the development phase can wreak havoc in the future. They not only cost the brand more in terms of investment but also hamper their reputation among the target market.

Heightened demand for quality is attracting the attention of businesses toward the best software testing services companies. However, there is still debate about the effectiveness of manual and automation testing for mobile solutions. While most companies prefer one type over the other, they don’t have a strong argument about what to choose and when.

Answering the dilemma once and for all, our experts recommend a combination of both types of testing for comprehensive quality measures. Let’s get into the details to explore more.

  • Software testing is key to quality-oriented software development. 
  • The software testing market is growing rapidly and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7% between 2021 and 2027.
  • Mobile applications need both types of testing to deliver the right user experience.
  • Both types of testing have their specific benefits and disadvantages. While some test cases are best suited for manual testing, others may favor test automation as standard. 

What is Manual App Testing?

As the name suggests, manual testing is the method of software validation by manually executing the test cases without any automation tools. The steps included in a manual testing process include:

Requirement Understanding Analyses what requirements led to software creation and what is the expected output. 
Test Planning and Strategy Scope freezing for the test and deciding the principles on how the test would be carried out.
Test Case Creation Creation of test cases based on functional and non-functional requirements.
Test Case Execution and Bug Reporting Test cases are carried out by the manual testing teams, and the bug report is created.
Regression and Retesting Bugs are fixed by the development team, and the testing team retests the application, which is known as regression.
Test Report Generation All the test results are documented for the future. 

What are the Benefits of Manual App Testing?

There are a lot of positive attributes that manual app testing brings to the table. Key benefits of manual testing include:


1. Powered by Human Intelligence

As the application is being used and perceived by humans, manual testing helps understand if the application will comply with human requirements from a visual point of view. This ensures the best usability testing, which tests automation cannot provide. Additionally, automation tools cannot detect aspects that cannot be seen, like integration issues, server response time, and manual testing, which can offer the best support under such scenarios.

2. Offers Dynamic Scope

Manual testing is adaptable. If application changes are required at any point in time, test cases can be updated to meet the new requirements. For instance, suppose one of the features climbs high on the priority list. Manual testing processes can be designed to meet this requirement.

3. More Cost-Effective

Although you need to invest in manual testing teams, the cost of manual testing is less compared to the automation counterpart, which also includes the price of automation tools.

4. Detects Errors Outside Code

Automation testing tools can only be configured to test the quality of code. However, while testing the solution comprehensively, you also need to test the solution from the user journey point of view. This can only be achieved with manual testing.

What are the Disadvantages of Manual App Testing?

Despite some advantages, manual testing also has quite a few disadvantages.

1. Resource Intensive and Time Consuming

Manual testing is resource-intensive. It requires an expert team with high analytical and creative skills and consumes a lot of time. At the same time, manual testing is redundant and monotonous. The testing team can lose concentration and miss something.

2. Manual Testing is Not Reusable

Although you can record the test reports, manual tests are not reusable. Each application will require a new set of test cases, which is not the case with test automation.

3. Not Always Suitable

Manual testing may not always be suitable. While it can help with a few tests and would suit us best, it is ineffective with performance and load testing.


What is Test Automation?

Test automation is the software testing process that uses automation tools to test the quality of an application. Although it majorly falls on the table of the QA team, every stakeholder, including business analysts, developers, DevOps engineers, and test automation experts, is closely involved in the test automation to maximize the results.

The process of test automation includes: 

a. Scope Definition

The first step is to analyze the scope of automation. This step evaluates various factors such as technical feasibility, test case complexity, the priority of the feature list, the number of reusable business components, etc. are validated in this step. 

b. Selection of Test Tools

The testing tools are picked at this stage. It depends on the technology of the mobile app development.  

c. Test Planning, Designing, and Development

This stage is for strategizing the automation plan, including tool selection, framework design, a detailed timeline for test execution and scripting, in-scope and out-scope automation items, and goals and deliverables of the automation testing process. 

d. Test Execution and Report Generation

 This step automatically includes scriptwriting and running tests. 

What are the Benefits of Test Automation?

Test automation has many benefits over manual testing.


1. Test Automation Saves Money

Although it involves the initial cost of tools and frameworks, test automation gives a higher return on investment. Manual testing fails when the test cases are repetitive and even increases costs with time. However, you can run as many tests as you repeatedly want with test automation around the clock.

2. Quicker Turnaround

Test automation helps you decrease the software development lifecycle. You don’t have to exhaust a few tests to repeat others. You can execute the tests multiple times, and that too within a short duration. This translates to rapid development, frequent releases, faster updates, and shorter time-to-market.

3. Higher Team Productivity and Accuracy

Manual testing depends on your resources. If they are, for some reason, not productive for a day, the efforts are prone to failure. Additionally, there are chances of manual error. A small carelessness can increase the cost of overall development.

That’s not the case with test automation. Machines don’t get tired or have their high or low days. Therefore, you can run as many test cases as you want, regardless of the time of the day and how many times you need. Meanwhile, your resources can focus on more critical things.

4. High App Quality and Performance

Test automation offers higher test coverage that ultimately gives an oomph to your app quality. You can run thousands of tests simultaneously, helping you test your application on multiple platforms, devices, and operating systems. You can create an exhausting number of complex test cases, and it will still deliver the expected quality.

5. Quicker Feedback

Since test automation is time-efficient, developers can get feedback quickly. This helps them overcome the shortfalls rapidly and launch updates at the right time. Similarly, when the application is already launched, and the bug has been identified, they can be notified on time to push the bug-free update.

6. CI/CD and DevOps Implementation

CI/CD is imperative to test automation. CI/CD pipeline requires each developer to push updates that have been thoroughly tested. The quickest way to do the same is to automate the tests.

What are the Disadvantages of Test Automation?

1. Time to Create Test Suite

The initial time required to build test cases is higher. Scripting is also prone to error, and if an error creeps in, there are chances of dire consequences.

2. Initial investment

Test automation requires expensive investment initially, owing to the cost of tools and frameworks. At the same time, you need expert help to train the QA teams for test automation.

3. Depends on the Experts

QA automation is resource-dependent. You need certified experts who need to train the team of QA engineers for successful testing.

Read More: How to Do Best Practices for Mobile Usability Testing?

4. Inability to Decide What to Automate

Not all the test cases can be automated. You need to be very cautious about what to automate and what not. An incorrect decision can cost you a lot of investment.

Automated vs. Manual Mobile App Testing: Do You Need Both?

The answer is definitely Yes. Manual testing is best suited for testing aspects such as usability, and automated testing is best suited for regression testing. However, this is not a sure-shot way to determine which tests you need to automate and which ones do not.

When to Use Manual Testing? 

Manual testing is best-suited in the following scenarios: 

Exploratory Testing

This is the testing type that completely depends on the tester’s knowledge, experience, analytical and logical skills, creativity, and intuition. These tests generally comprise poorly written specification documentation and short execution time.

Usability Testing

The application areas where it is vital to analyze how user-friendly the application is, how efficient it is or how convenient it is for the users to browse through the application come under usability testing. The manual approach is best suited under these.

Ad-hoc Testing

This is an unplanned method of testing where the understanding and insights of the tester further decide a course of application. It is also preferred in the priority of features is dynamic.

Bug-report Testing

This type of testing is detailed and follows documentation that guides developers along the development process. Automated tests are not an efficient type of testing.

Black Box Testing

These features only include a specific date range as input, and results are deducted from that. Since it does not require a high level of specification, the manual method is used as a standard.

Integration Testing

Testers need to verify how various modules work together and test each component or application unit.

When to Use Test Automation? 

Test automation is used for the following testing scenarios: 

Demo Sequence Tests

Demo sequence tests are the scenario in which an app user is given a specific period of time for testing. In case the time is over, the application closes. Since automation testing is quick, it is the best-suited approach here.

Common Workflows

Common workflows such as login validation, adding products to the cart, and assessing the Wishlist feature are best suited for automation testing as they don’t need extensive knowledge.

Compatibility Testing

Manual testers can't test an application among multiple versions of browsers, devices, and platforms. Test automation framework can help here.

Extensibility Testing

AI-based test automation frameworks can help analyze how well the system will integrate with other ERP solutions.

Load Testing

Test automation tools can be the best alternative for load testing, as they can test the scalability of the solution by inputting the most extensive options.

Regression Testing

If the tests are to be performed repeatedly, it is not worth it for the manual testing teams to invest time in them. This problem becomes graver each time an update is launched. Test automation tools are best here.


Matellio- Your Software Testing Expert!

Quality is undoubtedly the heart of your services and product. Delivering the right experience with your mobile applications is important to strike a chord with your customers. At Matellio, we have a team of QA engineers who understands the business challenges or diverse industry verticals and hold an insight that gives a detailed outlook of customers’ expectations. This gives us a broader perspective for creating solutions tailored to your requirements and tailored to deliver long-term value. We pride ourselves in QA excellence powered by: 

  • Decades of quality management experience
  • Proven in-house quality management standards
  • Automation and agility
  • Goal-based QA process for maximum value
  • Shorter turnaround and higher RoI 

Let’s create a business-centric software QA testing plan for your business together. Contact us! 

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