Testing Mobile Apps On Real Devices Vs. Emulators

One of the most important parts of the mobile app development process is the testing phase. This is where you’ll make sure that every feature and function is working as it should be, and that you have the opportunity to find and iron out any problems your users may encounter before release.

However, there are two options here for you to choose from. You could either test your app on your computer using emulation software, or you can use test it using a real mobile device. Is there a better option to choose? What are the benefits? Today we’re going to find out.

Using Mobile Devices

The main method of testing you might want to jump to is running your apps through an actual mobile device. Of course, while this can give you a realistic feel for what your app is going to be like to run, it can be an expensive and inaccurate solution.


  • Real testing environment using real-world data
  • Mobile device performance tends to be faster than an emulator
  • Impossible to witness false positive results
  • It’s easy to re-enact bugs and errors
  • Can use real device features and functions
  • Great for testing post notifications and interrupt features


  • Not all devices will run the app the same
  • Can be expensive to buy multiple test devices
  • Inability to make changes while you test
  • Much more time consuming to get everything set up and installed after every update
  • You can’t work on the development project using Cloud software

Using an Emulator

Since there are thousands and thousands of different types of mobile devices out there, this can cause multiple problems when it comes to accurately test on a real device. However, a lot of developers will stick to using on-screen digital iOS or Android emulators.

These can be used to test your app in a digital environment which is like using a mobile device, has many pros and cons.


  • Can be a very faster solution since you’re only emulating the software you need
  • Can be found easily in your coding software or as a standalone platform
  • Can easily track the analytics of your app and what it’s doing.


  • Your apps may not run as they would on a real device
  • Logging real-time data (such as network, weather, location, etc.) may not function properly
  • No hardware considerations that devices may have

So, Which Method is Better?

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to testing your app on your real-life device, or through using simulation and emulation software, and it will solely depend on what you want for your own project.

In most cases, it’s probably best to use a mixture of both. Whereas you can run all your initial tests o emulation software to get your app to a working level, you may then want to move it onto real-life devices, so you can accurately fine-tune the details.


While testing your app is vital to its success, it’s completely up to you when it comes to how you’re testing it. Ideally, you’ll want to combine the two methods in some way that can give you the best of both worlds.