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How to perform Interruption testing in Mobile Applications? QA / Software Testing

Jan 04, 2024 JIN

How to perform Interruption testing in Mobile Applications?

Amidst the hustle and bustle of our modern digital era, mobile applications have become part of our daily lives, from entertainment to productivity. Today, Smartphones are built to enable users to multitask with ease, often switching between multiple apps simultaneously. However, what happens when a call comes in, or a message notification disrupts the user experience? The ability of a mobile application to handle interruptions properly can make or break a user’s experience. That’s why it’s crucial to perform interruption testing in mobile applications before release.

In this blog, we will delve into the world of interruption testing, exploring what it is, how to conduct it, and providing you with a checklist to kickstart your journey into interruption testing for mobile applications.

What is Interruption Testing?

Interruption testing, a crucial facet of mobile app testing, involves assessing a mobile application’s capability to respond to and recover from unexpected disruptions seamlessly.

Imagine you’re in the midst of an online transaction within an e-commerce mobile app when you receive an important message. You switch to check the message and return to the e-commerce mobile app; you discover that all the items you had added to your cart have vanished. This scenario reveals that the e-commerce app fails to restore its previous state after an interruption.

The main goal of interruption testing is to ensure an application maintains its integrity throughout and after interruptions, ultimately delivering users a seamless and uninterrupted experience.

Categories of Interruption Testing in Mobile Applications

The three categories of interruption testing in mobile applications revolve around the diverse sources of interruptions a mobile app may encounter. These interruptions can stem from the device’s native functions, other applications, or alterations in the network. Let’s delve into each of these categories in greater detail.

Device-Related Interruptions

This category encompasses interruptions linked directly to the device under examination. It does not involve interactions with other mobile applications. Examples of scenarios falling into this category include the device locking itself, adjustments in volume, device shutdowns or restarts, and similar occurrences.

Functionality-Linked Interruptions

This category encompasses a blend of other applications and device functions resulting in disruptive events. These events can be incoming calls, messages, or notifications from other mobile apps, typically presented as pop-up alerts or push notifications.

Network-Related Interruptions

This category covers interruptions that occur during transitions between different network types. For instance, it includes scenarios like switching from a Wi-Fi connection to a mobile network when out of Wi-Fi range or shifting between 5G, 4G, or 3G networks based on the available network coverage in a specific location.

Types of Interruptions in Mobile Applications

Mobile applications can encounter various interruptions, many of which are quite familiar. These interruptions encompass but are not limited to:

  • Incoming phone calls
  • Incoming messages
  • Charging a device while using a mobile application
  • Disconnecting a device while using a mobile application
  • Alarm notifications
  • Network disconnection
  • Network switching
  • Low battery
  • Full battery
  • Network restoration
  • Device shutdown
  • Clicking on an external link
  • Changing network providers while using a mobile application

Handling Interruptions: How Mobile Apps Respond

Regarding interruption testing in mobile applications, ‘resolution’ refers to the steps a mobile app takes to manage and recover from an interruption. When an interruption disrupts the use of a mobile application, the application is expected to respond in a way that keeps the user’s experience smooth and uninterrupted. Here are some common ways in which interruptions can be resolved:

Show Alert

This approach involves the mobile application currently in use, able to display messages from the device or other apps in a non-disruptive manner. These messages typically appear as alerts or notification banners, allowing the user to read, dismiss, or respond to them without leaving the mobile application entirely.

Run in the background

In some cases, an interruption takes precedence while the mobile app gracefully steps into the background. For instance, if a user is navigating with a map application and receives an incoming call, the navigation app can continue running in the background. This allows the user to answer the call without losing track of their route. Once the call concludes, they can seamlessly return to the navigation app without any noticeable interruption.

Call to Action

Sometimes, an interruption may require input or a decision from the user. For example, while playing a mobile game, a user might receive a notification about critically low battery levels. The app can display a message prompting the user to enable a power-saving mode to conserve battery life. The user can then choose to activate this mode while enjoying the game.

No impact

In specific scenarios, an interruption may have negligible effects on the application’s operation and the user’s experience. For instance, no alert or action is necessary when a device is plugged in for charging while an app is in use. The application continues to function seamlessly, ensuring the user can carry on without immediate interaction or disruption.

How to Perform Interruption Testing In Mobile Applications

When performing interruption testing in mobile applications, the objective is to simulate interruptions and assess how the application responds and recovers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to carry out interruption testing effectively:

1. Identify critical scenarios

Begin by pinpointing the interruptions relevant to the mobile application that could potentially impact the user experience. Focus on common interruption scenarios, such as incoming calls, messages, alarms, low battery warnings, and network disruptions.

2. Create Test Cases

Once you’ve identified these interruption scenarios, develop comprehensive test cases. These test cases should outline the expected behavior of the mobile application in response to each identified interruption, along with the desired outcome following the resolution of the interruption.

3. Prepare the Testing Environment

Ensure you have a suitable testing environment in place for conducting interruption testing. You may opt to employ tools or scripts to automate the initiation of interruption events.

4. Implement Automation

Consider the benefits of automation in enhancing the coverage and efficiency of your interruption testing efforts. Utilize automation tools or frameworks to streamline the process. Automation allows for repetitive testing, ensuring consistency and speed.

5. Execute the Test Cases

To guarantee comprehensive coverage, perform testing across various mobile devices and operating systems, encompassing both Android and iOS platforms. Throughout the testing process, closely observe how the application reacts during interruptions and assess its behavior post-interruption.

6. Analyze the Test Results

In this phase, meticulously review the test results to uncover any issues or unexpected behaviors that emerged during testing. Determine whether the application performed as anticipated in each interruption scenario and identify areas where improvements may be warranted.

Automating Interruption Testing

Automating interruption testing entails the utilization of dedicated testing tools and frameworks to seamlessly replicate interruptions, eliminating the need for manual oversight. This approach, known as automated interruption testing, empowers QA teams and developers to comprehensively assess their mobile applications’ responsiveness to diverse interruption scenarios.

Automated testing effectively replicates real-world disruptions, ensuring that the application can adeptly pause, restart, and recover data, thus safeguarding a seamless user experience, even in challenging situations.
To unlock the extensive benefits of software testing automation, software development, and testing teams can explore a variety of automated testing platforms available in the market.

Interruption Testing Checklist

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of interruption testing and its execution, this checklist will serve as your practical guide. It has been organized based on the three categories of interruption testing in mobile applications.

Device-Dependent Interruptions

  • Initiate an interruption by setting an alarm or running a timer to assess the mobile application’s response.
  • Lock the device while performing a task within the mobile app, then unlock it to gauge its reaction.
  • Test all features under high-temperature conditions, ensuring functions like flash operate smoothly.
  • Check whether the mobile app preserves progress made if a sudden device restart occurs.
  • Confirm that the mobile app maintains stability and does not crash in battery-saving mode.
  • Use the mobile app while it’s charging to detect any potential overheating issues.

Network-Dependent Interruptions

  • The transition from a Wi-Fi connection to a mobile network while actively using the mobile app to evaluate performance impact.
  • If the device supports dual networks, experiment with switching between them during app use.
  • Connect and disconnect external sources like speakers or earphones to assess the mobile app’s audio routing.
  • Activate Airplane mode to test whether offline functions of the mobile app operate as expected.
  • Verify that any file downloads or uploads can resume smoothly after network disruptions.
  • Gauge the app’s functionality while operating under network throttling conditions.

Functionality-Dependent Interruptions

  • Interact with pop-up reply features or mark messages as read to observe the mobile app’s responses.
  • Answer or reject an incoming call during mobile app use and check if the user can seamlessly resume their previous activity.
  • Evaluate any effects when opening applications like YouTube that support picture-in-picture mode over the app under evaluation.
  • Update your mobile app to the latest version and verify the safe retention of all saved data.
  • Ensure that background-operating features within the mobile app, such as file downloads or score tracking, function as intended.
  • Assess the mobile app’s performance when a pop-up from another app, like Facebook Messenger, is active.

This comprehensive checklist will serve as a valuable tool to assess your mobile application’s resilience in the face of interruptions, enhancing user experience and overall app quality.


Interruption testing is a major component linkage within mobile application testing, guaranteeing that users enjoy uninterrupted and smooth experiences. To assess a mobile app’s robustness and recuperative capabilities, software testers identify and replicate various interruption scenarios. Employing automated testing tools and platforms can possibly enhance the efficiency and dependability of the interruption testing process. If you ever feel in doubt, contact the SHIFT ASIA support team for consulting on any software testing issues you might have.


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