Leveraging the power of Android emulators, iOS simulators, and real devices for parallel testing

Mobile app usage is increasing globally, and because so many options are available, customers are less inclined to stick with a buggy application. If they encounter errors or find the application to be difficult to use, they would immediately uninstall it. To maintain market competitiveness and offer a positive user experience, companies make use of android emulators. Mobile app testing is essential to meet numerous testing requirements, provide the desired user experience on a variety of devices, and guarantee the app’s reliability, usability, functionality, smooth performance, and security.

Finding and fixing bugs as well as making sure that each update does not negatively impact the user experience on various devices are all part of testing. But as the number of mobile users is growing, a broader range of devices and more types are being used. This makes testing on a wide range of accessible devices challenging enough.

Additionally, the diversity includes various Operating Systems, screen sizes, and device capabilities. It can be challenging for testing teams to guarantee that the web application provides a seamless user experience across various access points. because when done on a variety of devices, a complete testing technique might provide a disparity in its results.

With that in mind, organizations are implementing the top mobile device testing solutions to enable the timely and affordable creation of mobile apps. There are three possibilities when it comes to selecting mobile devices for thorough app testing: simulators, emulators, or physical devices. They can reduce the testing workload when integrated into an automated testing suite.

This article will explore the power of real devices, iOS simulators, and Android emulators for parallel testing.

Types of Mobile Testing Device Solutions

With the development of technology, numerous new options for mobile testing devices have also emerged. By evaluating the application’s behavior, function, and user interface (UI), these mobile testing solutions were created to facilitate cross-browser testing of websites and mobile app testing on various mobile phones.

The main purpose of this type of testing is to make sure that the application operates consistently across various mobile devices. Since the hardware, operating system, and a screen resolution of various devices vary, the app may work in a particular way in one of them might not function that way on the other.

Mobile testing is conducted mainly on two types of devices:

  • Real Devices
  • Virtual Devices.

For a better understanding let’s first, discuss each in brief.

Real Device

Real devices are actual mobile phones and tablets like iOS, Blackberry, Android, and iPads that users would use. To evaluate the app’s functionality and behavioral patterns, actual device models of various mobile handsets are used.

How mobile apps testing has evolved from using real devices to virtual ones

In comparison to testing on virtual devices, results from testing on real devices are far more accurate, but testing is more expensive because organizations need to purchase

several devices and update them frequently whenever new devices are introduced.

Organizations have developed a solution by offering virtual testing devices like simulators and emulators to manage the cost of testing on real devices. Thus, parallel testing and testing for cross-browser compatibility of the application are the two main uses of virtual testing devices.

Let’s get into the specifics to discover the benefits of using virtual testing equipment for parallel testing and more.

Virtual Testing Device

In contrast to real devices, virtual devices are computer software that simulates many key aspects of a real smartphone. It mimics a smartphone nature enabling testers to execute software applications on it and determine how well they operate when used with the selected real device.

Virtual testing tools are cost-effective and mimic genuine testing tools in nature, but they fall short of real testing tools in terms of accuracy and reliability.

Virtual testing devices are of two types

  • Emulators
  • Simulators

What are Emulators?

An emulator is computer software that acts exactly like a real hardware or software system by imitating the target device’s hardware and software of the target device. This is accomplished by using binary translation to convert the target device’s ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) to the ISA utilized by the testing computer.

Each of the processor families uses a set of machine language instructions known as ISA to construct a device configuration that shows the functionality and behavior of the device. The ability to simulate the operation of the target mobile device on a computer by translating its ISA enables the creation of a virtual testing environment.

There are three categories of emulators:

  • Device emulators- They replicate real smartphones or tablets in place of real hardware.
  • Browser emulators- They are used to mimic the environment of a mobile browser.
  • Operating System Emulators- These programs operate in a simulated mobile environment and give users access to apps for a particular operating system.


Software that assists a computer run a specific program for the varied operating system, is called a Simulator. They are generally meant for iPad and iPhone devices.

The iOS simulators mimic iOS devices and run the needed app inside it on top of the computer’s Operating System. Only macOS can run the iOS simulator since it needs Apple’s native Cocoa API. Runtime, GUI, and many more tasks depend on this API.

This is difficult for developers as they either need to have a MacBook to work on or virtualize macOS on their existing computers.

Emulators, Simulators, and real devices for parallel testing

Parallel testing helps test numerous applications or components simultaneously against various configurations in shortening test times. This testing process can be used to test a single application or multiple computer components at once.

Virtualization and cloud technology are essential to the parallel testing process. This testing approach aims to boost testing efficiency while managing time and budget constraints. Parallel testing performs more tests than would be practical with sequential testing, whether you test on real or virtual machines.

Nowadays, organizations use a balanced approach to mobile testing, combining simultaneous testing on real devices with testing on iOS simulators, Android emulators, and iOS simulators.

We’ll go over each benefit in more detail below.

Why use mobile emulators and simulators to test application

Nowadays, virtual devices, such as Android and iOS emulators, are popular. They enable users to examine how their website functions and is rendered on various operating systems, browsers, and devices. The two names are frequently used synonymously because they serve the same basic function, they simulate real devices functioning and a user’s actions to recreate operational behaviors. They do, however, differ in a few ways.

Emulators are used for Android devices. They are software programs that simulate or recreate a real mobile device’s hardware, software, and operating system on a desktop PC to test and debug apps on another software/hardware platform.

Simulators are used for iOS devices to simulate (imitate or mimic) a device’s internal functionality but not its hardware or Operating Systems. This means that while a simulator can simulate how a website might seem on an iOS device, it is unable to run the actual device’s operating system or hardware (Operating System).

Virtual devices are easier to provide than physical devices because they are software-based. Through external frameworks, they also make it possible for parallel and automated testing. This has a real advantage in terms of speed, scalability, and cost reductions. The use of virtual devices in automated mobile testing has the following extra advantages.

Enables highly scalable parallel testing

The team can release more frequently thanks to parallel testing. Automated testing of numerous virtual devices is now realistically possible. Concurrently, whenever you want. Running several emulators and devices simultaneously on a computer makes managing and supporting tests much easier.


Finding and installing various devices, especially more recent ones, can get expensive. Simulators and emulators are far more cost-effective than testing on actual devices. An automated simulation platform provides all the tools necessary for thorough and affordable mobile app testing.

Quality improvements

Quality is crucial as the highly competitive mobile world becomes more complex. Virtual devices can execute parallel testing.  This shortens the build time so that testers may make more iterations and provide a better application. The final, happy outcome will be a steady increase in the user experience.

Easy access

All devices are not accessible everywhere. Emulators enable you to use any device or Operating System version, even those that are considerably more challenging to locate physically.

Boost test coverage

Simulators and emulators enable testing scenarios to be broadened without requiring access to every real device. For instance, there are several notable changes between the mobile and macOS versions of the Safari browser. While personally testing each scenario would take a lot of time, emulators and simulators can assist in doing this more correctly and quickly.

Detect bugs quicker

Virtual devices aid in reducing the feedback loop between development, exploration, and return. As they work, Web developers may test builds in their coding environment, which enables them to find and correct errors in real time.

Simpler to use

Emulators make this far simpler than manually setting up each real device for testing. Keeping everything on the tester’s computer makes managing devices much simpler.

Real devices for mobile testing

Since real devices can be expensive and time-consuming to acquire, emulators and simulators are becoming more and more prevalent in testing. But emulators still have a lot of problems, so even though they closely resemble actual devices, the experience won’t be the same. Therefore, the only approach to comprehending the user experience is to test on actual devices. Testers must install the app on a real device and test the user-app interaction to ensure that they are experiencing the same thing as the intended users.

Below are the reasons for using real devices for mobile testing.

Evaluating gestures

Everything cannot be simulated on a computer. Smartphones contain numerous sensors and additional gestures that require testing and a physical device.


An emulator does simulate the hardware and software, but it does so in a lab setting. In actual use, real devices will experience a variety of variables, such as temperature and other software running, which will impact performance.

Different network conditions

It is crucial to test network performance, yet doing so on an emulator will only simulate a lab environment. But real device testing is required since most users would be using unpredictable and slow network connections.


You can’t determine how an application impacts a certain device’s battery life without using a real one. It’s crucial to test the application on a real smartphone since if it drains the battery quickly, the users will quickly remove it.

Interruptions and other situations from the real conditions

Using a smartphone daily will include numerous interruptions, such as phone calls or screen switching off. Therefore it is a must to test the app for interruptions, and this can only be done on a real device.

Validating the exact colors and layout

An emulated device on a single computer screen for all devices won’t work when trying to optimize the appearance of the application. The size, brightness, and screen quality of each device vary greatly. These must be tested on actual hardware.

To make the most out of the benefits of simulators, emulators, and real devices it would be best to choose emulators or real devices at the beginning of the Software Development Lifecycle. Although it is suggested to pick a real device cloud provider and run the tests on various devices as needed to locate and scale up the testing strategy. Both real and virtual devices have pros and cons that make them suitable for one aspect but not others. Although, choosing a Real Device Cloud for testing can offer the best of both worlds.

Since virtual devices offer a better debugging facility, they are best suited during the initial stages of code development. On the other hand, due to the accuracy factor, testing like Sanity Testing and User Acceptance Testing can be better done with real devices. Parts of Regression testing could still be done using virtual devices after a point, it might result in compromised results. Therefore take a step ahead with Real Device Cloud.

Emulators, Simulators, and real mobile devices for parallel testing using LambdaTest

The devices being used to execute the test are a crucial component of having a reliable testing process. Therefore, the importance of the testing device is crucial. Due to the variety of devices and the range of operating systems, testing on mobile devices is even more important.

Maintaining physical devices or devices on the premises can be expensive, disruptive, and unsustainable due to the always-changing variety of mobile devices with various operating systems, browsers, and hardware configurations. The organization’s mobile app delivery cycles may get hindered in terms of speed and quality as a result. The greatest option for overcoming this difficulty is to choose cloud computing.

The developer and QA teams may test the functionalities of their app anywhere, using cloud-based real-device testing. This is accomplished by offering numerous devices at once. The comprehensive cross-platform functionality of cloud testing is one of its key advantages. The presence of a MacBook or iPhone is not required for testers. They can check their application on a test instance remotely and obtain accurate results by using the cloud.

One such platform is LambdaTest, which offers a variety of solutions that combine different operating system versions, mobile app testing frameworks, etc. Finding and repairing issues quickly while keeping costs low is important for large-scale manual or thorough automated testing of the app.   The LambdaTest real device cloud is the best approach for developers and testers to quickly fix issues while keeping costs down.

LambdaTest is a secure, reliable, and accurate, cross-browser compatibility testing platform that includes more than 3000 real browsers, devices, and operating system combinations for manual interactive testing as well as automated Selenium testing. It

This cloud-based testing platform provides native real-device experience, simple debugging, accelerated testing through mobile app automation and web automation testing, hassle-free interactive app testing, live interactive cross-browser testing, and parallel testing as well.