Interrupt Testing in Mobile Application

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Testscenario Testing Team

Interrupt Testing in Mobile Application

What is Interrupt Testing?

Interrupt testing is a type of mobile app testing that is focused on how an application reacts to the interruption involved and gets back again to the previous state. There are unexpected interruptions caused while testing of applications on different mobile devices. For an application, handling these interruptions is a crucial part that also maintains a positive user experience.

Why You Need Interrupt Testing

Let us understand in depth why there is a need for interrupt testing for mobile applications. This can be better explained with the help of an example. Imagine you are using a mobile banking application to transfer funds to an account. Once you initialize with the procedure of fund transfer and suddenly you receive an incoming call on your mobile. This interrupts the process of fund transfer of the banking application. Here, in this scenario in case of without interrupt testing, there is a risk of your application as it may not be able to handle the interruption. It may lead to different errors like –

  • Loss of Data: Data may be lost, application may not be able to save the transaction details when an interruption occurs, and may cause in inconsistencies in account balances or transaction
  • Crashes or Freezes: If the interruptions are not handled properly, it may crash or freeze the application that frustrates users and can lead to no trust to the app.
  • Security Risks: High-security risks if the interruptions are not handled properly. It may lead to unauthorized access to user’s sensitive information.
  • Incomplete Transaction: If the interruption has occurred during the fund transfer, the transaction is incomplete in turn it may result into financial discrepancies

There are different types of interruptions like incoming calls, low battery warnings, text messages or network disruptions. In case an interruption occurs during the testing of banking applications, testers can simulate an incoming call during the fund transfer.

interruption testing

Types of Interruptions Encountered

There are a myriad of interruptions that are faced in a mobile application.

  • System Notifications: These include notifications from the operating system such as low battery warnings, system updates, or security alerts.
  • User-initiated Interruptions: Actions initiated by the user, such as receiving phone calls, SMS messages, or notifications from other applications.
  • External Factors: Interruptions caused by external factors like loss of network connectivity, changes in device orientation, or unplugging/plugging in headphones.

Understanding these common interruptions is the first step in preparing your application to handle them effectively.

Resolution Strategies in Case of Interrupt

When an interruption occurs, applications can respond in several ways:

  • Run in Background: Even though an interruption has occurred, the application runs in background and resumes once the current task is completed.
  • Show Alert(Notification): The application functions normally even after the alert is been displayed
  • Call to Action: User interaction with the application is must before continuation. (Ex. dismiss or alarm update)
  • No Impact: The application operates as normal even when there is an interruption caused.

There is a different response strategy of the various interruptions caused and hence the developers can plan accordingly for different scenarios.

How to Perform Interrupt Testing

There are different key steps involved in conducting interrupt testing –

  1. Identify Critical Scenarios: The first step is to identify the interruptions that are caused frequently to your application based on functionality and usability. Different scenarios come in interruption testing like text messages, incoming calls, notifications, alarms, battery warnings, network disconnections, and many more. Understanding the potential interruptions, software testers can design with the related test scenarios.
  2. Design Test Cases: Once identified, create a list of detailed test cases that helps to identify interruptions and outline expected behaviors. Testers need to identify with different interruptions caused and create the test scenarios accordingly. For example, if there is an incoming call while the application is performing, then the application should be able to handle that in the background.
  3. Set Up Testing Environment: Create different testing environments like testing on real-world conditions that includes different devices and network configurations. For example, a tester can make use of specialized tools or emulators that can mimic real-world scenarios such as incoming calls, network disruptions, or battery drain.
  4. Execute Test Cases: Run your test, observe, and note how your application responds to each interruption. There are chances that unexpected behavior may occur like crashes, data loss, freezes, etc. As a tester, one can document the findings for future analysis making testing of applications at ease.
  5. Evaluating Application Response: Once the test cases are been executed, the testers need to evaluate the application response during each interruption. This includes different scenarios like the application paused or resumed, data loss or corrupted, and also includes the stability and performance of the application.
  6. Analyse Test Results: Analysis is one of the most important things that a tester must do. Analyse test results, identify issues that have been uncovered during the process of interrupt testing. There may be different issues involved based on severity as well as impact on the application’s functionality, stability, or security. As a tester, one should prioritise issues like fixing the critical issues first that impacts the user experience and also affects the application’s integrity and performance.
  7. Improve: Interrupt testing is a refining process and hence testers need to repeat the testing cycle multiple times to identify issues and make the fixes effective. The testers should be updated continuously, refine test scenarios and check the functionality of the application again.
  8. Documentation or Test Findings: Testers can make the document that includes the details of the interruptions tested, issues encountered and recommendations for the improvement of the application. This documentation helps the developers, stakeholders to make the required input for the application

This process helps identify potential issues before they impact end-users, ensuring a robust and resilient application.

Interrupt Testing vs. Recovery Testing

The two different testing namely interrupt testing and recovery testing. These two have their own testing scenarios. As both aims at ensuring application stability, where interrupt testing focuses on handling temporary distractions whereas recovery testing with an ability to recover from crashes or failures

Interruption Testing:

In simple terms, interruption testing aims at evaluating how well the application handles the interruptions during the execution process. There may be interruptions like incoming calls, text messages, notifications, system alerts, or any other external events that may disrupt the application’s normal flow of operation. The main goal of interruption testing is that the application can handle the interruption easily without crashing or losing data.

Recovery Testing

Recovery testing as the name suggests, is a type of software testing that aims at how the application recovers from failures or abnormal issues. This type of testing helps to recover applications from crashes, hardware failures, network outages, or any other unexpected events that may occur during the process of a particular task in an application.

Difference Between Interrupt Testing& Recovery Testing :

Aspect Interrupt Testing Recovery Testing
Purpose Evaluates application’s response to interruptions during execution. Assesses application’s ability to recover from failures or abnormal situations.
Focus Handling interruptions gracefully. Recovery from crashes or failures.
Events Simulated External events such as incoming calls, messages, or system alerts. Failures such as crashes, hardware failures, or network outages.
Objective Ensure application stability and data integrity during interruptions. Ensure application can resume normal operation after failures.
Execution Environment Controlled testing environment simulating real-world interruptions. Controlled testing environment simulating failure scenarios.
Key Metrics Stability, data integrity, user experience. Recovery time, data consistency, system stability.
Documentation Test scenarios, observed behaviours to interruptions. Recovery mechanisms, recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives.

You can also know about: Types of Mobile Application Testing

Best Practices for Interrupt Testing

  • Regular Testing: In the development lifecycle, incorporating interrupt testing on a regular basis helps to identify issues at an early stage ensuring continuous improvement.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Providing with the feedback on interruptions caused helps the developer to improve the application response and performance.
  • Update Handling: Testing with the application update is also important. How the application gets updated without any loss of data or functionality.
  • Documentation: Create a documentation for interrupt testing procedures, and must be observed that also helps in future development

Interruption Testing Checklist

This checklist will guide you on how to conduct detailed interruption testing of your app or software on mobile.

Device Dependent:

  • Incoming calls: How does the app respond to answering and rejecting on an incoming call? Does it gracefully pause and continue without loss of data
  • Incoming Messages: This tests to verify that when a new message (SMS/pop-up notification) comes in while the user is inside the application, the message is properly minimized/paused and allows the user to respond without loss of context upon restoration.
  • Device Lock/Unlock: While performing an action in the application, lock the device. Unlock the device and see whether the application resumes from the previous state or requires restarting.
  • System notifications: Generate a few system notifications (low battery, full battery, alarm) from the device and make sure the application is handling them correctly without affecting its functionality.
  • Update notification: Simulate an app update notification during the use of the application. Ensure that the update does not interfere with running activities and that the user data remains in the state that the user left it in before an update is initiated.
  • Device shutdown/restart:  The test includes simulating an unexpected device shutdown or restart of the device and verifying whether the application is capable of recovering from this event gracefully, without losing the user’s place and progress within the application.
  • Charging: Application behavior while the device is charging. Ensure it’s behaving correctly with normal charges that aren’t hot to the device.

Network Dependent:

  • Network switching: Switch the networks while using the application from Wi-Fi to mobile data usage of the device. Ensure the application adapts smoothly and functions continuously.
  • Network loss/reconnection: Do simulate disconnection and reconnection of the network a couple of times. Observe that the application handles it gracefully and is able to recover it without data loss.
  • Background data usage: To check the operation of the app in background with the network being restricted to, for example, low bandwidth, and working normally.

Functionality Dependent:

  • Data loss prevention: Data loss prevention means to find out whether the application constantly keeps saving the user’s input, progress, and settings through any kind of interruptions.
  • Background processes: Ensure that, even if minimized or running in the background, the app keeps going the important background processes, like downloads and uploads, seamlessly without any disturbances.
  • Multitasking:  Use other apps in split-screen or picture-in-picture mode if possible without compromising the functionality of the app.

Note that this checklist is a point of departure and should be tailored to the specific functionalities and features of your app. Eventually, together with these best practices and a general interrupt testing strategy, they will put your app on track to grant users a reliable, persistent experience in spite of disruptions.

Impact of Interrupt Testing on User Experience

Reduced Frustration: Interruption testing reduces the level of frustration for the user by ensuring smooth app operation with incoming calls, notifications, or network issues. Imagine now what this would be like if a user was to lose their game progress or have their shopping cart emptied out due to an interruption—elaborate testing aimed at such prevention.

Improved Efficiency: In events of disruptions, app resumption will ensure that users pick up right from the exact point he had left; this will not, therefore, waste time or extra effort. This way, their experience is going to be streamlined for quicker completion of work.

Increase User Confidence: Applications that handle interruptions properly increase the confidence of the users. The user relies more on this application when he knows that he will not have the loss of data or the application crashing by surprise during regular daily usage.

Enhancing App Reliability: The reliability of an application is gained with interruption testing that ensures the application can handle unexpected scenarios.

Improving User Retention: For improving user retention, interruption testing plays an important role also enhancing the user experience.


Interrupt testing is an indispensable part of mobile application development, where the application can handle real-world interruptions with grace. By understanding the types of interruptions, expected behaviours, and conducting thorough testing, developers can enhance the resilience and user experience of their applications. As demand for mobile applications continues to grow, the importance of interrupt testing will also grow, making it a critical skill for any mobile application developer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is interrupt testing in mobile applications?

Interrupt testing in a mobile application simulates unexpected events or actions that have temporary effects on the ongoing operation of a mobile application, such as incoming calls, SMS messages, battery notifications, or network changes, for the purpose of proving if the app can handle these interruptions gracefully.

Can interrupt testing be done with automated testing?

Yes, it may be used; actually, in cases of repetitive and predictable interrupt scenarios, automated testing could even efficiently be used for interrupt testing. It should efficiently cover plenty of possible interrupt conditions, but in some more complex or unpredictable scenarios, manual testing would still be necessary.

What are some common tools used for interrupt testing?

Therefore, typical tools within the field of interrupt testing include mobile device emulators, simulators, and real device testing platforms—tools enabling simulation of various interrupt cases. Some of the commonly used ones, however, include Appium, Espresso, and XCUITest, as they can be used to even automate interrupt tests through all kinds of devices and operating systems.

What challenges are associated with interrupt testing?

Associated challenges are the diversity of mobile devices and operating systems, an exact simulation of the real world, and a complete scope of the cases for interrupts. At times, it is also tricky to ensure there is enough coverage from testing and handling unpredictable behavior with some interrupts.

How does testing the interrupts help in user retention?

Testing interrupts ensure no disgruntlement and negative user experiences occur from the app failing to handle various interruptions gracefully. From that, a stable and reliable app encourages continued use, which results in higher user retention.

What role will AI play in the future of interrupt testing?

The future of testing likely involves a lot of AI and machine learning, as they can predict likely interrupt scenarios and automate the test in the process. This way, the testing can be done more efficiently and comprehensively, covering a great variety of interrupts, possibly different in occurrence probabilities.

Is it necessary to perform interrupt testing on both Android and iOS platforms?

Yeah, the reason is, the two differ in the sense of an operating system, user interface, and more so, on how interrupts are handled. The test, therefore, will be of ultimate importance to ensure that the application guarantees the user the same consistent, reliable quality of experience and is, therefore, not pegged on any specific device.

How often should interrupt testing be conducted?

Thus, interrupt testing should become part of the app development cycle at regular time intervals, more particularly post each major update or change in the app. Continuous testing leads to bug identification and fixing at the earliest point in time, ultimately building a stable and reliable application.

Is your software facing network connectivity issues, hardware failures, or unexpected user actions? At Testscenario, we provide services in interruption testing to ensure that applications’ robustness and reliability, especially under unforeseen circumstances. Our goal is to enhance the user experience by guaranteeing the application performs seamlessly, maintaining data integrity and operational continuity even in the face of unexpected events. Are you looking for the same for your mobile app? Get in touch with us today.

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