Home TECHNOLOGY How can You Ensure Mobile App Compatibility with Older Operating Systems and Hardware?

How can You Ensure Mobile App Compatibility with Older Operating Systems and Hardware?

by Catherine Silva
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mobile app compatibility

Compatibility with mobile apps is essential for user retention and happiness. Making sure your app functions properly across various devices and versions can be difficult, though, given how quickly mobile operating systems and hardware are evolving. Compatibility testing is a very important task that is performed in Mobile Testing Lab. We’ll cover some best practices for testing, optimizing, and updating your app to ensure optimum compatibility in this article.

1. Recognize your target market

To guarantee mobile app compatibility, you must first ascertain the preferences and target audience. Which devices, which operating systems, and which screen sizes are most frequently used by them? How frequently are their hardware and software updated? What do they want to get out of utilizing your software, and what are their problems? You may prioritize your compatibility testing and optimization efforts by gathering this information through market research, surveys, analytics tools, and feedback.

As we build, we must ensure that the app is tested and developed depending on the collective usage of users.  According to a study, most app users use the latest OS version, although a small minority still use earlier versions. App development must be compatible to retain quality. If a user’s situation precludes them from utilizing the app or makes it too expensive, notify them to upgrade or send them an email about compatibility.

2. Use Emulators and Simulators

Emulators and simulators are a cheap and easy approach to assess program compatibility. These apps mimic hardware and operating systems. They may test your app’s design, operation, and performance in various settings. But as emulators and simulators aren’t able to perfectly mimic the environment and user experience of actual devices, physical testing should be used in addition to them.

Mobile app compatibility must be tested on actual hardware since this enables you to find and address bugs that emulators and simulators might miss. You may test your app’s hardware compatibility, sensors, gestures, network connectivity, battery life, and memory utilization on actual devices, for instance. You can rent from device farms or cloud services, utilize your own devices, or borrow from friends and co-workers. Aim to test your app on a cross-section of devices and operating systems that will be used by your intended user base.

Since testing on every real gadget is both impractical and expensive. While simulation can be useful in certain situations, actual device testing is necessary. Ensure your program is functional on the most recent OS version that is compatible with a variety of device sizes. Since the real device has other apps installed, the focus is primarily on black box testing to determine the app’s viability and performance. More details on the phone’s memory, battery life, and app compatibility will be provided.

3. Optimize the design and code

Optimizing code and design for different operating systems and devices is another way to ensure mobile app compatibility. Improve your app’s resilience and adaptability using progressive enhancement, responsive design, modular code, and graceful degradation. Minify, gzip, and image compression can reduce program size and load time. React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin enable cross-platform development and compatibility.

4. Update your app often

Finally, update your mobile app often to ensure compatibility with new hardware and operating systems. By updating your program, you can add features, improve security, speed up performance, and fix issues. Testing your software before and after a release is encouraged because updating may cause compatibility issues. You should also inform users of the requirements and benefits of your updates and provide support and feedback.

Regular app upgrades are needed to stay competitive in the mobile app market. This applies to Google Play and Apple App Stores. Do we also consider previous app users?  You update the app frequently to give consumers the best experience, however many don’t update for a long time.

5. App-version analytics

To determine the issue’s breadth, we must first track audience favorites. We can establish which app version is still used and how many older app versions need support by doing this. Google Analytics is the easiest way to collect this data.

“Non-working version” means the app creators think this version shouldn’t work because it hasn’t been supported in a while. Statistics show that many users have this version installed or are still using it. People still own versions that may not work, which is remarkable. Occasionally, this version looks to be functional, but the app owner should not be encouraged because the preceding version may have bugs.

Backward compatibility of your app

Backward compatibility means supporting earlier program versions. You should do this to make the product appealing and available to non-upgrade App users. The research shows that many iOS and Android users prefer the older version, whatever their reason.  Let’s look at a few strategies for maintaining the audience’s interest in your product even in its older iterations.

1) Versioning of APIs

Use the API versioning approach to ensure that the server responds to requests from outdated app versions correctly. This enables the mobile app to submit requests to the appropriate API versions that are compatible with the version of the app being used.

Assume you own a photo editing app. As the software becomes more well-known, users want for better image uploading performance. In app version 2.0.0, you made the decision to alter the image quality and transmit the image straight in the request to your server. All right, and what about those who used version 1.0.0? App 1.0.0 requests that provide links rather than images will not function if the API endpoint for version 2.0.0 is changed. You must adhere to the API Versioning methodology. This allows you to determine the user’s app version and apply the appropriate logic based on that version.

2) Core App Logic

We should refrain from adding a lot of logic on the mobile side in order to extend the lifespan of the specific app version. The program is more flexible now that the functionality is on the backend, and any bugs can be fixed without having to launch a new version. Bugs can be fixed faster, and users might not even realize they have an issue.

Consider yourself the owner of a multiplayer racing mobile app. Based on the vehicle’s weight and engine, the mobile side determines each car’s acceleration. Regretfully, people begin to protest about the autos’ unreasonable speed. You wish to modify the acceleration calculation algorithm in the 2.0.0 app, but what about the 1.0.0 app’s users? Because it’s a multiplayer game, the issue could be quite challenging to resolve. We should therefore transfer as much logic as possible to the backend. If something needs to be adjusted or rectified, that saves a ton of hassle and time.

3) Force Update

The ultimate choice is the one that ought to be shunned at all costs. One feature that stops users from running incompatible software versions is force update. How does it function? To verify the app version, there is an endpoint on the backend. Through backend communication, the app may identify supported app versions. The program will prompt the user to upgrade it if it detects that they are using an unsupported version on their device. The user experience with this solution is poor, thus I advise against using it.

But occasionally, this remedy can be required. As an illustration, suppose you have a Payment app and an issue with figuring out the payment amount exists in the previous version of the app. The program transfers the wrong amount of money to another account in this manner. Many users still use the old app, even though you rectified it in the update. You must force users to update the app to avoid poor reviews and manual transaction adjustments. Though users may not appreciate it, it’s better than making mistakes with money.

4) Announce the Updates

Announce new features on the app’s social media channels as another method to keep users interested. At least two advantages exist. The user will be interested in the app update, which is the first benefit of improving communication with the end user. Once you’ve drawn consumers to your app through social media, they should visit the app page directly from the app stores, read the description, become intrigued by what’s new, and download the app to begin their new journey.

How LambdaTest Help in making mobile apps compatible with earlier versions and hardware?

Mobile compatibility testing guarantees software works across browsers, operating systems, mobile devices, networks, and hardware. It lets testers ensure the app works on the consumer’s device. LamdaTest streamlines compatibility testing. Compatibility testing guarantees a software program works across browsers, databases, OS, mobile devices, networks, and hardware. It tests your app’s functionality on customers’ devices. It supports all major App testing platforms such as Appium, Selenium, Espresso, and others.

Software compatibility testing checks if it works on diverse hardware, OS, applications, network environments, and mobile devices. If you haven’t considered it yet, conduct some study and make it a vital element of your QA strategy. Due to the enormous number of devices/browsers, you need a comprehensive plan to include compatibility testing. We can see compatibility testing as not discriminating against a user’s devices/browsers.

Final Words

While maintaining compatibility for all previous iterations of your program may prove challenging, versions released within the last few months ought to function at minimum. Strive to maintain an open mind when brainstorming ways to extend the life of your software, communicate with users, and encourage them to upgrade it. Remember to use app analytics to track your development and give users an excellent experience.

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