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Interruption Testing in Mobile Applications

Updated: Apr 16

What is Interruption Testing?

Interrupt testing is a type of software testing where the testers test how an application reacts when a certain interruption occurs and resumes it to the previous state. This type of testing that can handle and recover the unexpected interruptions occurs while running an application. This can be better explained with an example. Let's say you are in the middle of doing an online transaction with a banking application. You receive an important message in your inbox that you need to check and you switch from the banking application to check the message. And you noticed that your transaction failed. This scenario states that the mobile application is unable to return to its previous state when an interruption occurs.

Need for Interrupt Testing

Interrupt testing is a kind of testing critical in mobile app testing, especially in systems where there is a need for very high responsiveness to processing input in real-time. It is testing of the system to handle impulsive input or signals without being broken in operational integrity and performance.

An interrupt is usually defined as a signal to the processor that tells it to give attention where it is needed. Interrupts can be caused by user input, hardware not functioning well, or internal software events. Appropriate and timely responses that are dependable, secure, and efficient need to be provided for the interruptions being experienced, which are indispensable for the proper working and system reliability, safety, and user experience. For instance, in a medical device, failure to respond to an interrupt would make the processor continue with the normal code execution but under an incorrect condition of data processing, hence compromising the patient's health.

When an Interruption occurs how should the mobile application handle it?

The interruption should be handled in a delicate manner so that user experience is not compromised and the integrity of the data. The process goes along with such steps that would come into action for incoming calls, notifications, and network changes or battery alerts.

  • Save State: The application should automatically save its current state. This includes the unsaved data, the user's inputs, and the current position in navigation within the application. This ensures that, on the next visit, the app resumes from exactly where the user left off, hence a very smooth experience in the process.

  • Pause operations: The active operation-especially the one consuming resources or requiring user interactions-should be paused. For example, when the user is recording an audio or watching a video, both should be paused simultaneously and provide an easy way to resume them.

  • Temporary Release resources: Temporarily release unnecessary resources or connections like GPS, camera, or network connections to save on battery and system resources, especially when the interruptions are anticipated to last for a long time.

  • Notification: The user should be notified of the nature of the interruption and its effect on the state of the application with clear notifications or cues. For example, this may be a message that the work has been saved at their place, or information on how to pick up from where they left off.

  • Smooth Resuming: The app should allow the user to resume their activity gracefully once it gets interrupted. This might include restoring the saved state, re-establishing network connections, or just getting back to where the user left off in the app.

In case the mobile application is intended, it will reduce the probability of interruptions and hence minimize the disturbance of the user, allowing him to proceed with tasks without wasting time and efforts.

Categories of Interruption Testing

Interruption testing validates whether the system or application has the capacity to withstand unexpected events or interruptions from causing a failure in terms of performance and integrity. It is classified with reference to the source of the interruptions and their effect on the system. These categories are explained below.

Device-Dependent Interruption Testing: This subclass deals with the interruptions originating from hardware or physical devices of a gadget. This includes responding to events issued from changes in battery levels, USB connects or disconnects, and interactions with other peripherals. The whole point is to establish that the software will behave well in the presence of hardware-level interrupts of all orders of magnitudes that are possible from any device. 

This is critical, and it is device-dependent because the application is running on many sorts of hardware, which has different specifications and capabilities. Ensuring that the application can withstand such interferences means reliability and full functionality across various devices; hence, the implication to the user and application stability is significant.

Network-Dependent Interruption Testing: This testing deals with app performance when faced with network connectivity interruptions, such as network state changes from Wi-Fi to mobile data, loss of connectivity, and fluctuating signal strengths. It is essential to test how an application behaves under such conditions to remain functional in a connected environment. 

With the increasing reliance on cloud services and online exchange of data, network-dependent disruption testing ensures the application remains responsive and its data integrity is observed at all times of network shifts or outages. It is highly critical to real-time applications that serve purposes such as messaging, streaming, or online gaming.

Functionality-Dependent Interruption Testing: Such interruptions may affect operational software, including scenarios where system events interrupt an application's execution. It can be a software update, notifying of any events, or any other activity while multitasking. Emphasis is laid on the application being able to preserve its state in order to restore or pause at the time it gets a signal from anywhere and continues running from where it left off without losing data through the interruptions. 

While this would be functional-based interruption testing, there has to be no such intervention that may disturb other operations of this app or even when the app is functioning from the backend. It helps in the building of stronger applications that will be able to smoothly handle such interruptions, so that the user's workflow is not disturbed, and data integrity helps provide an all-encompassing approach to interruption testing while detailing the various layers in which interruptions may show within the system.

 By covering device-dependent, network-dependent, and functionality-dependent interruptions, developers can ensure that their applications are robust, reliable, and capable of offering a consistent user experience in all situations and conditions.

Types of Interruption Testing

Interruption testing is a software testing process that entails validating the likely behavior of the system or application under test when subjected to disruptions from outside or inside the system. These disruptions could include hardware signals, software events, or problems of network connectivity. Organized application of this testing against systems is viewed as exceptionally effective for conducting methodical assessments of resilience and robustness. The main categories include:

  • Hardware Interrupts Testing: This test aims to ascertain the system's ability to respond to hardware-generated interrupts, such as those from keyboards, mouse clicks, or signals from built-in sensors. It ensures the system can process such signals without faulting operation or losing performance.

  • Software Interrupts Testing: Focuses on interruptions initiated by software applications or the operating system itself, like system calls, software exceptions, or application updates. This testing proves the system tolerates these interruptions without negatively impacting ongoing processes and data integrity.

  • Network Interruption Testing: Determines the system's response to network-based interruptions, such as network loss of connection and variations in network strength, among other shifts, for example, from Wi-Fi to cellular. This category is critical for applications requiring consistent network access.

  • Power Failure Testing: Consideration for battery failures in mobile devices and handling power for servers or embedded systems in shutdown scenarios.

  • User-Initiated Interruptions Testing: Examines the system's response to user-caused interruptions, such as switching apps, receiving calls or notifications, and changing device orientation. This aims to ensure no data loss or corruption, promoting a seamless user experience.

This classification enables testers to quantify system performance and its resilience against disruptions. Interruption testing is key for the smooth functioning of systems requiring consistent responsiveness. Ultimately, this enhances user confidence and satisfaction, significantly contributing to the application's competitive success. It ensures the application can gracefully withstand hardware, network, or functionality interruptions without affecting user experience or data integrity.

Interrupt Testing Tools

  • JTAG Debuggers: Offer low-level hardware control and observation, crucial for testing embedded systems. They enable hardware interrupt simulation, processor state inspection, and execution flow control.

  • Wireshark: A network protocol analyzer for understanding system or application reactions to packet loss, transmission delays, and other network disruptions.

  • Android Studio Emulator: Allows developers to emulate various disruptions, like incoming calls, SMS, battery conditions, and network changes, to test app responses.

  • Xcode Simulator: Enables testing iOS applications on multiple devices and OS versions, simulating distractions like incoming calls, messages, or notifications.

  • GDB (GNU Debugger): A powerful, free debugging tool across many OSes, supporting application stopping, interrupt emulation, or signal injection to study application responses.

  • LLDB: A source-level command-line debugger used with Xcode, enabling developers to simulate and assess how different interrupts affect software behavior.

Other tools include LLDB, a command-line source-level debugger used with Xcode, which allows developers to simulate and test how different interrupts affect software behavior

What is the Difference between Interrupt Testing & Recovery Testing

The differences between Interrupt Testing and Recovery Testing can be summarized as follows:


Interrupt Testing

Recovery Testing


Interrupt testing focuses on evaluating a system's ability to handle external or internal interruptions efficiently, ensuring it remains responsive and stable.

Recovery testing assesses a system's ability to recover from crashes, hardware failures, or other catastrophic problems, ensuring data integrity and system functionality post-recovery.


The primary goal is to ensure that the system can manage and process interrupts without affecting the system’s performance or stability.

The aim is to verify that the system can recover from unexpected or planned disruptions, minimising downtime and data loss.

Type of Interruptions

Deals with external signals or events that require immediate attention from the system, such as hardware interrupts, software interrupts, and user inputs.

Focuses on scenarios that could lead to system failures or crashes, such as power outages, hardware malfunctions, or software bugs.

Key Focus Area

Emphasises the system's responsiveness to interrupts, ensuring that it can quickly switch context, handle the interrupt, and resume normal operations seamlessly.

Concentrates on the system's resilience and the effectiveness of its data backup, restore procedures, and error handling mechanisms to recover from failures.

Testing Methods

Involves generating and simulating interrupts to observe the system's behaviour and its ability to prioritise and process these events appropriately.

Involves simulating failures or using fault injection techniques to trigger system crashes or disruptions, followed by monitoring the recovery process and system behaviour post-recovery.


Ensures that the system remains stable and performs efficiently under conditions of unexpected or high-frequency interruptions.

Ensures that the system can quickly return to its operational state after a failure, with minimal data loss and in accordance with the defined recovery objectives.

Both Interrupt Testing and Recovery Testing play crucial roles in ensuring the reliability and robustness of a system. In Interrupt Testing, it only emphasizes the capacity of the system to process the external demand at that particular time; Recovery Testing goes on to verify that the system is resilient and has the capability to return to its previous effective state from major failures, keeping its overall integrity and continuity.

Does your software have what it takes to withstand the unexpected? Take the first step towards seamless software functionality today. Connect with us for our revolutionary interruption testing services

Conclusion: In such cases where there is a need for uniformity and responsiveness, interruption testing assures your application quality and performance. But when it is done perfectly, it assures the confidence and satisfaction of the users while they get your applications on the market, playing a great role amidst such a highly competitive market. As such, interruption testing has been an eventuality to make sure the robustness and reliability of your application under a flood of real-world conditions. This well simulates and manages such kinds of unexpected events as hardware, network, and functionality disruptions, giving assurance that your application can deal well with these events without causing any impacts on user experience or data integrity.

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