In today’s digital era, billions of web and mobile applications are used worldwide, and therefore, providing bug-free websites or apps that deliver seamless functionality and user experience is crucial for web apps and applications. Before releasing an app to the users, extensive testing is required to ensure universal compatibility with different devices, browsers, operating systems, screen sizes, networks, and real-world usage scenarios.

    While in-house testing on a few devices, and emulators and simulators offer partial solutions for a good start, real-world testing on diverse devices is irreplaceable for the team needs to secure and test their app on a wide range of mobile devices. Seeing the diversity of mobile devices, on-demand device availability seems challenging and drains the budget.

    This is where leveraging device farms becomes an optimal solution for comprehensive mobile app testing, as it provides practical alternatives for replicating real-world conditions. Leveraging these solutions enables developers to guarantee their application’s seamless functionality and usability on the thousands of device configurations, browsers, and operating systems available in the market today. Embracing such testing environments is essential to deliver the desired user experience regardless of their preferred device or browser.

    In this article, we will explore device farm testing and its advanced strategies for scalability. We will first discuss in brief what device farm is, what are its types and benefits, and how it helps developers streamline mobile app testing and release higher quality apps to the users.

    What is a device farm?

    A device farm is a cloud-hosted testing environment that offers developers user-friendly remote testing services to test their mobile apps and websites by providing access to a vast array of real devices. This innovative approach enhances ease of use, ensures greater accuracy, and makes testing more efficient and cost-effective as it eliminates the need to manage and maintain physical device labs. 

    Additionally, device farms enable testing on both new and older model devices, for those users who don’t upgrade to the latest device each year. They can also have simulators and emulators, real and virtual devices are set with pre-installed operating systems and specifications. It allows QA teams to conduct tests from any location and time, providing insights into app behavior under diverse conditions.

    A device farm offers both public and private services that can be maintained internally by an organization or they can be hosted in the cloud.

    Public device farms are managed by third-party vendors that provide access to various devices. Here users secure permission to test their apps on specific devices within a specific time slot that they have rented. This option is best suited for organizations with varying testing requirements and budgets.

    In contrast, private device farms are constructed using devices owned by the organization itself which provide a more controlled and tailored testing environment.

    Types of device farms

    There are three different types of device farms. They are

    Cloud-based device farms

    They are hosted by third-party providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), TestGrid, and LambdaTest. They offer users access to various devices and operating system versions. These device farms are highly scalable and flexible as they allow users to easily add or remove devices as needed. They are an ideal choice for organizations requiring testing on multiple devices without investing in hardware or infrastructure 


    However, they come with few drawbacks. They provide less hardware control, have potential security and data privacy risks, and rely on internet connectivity and cloud provider uptime subscription costs.

    On-premise device farms

    It is hosted on organization premises; these farms offer more control over the testing environment because they consist of a smaller number of devices than cloud-based farms. They are less scalable as compared to cloud-based solutions that can be time-consuming and entail higher setup and maintenance costs. It is best suited for organizations that need to test their applications on specific devices and operating system testing needs. The advantages include greater control over data, security, customization possibilities to meet specific needs, and reduced ongoing costs for cloud access

    Hybrid device farms

    It combines features of both cloud-based and on-premise device farms, hybrid solutions not only leverage a cloud-based platform to manage the devices and run tests, but they also include several on-premise devices. Organizations that need a flexible testing solution that can be scaled up or down using hybrid farms are best.

    This device farm type is more flexible, cost-effective, and scalable than on-premise device farms. However, it involves data and security risks as compared to on-premise setups. Additionally, it requires upfront planning and coordination.

    Each type of device farm has its unique set of pros and cons, hence, choose the right device farm type according to the testing requirements, budget, and the desired level of control needed over the testing environment.

    The importance of device farms in the testing ecosystem

    The mobile device landscape is extremely diverse and evolving rapidly, comprising multiple types with newer updates and features, different brands, power, performance, and functionality. Therefore, in this evolving landscape applications should be able to deliver a seamless functional and user experience irrespective of the updates. A reliable way to facilitate a seamless testing strategy is to test the application on a device cloud farm.

    A device cloud farm is a collection of devices hosted on the cloud, equipped with pre-installed devices, operating systems, and browsers. Some device clouds provide emulators and simulators, whereas others also offer access to physical devices, offering testers the ability to assess their builds in real-world scenarios. This enables developers to avoid the expense and exertion of building and maintaining an in-house device lab.

    Leveraging a real device cloud for testing, developers get the opportunity to engage with and control mobile devices to evaluate app performance in varying hardware-related conditions like battery consumption, CPU usage, poor network conditions, and other interruptions like incoming texts or notifications from other apps.

    Additionally, developers can observe the user interface’s appearance and functionality across thousands of devices. This dynamic testing approach facilitates the easy identification of functional issues and missing elements to enhance the overall quality and user experience of digital offerings.

    Benefits of device farms in app testing

    Using a device farm for application testing brings notable benefits.

    Instant access to broad device diversity

    A device farm provides instant and global access to a testing environment with a wide range of devices, including Smartphones, tablets, and different operating systems. This eliminates the need to physically maintain a large inventory of devices.

    Cross-browser compatibility

    Testing on a device cloud farm provides access to a comprehensive range of browsers both the latest and legacy types and versions for comprehensive cross-browser compatibility testing of the application.

    Simultaneous and efficient testing

    A device cloud farm eliminates the need to remove the waiting time for physical devices to become available. Multiple testers can simultaneously access a fleet of devices in the cloud, and perform efficient and uninterrupted testing.

    Seamless integration with bug tracking and management tools
    Device cloud farms can be seamlessly integrated with CI tools for automated testing and deployment. With this integration, developers can streamline the development workflow, and ensure that the code changes are rigorously tested across a wide range of devices.

    Faster debugging

    The ability to debug issues faster enables developers to fix them before it gets bigger, thus saving valuable time and resources in the long run.

    Limitations of device farm testing

    Testers face significant challenges while addressing issues like device fragmentation, varying screen resolutions, and upgrade cycles.

    Also, while doing performance testing in the real-world environment, complexities extend to factors like, testing mobile network bandwidth issues, permission testing, and testing for various geolocation app scenarios.

    Manual testing or legacy automation testing methods struggle to cope with the difficulties that arise out of a continuously evolving landscape. These come with their own set of limitations.

    Conducting manual testing on mobile device farms is challenging because it is expensive, time-consuming, prone to error, unable to scale quickly, and makes it difficult to monitor test and defect reproduction.

    Traditional or outdated automated testing on in-house device farms can be complex, incur high maintenance costs, prone to flaky test results, and provide limited coverage. 

    Additionally, test script creation and data management can be a significant challenge. Hence, to keep pace with the ever-evolving demands of app and website development in an increasingly complex digital environment, testers must address these limitations.

    Streamline your app testing using LambdaTest real device farm

    Testing applications is not an easy task; effective testing takes work and requires creating, managing, and updating automated tests. Therefore, choosing a testing tool that simplifies and accelerates this process and simultaneously facilitates comprehensive testing should be the priority. To go beyond the limitation of manual testing, use test automation tools and frameworks to automate the testing process.

    By testing on-premises device farms, testers can miss out on various features and functionalities. Therefore they must switch to a highly scalable cloud device farm like LambdaTest to save time in setting up and maintaining the devices required for thorough testing. This platform offers the latest tools to test apps on thousands of devices, desktop browsers, and operating system combinations, providing complete device control and setting access.

    LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that hosts real physical Android and iOS devices on the cloud to run both manual and automated testing of native and web applications at scale. The platform allows testers to perform real-time and automation testing across over 3000 environments, real mobile devices, and operating system combinations. Thus, providing complete control over the testing infrastructure, enabling testers to tailor their testing processes according to their specific needs and security requirements.

    One of the critical features of LambdaTest is that it allows developers to go through its extensive reporting, available in the form of videos, performance metrics, screenshots, and more, to find and fix any bug easily, enhancing efficiency and improving overall app quality and user experience.

    Some of the unique features that LambdaTest real devices offer are.

    • Extensive device farm for ensuring that the app works flawlessly across thousands of real mobile devices, browsers, and operating systems that users may use.
    • Seamless integration with all major CI/CD platforms.
    • Support for popular testing frameworks, including Appium and Selenium, makes integrating with the existing testing workflow easy.
    • Its cloud-based infrastructure allows running tests in parallel on multiple devices, saving time and enabling quicker debugging. Parallel testing accelerates the automated testing process and time to market.
    • Often adds the newest devices to ensure testing on the latest hardware.


    In conclusion, device farms provide an affordable and professional solution for automated testing across thousands of devices. Device farms are a valuable asset of a comprehensive testing strategy, complementing in-house testing environments for continuous testing across various devices and platforms. 

    By harnessing the power of cloud-based device farm developers can take their development and quality assurance efforts to new heights.