On the Energy Footprint of Mobile Testing Frameworks

Luis Cruz*, Rui Abreu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


High energy consumption is a challenging issue that an ever increasing number of mobile applications face today. However, energy consumption is being tested in an ad hoc way, despite being an important non-functional requirement of an application. Such limitation becomes particularly disconcerting during software testing: on the one hand, developers do not really know how to measure energy; on the other hand, there is no knowledge as to what is the energy overhead imposed by the testing framework. In this paper, as we evaluate eight popular mobile UI automation frameworks, we have discovered that there are automation frameworks that increase energy consumption up to roughly 2200 percent. While limited in the interactions one can do, Espresso is the most energy efficient framework. However, depending on the needs of the tester, Appium, Monkeyrunner, or UIAutomator are good alternatives. In practice, results show that deciding which is the most suitable framework is vital. We provide a decision tree to help developers make an educated decision on which framework suits best their testing needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2260-2271
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • energy consumption
  • Mobile testing
  • testing frameworks


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