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The mobile application industry has seen exponential growth over the past few years and mobile apps have become universal and an integral part of our lives. Mobile user's expectations have increased multifold as the reliance on these apps has increased. As mobile apps are being used as critical tools in our day-to-day lives, the mobile app's quality of the features provided, performance, and user experience become of utmost importance.
Issues reported by the customer need to be addressed quickly. A good and effective mobile debugging tool hence holds much importance in such scenarios. Without proper debugging tools and logs, developers will take lots of time to fix the issue and also the fixes provided may not be stable resulting in regressions.
In this post, we will take a look at various mobile debugging tools available that can be used to debug issues reported internally by your QA team as well as by your customers. Android alone has a staggering market share of 69.44 percent globally at present. Hence in this blog, we will mainly focus on some best debugging tools for Android.
In the subsequent sections, we will also cover the debugging tools & capabilities provided by Google and Apple in their respective application development environments, followed by other popular mobile debugging tools.
Let’s dive in!
Android debugging tools aid in the Android development process by sniffing out coding errors at multiple stages of application development. It refers to code analysis, gaining an astute understanding of the execution flow, and sorting out issues to facilitate smooth app performance.
Some Android debugging tools will run a test to see what lines of code were not executed.- and they also showcase the part of the code that caused problems with the help of source maps. Other debugging tools provide simulators that allow the programmer to model how an app will display and behave on a given operating system or computing device. Debuggers usually go over a test run to check which lines of code have not been executed.
Next up we will be discussing some features that are usually present in Android debugging tools.
Android debugging tools come with a multitude of features that help carry out a series of functions. We will now be going over a few of them to gain a better grasp of the topic. Let’s delve right into it, shall we?
Remote debugging is an important feature of Android debugging tools and mobile debugging tools alike. Remote debugging enables you to connect your mobile device to your computer and utilize the developer tools of browsers to inspect and tweak the code, network, and UI of the apps. This comes of great help when you are working your way around web apps, hybrid apps, or native apps that make use of web views.
Some remote debugging tools that you can make use of are - Chrome DevTools, Safari Web Inspector, or Firefox Remote Debugging. These tools will help you access the app’s console, elements, sources, network performance, and more.
Breakpoints and watchpoints:
Breakpoints and watchpoints are two integral features of not just Android debugging tools but mobile debugging tools in general. They refer to features that allow you to pause the execution of your app’s code at points of interest and thoroughly analyze the values of variables, expressions, and memory.
Breakpoints are set based on lines of code, while watchpoints are set based on variables or memory addresses. You can utilize breakpoints and watchpoints to debug logic inconsistencies, memory leaks, or data corruption. You can accordingly set breakpoints and watchpoints using IDEs such as Android Studio, Xcode, or Visual Studio - or utilize debugging tools like LLDB, GDB, or WinDbg.
Emulators and simulators:
Emulators and simulators are two extremely important software tools that are of great aid to Android debugging tools and mobile debugging tools in general. They mimic the behavior and environment of real mobile devices on your computer. They come of great aid when you need to test the functionality, compatibility, and responsiveness of your app, across a wide range of platforms, devices, and configurations. Plus you don’t even need to own or access them physically.
Moreover, they also give out features like sensor stimulation or network throttling which help test various scenarios. A few simulators and emulators that you can make use of are Android Emulator and Genymotion. They work out brilliantly as Android Debugging Tools.
Crash reporting and analytics are two more very helpful features for Android debugging tools or mobile debugging tools. They are features that gather and go through data regarding your app’s performance, errors, and user behavior. They assist you with error identification, monitor trends, and facilitate the improvement of your app’s quality and usability.
Crash reporting and analytical tools give information like crash logs, stack traces, device details, user feedback, and usage statistics. Some tools that will help you with these functions are Zipy, Firebase Crashlytics, and Sentry. They will be of great help in debugging your apps.
Logging and Tracing:
Logging and tracing are two more integral features of Android debugging tools and mobile debugging tools. They are features that record and show messages, events, or data that are relevant to your app’s execution. They assist you with the tracking and debugging of the flow, state, and output of your app’s code, network, and UI.
Features provided by these tools include filtering, searching, highlighting, or exporting logs and traces. Some tools that help with logging and tracing are Zipy, Logcat, or Console. They are of great assistance in this regard.
Testing and automation:
Android debugging tools or mobile debugging tools also support testing and automation. These are features that help you in running and verifying the capabilities and features of your app, in addition to their reliability and security, with the help of predefined scripts, scenarios, or frameworks. They assist you with the sniffing and sorting out of bugs, performance optimization, and facilitate top quality standards. Testing and automation tools contain features like unit testing, integration testing, UI testing, or load testing. Some apps which help with this are XCTest, GitHub, and Zipy.
To sum things up, there are plenty of functionalities that come into play with Android debugging tools. They help carry out multiple versatile features and assist a horde of users with their purposes. Next up, we will be having a look at some tools that help with Android debugging. These are a multi-faceted set of tools that fulfill a wide range of purposes while also successfully working towards the same goals that successful Android debugging tools must fulfill. Let’s take a look.
Zipy is a multi-faceted tool that covers multiple use cases. It provides a massive range of functionalities that enhance the end-to-end digital experience of your users. For this, it employs real-time user monitoring, error tracking, and advanced debugging tools.
As represented in the dashboard above, Zipy provides a holistic view of user performance and showcases errors and user sessions under one section. It enumerates what all went down in the session, and lists out the errors, and their occurrence. It presents all of this in a neat graphical format, facilitating full-fledged convenience for the user.
In the world of Android debugging tools, Zipy comes with a host of functionalities that come of great help. Zipy possesses Android SDKs, just like it does for web SDKs. Features that are of great assistance include:
All in all, Zipy is a multi-faceted tool with a host of useful features and has a lot of functionalities in place in addition to being one of the top-tier Android debugging tools in the market.
First, there’s a starter plan, completely free of cost, with a thousand sessions per month. Next up you have a startup plan, costing 39 dollars per month with 7500 sessions per month. The Growth plan will cost you 79 dollars per month with 15000 sessions per month, and lastly, the Enterprise plan, as is the norm with similar tools, comes with custom pricing plans in place.
Firebase Crashlytics is a real-time crash reporting tool that automatically collects, analyses, and organizes your crash reports. It helps you to monitor the stability of your apps. It also helps you to understand which issues are of importance so that you can prioritize them. Crashlytics provides a dashboard of all the crashes and alerts you about new issues.
With the help of logs and key-value pairs, you can add context in the stack trace to each of the crashes which in turn helps you to analyze what your app was doing at the time of the crash.
In the stratosphere of Android debugging tools- this is how Firebase Crashlytics works.
Basically, in the world of Android debugging tools and Mobile debugging tools alike- Firebase Crashlytics is a solid fit.
Firebase Crashlytics is a free-to-use Android debugging tool. Crashlytics integrates seamlessly with the existing workflow of your application.
ACRA is an open-source library that enables Android applications to automatically post their crash reports to a backend server. ACRA is targeted at Android application developers to help them get data from their applications when the app crashes or behaves erroneously. Due to the nature of the license (Apache 2.0), active contributors, and various customization options enabled, ACRA has become one of the most popular tools used by Android developers to report crashes.
ACRA allows the developers to configure how their crash reports need to be uploaded (can be configured to upload reports to a custom backend server, mail to a predefined mail list), configure contents of the crash reports, add custom traces that can be captured, and published with or without crashes.
In the realm of Android Debugging tools- where does ACRA figure? Well, it’s of great help for it’ll meticulously collect information about the crash and the environment. Next up it can deliver that information to you in whatever way possible- additionally, it can provide optional feedback to the user about the crash- thus proving itself to be one of many effective Android Debugging Tools.
There are no dependencies on the Google Play Store- which means that apps that are not published on the Play Store can integrate ACRA. ACRA can be customized to work with your backend or with an existing backend like Acrium.
There is no available pricing for ACRA. Like many other Android debugging tools, it comes with the option of custom pricing.
Smartlook is a mobile debugging tool that provides you with mobile application analytics information that helps you to track & understand your customer behavior and generates crash reports, funnels, and heatmaps. Smartlook has different modes of capturing the screen when customers are using your application.
You can switch between native apps mode, game recording mode, or wireframe mode, based on user behavior or the issues that you want to look at and analyze. Smartlook tracks all the user actions and allows you to filter these events to find the exact information you need.
Is Smartlook one of the ubiquitous Android debugging tools in the market? Yes, it is, and here’s how.
Debugging mobile games and apps is a hassle, but Smartlook helps users navigate this process with sheer ease. It does so with the help of session recordings to provide users with an in-depth demonstration of what went down. Moreover, it also comes with a lightweight SDK, easy integration with Android platforms, and SOC/GDPR/CCPA compliance. Hence, Smartlook is one of the emerging mobile application analytics tools in the market.
There are three payment plans. There’s a free plan, and their paid plan starts at 55 dollars a month.
UXCam provides mobile application analytical solutions. It works for all flavors of mobile apps and platforms. UXCam helps you identify your application usability issues, understand your application's Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and helps in improving your customer journey. It supports native, hybrid apps, android and iOS platforms.
UXCam records your application sessions, captures all the key presses & user interactions with your application, tracks UI freezes, and crashes, and handles exceptions. UXCam dashboard provides heat maps and screen flow analytics.
UXCam allows you to define your events, send these events to your dashboard, and build custom funnels. Easy integration and lightweight SDK make UXCam a commercially available tool for mobile analytics.
Android Debugging tools are required to be user-friendly and facilitate ease of use, and this is something that UXCam does seamlessly. It does so with the help of logs. You can monitor errors, crashes, and performance- all under one roof. Moreover- you can sniff out bugs that are causing problems in the system and go undetected during the development process, along with any information relevant to the debugging process. In the pool of Android debugging tools- UXCam is a welcome presence.
UXCam has three plans - a free trial plan, a growth based plan, and an enterprise plan. The latter two come with custom, user-based pricing. You can get the exact pricing by speaking to their team directly.
UserExperior is a commercially available mobile application and analytics tool that helps you visualize, understand, fix issues, and improve your user experience. UserExperior is easy to integrate and supports various programming languages related to Android and iOS. UserExperior provides session recordings that help you visualize customer behaviors and crashes, capture all the user interactions, and screen transition information.
It provides heat maps and charts to help understand customer journeys. Application performance monitoring is another thing that can be tracked using UserExperior, which allows you to integrate with other analytical tools like Crashlytics, Mixpanel, and Clevertap, making it even more powerful. It follows enterprise-grade security compliance.
Does it carry out functions that Android debugging tools are supposed to? Yes, and here’s how. UserExperior streamlines collaboration with other Android debugging tools like Firebase Crashlytics- thus fostering finer debugging and removal of issues. It also helps replicate crash and ANR issues- with the help of screen recordings. All-in-all, as a mobile debugging tool- it works out very well.
UserExperior provides a 14-day free trial. Post that, there is a Premium plan in place that comes with the option of custom pricing.
New Relic mobile monitoring solution helps you to improve user experience by providing details on all the application crashes, stack traces of the crashes handling exceptions, custom log enabling/collections, and capturing various http/network errors thrown by your application. New Relic provides detailed information on the http or the network errors reported by the application, like response time for each of the requests, errors filtering based on URLs, domains, http methods, etc.
New Relic also captures application launch times, most frequently used activities, or screens inside your application. It works with various mobile application frameworks and supports iOS and Android platforms.
Android Debugging tools offer convenience- which New Relic does with great ease, for it is easy to integrate and offers integration with a host of other Android debugging tools like Jira.
There’s a free plan, a standard plan, a pro plan, and lastly- an enterprise plan. The latter three come with custom pricing options.
Instabug is a debugging tool that empowers mobile teams to strike a solid equilibrium between stability, performance, and feature development throughout the development lifecycle. This mobile debugging tool is based on a lightweight SDK, and it gives a distinct set of insights that enables mobile teams to carry out a host of operations like facilitating alignment with key performance metrics and sniffing out problems before they spiral out of control.
Instabug comes with an enterprise-grade platform that provides seamless access to screenshots, network logs, device details- and many other critical insights that come in handy when you’re supposed to resolve issues faster, and product backlogs are a top priority.
Within the pool of Android debugging tools, Instabug is a great asset for its SDK and is of great help to Android platforms. It helps Android developers with a host of issues, assists with bug reporting, helps identify and sort out crashes, and helps improve user experience by helping with app performance monitoring. In the world of Android debugging tools, Instabug works out very well.
Instabug comes with a 14-day trial plan. In addition to that, it includes four plans, that start at 249 dollars per month. Their enterprise plan comes with a custom pricing option.
Eclipse is a Java-integrated development environment that streamlines effective working with software projects. Eclipse mixes features of an IDE and a project management office, thus making it suitable for teams that want to develop software right from scratch to release it with the help of standardized tools and processes.
Google no longer supports Eclipse, but as an Android debugging tool, Eclipse remains an in-demand tool for developers. This is because Eclipse offers seamless collaboration with a horde of programming languages. Additionally, Eclipse provides users with robust features that enable them to advance further and optimize applications. These features include automated error reporting, module distribution, automatic error reporting, module distribution, an intense development environment, and more. Hence, you can say that it’s an incredibly versatile Android debugging tool.
Eclipse is a free-to-use open-source software and mobile app debugging tool.
Bugsee is a bug and crash reporting tool for iOS and Android apps. It effectively has done away with the stress of communicating with users, beta testers, and QA to fully understand their expectations when the bug was filed. Now bugs can be reported within mere seconds.
As an Android debugging tool, Bugsee is a goldmine, for it constantly monitors and records the present state of the system. When a bug is detected or observed within the system, all it takes the user is one click of a button, or one shake of the device to initiate the process of packaging and filling all the needed data into the bug tracker of your preference.
The developer is next given a dashboard containing a video of the application, any information relevant to the build and system, console logs, network logs, and all system events. Here’s Bugsee’s dashboard, which proves that it’s a hugely helpful Android debugging tool.
Bugsee is a free-to-use mobile debugging tool. For anything beyond five tools, the Pro plan is 99 dollars a month- this lets you use the tool with a maximum total of fifty tools. A custom plan is also available and it offers an even more expansive pool of features.
There are many more commercially available mobile debugging and monitoring tools like Fullstory and Sentry, that offer standard mobile debugging functionalities. Most of these tools provide a free trial period with whose help you can choose a plan based on individual needs and preferences.
Android Studio is an official integrated development environment (IDE) for developing and debugging Android applications. Android Studio supports various programming languages such as Java, Kotlin, C++, React-native, Flutter, and many other languages. Android Studio allows you to debug applications running on either simulators or devices.
Debugging with Android Studio enables you to set breakpoints in your application, view and modify the contexts when breakpoint hits, and view stack traces and system logs. Moreover, Android Studio also does the following:
Android Studio is of great help with debugging your application when your app has not been published or released to the customers yet. Android Studio is of great assistance with debugging not just those issues that are reported in-house- but issues you find with your testing as well. Click here for more details.
Xcode is Apple's IDE for developing and debugging iOS applications. Xcode supports various programming languages such as Swift, Objective-C, Java, Apple script, react-native, Flutter, and many other languages. Xcode allows you to debug an application running on either a simulator or a device. These are the support functions of Xcode:
Debugging your application with Xcode is very useful when your app has not been published or released to your customer. Usually, Xcode is useful for debugging issues reported in-house or issues you find with your testing. Click here for more details.
While going through these Android debugging tools, it is important to have an understanding of what you want from these Android debugging tools. Once you gain a clear-cut understanding of your wants, it will be much easier to choose from the massive pool of mobile debugging tools in the market. Here are some features you should look for:
Android Debugging tools should be able to assist you with these functions. Android Debugging Tools need to streamline these functions effectively, and it is better to have a clear understanding of how the Android Debugging Tools you are using will be navigating these functions.
Android debugging is often a headache. Using the correct set of Android debugging tools is very important, especially when the issues directly affect the customers and require immediate attention. Choosing the best Android debugging tools is reliant on the following factors.
Settings app on Android includes a screen called developer options that lets you configure system behaviors that help you profile and debug your app performance. Developers can enable debugging over USB, capture a bug report, enable Bluetooth HCI snoop logs, track layout bounds, check the performance of the device with various window animation scales, and monitor app performance-related attributes.
Running their applications on various device configurations with these attributes set will provide the developers with a comprehensive view of their application performance. Once the application gets published in the respective stores or gets released to your customers, it's very important to monitor the stability of your application. Buggy and unstable apps make your customers unhappy which will result in providing negative reviews and uninstalling of the applications.
Monitoring your apps when your customers start using them will become crucial. Apps can crash and also behave erratically which results in a bad customer experience. Customer-reported issues are sometimes tricky to solve, without proper logs and debugging tools. Developers struggle to understand the environment in which a customer has encountered a particular issue.
Mobile debugging tools are tools that seamlessly automate the debugging process of spotting errors in your mobile app. Any mobile debugging tool is generally platform-specific and can provide solutions for native, hybrid, or mobile web application debugging. Developers can use mobile debugging tools to analyze mobile applications and identify bugs, crashes, interface malfunctions, and other errors.
Mobile debugging in Chrome is crucial for web developers to ensure their web applications function well on Android devices. It involves connecting the mobile device to a computer via USB and using Chrome Developer Tools to analyze and debug the web application.
This process allows developers to inspect elements, view HTML and CSS code, and make modifications for layout and design issues. Android Debugging Tools also provide insights into network activity, enabling analysis of HTTP requests and response data.
Additionally, developers can assess the performance of their mobile web applications, identify bottlenecks, and optimize code and assets for better speed and responsiveness. Monitoring error messages and log data with Android Debugging tools helps in finding and solving issues, ultimately fine-tuning the development and testing process to ensure a smooth user experience on Android devices.
Android debugging tools play an integral role in the development of Android applications. It assists developers with the identification and correction of errors and ensures that the app runs smoothly and provides a top-tier user experience.
Usually, techniques that Android debugging tools utilize include logging (network and console) and debugging statements, breakpoints, stack trace analysis, searching and filtering, and profiling for performance optimization. Debug apps in Android need to encompass these tools to streamline smooth debugging.