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Device Farms: An Alternative Solution for Efficient App Testing

Mar 10, 2023 | 42Gears Team

The number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to reach 1,156.2 million by 2028, according to Statista. In order to take advantage of the increasing smartphone user base, many businesses have jumped on the mobile technology bandwagon. The exponential growth of mobile devices is complemented by the development of unique mobile apps that has been changing the ways people, businesses, and their customers interact with each other. For any mobile application to provide a great experience, it has to work flawlessly on every possible device, OS, and browser that a customer prefers. The responsibility to ensure that the application functions as intended in all situations lies in the hands of developers and testers. 

However, one of the primary issues with testing mobile apps is fragmentation. When DevOps and QA teams are dispersed geographically, they find it extremely difficult to access numerous devices simultaneously. Businesses cannot afford to purchase, rent, or transfer devices to different locations as this involves additional capital. But there is a way out - creating a secure, virtual platform where all the devices can be brought together in one place to execute software development and testing processes. And this exactly what a device farm can do.

What is a Device Farm?

A device farm is a testing environment that allows developers and testers to remotely test the performance of their web apps and mobile apps on a number of enrolled devices. A device farm can make testing faster, easier, and more accurate. It allows QA teams to test apps from anywhere and at any time. For example, a tester can check how an app performs when a device is running low on battery, when a device is offline or in a poor network location, and more.

There are two types of device farms - public and private device farms. Organizations can choose one depending on their business requirements and budget.

Devices in a public device farm are owned by a third-party vendor. In this case, the vendor has full control over the device farm platform. Customers need permission to access the devices they need to test their apps on. Typically, companies rent a time slot on a public device farm for accessing devices and testing apps.

On the other hand, a private device farms is built using devices that a company already owns. With a private farm, employees can easily access every enrolled device from any location and at any time. 

In this article, we will focus on the benefits of using a private device farm.

Ease of Accessibility

A private devices is built using devices that a company owns. This means that once devices are enrolled into the platform, those are not already in use can be accessed by testers and developers easily - regardless of where they are located. This also means that devices can be optimally utilized - the same device can be used by employees in different time zones.

Cost Saving

A private device farms can help in maximizing ROI as it allows testers to leverage the devices already owned by a company. This guarantees optimal device utilization and lowers hardware expenditure. By connecting all the enterprise devices to a central platform, businesses can make devices remotely accessible to geographically distributed teams. This eliminates the need to transport devices from one location to the other or buy the same set of devices for multiple locations.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were struggling to offer technical support to customers without having the devices brought back to the development facility. However, with a private device farm, businesses do not have to worry about shipping devices back to the facility. The devices can be accessed remotely by a service team to troubleshoot any issue, which helps businesses save time as well as cost.

Time Saving

In a private device farm, testers can enroll devices in the cloud and make them accessible and available to all users who log into the console within minutes.


As private device farms allow businesses to build their virtual device environments with existing devices, they have complete control over who has access to devices, when, and for how long. This ensures that their data is secure as it can only be accessed by internal stakeholders. This, in turn, significantly reduces the chances of data breaches and protects test data and user information, enabling businesses to build a sense of trust among their clients.

Scalability and Sustainability

A private device farm promises the scalability needed to ensure that businesses have the right number and type of devices to avoid idle devices. Developers and testers can continue to add devices and remove them as needed, ensuring continuous device flow and reduced device discard. By monitoring device usage and device health, businesses can optimize device utilization and ensure that devices last long.

Build a Secure Device Farm Using 42Gears’ Astrofarm

42Gears’ AstroFarm, a private device farm solution, helps you build a secure, virtual platform where all devices can be accessed from one place, making them available to developers and testers remotely. AstroFarm offers a simple and cost-effective solution to test applications on multiple device of various types and running different operating systems. The platform allows testers to execute numerous tests in tandem, speeding up their builds and hence, resulting in faster releases.

 Key Features of AstroFarm

  • Enroll a variety of devices quickly and easily.
  • Perform single-stepping debugging.
  • Build a cloud-based app testing environment.
  • Support third party tools.
  • Run automation tests remotely on devices using open source frameworks such as Appium.
  • Track inventory and generate reports easily.
  • Effortlessly control access rights. 

To sum up, device farms have addressed major challenges associated with the availability of devices to test mobile applications. Without a device farm, the only alternative is to test one device at a time. With 42Gears’ AstroFarm, businesses can access, manage, and control their Android and iOS devices for app development, testing, and demo purposes. It enables employees to remotely access the company’s devices from anywhere and at any time. If businesses have numerous devices and mobile application automation projects to take care of, a private device farm such as AstroFarm is undeniably a better option than renting devices from an outside provider.

If you are struggling to test mobile applications on multiple devices, AstroFarm can be a great solution to reduce costs and save time.

Build your private device farm with AstroFarm.

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