Testing Biometric Authentication in Mobile Apps using TestGrid

Testing Biometric Authentication in Mobile Apps

Mobile apps have become an integral part of our daily lives, be it for social networking, shopping, and banking to travel, fitness, and beyond. These apps handle sensitive user data. So, it is crucial to allow secure access with a reliable authentication mechanism.

Biometric authentication, which includes methods like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition, is becoming more prevalent in today’s mobile application landscape. Due to such mass usage, it becomes important to thoroughly test the authentication features to ensure a secure and seamless user experience. However, validating the complex authentication system across a wide variety of devices and operating systems can be a cumbersome process with significant QA challenges.

In this article, we will explore why Biometric authentication is important and why it is challenging to test authentication in real time. Then we will look for an effective way to test biometric authentication in iOS and Android apps using TestGrid.

Need for Biometric Authentication

The massive growth of mobile apps across different domains like financial services, personal communication, health data, etc. has made secure access a necessity. Most mobile users attempt to log in to such applications more than once a day, leading to password fatigue. Biometric authentication like fingerprint, face, or iris scanning offers a convenient and passwordless way for users to securely access their apps. These unique biological traits help enhance data protection by linking them to their identity confirmation.

With proper integration, biometric authentication helps to achieve the dual goals of enhanced security and user-friendliness. Some of the popular applications of biometric authentication across different app types are listed below.

  • Financial apps – Secure access to sensitive banking information, including transaction approvals requiring identity verification.
  • Enterprise apps – Enabling employee login, along with access-based approvals for confidential documents.
  • Health apps – Protecting medical records and insurance claim information.
  • Retail apps – Authorize payments
  • Government apps – Citizen identity verification.
  • Travel apps – Secure check-ins, hotel room access, etc.

With many more other apps using biometric authentication, the security and convenience of using mobile apps are greatly enhanced.

Challenges of Testing Biometric Authentication

While biometric authentication offers a lot of benefits, testing these features might pose difficulties and challenges, some of which are:

  • Inconsistent scanning experience across multiple devices.
  • Validating the reliability of authentication in different real-world environments and conditions, like indoors, outdoors, varying light, etc.
  • There is a limitation to testing biometric authentication in an automated manner, leading to more manual tests.
  • Testing complex integrations with device operating systems and built-in biometric capabilities.
  • Handling privacy regulations around storing and collecting sensitive biometric data securely.

As developers work to address these complex testing challenges, solutions like TestGrid’s Real Device Cloud can accelerate validation.

Testing Biometric Authentication using TestGrid

The TestGrid platform enables you to comprehensively test biometric verification like fingerprint and face recognition remotely on real devices. To begin with testing biometric authentication for your mobile device, login to the TestGrid platform and navigate to the Real Device Cloud tab. Now you will see the devices available for testing. Connect the device of your choice, Android or iOS.

Success Scenario for Biometric Authentication

  1. Once the device connection is established, you can first set up the device PIN by selecting the highlighted icon in the screenshot.
Biometric Authentication testing

2. You can now set the PIN for your device using the Set Device Pin option.
image8 1
image7 2

3. Once the Pin is set, you will see a pop-up for the successful pin setup.

image1 3

4. Now, we will upload the apk file for testing. Note that the application that we are using has biometric authentication enabled. You can upload your application using the installation icon as highlighted below.

image4 2

5. Once you click on the icon, you will see a dialog that gives you a button to install the apk.

image3 3

6. Note that on this pop-up you need to click on the Upload .apk button to select the apk you want to install. Additionally, you need to swipe the Biometric Bypass toggle to enable the biometric authentication testing feature. Once it is toggled, you will see two more options- Pass and Fail as shown in the screenshot below-

image10

To test successful biometric authentication for your app, select the Pass option. On the other hand, if you intend to test the failure of authentication, you can select the Fail option. For now, we will select the Pass option and Install the apk. Once the installation is complete you will see a notification of a successful apk installation. Note that we are using an apk that was specifically created to test fingerprint authentication.

image6 2

7. Once the apk is installed, it will automatically open up, and you can change the orientation (if required) of your device by clicking on the Orientation icon as highlighted below.

image2 2

8. You can now see that the Device has Biometric Authentication enabled for the app to work. This is because we have set up the device pin in the beginning. Had that not been done, you would be seeing False against the two checks.

image11

9. To test successful authentication, all you need to do is click on Authenticate using Fingerprint and the device will take it as Fingerprint Authentication. As soon as you click it, you will see that authentication is successful for your application.

image13

Failure Scenario for Biometric Authentication

To test the failure of biometric authentication, step no. 1 to 5 in the section above would remain the same. 

  1. The change would be selecting the Fail option while uploading the apk. Let us upload the apk with the Fail Biometric Authentication option and then arrive at the Fingerprint authentication screen.
image10 1

2. Now you need to click on the Authenticate using Fingerprint button and the authentication will fail.

ddd

And that is how you can check for failure scenarios for Biometric Authentication. The error message for your application will be displayed as soon as the failure of authentication happens.

Conclusion

With biometric authentication becoming a norm across mobile apps to enable passwordless user experiences, thorough testing of these features on multiple ranges of devices ensures their reliability. By leveraging TestGrid’s device cloud and biometric authentication approach outlined in this article you can easily validate biometric auth flows and see how your mobile app would work across the spectrum of devices in the real world. The approach allows mobile teams to launch their biometric-secured apps with confidence and with an understanding of the behavior across multiple mobile hardware and software environments.