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Frequently Asked Questions

A mobile browser emulator mimics a mobile device in your own computer. This enables developers, QA engineers and designers to quickly check how their websites function in a particular mobile browser.

For example, if a user wants to access a Safari emulator on their Windows laptop, it would mean mimicking Safari on iOS in their Windows machine via a binary translation.

Mobile Browser emulators allow Developers and QA Engineers to do a first-level check of their code on a few mobile browsers, before starting real device cross browser testing. Designers and UI Engineers also use it for prototyping and quick mockups.

A mobile device runs on a particular Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), which is written in the machine language that the processor of the device understands. Emulators work by doing a binary translation of the ISA of a particular mobile device into the machine language of your own computer’s processor. This helps mimic that particular mobile device on your computer.

Emulators cannot mimic real device conditions and usually run slower than real devices. Emulators also cannot mimic the exact CSS support, differences in API, and other behaviors that browsers in real devices support. Therefore, you cannot test on the same conditions as your end users.

No. Testing on mobile browsers should strictly be restricted to prototyping and creating mockups. Prior to going live, every change must be tested in real devices to ensure a bug-free user experience.
In fact, Chrome advises the developer community to test on real devices. Similarly, for apps, Google recommends that a mobile app is tested on a real device prior to submitting it to the Play Store.

We have now established that we can ship websites confidently only after testing on real devices. However, managing your own device cloud with maximum coverage can be expensive. Similarly, having multiple browser versions across different OSes across different devices and hardware configurations can get really complex. For example, getting access to a Safari emulator online on a Windows 11 laptop or an Opera emulator on a MacOS 12 device is a nightmare for every QA tester and Developer.

BrowserStack provides instant access to real devices (be it the latest iPhone or Samsung or Pixel device), browser combinations (we even have Firefox till version 105) and Operating Systems (iOS 16 or Android 13 – we have it all) at a click of a button. You can also automate your tests using Selenium and integrate with CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Travis CI, TeamCity via our plugins.