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How to access files and databases on your mobile device

In this post I'll describe how to access files and databases associated with a mobile app. On the apps that I test we have log files and SQLite databases that are useful to look at when investigating potential bugs. How do you access files and databases on a mobile device? As usual that depends on whether you are testing iOS or Android. App specific files are available on both devices but they way you access them is different for each OS.


For Apple devices, you can use iTunes to access app specific files.
Open iTunes on your PC or Mac and connect your device. You will see the device:

Select the device icon. This will open the apps page. Under File Sharing you can then select your app to view its associated files.

You can then add files, save files to your PC or delete files on the device.


On Android devices there is usually a folder called "MyFiles". App specific files are stored under that folder. To access them, simply connect your device to your PC or Mac and copy the files across.

When writing up bug reports is often useful to take a screenshot of the issue. To take a screenshot on a mobile device, press the home and the on/off button simultaneously. Remember that the on/off button is located at the top of the device on iOS and on the right side of the device on Android. What's the best way to get the screenshots off the device? For iOS, I find the easiest way is to use iCloud. If you sync your device, the screenshots will appear there. For Android, I find it simplest to email the screenshots to my work email on my PC.

Note that you can also make screen recordings on iPads and iPhones:
Go to Control Centre under Settings on the iPad.
Choose to Customise and add Screen Recording
This will now appear when you swipe down (on RHS of iPad/iPhone screen) and enable you to record what happens on the screen.

So as you can see, it's more difficult to deal with files, databases and screenshots when testing on a mobile device but there are ways to get that information off the device so that you can analyse and report on bugs.


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