Emulating mobile devices

Puppeteer and Playwright control headless desktop browsers that can also emulate mobile devices. And while device emulation can’t replace testing on mobile devices entirely, it’s a practical and quick-to-setup approach to testing mobile scenarios.

Device emulation is well suited to test if your site behaves correctly across multiple viewport sizes and correctly handles user-agent strings. But if your site relies on device-specific browser features, an iPhone emulation running in a Chromium browser might lead to false positives.

This guide explains how to define viewport sizes, device pixel ratio and user-agent strings using Playwright and Puppeteer.

Defining the user agent string

If your site parses the user agent string to serve a different experience to mobile users, define the userAgent in your automation scripts.

const { chromium } = require("playwright")

;(async () => {
  const browser = await chromium.launch()
  const page = await browser.newPage({
    // define the iPhone SE user agent
    userAgent:
      "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 10_3_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/603.1.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/16.0 Mobile/14E304 Safari/602.1",
  })
  await page.goto("https://danube-web.shop/")

  // perform your tests

  await browser.close()
})()
const puppeteer = require("puppeteer")

;(async () => {
  const browser = await puppeteer.launch()
  const page = await browser.newPage()
  // define the iPhone SE user agent
  await page.setUserAgent(
    "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 10_3_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/603.1.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/16.0 Mobile/14E304 Safari/602.1"
  )
  await page.goto("https://danube-web.shop/")

  // perform your tests

  await browser.close()
})()

Defining viewport size and pixel density

If your site follows responsive web design practices and renders elements depending on device viewport size, define a mobile viewport and pixel density.

const { chromium } = require("playwright")

;(async () => {
  const browser = await chromium.launch()
  const page = await browser.newPage({
    // define the iPhone SE viewport size and pixel density
    viewport: {
      width: 320,
      height: 568,
    },
    deviceScaleFactor: 2,
  })
  await page.goto("https://danube-web.shop/")

  // perform your tests

  await browser.close()
})()
const puppeteer = require("puppeteer")

;(async () => {
  const browser = await puppeteer.launch()
  const page = await browser.newPage()
  // define the iPhone SE viewport size and pixel density
  await page.setViewport({
    width: 320,
    height: 568,
    deviceScaleFactor: 2,
  })
  await page.goto("https://danube-web.shop/")

  // perform your tests

  await browser.close()
})()

Use built-in device registries

Playwright and Puppeteer include a built-in device registry to access mobile device characteristics quickly.

Leverage the pre-defined devices to emulate mobile devices.

const { chromium, devices } = require("playwright")
const iPhone = devices['iPhone SE'];

;(async () => {
  const browser = await chromium.launch()
  const page = await browser.newPage({
    // emulate the iPhone SE
    ...iPhone
  })
  await page.goto("https://danube-web.shop/")

  // perform your tests

  await browser.close()
})()
const puppeteer = require("puppeteer")
const iPhone = puppeteer.devices['iPhone SE'];

;(async () => {
  const browser = await puppeteer.launch()
  const page = await browser.newPage()
  // emulate the iPhone SE
  await page.emulate(iPhone);
  await page.goto("https://danube-web.shop/")

  // perform your tests

  await browser.close()
})()

Further reading

  1. Measuring page performance
  2. Playwright’s emulation documentation

Last updated on June 3, 2024. You can contribute to this documentation by editing this page on Github