AppInsight: Mobile App Performance Monitoring in the Wild

10th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation |

Published by USENIX

The mobile-app marketplace is highly competitive. To maintain and improve the quality of their apps, developers need data about how their app is performing in the wild. The asynchronous, multi-threaded nature of mobile apps makes tracing difficult. The difficulties are compounded by the resource limitations inherent in the mobile platform. To address this challenge, we develop AppInsight, a system that instruments mobile-app binaries to automatically identify the critical path in user transactions, across asynchronous-call boundaries. AppInsight is lightweight, it does not require any input from the developer, and it does not require any changes to the OS. We used AppInsight to instrument 30 marketplace apps, and carried out a field trial with 30 users for over 4 months. We report on the characteristics of the critical paths that AppInsight found in this data. We also give real-world examples of how AppInsight helped developers improve the quality of their app.