iOS Automation Testing Frameworks

Top 5 iOS Automation Testing Frameworks with Code Examples

Automation testing is the name you hear from almost all software engineers. Ever wondered why? This is because of the versatility of automating the test cases across multiple OS platforms, browsers, and browser versions. Though Selenium is the most widely used tool, there are other testing frameworks that has almost similar features as Selenium. Also, iOS is the widely used operating system as it gives an edge over Android by offering better synchronization between hardware and software. In this blog, let’s understand how and why iOS automation testing is important and what are the top automation testing frameworks for iOS.

Introduction to Automation Testing

Automation software testing is a technique in which testers leverage automated software tools for executing test cases. Automating the test cases helps in saving time and effort required in performing repetitive and resource-heavy tasks that are difficult to perform manually.

Here’s a read that will guide you on when to choose a test automation framework over manual testing.

With today’s modern development architecture and delivery methods, it is crucial for every software-dependent business to invest in automation software testing to release quality software products faster than ever before. Automation testing simplifies the testing processes with minimum effort and has a positive impact on the quality of the software releases, their associated costs, and time to market.

Read more about Automation testing and how it is helpful compared to manual testing.

Why iOS?

iOS is the most widely used operating system and offers n number of features with the latest update.

From AI/ML and IoT to Augmented Reality, Cloud Integrated Apps, Chatbot, Apple Pay and iOS security, it has various features and advancements that can easily make a person feel its necessity. Therefore, there are many apple users, due to which testing of the application plays a vital role in today’s lives.

As you all are aware of the fact that Android is widely used in the market, why choose iOS? The answer to the question goes as follows:

  • Software and Hardware integration is easy in iOS than in Android. The software is very refined and makes the best use of the underlying hardware.
  • It is effortless to use compared to Android as the UI is simple with fewer customizations, making it easy to adopt for new users.
  • When it comes to security, iOS is built upon Linux, and Apple has enhanced the already inherent security features available in Linux.

iOS Automation Testing

As the name suggests, iOS automation testing implies performing automated testing for iOS devices only. It is imperative for a tester to understand the technical and functional aspects before writing the test cases. You should also ensure that the performance metrics are on par with the actual and expected results of the test cases.

This testing is the same as any other automation testing involving bug detection and resolving the issue. There are 4 key aspects that should be considered while testing an iOS application. They are: Hardware, Software, UI, and functionality.

The next question is how to implement iOS Automation Testing.

The very basic thing here is that the test cases written should be compatible across all the iOS devices based on their functional and technical aspects from all angles.

You can implement iOS automation testing with following approaches:

  • Unit Testing
  • Compatibility Testing
  • UI/UX Testing
  • Regression Testing
  • Functional Testing
  • Performance Testing

You can learn more about the above testing approaches with the help of this blog – Automated iOS Test

Now let’s take a look at the top 5 iOS Automation Testing Frameworks with examples.

Top 5 iOS Automation Testing Frameworks


According to the official documentation, Appium is an open-source tool for automating native, mobile web, and hybrid applications on iOS mobile, Android mobile, and Windows desktop platforms. Native apps are those written using iOS, Android, or Windows SDKs. For Example – Appium supports Safari on iOS and Chrome or the built-in ‘Browser’ app on Android.

It is platform-independent, meaning there is no difference in how you write your test cases for different platforms. Regardless of the browsers or the type of devices you use, the Appium tests remain the same.


  • Free of cost and open-source.
  • Offers supportive community.
  • Supports various programming languages such as Java, Python, etc.
  • Enables cross-platform testing on real devices, simulators, and emulators.


  • Lack of detailed reports and limited gestures.
  • Comparatively time-consuming and very slow at times.
  • Provides full control over the test cases, which might be difficult to manage.
  • Limited support for hybrid apps.

Use Case Scenario

In the below code, let’s understand how to write first test in Appium using the locators available to click on the buttons and enter the text.

driver.findElement("com.test.myfirstapp:id/editText1")).sendKeys("Appium First Test");


Calabash is an automation framework for Android, iOS native and hybrid applications. This mainly supports cross-platform and cross-browser testing. It has an easy-to-understand syntax like English statements, allowing individuals with zero coding knowledge to create and execute automated test cases for iOS apps.

Here, you write the test cases in Cucumber, similar to Gherkin language. You then convert these tests to Robotium in the run time environment for better comprehension.


  • Increases productivity by improving the robustness of product.
  • Provides consistency of output.
  • Limits the efforts and expenses due to its cross-platform relevance.


  • Debugging test scripts is a major issue.
  • Test data maintenance is costly for playback methods.
  • Restricted to support latest Operating systems.

Use Case Scenario

The below code is similar to the one in Cucumber Gherkin language text used by Calabash. It tells the system to Sign-in using the username and password and view the message.

Feature: Signin feature
Scenario: As a guest user I can log into the application
And wait for the text "Welcome?"
Then I press view with id "Sign in"
Then I enter text "username" into "login_username"
Then I enter text "password" into "login_password"
Then I press view with id "Message"

Quick Read: iOS App Automation Testing


Detox is a gray box end to end testing framework that is built into the application for React Native apps.

Detox supports the following:

  • It can be connected to any Continuous Integration system and popular cloud testing services.
  • It provides quick feedback on E2E test cases.


  • React Native developers particularly use Detox framework as it is faster, debuggable and can be easily integrated with any test runner like Jest or Mocha.


  • It doesn’t offer support for real-time testing for iOS.
  • It doesn’t offer support for views of web applications and hybrid applications.

Use case Scenario

In the code below, all that you have to do is to display the message Welcome Back. The script below shows how to display the message by invoking certain functions.

Here, the system should wait for the method, locate the welcome screen using the standard locator id, output the message and then output the Detox screen.

describe('SimpleTest', () => {
beforeEach(async () => {
await device.reloadReactNative();
it('should have welcome screen', async () => {
await expect(element('welcome'))).toBeVisible();
it('should display Welcome Back after tap', async () => {
await element('WelcomeBack_react')).tap();
await expect(element(by.text('React!!!'))).toBeVisible();
it('should display Detox screen after tap', async () => {
await element('detox_button')).tap();
await expect(element(by.text('Detox!!!'))).toBeVisible();


This popular iOS testing framework smoothly integrates with XCode’s testing workflow. Apple developed XCTest, and it turns out to be well-supported. This is also kept in sync with the iOS application framework as it comes with Apple’s suite.



  • It is necessary that testers should have developer skills because  XCode is a complex software that needs technical expertise.
  • Object-C and Swift are the only programming languages supported with XCTest.

Use case Scenario

In the below scenario, to test the time taken by your code, call the measure(_:) inside your test method, and execute the application code inside the block argument. To measure performance using other metrics, including memory use and amount of data written to disk, call measure(metrics:block:).

class PerformanceTests : XCTestCase {
func testCodeIsReliable() {
self.measure() {
// performance-related code

Src: Apple Documentation


EarlGrey is an open-source native test framework for iOS UI test automation developed by Google. The main motto behind Google developing this framework is to test their native iOS apps such as YouTube, Google Translate, Google Calendar, Google Photos, etc.

The EarlGrey framework has an Enhanced synchronization option that synchronizes with the UI, server and client network requests, and multiple queues automatically. You can write the test cases both in Objective C and Swift.


  • This open source framework is flexible and has reliable internal component synchronization.
  • It is easily clubbed with XCode.


  • It might be necessary to add some extra code to your app to support certain APIs.
  • Even though setup is simple, people without developer skills may find it difficult.

Use Case Scenario

Below code depicts the script written using Objective -C for EarlGrey functional test case.

import EarlGrey
import XCTest
@testable import EarlGreyExampleSwift
class EarlGreyExampleTest: XCTestCase {
func earlygreytest() {
//This is an example of functional test case
//You can use XCTAssert or other functions to output the test results

Comparison between iOS Testing Frameworks

Below table depicts the comparison of the top 5 iOS testing frameworks.

Parameters Appium Calabash Detox XCTest EarlGrey
Supported Languages Java, Python, Ruby, JavaScript with Node Gherkin, Cucumber JavaScript and Objective-C Objective- C and Swift Objective-C and Swift
Pricing Free Free Free Paid Version Free
Cross Browser/Cross Platform Support Yes Yes Yes No No
Community High High High High High
Ease of Setup and Use Average Easy Average Easy Average
Open Source Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Bottom Line

Today’s applications are dynamic and feature-rich. Building and deploying bug-free applications efficiently and with great performance is necessary. The performance might take a hit due to multiple framework setup, complex coding, etc., when it comes to automation testing, as it might not completely support every sequence in the flow. This calls for a simplified tool that helps get around the issues of setting up automation testing. Testsigma has proven to be one such tool.

Testsigma simplifies the complete test automation process for you, even for the most complex end-to-end testing scenarios.

Testsigma is a test automation ecosystem that plans, designs, develops, executes, analyzes, and reports for continuous Agile and DevOps testing. It is a unified, fully customizable platform that works out of the box. One can easily build end-to-end tests 5X faster for web, mobile apps, & APIs with English scripts that self-heal, enabling maintenance-free testing. You can be assured of high-quality software without programming skills.

Powered by an NLP (Natural Language Processing) engine, simple English commands let you create tests in minutes. NLP and built-in API testing capabilities enable teams to automate in-sprint testing with minimal effort. With Testsigma, maintaining different servers, operating systems and mobile devices is no longer a problem.

Quick Read: Why choose Testsigma?

One can run tests on various operating systems, browsers and browser versions parallelly. Testsigma offers 200+ Android and iOS operating systems to run the tests.

Test automation made easy

Start your smart continuous testing journey today with Testsigma.



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