Ui testing in ios

My notes on UI-testing in Xcode

iOS UI-testing

  1. Add UITesting to your XCode project when you setup the XCode project
  2. XCUIApplication().launch()
  3. app.otherElements.children(matching: .button).element.tap()
  4. Set your cursor inside a test method and click the red record button in the right corner of xcode
  5. Click around the app to generate programatic UI-method calls
  6. Create a check: XCTAssertEqual(app.tables.cells.count, 56, "There should be 56 words matching 'test'") etc


  • Use the Accessibility inspector to look at what your UI elements’ accessibility values are before you even need to run the test.
  • Use this to make sure that the accessibilityLabel you assigned for your UI element is being found, or if the element is being considered an accessibility element at all.
  • However, you’ll note that you can’t see the accessibilityIdentifier on this view. Nonetheless it is very useful especially to determine if your element is visible to accessibility in the first place.
  • If you find you can’t highlight the view you’re looking for, chances are the superview is intercepting the accessibility focus, and you need to set its isAccessibilityElement to false.

Passing launch arguments:

This is how you launch your app with custom argument in setUp:

override func setUp() {
    app = XCUIApplication()
    app.launchArguments += ["-SPECIAL_FEATURE", "YES"]

Then in your app, you can know if there is a launch argument with NSUserDefaults:

let specialFeature: Bool = UserDefaults.standard.bool(forKey: "SPECIAL_FEATURE")


  • Internal methods will run automatically in the test. Make them private to run them from setup. (sometimes static is also needed)
  • Prefer using: waitForExistence(timeout:) over a regular exists check
  • Prefer using firstMatch over element in iOS UI testing because it returns the first matching element, making it more specific and targeted. This can improve the reliability and speed of your tests and help avoid issues with ambiguous or non-unique elements.
  • ⭐ Open the Accessibility Inspector.app in macOS as a way of identifying accessibility ids. 👌
  • ⭐ for iOS there is the: iOS Simulator's Accessibility Inspector 👌
  • To access elements by accessibility ids: set/override: accessibilityLabel with an id and set/override the isAccessibilityElement with true
  • ⚠️️ For some strange reason sometimes only accessibilityIdentifier works and you have to set the isAccessibilityElement setting or overide works
  • Find accessibility elements by: element.label == "someLabel" if you are using accessibilityIdentifier or element.identifier == "someId" if you are using accessibilityLabel
  • Use XCUIElementQuery.debugDescription to debug a query (Accessibility Hierarchy)
  • ⚠️️ IMPORTANT ⚠️️ Containers can have accessibilityIdentifier but they should have accessibility turned off. Logic is that we don’t interact with containers, but we do need to access testing via accessibility hierarchy. Setting isAccessibilityElement to true on a container will cause problems with UITesting. Setting it on leaf elements such as buttons etc is fine.
  • Parsing a queries is much faster than parsing element
  • ️⚠️ IMPORTANT ⚠️️ Don´t try to store references to elements outside the scope where you use it, as you interact with the UI hierarchy, it will change, and it must be traversed again
  • Keep animations enabled. As things can be different if you don’t have animations. A suggestion is to set the view speed to 2x or 4x
  • You can set the speed of animations in UI testing by using the launchArguments property of the XCUIApplication class. Specifically, you can set the –animations argument to a value between 0 and 1 to adjust the speed of animations. A value of 0 disables animations, while a value of 1 runs animations at normal speed. Here’s an example of how you can set the animation speed to 2x:
// In this example, the animation speed is set to 0.5. 
// which runs animations at 2x speed. 
// You can adjust the value as needed to achieve the desired animation speed.
let app = XCUIApplication()
app.launchArguments += ["--animations", "0.5"]


  • XCUIApplication: This class responsible for launching, terminating apps. ⚠️️ Not a singleton. ⚠️️
  • XCUIElement: This class used to determine the UI element in the app and able to perform any action on it e.g tap, double tap, swipe etc
  • XCUIElementQuery: This class can be used to uniquely identify the UI element on the screen. We can form the query to uniquely identify the UI element on the screen. Imagine that you have to select the first button on the app. We can form the query like this XCUIApplication(). buttons.element(boundBy: 0)

Common calls:

app.staticTexts.element // 👈 UILabel

iOS vs iPadOS

you have 2 test cases:

func testSnapshotPhone() {
    guard UIDevice.currentDevice().userInterfaceIdiom == .Phone else { return }
    // Capture screenshots for iPhone
func testSnapshotPad() {
    guard UIDevice.currentDevice().userInterfaceIdiom == .Pad else { return }
    // Capture screenshots for iPad

Dealing with system alerts:

// https://stackoverflow.com/a/46951214/5389500
let springboard = XCUIApplication(bundleIdentifier: "com.apple.springboard")

let allowBtn = springboard.buttons["Allow"]
if allowBtn.waitForExistence(timeout: 10) {


  • Great way to make tests that matters. Ensuring QA on every release.
  • QA teams can do more high-level tasks, when low level QA tasks are automated.


  • Careful to not go overboard by testing everything, as that will make the app harder to develop on later.