A Beginner’s Guide to iOS Automation Testing

Needless to mention, iOS is the official name of the platform licensed by Apple for its applications. And it is only through Apple devices that this platform allows applications to be installed and run. This is a sharp contrast to the Android operating system which authorizes other devices to operate its applications. Apple through its world-famous patented iOS platform makes its presence felt through devices such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod and iPad Mini. And these are the four devices that will demand the intervention of iOS app testing.
app testing
Tagged as an important characteristic for developers who churn out mobile applications provided by Apple, iOS automation testing comes with certain pre-defined objectives. Supporting a new instrument called as “Automation”, this is a type of UI testing that delves deep into looking into the functionalities of various applications teamed with Instruments that are tested for. Additionally, iOS Automation testing looks into the productivity of the JavaScript library. All in an attempt to authenticate an application, here is the rundown of the basic uses of iOS Automation testing.

  1. A robust tool that permits you to collate information about the response and performance of a single or multiple processes that are running on the iOS platform
  2. Permits you to collect varied types of data in addition to facilitating you to understand them closely by keeping all the information next to each other
  3. Every instrument is tagged as a source of a different type of information that can either be classified under the head of “memory use” or “file access”
  4. Can offer purse-friendly results by cutting down your cost of developing software alongside helping you garner increased productivity
  5. Plenty of open source testing frameworks which support iOS automation testing can be incorporated

iOS Automation Testing – A One-Stop Solution to a “Bug-Free” Application
Not withstanding the fact that it takes a lot of time and effort to design and implement an iOS application, a word of caution is to ensure that every application is free from bugs. Given the numerous common bugs, these errors when overlooked will adversely affect the functioning of the application. Below is the list of the number of ways in which the name and fame of the iOS platform and the globally-renowned features of Apple can be safeguarded, alongside meeting your quality standards.

  1. Instances of application crashing can be averted
  2. Developers can steer clear of incompatibilities in an application
  3. Can tighten the data security feature of iOS devices, thereby preventing them to be hacked
  4. Can offer a strong retort to memory leaks

Below is an iOS Testing Mind Map, a graphical representation of the different facets that the iOS tester has to keep in mind while subjecting an application to Automation testing.
Types of iOS automated tests:

  1. Unit Test – This is a test to validate a specific case in a class which ensures that the class can work and deliver results as a stand-alone operation.
  2. UI Test – Also called as Integration test, UI test helps in testing user interactions of the application, ensuring that all the classes as in perfect sync with each other to deliver the intended result.

Having understood the basic information concerning iOS automation testing, now let’s get started with writing iOS automation testing cases.

  1. Make use of XCTest: This is a helpful tool provided by Apple to facilitate Unit testing process. The XCTest framework is used to create a new Xcode project which includes 3 important factors:
  • A separate target for each and every test
  • A group for every test class
  • An example test
  1. Create your first iOS Unit Test
  • Under this head, you need to create a new test case class while naming a new subclass
  • Exclude the boilerplate code
  • Next is to link your test with the class that should be tested
  • Write a test code
  • Add a private category
  • Initiate and run the test by pressing Command-U
  • Analyze the results which will be displayed via the Test Navigator

With the entire guidelines in place, you can create unit tests to verify and validate the performance of an iOS application through an automated and programmed manner. All for the sake of churning out a verified and fool-proof software, the iOS automation testing cracks the whip on data breaches and memory leaks that can damage the goodwill of Apple and its patented iOS platform.

6 Automation Tools for iOS App Testing

Developing application for iOS is not similar to developing an application for Android Operating System. Apple has certain guidelines that could stop the development efforts. And it will become a balancing act of developing an appropriate app and getting the Apple’s approval. There are so many advantages in developing iOS platform rather than developing the android platform. There are six iOS app testing tools that are to be mentioned if one need to know about mobile automation testing.

app testing

Below follows the top six automation tools for iOS app testing:

  1. XCTest

One can use the framework called XCTest for the purpose of unit testing. This framework is provided by Apple. They can also maintain a good integration with integrated data environment in order to write test, run test and doing test-driven development work-flow. XCTest is the recommended testing framework when the use of Xcode5 and OCUnit got depreciated.

Read Also: 8 Must-Know iOS Testing Tips

2. User Interface Automation

There is User Interface Automation, especially for the more typical functional test or black box tests where the user is going to write code that stimulates end user navigating the app. User Interface Automation is also by Apple and is one of the apple sanctioned way of carrying out iOS app testing. For using User Interface Automation, there is the need of instruments that comes as one of the tools of Xcode. The only disadvantage of using User Interface Automation is that tests are written in Javascript which is entirely different from iOS code written in Objective-C or Swift.

3. Ocmock

It is a typical mock framework that acts like a code that leverages in a remote application program interface just like a web service. We can also use Ocmock for code which relies on user interface objects that you can’t easily represent by yourself through unit tests.

4. KIF (keep it functional)

One of the better alternatives for User Interface Automation is a tool called KIF. KIF is an abbreviation for keeping it functional. It is an open source and better than User Interface Automation. It mostly relies on accessibility labels just like User Interface Automation. While defining the application, it should be made sure that the app is accessible to people who are visually impaired. When compared to User Interface automation, KIF has certain benefits that are, one can write a test in Objective-C which supports Swift. This is not possible for User Interface automation. Also, KIF tests are executed in the same way as unit tests. Graphical User Interface based tests are much easier to execute with the help of KIF.

You May Also Like: 11 Differences Between iOS And Android Mobile App Testing

5. FBSnapshotTestCase

As the name suggests, it is indeed created and maintained by Facebook. The basic function of this tool is that it allows to verify one’s User Interface code by doing visual differences between saved screenshots. One can do it in a granular level than the full screenshot. You can take little User Interface view where you will get widget on the screen. One can isolate the snapshot text case to the User interface subclass view to change anything.

6. FRANK- Behavior Driven Development for iOS

For doing end-to-end testing and to use behavior driven development and cucumber ( written using a ruby programming language), it is better to use the tool called Frank. It allows us to create acceptance tests and requirements using cucumber. Frank helps to run behavior driven development tests against our iOS app testing.


In almost every testing process, automated tests are used. Automated testing can help to exclude errors and can thus take care of omission in the test that takes place at the time of execution caused by humans. Each of the above automation tools is unique and possess certain characteristics.

Manual or Automated Testing: Which to Use?

Every software tester must face the same dilemma when it comes to choosing the right kind of testing for their software or apps. Often the confusion is whether to choose manual or automated testing. Before moving into a deeper analysis, let me just begin by saying that both have their pros and cons.
app testing
When it comes to choices made by teams, the patterns indicate a higher percent of start-ups and SMEs using manual testing. This is because of the costs involved in conducting an automated test. It is only wise to weigh the costs and benefits of applying a certain software testing methodology before you choose it.

Read Also: 5 Types of Testing to Make Your Mobile Apps User-Friendly

Manual Testing
Lower cost and flexibility is why someone would want to go for this sort of testing. Moreover it gives you a better understanding of real user issues which manual testing can’t provide. As said before, if you’re a start up or an SME looking for a cost-efficient mode of software testing, then doing it manually is the favorable choice.
Here, testing takes place from the perspective of a regular user, comparing the test outcomes to expected outcomes. This means going in and running a set of tasks or programs to spot defects. It provides the advantage of analyzing apps from the user’s point-of-view, unlike in automated testing.
While it’s impossible to add values once automated tests have begun, manual testing is more flexible in this aspect.
Despite its advantages, bigger companies avoid the use of manual testing because of the sheer time involved. Manual testing makes sense when you have a handful of tests. But what if the number of apps is in the thousands?
Isn’t a pretty picture is it?
This is where automation testing services come in handy. It helps in situations where there are time constraints, within which the testing needs to be done.
Automated Testing
Automated testing tools use pre-defined algorithms to compare expected test outcomes to the outcomes achieved. Minimal variation between the two indicates a successful bug test. In case a variation surfaces, the test will be repeated after necessary code changes.
automation testing

Read Also: Top 5 Automation Testing Tools for Android

This is used in time bound testing environments where a software tester might have to work with a lot of apps or software. It is relatively quick and effective, compared to manual testing and hence, there is enough time to repeat tests. This is a huge advantage for companies as it helps to reduce their product delivery cycle. Manual testing requires typing the same information again and again, which can be completely avoided in automated testing.
It is thus a good practice to collect information on what is best for your business and company, before deciding on what kind of testing to implement.