How To Get Started With XCUITest Testing

iOS is the second largest mobile platform all around the world. This platform is owned by Apple and maintains a strict level of data privacy and dependency.

The developers have to rigorously test the application to ensure it meets all the standards set by Apple. Meeting these standards is the only possible way in which the application can get entry into the app store.

However, as we all know certain data about the operating system is vital to ensure that the app is compatible with it.

On the other hand, Apple does not have a good record when it comes to sharing important data with third-party application developers.

XCUITest Testing can help the developers to test the quality of the iOS applications without plenty of internal data.

However, the developers must remember one thing concerning iOS, things can get complicated at any stage of the process.

Therefore, the developers must follow the best practices to avoid any kind of surprises.

With this article, we will guide the new testers toward the best practices for performing XCUITest testing. Let us begin our discussion with the basics of XCUITest.

What is XCUITest

XCUITest Is a user interface testing framework for iOS applications. This Framework is developed by Apple.

It works on XCTest, an integrated test framework which is a part of Apple’s XCode Integrated development environment.

The developers must remember that the WebDriverAgent server maintains all the access that is provided to the XCUITest driver.

The WebDriverAgent server is a project that is developed by Facebook and massively contributed by Appium. On the other hand, the developers should also be aware of WDA.

It is a WebDriver compatible server that will run along with the iOS simulator or device and expose the XCUITest API.

XCUITest will manage WDA as a subprocess opaque to the Appium user. It proxies commands to and from WDA.

This feature also provides a lot of functionality during the testing process. For instance, it provides different methods and simulator management.

What is UI Testing

Another name for UI testing is GUI testing.  This form of testing is responsible for verifying all the elements of an application that the user will come in contact with.

It also ensures that all the visual and auditory elements of the application are working as expected.

Proper visual elements of an application help to maintain the satisfaction of the users and keep them interested.

The developers must remember that apps comprise multiple web elements that are developed with the help of different programming languages.

For instance, an application can contain elements of both JavaScript and CSS. UI testing is responsible for performing multiple test cases on all of these elements and determining their efficacy.

The developers must remember that these test cases focus on the areas that the user might consider important.

Some of the major visual elements that UI testing covers are the radio buttons, menu bars, font, text boxes, colour toolbars, checkboxes and many others.

Now let us consider some of the important functionalities that are present in UI testing:

  • The proper functioning of all the visual elements that are present in the application.
  • The application is stable irrespective of the device that the end user is using.
  • It verifies that the application continues to deliver optimal performance irrespective of multiple use cases.
  • It ensures that the application is capable of fulfilling the requirements of the target audience.
  •  The application has a user interface that is according to the demands and requirements of the modern user base

Basics of XCUITest 

Mobile app testing, more specifically speaking, mobile app interface testing deals with the behaviour of the application according to multiple inputs of a user.

It collects several sets of data and compares the real-world outcome with the expected results.

In this form of testing, the developers try to replicate exactly how a real-world user might use the application.

This form of testing also verifies how the application reacts according to the physical use case conditions.

For instance, it measures the impact of a bad bandwidth connection, slow device or multiple wrong inputs. XCUITest allows the developers to write the test cases for this form of testing with fundamental two major concepts:


XCTest is the basic testing framework of XCUITest. Using this framework, the developers can write the XCUITest test cases with both Swift and Objective-C.

It also allows the testers to write UI test methods, classes and test targets.

They can also perform an assert to validate the behaviour of the iOS application. Lastly, the developers must remember that it is completely integrated with XCode.


Using the accessibility e-technology, the quality assessment teams can modify the application’s behaviour.

This process can help them to evaluate how the application performs when people with disabilities are using it.

In this form of testing, the UI test cases will use the functions from the accessibility code to execute and validate the test cases.

The Setup Process for UI Testing

In case the developers have an existing project and want to add automated test cases to it, the process becomes quite a lot simple.

Now let’s take a quick look at the basic setup process:

  • The first step is to initialize the XCode project.
  •  The next step is to click on the target option that will be available under the new tab in the File menu.
  • After this, you will be allowed to choose a template for your next development project. The developers have to remember that in this step they have to choose the iOS UI testing bundle.
  • Then the next step is to verify the configuration for the project that will include that team and target domain.
  •  The final process is to select the finish option that will confirm the new project creation process.

Creation of UI Test File

The UI test file is another important component of the XCUITest testing process. To create the UI test file, the developers have to follow the following steps:

  • The first step is to create the location where you want the test file to exist.
  • After this, you have to right-click and select the new file option.
  • Then, you will be greeted with the window that will ask you to select a template for your new file and hit the next button.
  • You will receive the window that will ask you to choose multiple parameters for the test. In this process, you need to enter the name of the class and select next.
  • The final step is to select the location where you want the file to be created. After this, you have to select the create button to confirm the process.

Various APIs for A Creating UI Test Case

To improve the UI testing experience, the Framework is available with some special features.

The developers have to use these features during the test creation process. Let us take a deeper look into all of these:

1. THE XCUIApplication

Every time during the automation test execution process, the developers have to mention which application has to be initialized as a part of the first process.

For this process, they have to create a part of the XCUIApplication and refer the launch function to it.

This method will help the testers to initialize the application before the testing process. It will also terminate the application after all the tests have been completed.

2. HE XCUIElement

The user interface of an application is composed of multiple separate UI elements.

The XCUIElement allows the developers to control any element from the User Interface of the application.

This class is responsible for handling and performing all the functions related to the user interface components. These functions are similar to end-user activities like tapping, scrolling, selecting, etc.

Using this class, the developers can also elevate the UI elements. This element can also mimic physical changes like the rotation of the screen and so on.

3. XCUIElementeryQuery

This method is essential to find any element in the application.

As we already discussed, an application is composed of multiple user interface elements so, it becomes almost impossible to manually search for a particular element.

After the application is successfully initialized, the class will store all the data related to the user interface.

Thus, the testers can use all this data to locate any element on the particular application and make the relevant changes.

This process is highly beneficial when the developers are creating a complex application consisting of thousands of different user interface elements.

Role of Tools and Platforms in XCUITest Testing

Whenever it comes to using a new form of driver or framework, different tools and platforms play a major role in reducing the initial struggles.

This process helps the new developers to quickly get started with the testing process.

However, you must remember that only the most compatible tool can serve this purpose. Let us elaborate more on this concept while using LambdaTest as an example:

To understand the basics, LambdaTest is a cloud-based platform to perform mobile app test of iOS and Android applications.

With LambdaTest, developers can test their iOS apps using the XCUITest framework on real devices.

The cloud library of LambdaTest consists of hundreds of real iPhones and iPads.

LambdaTest uses parallel testing to improve the testing period by almost ten times. Parallel testing is a process of initiating multiple test instances simultaneously.

This platform also eliminates the hassle of maintaining an expensive Apple device testing lab. Lastly, it also helps the developers to initiate seamless integration of CI/CD Tech Stack.

The Conclusion

So, we can conclude that considering the rigorous standards set by Apple, XCUITest is critical for any application Development Industry.

It ensures that the application is suitable to be included in the Apple App store and therefore receives the required exposure.

The initial setup process might indeed be complicated compared to the other competitors available in the market.

However, considering the reputation of Apple, there is simply no alternative to this.

The developers can take the help of multiple platforms like LambdaTest to simplify this process.

The application Development Industry also must promote proper awareness about iOS UI testing.

As we move more and more toward a complete Automation Testing based industry, it is almost impossible to leave any stone unturned when it comes to the quality of an application.

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