iOS Frameworks for Mobile Testing


In the past few decades, there has been a huge progress in the field of mobile phones and other devices. The mobile industry has seen a boom in devices such as, smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, laptops and more. All these gadgets are developed with utmost care and they support various operating systems, such as Android, iOS, Window and more, which have different development and testing needs. iOS is the name of Apple’s platform for mobile applications, which unlike Android is not licensed for installation on non-Apple hardware. In short, iOS and iOS applications are only installed on devices developed by Apple.

Moreover, as the mobile app industry matures, iOS application developers can find a multitude of iOS testing frameworks to benefit from. With the proliferation of iOS devices year over year, the threshold of iOS success is higher than ever before. Though iOS is still a more closed operating system compared to Android, many open source test automation frameworks and tools can be utilized to create automated tests. Furthermore, along with the help of a cloud-based testing solution, it enables developers as well as testers to verify app quality more efficiently in a scalable way, which further makes iOS testing easier.

Defining iOS Frameworks:

A framework is a hierarchical directory that encapsulates shared resources, such as a dynamic shared library, nib files, image files, localized strings, header files and reference documentation in a single package. All of these resources can be used by multiple applications simultaneously. Furthermore, there are ‘public’ and ‘private’ frameworks in iOS, in which the former are well documented and prepared for the use of general developer, while the latter are restricted for internal use only. Public frameworks are allowed to be used in App Store applications, whereas the Private frameworks are intended to be used only by Apple's applications, and are more unstable against firmware changes. In Apple devices, since the inception of iOS 3.1, all default libraries of various frameworks have been combined into big cache file in /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.dyld/dyld_shared_cache_armvX (where X can be 6, 7, 7s or 64) to improve performance. This framework is also a bundle and its contents can be assessed using Core Foundation Bundle Service or Cocoa NSBundle class.

Various iOS Testing Frameworks:

A testing automation framework is an execution environment, where automated tests are performed by the team of testers. More specifically, it is the overall system in which the test will be automated. It is defined as a set of assumptions, concepts, and practices that constitutes a work platform or support for automated testing. Additionally, a testing framework is responsible for defining various elements, such as, the format in which expectations are expressed. Furthermore, it creates a mechanism to hook into or drive the application under test, as well as executes tests and reports their results. To test mobile devices with iOS operating systems, one can find a vast array of frameworks to suit their testing needs and other requirements. The software industry has a large variety of iOS testing frameworks that cater to various demands of the clients and developers. Therefore, here are some of the most popular testing frameworks used by developers and testers all around the world:

  1. Appium: Appium is an open source tool for automating native, mobile web, and hybrid applications in iOS and Android platforms. The library in Appium functions inside the framework and makes call to the Appium server running in background, which operates the connecting device. Furthermore, Sauce Labs is very active in the development of Appium, where the Appium tests can run across emulators, simulators and real devices on the Sauce Labs Platform.
  2. Benefits of Using Appium:

    • One can choose their own underpinning framework, like XCTest for unit testing.
    • The cross platform support allows the reuse of test scenarios across mobile and web channels.
    • One can write tests with their favourite tools using any WebDriver- compatible language, such as, Java, Objective –C, and JavaScript.
    • The whole framework is an open source.
  3. Calabash: Calabash is a functional testing framework that can be used for both iOS and Android functional testing. It is one of the easiest frameworks to use through which even the non-developers can create functional tests effortlessly. Additionally, Calabash enables one to write and execute automated acceptance tests of mobile apps.
  4. Benefits of Using Calabash:

    • It’s open-sourced and free.
    • Uses Cucumber to describe the test scenarios using BDD. It is an exceptionally great feature or Quality Assurance (QA) teams, as it makes information clear and easy to digest.
    • Cross platform support allows for reuse of test scenarios across mobile and web channels.
  5. UI Automation: Provided by Apple, UI Automation is an Apple-sanctioned way of performing iOS functional testing. One can use UI Automation for any typical functional testing or black box testing, in which one is going to write code that simulates an end user navigating their app. Moreover, as a tester interfaces with their application, Xcode emanates source code into the test strategy to discover components in the UI of the application, to get to their properties, and to send them occasions.
  6. Benefit of Using UI Automation:

    • It is Apple sanctioned.
    • It is lightly documented.

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iOS Testing Best Practices:

While performing tests on iOS applications it is essential for a tester to take care of some important points, which can impact the functionality as well as quality of the devices. By taking precautions during the process of testing, the team of testers can not only ensure the quality of the testing, but also get assistance in testing each and every features of the application, which further allows them to get expected and desired results. Therefore, here is a list of some important features and elements that a tester should know when they are organizing testing of iOS application:

  • To validate the performance of the application, the team of testers should test the application on a real device.
  • Stay abreast with the latest testing methods to improve , because traditional testing methods are no longer sufficient to coverage all tests on iOS testing.
  • Using console log to test iOS application. This is an iOS feature includes information from every application on the device.
  • Document application bugs using built-in screen short command. It helps developer understand how the bugs occur.
  • Crash reporting is useful tools when test your application. They can detect crashes and log detail so you can investigate the bugs easily.


Mobile devices all around the world are progressing rapidly. From Android based devices to iOS one, one can find several outstanding smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices with exceptional features and applications, as well as quality, performance, functionality and more. However, the credit of these state-of-the-art qualities of a mobile device goes to their developers and programmers. Software developers and testers perform intensive testing on these software applications and systems to provide their client’s and end users perfect gadgets, which fulfil all of their requirements. Apple’s iOS devices and smartphones are the best example of applications with exceptional quality. The software industry has a large variety of iOS testing frameworks that cater to various demands of the clients and developers. One can choose the best testing framework based on their needs and experience, or they can try all the frameworks listed to see which one works best for them. Either way, at this point, the software industry is mature enough that there is a framework out there that fits the needs of almost any developer, and serves a variety of tasks- whether one simply needs to automate testing service calls in iOS or whether they want to run UI tests in parallel across multiple mobile and web platforms.

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