Top iOS Automated Testing Tools: Comprehensive Guide & Analysis

Top iOS Automated Testing Tools: Comprehensive Guide & Analysis

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In the competitive landscape of iOS app development, ensuring the quality and functionality of your application is crucial. That’s where automated testing tools come in, enabling developers to streamline their testing processes and deliver robust, bug-free applications. In this comprehensive overview, we dive into the world of automated testing tools for iOS, exploring the top contenders that can revolutionize your testing efforts.

You might be also interested in our five favourite automation testing tools for Android, as the testing challenges vary slightly for Android and iOS testing. For one thing there are far more Android models out there than iOS, which means lots more potential bugs. Also, the two variants have their own default languages, which further complicates things.

But, on the whole, the challenges are similar. Whether you’re battle-testing an iOS or an Android app, you’re looking for automation testing tools that offer robust performance and quick, reliable results. If the testing solution offers cross-platform and multilingual functionality, then that’s a major bonus.

Our iOS mobile team have used practically all the different iOS testing tools available in the market. Leveraging the extensive experience acquired on the process and after a careful consideration, here you have our final list.

Before going into the list, you might be interested in understanding mobile app testing to learn why testing is important and know which testing methods are used nowadays.

Appium

Developers have come to rely on Appium as one of their favourite testing tools. It is popular among both native and hybrid mobile app developers, thanks largely to its flexibility and vast open-source community.

Built and supported by Sauce Labs, Appium is a gateway to a trove of advice and support: if you stumble into any problems during testing, its huge open-source family will point you the way out.

What’s more, it’s one of the most user-friendly iOS testing tools out there. You don’t need to install an SDK in your app, and, because it uses a standard API, there’s no need to recompile the application.

The final key advantage is versatility, a key requirement for any mobile automation testing team. Appium works with any testing framework and a full suite of programming languages, including Java, JavaScript, Python and PHP. If you’re using Java, you can also configure it to work with different apparatuses.

In terms of downsides, some users find the reports insufficient. What’s more, the tests can be slow due to the remote webdriver dependency, and there’s no parallel execution – although this problem is nullified if you use Sauce Labs’ mobile cloud for script-execution. A bigger frustration is the fact that you need a local iOS device available, and connected, in order to download and configure the Appium environment.

On the whole though, Appium more than justifies its place atop our list of the best automation testing tools. Simple, accessible and widely adopted, there’s no more reliable product on the market.

What it offers:

  • Open source-backed testing
  • Works across iPhone, iPad and Android

How much does it cost?

It’s completely free.

What are its biggest strengths?

  • There’s a huge open-source community: Appium is by far the leading open-source test framework for cross-platform (mobile) native test automation.
  • You don’t need to recompile your app, or introduce any additional software.
  • It works across a variety of testing platforms and languages.

XCTest

The native testing framework that comes with Apple’s Xcode, XCTest is an excellent option, with all the advantages you’d expect from Apple’s ecosystem.

XCTest is a foundation stone for various other testing tools, notably Appium, which rely on their platform. So there’s a strong argument to be made for cutting out the middleman and going straight to the default.

If you do decide to stick with XC, you’ll find that the tests are seriously fast and the testing kit has no problem adapting to Apple’s Xcode releases (which have been known to scupper other tools). There’s native iOS language support, so you can write your tests with the same language you’ve used to build the application. And there’s practically no setup required – just read Apple’s documentation and you’re practically off and running.

Finally, the XC tools provide a portal to a vast cache of cloud-based devices – just like Calabash. By wiring into Sauce Labs Real Device Cloud (similar to the Xamarin vault), you’ll get fast, accurate feedback about your app, and zero in on any defects before they do damage. Alternatively, you can test on an iOS simulator if that’s more your speed.

Drawbacks? Well there’s no cross-platform support and you’re somewhat bound to the two iOS programming languages, Swift and Objective-C. If you want to write in a different language, you’re better off switching to an overlay solution such as Appium. Most significantly of all, XCTest isn’t always the most stable. If you’re looking for a tool that won’t crumble under any testing conditions, well, keep looking.

What it offers:

  • Integral tool for testing iOS apps
  • Comes with Apple’s Xcode development tools
  • You can choose between unit and UI variants

How much does it cost?

It comes with Xcode, so it’s free.

What are its biggest strengths?

  • Synchronicity with Apple’s suite
  • Fast and easy to use

KIF — Keep-It-Functional

Closely related to XCUITest, KIF is specifically designed to test the user interface. Again, its close relationship with Xcode carries distinct advantages: it integrates straight into the Xcode project, sparing you the hassle of using an additional web server or draining your memory with any additional packages.

Set-up is extremely simple. If your project is already set up with XCTests, all you need do is add the KIF pod to your project. And the tests are even faster than the XC tools.

Another key benefit is realism. Tests are extremely user-like, meaning that the test conditions replicate the way a user would actually use the app in real-life. What’s more, KIF can simulate a variety of different user interactions.

As with all the automation testing products on our list however, there are some downsides. You have to add the KIF framework to the project – although the syntax is fairly simple – and tests have to be written in Objective-C, so there’s even less linguistic variety than the XC testing tools (although this has its advantages, as it maximizes code integration and minimizes the amount of layers you require).

Overall, then, this is a pretty solid option and great if you want to focus purely on UI. One thing to note though: if KIF ends up sneaking into your final production code, Apple will reject your app. So don’t let that happen.

What it offers:

  • UI-specific testing tool
  • Closely related to XCUITest

How much does it cost?

Absolutely zero.

What are its biggest strengths?

  • Synchronicity with Apple
  • Realistic test conditions

Mobot

Mobot is one of the leading automated testing tools available for iOS app developers. This powerful tool offers a wide range of features and capabilities that enable efficient and effective testing of iOS applications. With Mobot, developers can automate their testing processes, saving valuable time and effort in the long run.

Mobot is a unique and innovative testing solution for iOS apps that employs mechanical robots to automate testing. This approach transcends the capabilities of traditional emulators, frameworks, and virtual devices, providing a more accurate and realistic testing environment.

Mobot’s primary offering is its robot-powered mobile experience testing. Unlike conventional testing tools, Mobot uses physical robots to execute test cases, which can mimic real-world user interactions such as touching, tapping, swiping, and rotating. This method is particularly effective for scenarios that are difficult or impossible to replicate with standard automated testing tools, offering a novel approach to iOS app testing

What it offers

  • Robot-Powered Testing
  • Wide Device and OS Coverage

How much does it cost?

Paid service, from 249€/month

What are its biggest strengths?

  • Comprehensive Device and OS Version Testing
  • Realistic user interaction testing conditions

Katalon

Katalon is a comprehensive test automation platform that stands out for its versatility and ease of use in iOS app testing. It is designed to cater to both beginners and experienced testers with its intuitive interface and robust functionalities.

It provides the Katalon Studio that balances low-code ease with full-code flexibility, so you can write test very quickly. Katalon is powered by AI. They AI-driven features accelerate test authoring, shorten testing cycle times, reduce test automation maintenance, and dramatically increase release quality.

What it offers:

  • Comprehensive iOS App Testing: Katalon provides an all-in-one solution for iOS app testing, supporting a wide range of devices and iOS versions.
  • User-Friendly Interface: With its straightforward UI, Katalon makes it easy to create, execute, and manage test cases, even for those with limited coding skills.
  • AI Powered: The time spent writing test will be significantly lower than with other tools.

How much does it cost?

They offer a Free plan, so you can start using the tool without any cost.

What are its biggest strengths?

  • Integration with Third-Party Tools and Frameworks.
  • Testing Flexibility iffering both manual and script mode.
  • Efficiency in test creation and execution

Testsigma

Testsigma is one of the top contenders when it comes to the best automated testing tools specifically designed for iOS applications. With its intuitive and user-friendly interface, Testsigma empowers testers to efficiently create, execute, and manage their test cases for iOS apps. Its robust test automation framework simplifies the entire testing process, saving valuable time and effort for the development team.

One of the standout features of Testsigma is its cloud-based architecture, which allows testers to access and run their tests on real iOS devices remotely. This enables testers to ensure the compatibility and functionality of their iOS apps across different devices without the need for physical devices or emulators. By leveraging this cloud-based approach, testing teams can significantly reduce the cost and complexity associated with maintaining an extensive inventory of devices.

Testsigma’s advanced AI-based technology allows for smart test maintenance. It automatically adjusts test scripts to accommodate changes in the UI of the iOS app, reducing the time and effort required to update tests after each app update. This feature ensures that the tests remain accurate and reliable, even as the application evolves.

What it offers:

  • AI-Powered Test Automation: Utilizing AI, TestSigma simplifies the process of creating, maintaining, and executing automated tests.
  • User-Centric Test Creation: The platform is designed with a focus on user experience, allowing testers to create automated tests that mimic real user interactions.

How much does it cost?

Paid, not publicly listed on their website.

What are its biggest strengths?

  • Adaptability to Agile and DevOps specially thanks to its AI-driven capabilities.
  • Enhanced Collaboration Features with its integration with tools like Jira and Trello.
  • Parallel Testing Capabilities to speed up the testing process by allowing multiple tests to run simultaneously.

Bugfender

Ok, a bit of self-promotion here. We wanted to mention our own solution, Bugfender. Although it doesn’t do exactly the same job as some of the other tools on our list (in fact we use several of these tools alongside it), it’s brilliant for finding problems and showing you why they happened.

We built Bugfender to solve those ‘well it works fine for me’ problems; those bugs that didn’t appear on our own devices. To solve this type of problem, we previously had to get physical access to the affected devices, or get our users to describe them. As developers will appreciate, this was rather problematic. 

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What’s more, Bugfender logs continuously, so developers will get way more than just crash information – they get a holistic view of their app’s performance. And its remote web console allows developers to drill down to specific devices, locations, even specific users – great for providing personalized customer service.

We can’t claim Bugfender is a finished product. It’s still not available for Web, Windows and tvOS. But we’re expanding its capabilities all the time: we’ve recently added Unity iOS and Android support functionality, and now we’ve added a specialist plug-in for React Native, the hugely popular cross-platform framework for building native apps (you can find out more here). Another new addition is the in-app feedback tool, allowing our clients to connect with their user base and gain the insight to make their apps even better.

If you’re looking for a mobile-friendly test solution for either iOS or Android, Bugfender will provide exactly what you need.

What it offers:

How much does it cost?

The basic version is free, although you can upgrade for €49

What are its biggest strengths?

  • Remote logger enables developers to replicate any bug from any user’s device.
  • In-built crash-reporting tool offers added value.
  • Remote web console allows users to drill down to specific devices.

Give us a try! ;)

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