5 Frameworks That Streamline Testing Automation

Today, we have hundreds of tools that make software development faster, easier, and better. Same with the testing tools: they streamline the process, help the QA team save time, and detect bugs in early stages. 

In this guide, we’re going to talk about five top iOS testing tools, compare their strong sides, and discuss the whole concept of testing frameworks. 

Plus, I’m featuring a few other tools often used for iOS testing automation. 

Let’s check them out. 

What’s a Testing Framework?

But first things first. 

In traditional manual testing, all checks are done by QA team members, by hand. While automated testing relies on code. These tests are written by QA engineers and launched in a special environment – automation framework. 

These automation tools and frameworks don’t jump out of nowhere: somebody needs to implement them. That’s when we face the question: ‘how cost-effective is it: to write code to check code?’

Test automation ROI actually depends on how this automation is adopted and executed. But it’s always better to automate testing on a large-scale project than on simple ones.

Here’s what iOS automation testing frameworks are used for: 

  • unit/module testing
  • performance testing
  • UI testing

Now, what iOS testing frameworks you’d better use? And what advantages do they bring? 

5 Best iOS Testing Frameworks

Yep, it’s not that easy to start using iOS automation frameworks. Still, if a QA engineer has enough experience in writing automation tests, they close the same everyday tasks twice as fast. Besides, the QA team can reuse these tests: there’s no need to fill out the same data all over again.

So let’s finally meet the top 5 iOS testing frameworks. 


XCTest an Apple’s official framework for writing unit tests. It allows engineers to write and run unit, performance, and UI tests. 

What XCTest basically does is allowing users to do unit testing for Xcode projects (and iOS apps among them). And writing software tests with XCTest won’t be a problem for those who know Objective-C and Swift: the framework is fully compatible with both these languages. 

XCTest key advantages: 

  • Better framework architecture 
  • Faster execution on iOS devices
  • Operates at the object level


EarlGrey was created by Google for testing their native iOS apps – Google Calendar, Google Photos, YouTube, and others. 

It’s an open-source UI automation testing framework that helps the QA team write clear and concise tests. 

EarlGrey offers a synchronization feature. It synchronizes with the UI and network requests automatically, but there’s an option for QA engineers to set the timing manually.

That’s how the QA team makes sure that UI is in a steady state before taking any actions. In turn, the team increases the stability of automated tests and make them reusable in the future. 

Key points: 

  • An open-source framework
  • High-level synchronization
  • Allows writing clear tests in Objective-C/Swift


First, what’s a mock object? In plain words, it’s an object that substitutes a real one, in ways that testers control. 

In software testing, mock object feature plays a large role: that’s because they let the QA team simulate the behavior of real complex objects. 

That’s why many software testers use OCMock, a special library that offers multiple methods to employ mock objects. OCMock supports Objective-C. 

A few situations when you may need to mock an object: 

  • when it supplies non-deterministic results (i.e., sensors)
  • when states are difficult to reproduce (i.e., a network error)
  • when it’s slow (like a database)
  • when it doesn’t exist or may change behavior

There’s no built-in support for mock objects in Xcode. Thus, OCMock can be used as a separate library. This framework supports Objective-C and allows users to add mock objects in existing test cases fast and easy. 

OCMock highlights: 

  • Compatible with Objective-C (de-facto mocking framework for Obj-C)
  • Open-source testing framework
  • Mock objects can be easily added in existing unit tests
  • Complementary with OCUnit & GHUnit


Appium is an open-source tool used for testing web, hybrid, and native apps. It’s quite a popular cross-platform framework using which the QA team writes tests against many platforms with the same API.

Appium lets engineers launch tests on real devices, emulators, and simulators. QA engineers can reuse test scenarios, and they can pick a language to write automation tests – Java, Objective-C, or JS.

For iOS testing, Appium uses JSONWireProtocol to engage with iOS apps with the help of Selenium WebDriver. 

Key advantages of Appium: 

  • Open-source, free and easy-to-use
  • Supports multiple platforms
  • Active community support


Another cross-platform framework aimed at automating acceptance testing (checks whether the system meets business requirements) on iOS and Android apps. 

Xamarin is responsible for Calabash development and support, plus they allow commercial cloud testing. 

Calabash consists of libraries that make automated tests interact with native and hybrid apps. These interactions take the form of user actions like: 

  • Taps and gestures (tap, swipe, rotate, etc.).
  • Checks (i.e., if there should be a “Login” button on the screen).
  • Taking screenshots

Calabash uses Cucumber to describe how the program works using “human” language everyone understands, whether it’s a business analyst, a manager, or a tester who doesn’t know how to code. 

Calabash benefits for testing apps:

  • Writing tests easily
  • Writing cross-platform tests (for both Android and iOS)
  • Cucumber Style Scripting
  • Running tests in the cloud
  • Running tests on the emulator

5 Additional Testing Tools You May Want to Use

Sure, these are not the only tools you can use for testing automation. I suggest taking a brief look at a few more programs. 

  1. Charles proxy. An HTTP proxy debugger and HTTP monitor. Charles is a cross-platform system that works with different languages. It helps the QA team to track everything sent and received from a server, and they can intercept and edit this data. 

  2. Xcode. This IDE provides devs with several development and testing tools. Xcode allows developers to launch builds on a simulator and comes with features like face localization and UI testing.

  3. Crashlytics. If you do testing, you know that crashes can’t be avoided. Crashlytics is a great tool to manage crash reports, and a tester gets all the needed analytics any time they need. The system saves logs after an app crashes, automatically. And you save time as you don’t need to restore data over and over again.

  4. TestFlight. The app is used to distribute builds (current builds are available for installation, along with their previous versions). TestFlight supports multiple builds of iOS apps, WatchOS apps, tvPS, and iMessage apps. 

  5. Diawi. Helps to deploy development and in-house app to the devices. The platform is extremely helpful is you want to share your code wirelessly.

That’s it! I hope the guide will help you at least narrow down the list of tools to use for iOS testing. 

But before you pick a framework, make in-depth research on its pros and drawbacks. After all, the best tool is the one you have enough skills to use and the one that aligns with your project requirements.

Author’s bio

Vitaly Kuprenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It’s a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. He enjoys telling about tech innovations and digital ways to boost businesses.

2 responses to “5 Frameworks That Streamline Testing Automation”

Leave a Reply