Setting up Appium for Android and iOS

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In our digital world, where applications reign supreme, assuring the seamless performance of your software across Android and iOS platforms is important. This is where Appium, the unsung hero of mobile application testing, steps into the limelight.

As an open-source automation tool, Appium plays a key role in simplifying the complicated task of testing mobile applications, whether they are destined for Android or iOS devices. In this digital age, where user experience is everything, Appium has evolved as a strong ally for developers and quality assurance teams alike.

Appium significance lies in its versatility, performing as a bridge that unites developers to both Android and iOS ecosystems. This blog will help you with the procedure of setting up Appium for Android and iOS, unveiling the gateway to efficient cross-platform testing.

What is Appium?

Appium is an open-source mobile application automation tool that permits testers to automate interactions with native, hybrid, and mobile web applications on different platforms, such as Android and iOS.

  • One of its standout qualities is its capability to deliver a cooperative API for various mobile platforms, allowing testers to compose a single set of automation scripts that function across multiple devices and operating systems.
  • Appium’s architecture depends on the WebDriver protocol, delivering a seamless interface for managing mobile apps just like a user would.

Why use Appium for mobile application testing?

Appium is a prevalent choice for mobile application testing for several compelling reasons:

  • Cross-Platform Capability: Appium supports both Android and iOS platforms, making it a universal choice for testing applications on multiple devices and operating systems. This cross-platform ability simplifies the testing procedure, decreasing the demand for separate testing frameworks for each platform.
  • Open Source: Appium is an open-source tool. It has a dynamic community of developers and testers contributing to its development. This exposure promotes innovation, and users can benefit from community support and resources.
  • Unified Automation: Appium furnishes a single, uniform API for automating native, hybrid, and mobile web applications. This unified technique facilitates test script development and maintenance.
  • Device and OS Compatibility: Appium can operate with physical devices, emulators, and simulators. It allows testers to cover a broad range of device configurations and operating system versions.
  • Access to Native APIs: Appium provides access to native device APIs, allowing testers to execute actions which is essential for complete mobile app testing.
  • Integration with Testing Frameworks: Appium can be incorporated with famous testing frameworks such as Selenium and TestNG. It allows teams to leverage their current testing infrastructure and knowledge.
  • Robust Community and Resources: Appium has an extensive and dynamic user community, which indicates there are ample resources, tutorials, and documentation available to enable users to get started and troubleshoot problems.
  • Continuous Development and Updates: Appium is an evolving platform, which keeps up with continuous modifications in mobile operating systems and devices. Updates and enhancements are regularly released to manage new challenges in mobile app testing.
  • Cost-Effective: Being open source and widely adopted, Appium can remarkably decrease testing expenses compared to proprietary automation tools.

Setting up Appium on Android and iOS

Appium functions as a bridge between your test code and the mobile application you like to test. It entitles you to automate interactions on LambdaTest with the application for both Android and iOS devices. Here’s a simplified synopsis of how Appium functions:

  1. Test Script Creation: You compose test scripts using your selected programming languages. These scripts contain instructions for interacting with the mobile app.
  2. Appium Server: The Appium server is the root segment that handles the communication between your test script and the mobile device or emulator. It listens for commands from your test script and forwards them to the mobile device.
  3. Driver Initialization: In your test script, you initialize a driver entity with specific capacities. These capacities contain details about the device and the application to be tested.
  4. HTTP Server and JSON Wire Protocol: Appium utilizes an HTTP server to obtain and manage HTTP requests from your test script. These requests are transmitted in the form of JSON objects heeding the JSON Wire Protocol, a standardized way of communicating test commands.
  5. Automation Framework: Relying on the platform (Android or iOS), Appium interacts with the mobile device’s native automation framework. For Android, it might use UIAutomator and for iOS, it could be UIAutomation. These frameworks deliver the means to interact with the application’s user interface segments.
  6. Command Execution: When your test script transmits a command to the Appium server. Then it decodes this into a series of low-level interactions with the mobile app. The mobile automation framework runs these interactions on the application.
  7. Response Handling: After conducting a command, the Appium server accepts responses from the device’s automation framework. It rephrases these responses into JSON format and sends them back to your test script as a reaction.
  8. Test Script Execution: Your test script continues to issue commands, interact with the app, and execute validations based on the responses received. This procedure emulates user interactions and thoroughly tests the application’s functionality.
  9. Logging and Reporting: Appium can generate logs and reports to track the implementation progress and outcomes for a particular test. These logs and reports are beneficial for debugging and setting the application’s quality.
  10. Cleanup and Teardown: After the test script finishes its execution, Appium assures that resources are cleaned up, and the test conditions are left in a constant state.

Appium is a popular framework to include in your test automation plan. However, it is critical to execute Appium testing effectively. Setting up, running, and scaling in-house device labs is costly.

This necessitates the utilization of an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform like LambdaTest. With LambdaTest’s online device farm, you can eliminate your in-house device labs and enable your developers and testers to conduct Appium testing on real device cloud from anywhere and at any time.

Appium automation for Android

Automating Android applications with Appium is an effective method to ensure the functionality and dependability of your mobile applications. Here’s a high-level overview of the stages involved in Appium automation for the Android platform as mentioned below:

1. Install Appium: Install Appium on your development machine. You can do this by using Node Package Manager or by downloading the Appium Desktop application. It depends on your choice.

2. Set Up Android SDK: Confirm that you have the Android SDK installed and appropriately configured. The SDK furnishes the tools and libraries needed to work with Android devices and emulators.

3. Configure Desired Capabilities: Specify the preferred capacities in your Appium script. These capabilities define information about the Android device or emulator you want to use for testing.

4. Start Appium Server: Establish the Appium server on your local machine. This server works as a bridge between your test script and the emulator.

5. Initialize the Android Driver: In your test script, construct an instance of the Android Driver class. This driver denotes the Android device or emulator with the specified expected credentials.

6. Automate Interactions: Use the Android Driver to interact with the application’s user interface segments. You can execute various actions by this process.

7. Assertions and Verifications: Execute assertions and verifications to ensure that the application behaves. You can check for exact text, element presence, or any other standards relevant to your test cases.

8. Handle Waits and Timeouts: Include mechanisms for managing waits and timeouts in your script. This guarantees that your automation code waits for elements to appear or actions to complete before proceeding.

9. Logging and Reporting: Execute logging and reporting mechanisms to capture the execution details and test outcomes. This supports troubleshooting and furnishes visibility into the test results.

10. Test Cleanup: After the complete test script execution, perform any required cleanup tasks, such as closing the application, resetting the device state, or shutting down the Appium server.

11. Run Test Suites: Organize your test scripts into test suites to cover different factors of your Android application. You can utilize test runners or frameworks for test suite management.

12. Analyze Outcomes: Check the test results and logs to specify any problems or failures. Address any flaws found in the application code.

Appium Automation for iOS

Appium automation for iOS is an effective way to test and interact with iOS applications. Here’s an overview of Appium automation for iOS:

1. Appium Supports iOS: Appium is a universal automation tool that performs seamlessly with iOS devices. It permits you to automate the testing of iOS applications across different iPhone and iPad models.

2. Native iOS Application Testing: With Appium, you can automate interactions with native iOS applications. These are specifically designed only for the iOS operating system.

3. Cross-Version Compatibility: Appium presents compatibility with diverse interpretations of iOS, assuring that you can test your application on various iOS versions to guarantee compatibility and performance.

4. Real Devices and Simulators: Appium authorizes you to test your iOS application on both real physical devices and simulators. It furnishes the flexibility in your testing environment.

5. No Need for Application Modifications: You don’t need to modify your application’s code to use Appium for automation. Appium makes it easy to incorporate into your current development and testing processes.

6. Support for Multiple Programming Languages: Appium supports different programming languages which allows you to compose test scripts in your preferred language.

7. UI Element Interaction: Appium allows you to interact with user interface elements within your iOS application just like an actual user.

8. Realistic Testing Scenarios: You can make test scripts that simulate real user interactions with your application. It also helps you recognize and address usability and functionality issues.

9. Parallel Testing: Appium facilitates parallel testing by allowing you to run multiple test matters simultaneously on different iOS devices. It speeds up the testing procedure.

10. Cross-Platform Testing:  Appium’s versatility expands to cross-platform testing, so you can utilize a single set of test scripts to test your application on both iOS and Android platforms.

Limitations of using Appium

While Appium is a robust and universal tool for mobile application testing, it does have some restrictions and challenges that user should be conscious of:

  • Complex Setup: Setting up Appium for mobile testing can be a complex matter. Configuring the environment, drivers, and dependencies can be time-consuming and may need a deep knowledge of the various mobile platforms.
  • Limited Support for Older Devices: Appium’s support for older Android and iOS devices may be limited. Particularly when new versions of the mobile operating systems are released.
  • Limited Support for Certain Testing Scenarios: Appium may not support certain cutting-edge testing methods, such as biometric authentication testing or advanced gestures in some cases.
  • Performance Overhead: Appium’s architecture concerns communication between the test script, the Appium server, and the mobile device, which can orient some performance overhead. Complicated test scripts may experience slower execution times.
  • Lack of Native UI Element Support: Testing specific UI elements, specifically custom or non-standard ones, may be challenging, as Appium relies on the accessibility layer, which may not disclose all elements accurately.
  • Limited Desktop Application Testing: Appium is especially developed for mobile app testing and may not be the best option for desktop application automation.
  • Frequent Updates Required: Appium needs regular updates to keep pace with changes in mobile operating systems and devices. Users must guarantee that their Appium version is compatible with the target platform.
  • Stability Issues: Users have reported occasional stability issues, such as unpredictable manners when using Appium.
  • Resource Intensive: Running Appium tests can be resource-intensive, especially when running tests in parallel on multiple devices. Users should have access to powerful hardware for efficient test execution.
  • Community-Dependent Support: While Appium has a robust community, the level of support and available resources can differ, and users may face challenges in discovering solutions to specific issues.


In conclusion, Appium is the ultimate open-source tool for seamless Android and iOS application testing on LambdaTest. Its versatility, community support, and cross-platform capacities entrust developers and testers for success.

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