Image Blog The Rise Of Espresso The Fall Of Appium
September 19, 2017

Appium vs. XCUITest vs. Espresso Automation - Key Differences

Mobile Application Testing

XCUITest automation and Espresso are rising in popularity. But does that mean Appium is falling? Not necessarily...

Creating strong mobile applications is the goal for any software app development team. To ensure that applications have a seamless user experience paired with robust functionality, teams must thoroughly test their apps using end-to-end testing.

Some of the top application automation frameworks for testing include Appium, XCUITest, and Espresso. 

This blog will compare XUITest vs. Appium vs. Espresso to help you determine the right framework for you.

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XCUITest vs. Appium

The biggest difference between Appium vs. XCUITest automation is the platform. Appium works across platforms, while XCUITest only works on iOS for automated UI testing.

Also, Appium uses XCUITest driver for iOS apps. Appium XCUITest driver uses XCUITest under the hood. The Appium XCUITest driver supports all standard Appium capabilities.

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Appium vs. Espresso

Here's a quick breakdown of Appium vs. Espresso. Appium uses any language, while Espresso uses Java. Appium is open source. Espresso was created by Google. Appium is more for black box testing, while Espresso is more for white box. The set up for Appium is difficult, while Espresso is relatively easy. Keep reading for a full comparison of XCUITest vs. Appium vs. Espresso. 

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Espresso vs. XCUITest Automation

Here's a quick breakdown of Espresso vs. XCUITest. Espresso is a test automation framework for Android. XCUITest is a test automation framework for iOS. Both Espresso and XCUITest do white box testing. And both are very reliable for testing. Keep reading for a full comparison of XCUITest vs. Espresso vs. Appium.

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Full Comparison: Appium vs. Espresso vs. XCUITest Automation

Deciding which test framework to use can be difficult. Let's make it easier. Here are some mobile testing basics for your consideration.

The Complete Guide to Mobile Automation Testing >>

The below comparison table highlights the key areas to consider when making this choice. We also break down XCUITest vs. Appium vs. Espresso below. 


Table comparing Espresso vs. Appium vs. XCUITest



You can use Appium in any language. Espresso only works for Java. XCUITest only works for Swift / Objective C.

Apps Supported

Appium supports both APK and IPA. However Espresso only supports APK. And XCUITest only supports IPA.

Test Type / Instrumented

You would use Appium for black box testing. These tests are not instrumented. You would use Espresso and XCUITest for white box testing. These tests are instrumented.


Appium is slower, with a speed of 8t. XCUITest is faster at 2t, and so is Espresso at t.


Appium is the hardest to set up. XCUITest is easier to set up than Appium. But XCUITest is not as easy to set up as Espresso.

Continuous Integration

Espresso is the easiest framework for continuous integration (CI). It's harder to do CI with Appium. And it's the hardest to do CI with XCUITest.

Test Stability

Appium tests are very flaky. Espresso and XCUITest tests are much more reliable.

Object Locators

Appium uses an external object locator — X-path. Espress uses id (from R file). And XCUITest uses id, too.

Used By...

Appium is typically used by QA Teams. Espresso is used by Android developers, and XCUITest is used by iOS developers.

Support for Visual Testing

Appium supports visual testing, while Espresso and XCUITest do not. 

Mobile App Testing Strategy Combining Virtual and Real Devices

A good mobile app testing strategy requires more than just Espresso, XCUITest, and Appium. Find out to build a mobile app testing strategy — and how to use virtual vs. real devices.


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When to Use Espresso, XCUITest, and Appium

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to which automation framework you should chose.

While there are teams that choose to select one framework, there are many teams that will combine two. So, whether you should use Espresso, XCUITest, and/or Appium depends on your needs. 

Espresso and XCUITest

You should use Espresso and/or XCUITest for:

  • Teams with developer skills (developers, devTesters).
  • Fast and reliable tests (Espresso and XCUITest run much faster and are more reliable over time).
  • Pre-commit and CI testing (fast feedback validations).

What Is XCUITest? >>

4 Benefits of Using the Espresso Android Test Automation Tool >>

It will be very interesting to see where the market will go in the next few years. I'm sure we will see significant increase in Espresso and XCUITest. We'll also see an increase in overall test automation execution. The same goes for an overall increase in fast feedback practices.


You should use Appium for:

  • QA / automation teams.
  • Full coverage with better validations.
  • Nightly executions.
  • Regression testing.

How to Use Appium for Android Testing >>

Mobile Testing With Appium >>

Appium Tutorial: From Beginners to Advanced >>

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Use Espresso, Appium, or XCUITest with Perfecto

Open source frameworks like Espresso, Appium, and XCUITest are great starting points for automation. But they can't do it all.

Perfecto integrates with all 3 of these frameworks to provide end-to-end testing support. Boost your test coverage rate. Scale testing as you grow. And move faster with parallel testing.

Ready to give Perfecto a try? See what the world's only end-to-end continuous testing platform can do for you Get started today with a free 14-day Free Trial — now featuring Perfecto Scriptless Mobile!



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