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Implementing supervised Android and iOS Monkey tests

I assume that any QA engineer who works in mobile project has implemented in one or another way monkey tests for their applications. Today I'm going to explain how to implement in about 1 hour your own supervised monkey (or pseudo-monkey) tests for Android or iOS apps.

In this article I'll use the following testing frameworks - Espresso together with UIAutomator for Android and XCTest for iOS.

Usually monkey tests are implemented using 3rd party's libraries or scripts which can bring us some disadvantages:
  • Monkey tests are not the part of the project codebase and not controlled by Espresso or XCTest test frameworks
  • Is usually a 3rd party library with it's own issues and need for maintenance
  • Hard to fetch and process test results

Having monkey tests in native testing frameworks like Espresso for Android of XCTest for iOS brings us the following advantages:
  • Monkey tests are the part of the UI tests codebase. Fully owned and controlled by you
  • Possibility to use other tests in combination with Monkey (for example use UI test to login and afterwards start Monkey tests)
  • Easy to fetch and process test results, using existing reporting infrastructure
  • Monkey tests can be supervised. Meaning that in case they leave the application for some reason during execution we are able to identify this and launch application back
  • Different UI events or gestures can be implemented in case of need

Below are the requirements to our supervised monkey tests:
  1. Tests should operate only on application under test UI not interacting with other applications or system navigation elements.
  2. It should be possible to identify if monkey tests left the application under test and launch it again.
  3. They should have a wide range of different UI actions or gestures.
  4. Test results should be easy collectable after test execution.
And finally the implementation examples:
  • iOS and XCTest - all the description in comments. One thing to note - iOS device vertical and horizontal window dimensions are in range from 0 to 1:
import Foundation
import XCTest

class MonkeyTests: MonkeyHelper {
    func testMonkey() {
        var numberOfMonkeySteps: Int = 500

        //below values are taken experimentally. Modify if you wish.
        var tapBack: Int = 9
        var tapCrossTopRightButton: Int = 13
        var tapTabBarIcon: Int = 20
        var swipeFromLeftToRight: Int = 18

        /* Here use UI tests to login or navigate 
        to needed place in the application under tests */

        //Each iteration do some action and tap randomly. 
        //Can be replace by switch block. All methods below in MonkeyHelper class
        for i in 1...numberOfMonkeySteps {
            if i % tapBack == 0 {
            if i % tapCrossTopRightButton == 0 {
            if i % tapTabBarIcon == 0 {
            if i % swipeFromLeftToRight == 0 {

            //tap random coordinate
            let windowCoordinate = 
                app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: generateRandomVector())
import Foundation
import XCTest

/* MonkeyHelper class can extend base UI test class with setUp() to prepare test environment 
and tearDown() to take screenshot on failure */
class MonkeyHelper: BaseTestClass {
    let app = XCUIApplication()

    func tapBackButton() {
        app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: CGVector(dx: 0.05, dy: 0.05)).tap()
    func tapCrossButton() {
        app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: CGVector(dx: 0.95, dy: 0.05)).tap()
    func swipeFromLeftEdgeToRight() {
        let leftEdge = 
            app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: CGVector(dx: 0, dy: 0.5))
        let toCoordinate = 
            app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: CGVector(dx: 0.6, dy: 0.5)) 0, thenDragTo: toCoordinate)
    func swipeFromRightEdgeToLeft() {
        let rightEdge = 
            app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: CGVector(dx: 1, dy: 0.5))
        let toCoordinate = 
            app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: CGVector(dx: 0.4, dy: 0.5)) 0, thenDragTo: toCoordinate)
    func tapRandomTabBarIcon () {
        let x = CGFloat(Float(arc4random()) / Float(UINT32_MAX))
        let y = CGFloat(0.98)
        app.coordinate(withNormalizedOffset: CGVector(dx: x, dy: y)).tap()
    func generateRandomVector () -> CGVector {
        let x = CGFloat(Float(arc4random()) / Float(UINT32_MAX))
        let y = CGFloat(Float(arc4random()) / Float(UINT32_MAX))
        return CGVector(dx: x, dy: y)

  • Android and Espresso. A bit more code but similar approach:
@RequiresApi(api = Build.VERSION_CODES.KITKAT)
public class MonkeyTest {

    public ActivityTestRule mActivityRule = new ActivityTestRule<>(

    /* use TestWatcher() rule to take an action on failure */
    public TestRule watcher = new TestWatcher() {
        protected void failed(Throwable e, Description description) {
            //do whatever you want here
            //maybe take screenshot 

    public void executeMonkey() {
        MonkeyHelper monkeyHelper = new MonkeyHelper();
public class MonkeyHelper {

    private static final int NUMBER_OF_STEPS = 10000;
    private static final int NOTIFICATION_BAR_HEIGHT = 100;
    private static final int SYS_BUTTONS_HEIGHT = 200;
    private static final int OPEN_MENU = 5;
    private static final int DRAG_RANDOMLY = 7;
    private static final int PRESS_BACK = 13;
    private static final int MENU_X = 70;
    private static final int MENU_Y = 100;
    private final int yCoordinateOverSystemButtons;
    private final int yCoordinateBelowNotificationBar;
    private final UiDevice mDevice;
    private int mWidth = 0;

    public MonkeyHelper() {
        mDevice = UiDevice.getInstance(InstrumentationRegistry.getInstrumentation());
        mWidth = mDevice.getDisplayWidth();
        //we should not click on system buttons and on notification/tool bar
        yCoordinateOverSystemButtons = mDevice.getDisplayHeight() - SYS_BUTTONS_HEIGHT;
        yCoordinateBelowNotificationBar = NOTIFICATION_BAR_HEIGHT

    public void letMonkeyPlay() {

        for (int i = 0; i <= NUMBER_OF_STEPS; i++) {
            int randomX = getRandomX();
            int randomY = getRandomY();

            if (checkCurrentVisibleAppIsYourApp()) {
             //relaunch the app if went out for some reason
            if (i % DRAG_RANDOMLY == 0) {
                dragRandomly(randomX, randomY);
            if (i % OPEN_MENU == 0) {
      , MENU_Y);
            if (i % PRESS_BACK == 0) {
  , randomY);

    private void pressBack() {
     /* sometimes needed a guard to not press back 
     if you are in the main activity */

    private void checkCurrentVisibleAppIsYourApp() {
        if (!mDevice.getCurrentPackageName().equals("your_package_name")) {
            //relaunch the app under tests

    private void dragRandomly(final int endX, final int endY) {
        mDevice.drag(getRandomX(), getRandomY(), endX, endY, 10);

    private int getRandomY() {
        /* generate randomY value between yCoordinateBelowNotificationBar 
        and yCoordinateOverSystemButtons giving you possibility 
        to implement it on your own */
        return randomY;

    private int getRandomX() {
        return (int) (Math.random() * mWidth);
As you can see our requirements are met. Monkey gestures are easily extendable, test results reporting and screenshots functionality may be taken from existing UI tests.

This supervised Android and iOS Monkey tests approach is robust and flexible.
Please leave a comment if you see ways to improve them. Thanks.

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