Pinch, Zoom and Swipe using Appium

Problem: Documentation on automating mobile gestures is not extensive.

In this post, we show how to automate mobile gestures like tap, swipe, pinch and zoom using Appium.

Why this post?

I watched Steve Jobs introduce the iPhone back in 2007. Among the jaw dropping moments were using the best stylus ever invented (our fingers) and the multi-touch pinch-to-zoom feature. Mobile applications were no longer shrunk versions of web applications. Users were going to interact with applications on mobile devices differently. Today tap, swipe, zoom and pinch are key gestures that humans use to interact with products on the mobile platform. Which in turn means, automating mobile gestures is an important part of writing test automation scripts. Documentation on gestures like swipe, pinch and zoom are not so clear. This post hopes to clarify how to perform these gestures using Appium.

Pinch, zoom and swipe using Appium and Python

We have picked the camera application to show the zoom and pinch gestures. We will launch the camera app and automate these gestures. Also we will show you how to perform swipe gesture on the home screen after closing camera app.

Qxf2: Example script to run test for a camera app using Appium
The test will cover some mobile gestures like tap, swipe, pinch and zoom.
import unittest, time
from appium import webdriver
from time import sleep
class Android_Gestures(unittest.TestCase):
    "Class to run tests for mobile gestures"
    def setUp(self):
        "Setup for the test"
        desired_caps = {}
        desired_caps['platformName'] = 'Android'
        desired_caps['platformVersion'] = '4.3'      
        desired_caps['deviceName'] = 'GT-I9300'
        # Get the Package and Activity name to launch the Camera app
        desired_caps['appPackage'] = ''
        desired_caps['appActivity'] = ''
        #You may need to change the line below depending on your setup 
        self.driver = webdriver.Remote('http://localhost:4723/wd/hub', desired_caps)
    def tearDown(self):
        "Tear down the test"
    def test_mobile_gestures(self):
        "Testing mobile gestures "
        # Get the position of camera icon to take picture
        positions = [(1200,360)]
        # BONUS: TAP
        # Perform Tap gesture on the position to take picture
        # Find the android element of camera view       
        elm = self.driver.find_element_by_id('')
        # 1. ZOOM 
        # Perform zoom gesture- zoom(element=None, percent=200, steps=50)
        self.driver.zoom(element = elm) #(doesnt work in android 4.2)
        # Tap to take close up snap 
        # 2. PINCH 
        # Perform pinch gesture- pinch(element=None, percent=200, steps=50) 
        self.driver.pinch(element = elm, percent=150, steps=100) #(doesnt work in android 4.2)
        # Tap again to take zoomed out picture
        # Press back button to go to home screen
        # 3. SWIPE        
        # Perform swipe gesture on home screen- swipe(startX, startY, endX, endY, duration)
        self.driver.swipe(475, 500, 75, 500, 400)
if __name__ == '__main__':
    suite = unittest.TestLoader().loadTestsFromTestCase(Android_Gestures)

Running the test script
This step expects you to be setup to run Appium tests. If you are new to Appium, you can refer to our posts here or here.


Note 1: Some features such as zoom, pinch are available starting API level 18 in Android.

Note 2: In Moto E (android API level 19), we noted that the pinch,zoom gestures for camera app do not work consistently. Instead use swipe up and down for zoom, pinch.Here is the code snippet.

        self.driver.swipe(475, 500, 475, 200, 400) #swipe up
        self.driver.swipe(475, 200, 475, 500, 400) #swipe down

Looking for a Pythonic Appium automation framework? Check out our open-sourced Mobile automation framework based on the page object model.

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter

View a sample