PixelTest 2.3.2

PixelTest 2.3.2

Maintained by Kane Cheshire.

PixelTest 2.3.2


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PixelTest is a modern, Swift-first snapshot testing tool, and is designed to get you writing snapshot tests as quickly as possible.

Snapshot testing compares one of your views rendered into an image, to a previously recorded image, allowing for 0% difference or the test will fail.

Snapshot tests are perfect for quickly checking complex layouts, while at the same time future proofing them against accidental changes.

As an added bonus, PixelTest also clears up after itself. If you fix a failing test, the failure and diff images are automatically removed for you from disk.

Key features

PixelTest is an excellent alternative to other options because PixelTest:

  • Is written in Swift so it's able to take advantage of modern Swift features, like powerful enums.
  • Handles laying out your views for you, leaving your project free of ugly layout code.
  • Supports multiple subprojects/modules in your workspace, finding the right directory to store snapshots automatically.
  • Helps you by showing you the diff image of failed tests directly in the test logs, with no need to leave Xcode.
  • If tests fail, PixelTest automatically creates HTML files with interactive split overlays to see what went wrong.
  • Automatically cleans up after itself by removing failed/diff images stored on disk when the corresponding test is fixed and passes.
  • Works out of the box with no need to set up environment variables.
  • Has no dependencies.

Why snapshot test?

Snapshot tests are an excellent (and super fast) way to ensure that your layout never breaks.

Logic is covered with unit tests, behaviour with automation/UI tests, and snapshot tests cover how the app actually looks. It ensures that complex layouts aren't broken from the start, which means less time going back and forth running the app, but also means you or anyone else is free to refactor a view without fear of breaking the way it looks.


PixelTest is available on Cocoapods.

Add PixelTest to a unit test target in your Podfile:

target 'YourAppTarget' do
  target 'YourAppTestTarget' do
    pod 'PixelTest'

Then navigate to where your Podfile is located in Terminal and run pod update.

Quick start

Step 1

To begin, you'll want to create a unit test case (not a UI test case, this is important!), and then subclass PixelTestCase:

import PixelTest
@testable import YourAppTarget

class TestClass: PixelTestCase {


Step 2

Start writing some tests! Check out the example project for some simple examples. Once you've written your tests, you'll need to first record some reference images. To record images, override setUp() and set mode to .record:

class TestClass: PixelTestCase {

  override func setUp() {
    mode = .record

  func test_someViewLaysOutProperly() {
    let view = MyCustomView()
    verify(view, layoutStyle: .dynamicHeight(fixedWidth: 100))


Once you've overridden setUp(), simply run your tests. Each test that runs while mode is set to .record will record a reference image. Once you disable record mode (either by removing the line of code or by setting mode to .test), each subsequent run of your tests will check the saved reference image. If even 1 pixel is different, the test will fail.

If a test fails, you'll find two images in the Diff and Failure directories found in the .pixeltest directory automatically created in the same directory as your test file.

You can use these images to see what's changed and what went wrong. If it was an intentional change, you can re-record your snapshots. Be mindful to only run the tests you want to re-record in record mode, because it will overwrite any tests that run.


You can decide whether PixelTest tests your view with dynamic height or width, or fixed height and width. When you call verify(view, ...) you're also required to pass in an LayoutStyle. Typically this would be .dynamicHeight(fixedWidth: 320), which means that PixelTest will attempt to test your view with a fixed width of 320, but allow it to dynamically resize in height based on its content.

This leaves you free to populate your view without having ugly layout code in your project or modules.

Since it's so common to use .dynamicHeight(fixedWidth: 320), PixelTest provides a shorthand so you can just use .dynamicHeight in your tests, which will automatically use a fixedWidth of 320.

Additionally, PixelTest now comes with some String constants that you can use for short/long/very long etc content when populating your view models:

let viewModel = ViewModel(title: .shortContent, subtitle: .mediumContent)

PixelTest will also let you generate placeholder images of any size, so you don't have to add any assets to your testing targets:

let viewModel = ViewModel(image: .sized(width: 250, height: 100))


You can use PixelTest to test different Dynamic Type sizes if you set up your fonts and views in the right way. The example project has some examples on how to do this in DynamicTypeViewSnapshotTests.swift

Good to know

The way UIKit works with reusable views like UITableViewCells and UITableViewHeaderFooterViews means that sometimes views need to be snapshotted in a particular way.

Luckily, PixelTest helps you out once again and will automatically use the contentView of cells if you pass it in directly.

You can also snapshot test the view of any UIViewController, but just like any view, if the height cannot be determined dynamically (as is the case with many controllers), you will have to provide an explicit height using something like LayoutStyle.fixed(width: 320, height: 640).

Changing simulator or iOS versions

The only real downside to snapshot testing is that because UI renders slightly differently on @2x (iPhone SE) and @3x (iPhone X) screens, and also renders differently between iOS versions, it means you have to run your tests on the same simulator every time.

Generally this isn't a problem once you get into the habit of it, but it poses a problem when trying to move to a new version of iOS (i.e. you dropped support for an older version of iOS which your tests were running on.)

PixelTest helps you with this as well, and provides two ways to globally re-record tests. You can either force record the entire suite, or force record an indvidual test target (in the case of modular apps).

To record globally across the entire test suite, add an environment variable called PTRecordAll with a value of YES.

To record for an individual test target, add a Boolean entry into the test target's Info.plist called PTRecordAll with a value of YES.

Setting one of these will override any tests that have their mode set to .test in the appropriate places.


PixelTest currently only works in iOS projects.


@KaneCheshire, kane.codes


PixelTest is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.

The original idea for snapshot testing was FBSnapshotTest which was deprecated and later inherited by Uber. PixelTest is a much Swiftier alternative, with more features, less code to write and easier to follow open-source code.