Determining Focus State of XCUIElement in UI Tests

Determining Focus State of XCUIElement in UI Tests

11 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Automated UI testing is an essential component of the development process, particularly when it comes to ensuring the usability and reliability of interactive elements within an application. A common challenge encountered during UI testing with Xcode’s UI Test framework is determining whether a specific text field, or XCUIElement, has focus.

Understanding Focus in XCUIElements

When conducting UI tests, developers need to verify that the correct text field has focus under different scenarios. This is crucial for validating the user experience and ensuring that the application behaves as expected. Focus determines which text field is ready to receive input from the keyboard and is typically highlighted or marked in some way to indicate its active state.

Identifying the Focused Element

Unfortunately, XCUIElement does not have a direct isFocused property that can be accessed. However, through the inspection of element properties, a workaround can be implemented to check for focus state.

Using hasKeyboardFocus Property

A solution to this problem involves using a private property called hasKeyboardFocus. This property can be accessed using key-value coding (KVC) and can help determine whether an element has focus. Here’s how you can check if an XCUIElement, such as a text field, has focus:

      let hasFocus = (yourTextField.value(forKey: "hasKeyboardFocus") as? Bool) ?? false

If hasFocus is true, the text field currently has keyboard focus and is ready to receive input.

Creating an Extension for Easier Access

To make this check more convenient, you can create an extension on XCUIElement that encapsulates this logic:

      extension XCUIElement {
    func hasFocus() -> Bool {
        let hasKeyboardFocus = (self.value(forKey: "hasKeyboardFocus") as? Bool) ?? false
        return hasKeyboardFocus

With this extension, you can simply call yourTextField.hasFocus() to determine if the text field is the one with focus.


While the lack of a direct isFocused property in XCUIElement can complicate UI testing, the workaround using the hasKeyboardFocus property provides a viable solution. By incorporating this technique into your UI tests, you can effectively verify focus states and improve the accuracy of your automated testing suite.

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