A Brief Introduction to Appium Inspector: Part 2 — Inspecting Elements

How to use Appium Inspector’s GUI to get locators of elements.

Courtney Zhan
2 min readMay 7, 2023

In the previous article, we went through how to create sessions in Appium Inspector. In this article, we’ll start to explore some of the most basic functionality — inspecting the target element.

Inspecting Elements

When the inspector session starts, it will transition to the below screen:

The inspector screen is divided into three columns. From left-to-right:

  • Preview of the simulator’s screen
  • XML-formatted source of the mobile view
  • Details for a selected element.

In order to select an element for inspection, you must be in “Select Elements Mode”.

Screen Preview mode selection (left to right): Show element handles, Select Elements, Swipe by coordinates and Tap by coordinates modes.

Select Element Mode — via Screen

This is the most intuitive approach. Click on an element in the preview screen to select it. Appium Inspector will populate the right-most screen with that element’s information.

In the above, the Player VS Player button’s text was selected (hence is highlighted in green). The element details shows different attributes and their values (e.g. xpath , type , name and even x- and y- co-ordinates).

Select Element Mode — via App Source

An alternate way to select elements and view details is through the App Source. Simply select the element in the XML App Source section to view its details on the right-most panel.

While this method is less straight-forward than directly clicking the screen preview, it is helpful for clicking elements that are hidden/difficult to reach from the interface.

You might be wondering, Appium Inspector’s preview doesn’t change when I interact with the simulator, so how do I even reach and inspect elements on other pages? Navigation is a key part of using Appium Inspector, so stay tuned for the next part in this series!