A Brief Introduction to Appium Inspector: Part 3 — Navigation

How to navigate to different pages and elements via Appium Inspector

Courtney Zhan
3 min readMay 21, 2023

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In the previous parts of this series, we looked at the basic functionality of Appium Inspector:- creating sessions and inspecting elements.

This article will walk through two different ways to navigate and interact with apps in Appium Inspector. On session creation, you only see the first page. To reach other pages on the app or even scroll, you will need to use Appium Inspector’s navigation controls.

Navigation in Appium Inspector

There are two ways to navigate:

  • Appium Inspector’s Preview screen
  • Using your simulator then syncing Appium Inspector (recommended)

Navigation with the Preview Screen

Use Appium Inspector’s built-in actions.

To perform actions, you must be in the appropriate preview mode — “Tap” or “Swipe”. Last article, we covered one of the modes, “Select Elements Mode”.

Swipe mode is highlighted in orange, and tap mode is highlighted in red.

In Tap mode, click on the target area on Appium Inspector’s preview screen. Appium Inspector will then execute the tap. After a very short delay, the preview screen will reload.

Swipe mode is very similar. However, instead of a single click, perform two clicks — the start and end position of the swipe.

What can I click?

If you are having difficulty tapping the right coordinates/knowing what is interactable, Appium Inspector does have a handy feature called “Show Element Handles”.

Toggle to turn on/off displaying Element Handles
Example screenshot with each element highlighted with a box or a plus symbol

Note: The “Show Element Handles” isn’t perfect. For example, on the 3x3 Tic-Tac-Toe playing grid, none of the grid’s cells are tagged.

While this is helpful, it’s not the most intuitive approach (plus, you have to wait for Appium Inspector to reload on every tap).

Navigation with your simulator

For this mode, simply ignore the Appium Inspector preview screen and use the simulator to interact instead. Once you are at the screen you want on the simulator, manually sync Appium Inspector with the simulator. Use the “Refresh Sources & Screenshot” button.

After clicking the button, Appium Inspector will refresh its preview screen:

I prefer using the second option (simulator), because it feels more natural, and there’s no additional loading time for Appium Inspector to sync after each action.

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