Asynchronous Testing was made much easier in Xcode with the introduction of expectations and the XCTestExpectation class. In addition to the basic expectation support included are helper methods for testing KVO, Notifications, and using Predicates. Expectations are created by helper methods on XCTestCase.

func testExample() {
    let expectation = expectationWithDescription("Example")
    AsyncObject.operationWithCallback {
    waitForExpectationsWithTimeout(10, handler: nil)

Expectation basics


This is the basic expectation, you call fulfill() on it.

waitForExpectationsWithTimeout(timeout:, handler:)

You need to wait for expectations to be fulfilled by whatever asynchronous process you are testing. As the name implies it will wait for all expectations you have created within the test. I usually only have one.

Complex Expectations

I wrote the test code for an NSNotification myself once - it sucked and was a waste of time. There are a few nice built in expectation factory methods provided that cover some tricky cases that you should definitely think about using first, not only does it make your test leaner, but it’s written for you.

KVO Expectations

keyValueObservingExpectationForObject(objectToObserve:, keyPath:, expectedValue:)
keyValueObservingExpectationForObject(objectToObserve:, keyPath:, handler:)

If testing KVO compliance definitely use a KVO expectation. Even if not explicitly testing KVO consider if your test is interacting with a KVO compliant object. expectedValue can be nil to expect the value to change to any other value. Expectations with optional handlers will fulfill themselves if not provided. If you use your own handler return true to fulfill the expectation.

Notification Expectations

expectationForNotification(notificationName:, object:, handler:)

Expect an NSNotification in one line. If you don’t specify a handler it gets fulfilled by the first matching notification from the specified object, otherwise the handler should return true to fulfill the expectation.

Predicate Expectations

expectationForPredicate(predicate:, evaluatedWithObject:, handler:)

During test the NSPredicate will be periodically evaluated. Once it is true the expectation will be fulfilled, unless you specify a handler in which case your handler has to return true as well.

That’s it for the standard expectations. I wish there was a delegate expectation helper in the standard library, it would tie things off nicely and have the most common asynchronous tests covered. I have a quick implementation of one here, but one included in XCTest would be great.