Mockito: ArgumentCaptor

Three ways to create ArgumentCaptor in unit tests (Mockito JUnit Runner, annotations, or factory method) and its different usage.


For those who don’t know Mockito, Mockito is the most popular mocking framework in Java, which allows the creation of mock objects in unit tests. Today I’m going to share with you one of its powerful features: ArgumentCaptor. After reading this article, you will understand:

  • How to create argument captor
  • How to use it

This article is written with Mockito 1.10.19. Let’s get started.

Argument Captor

Argument captor captures argument values for further assertions. Mockito verifies argument values in natural Java style: by using an equals() method. This is also the recommended way of matching arguments because it makes tests clean and simple. In some situations though, it is helpful to assert on certain arguments after the actual verification. Here are two different ways to create an instance of ArgumentCaptor: using annotation @Captor or using static method ArgumentCaptor#forClass.

The first way to create the argument captor is to use annotation @Captor declared on field. If you are using JUnit 4, you can initialize it with Mockito JUnit Runner.

public class MockitoArgumentCaptorTest {

  private ArgumentCaptor<String> stringCaptor;


If you have already another runner, or you don’t like Mockito JUnit Runner, you can also initialize the argument captor with method MockitoAnnotations#initMocks before each test via set up method @Before.

public class MockitoArgumentCaptor2Test {

  private ArgumentCaptor<String> stringCaptor;

  public void setUp() {


The third way is to use the static method available in Argument Captor class.

ArgumentCaptor<String> captor = ArgumentCaptor.forClass(String.class);

The parameterized type T is String in my examples, it stands for the type of the argument to be captured.


Argument captor captures argument values for further assertions. It means asserting argument after the actual verification of Mockito. For example, in the following example, instead of verifying “Foo” is added, we capture the value into ArgumentCaptor<String> stringCaptor and assert it later via method #getValue, which returns “Foo”. This can be useful when it’s difficult to construct the actual argument, when you only want to assert the key parts of that argument, when you believe it increases the readability of the test etc.

List<String> strings = Mockito.spy(new ArrayList<>());

// actual verification

// assert argument

Argument captor can capture multiple argument instances. Whenever the method is called, the argument is captured. After verifications, you can retrieve all the argument instances captured in order. For example, if it captured two words “Foo” (earlier) and “Bar” (later), calling method ArgumentCaptor#getAllValues will return “Foo” and “Bar” in order. However, ArgumentCaptor#getValue will return the latest one.

List<String> strings = Mockito.spy(new ArrayList<>());

// actual verification
Mockito.verify(strings, times(2)).add(stringCaptor.capture());

// assert last capture

// assert all captures
assertThat(stringCaptor.getAllValues()).containsExactly("Foo", "Bar");

Sometimes, you will face to more complex cases where the method under test accepts multiple arguments. In this case, you need to be careful about your argument captors. Putting argument captor means you want to use argument matchers. You can NOT use argument matcher in a single parameter, you must use it on all the parameters. Here is a conterexample:

  /!\ ERROR /!\
 Invalid use of argument matchers!
 2 matchers expected, 1 recorded:
 -> at io.mincongh.library.mockito.verify.MockitoArgumentCaptorTest.captureOneParam(

 This exception may occur if matchers are combined with raw values:
     someMethod(anyObject(), "raw String");
 When using matchers, all arguments have to be provided by matchers.
 For example:
     someMethod(anyObject(), eq("String by matcher"));
Mockito.verify(strings).add(0, stringCaptor.capture()); // DON'T do this

Instead, you need to either capture all the arguments, or use an ANY matcher to skip the capture. There are similar methods for different primitive types (int, long, double, boolean, …), collections (List, Set, …), and Object. You need to choose the most appropriated one to your case.

List<String> strings = Mockito.spy(new ArrayList<>());
strings.add(0, "Foo");

// use Matchers#anyInt because we don't want to check the index (0)
// we only care about the value captured
Mockito.verify(strings).add(anyInt(), stringCaptor.capture());


In this article, I shared two different ways to initialize Argument Captor via static method or annotations (JUnit Runner or annotations initialization before each test). The source code is available on GitHub. Interested to know more? You can subscribe to the feed of my blog, follow me on Twitter or GitHub. Hope you enjoy this article, see you the next time!