Appium’s flagship support for automating Android apps is via the UiAutomator2 driver. This driver leverages Google’s UiAutomator2 technology to facilitate automation on a device or emulator. Development of the UiAutomator2 driver happens at the appium-uiautomator2-driver repo.
Older Android-based drivers include: The UiAutomator Driver The Selendroid Driver
Requirements and Support
In addition to Appium’s general requirements:
- Java 7 installed and configured correctly for your platform
- Mac, Windows, or Linux OS with the ability to run the Android SDK
The way to start a session using the UiAutomator2 driver is to include the automationName capability in your new session request, with the value UiAutomator2. Of course, you must also include appropriate platformName (=Android), platformVersion, deviceName, and app capabilities, at a minimum.
It is highly recommended to also set the appPackage and appActivity capabilities in order to let Appium know exactly which package and activity should be launched for your application. Otherwise, Appium will try to determine these automatically from your app manifest.
The UiAutomator2 driver supports a number of standard Appium capabilities, but has an additional set of capabilities that modulate the behavior of the driver. These can be found currently at the Android section of the aforementioned doc.
For web tests, to automate Chrome instead of your own application, leave the app capability empty and instead set the browserName capability to Chrome. Note that you are responsible for ensuring that Chrome is on the emulator/device, and that it is of a version compatible with Chromedriver.
To see the various commands Appium supports, and specifically for information on how the commands map to behaviors for the UiAutomator2 driver.
- Ensure that you have Appium’s general dependencies (e.g., Node & NPM) installed and configured.
- Ensure that Java (the JDK, not just the JRE) is installed and Java binaries are added to your path. The instructions for this step differ for Mac/Linux and for Windows. Please consult platform-specific documentation, as this is a common task. An example of how to change the PATH on Windows is here.
- Ensure that the JAVA_HOME environment variable is also set to the JDK path. For Mac/Linux, for example (the specifics of this path will vary greatly by system), put this in your login script:
On Windows, this will be done by setting the environment variable in the control panel, using the same strategy as for setting PATH above.
- Install the Android SDK. The supported way of doing this nowadays is to use Android Studio. Use the provided GUI to install the Android SDK to a path of your choosing.
- Set the ANDROID_HOME environment variable to match this path. For example, if you installed the SDK to /usr/local/adt, then there will typically be a sdk folder inside of that which contains the SDK files. In that case, on Mac and Linux, add the following line to your login script (e.g., ~/.bashrc, ~/.bash_profile, etc…):
On Windows, follow the same steps as before to set the environment variable in the control panel.
- Using the SDK manager, ensure you have installed the SDK for Android API levels you wish to automate (e.g., 24).
- On Windows, ensure that you always run Appium in Administrator mode.
At this point, your general system setup is done. Follow the steps below based on whether you want to automate an emulator or a real device. In addition you will need your app’s APK (preferably built in Debug mode), whose path or URL you will use as the value of the app capability when running your tests.
To run tests on emulators, use the AVD Manager included with Android Studio or the SDK. With this tool, create the emulator that matches your needs. With the emulator launched, Appium will automatically find and use it for its tests. Otherwise, if you specify the avd capability with the value matching the name of your emulator, then Appium will attempt to launch the emulator for you.
Additional tips for emulators:
- There exists a hardware accelerated emulator for Android, though it has its own limitations. It can be installed from Intel’s website, or through the Android SDK Manager.
- Make sure that hw.battery=yes in your AVD’s config.ini, if you want to run any of the Appium tests, or use any of the power commands. (As of Android 5.0, this is the default.)
Real Device Setup
For Android automation, no additional setup is required for testing on real devices, other than these simple requirements:
- Ensure that Developer mode is turned on for the device.
- Ensure that the device is connected via USB to the Appium host, and can be seen by ADB (run adb devices to make sure).
- Ensure that “Verify Apps” in settings is disabled, to allow Appium’s helper apps to function without manual intervention.
(For some specific commands, the device might need to be rooted, though this is not the norm.)