Android App Automation | What it is & How to Perform?

Android App Automation What it is & How to Perform

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Today, there are around 7.33 billion mobile users in the world and almost 70% of them are Android users. Even if we just leave aside mobile devices for once, we realize that Android is almost everywhere that has a screen. It is present in televisions, desktops, tablets, and even in digital cameras. Naturally, that inclines the developers to build their application for Android first as they can capture a larger portion of the market with it. In addition, once someone is an Android developer, they open the doors to multiple target devices that help in outreach as well as in their career professionally.

Android vs IOS

However, the relation between outreach and responsibility is directly proportional. If something can reach a larger group of people situated in diverse geographical areas, like Android, the team has more responsibility to deliver a high-quality application. In today’s world where a simple bug in a popular application can trend on Twitter, the more risk we take, the more our chances of experiencing downfalls. So, how can we ensure nothing of this sort happens? We do that with proper testing that follows industry standards and best practices as explored in this post. 

What is Android App Automation?

Android app automation is a process that combines three elements – the Android operating system, a native or hybrid Android-compatible application, and automation tools. When these automation tools are used on the application to verify the features, we term it Android app automation or Android automation testing.

Since it is an automated testing process, manual interventions are not required once the scripts are written and stored in the suites. These tests focus on multiple angles to enhance the quality of the application and explore weak areas in it. For instance, some of the popular areas to implement Android app automation are the user interface, function verification, data consistency, and non-functional parameters. A lot of the time, testers also implement scripts that mimic the user’s actions, such as pressing a button, typing characters from the keyboard, and scrolling to make sure these actions produce the intended results.

Why Do You Need to Automate Your Android Tests?

Someone who has just started their journey on Android applications or has worked only on smaller applications would wonder about the importance of automation in Android applications. Why not we simply install and open the application on an Android device and start navigating through various options while keeping in mind the functionality we are testing? This is actually correct and is doable too. However, this question may only arise in someone’s mind who has worked on smaller scales. If we scale up every parameter on all sides, manual testing becomes repetitive, boring, costly, and most of all error-prone. Today, we need automated mobile app testing for Android for the following reasons:

1.Extremely large Android fragmentation

Android fragmentation is the diversity of Android devices in the market today. If two people say they own an Android device, they are just talking about the name of the operating system just as they would say they both own a house. However, when details are explored, those two operating systems will start to look a lot more different than before. For instance, one will have a few additional API support while one will have a few deprecated ones. One will support XYZ, one will not. Even if we take non-technical things, their phone sizes will be different and their hardware could be from different manufacturers too such as Qualcomm and Exynos if we take Samsung as an example.

Currently, the Android fragmentation based just on the operating system version looks as follows:

Android version market share


Mix it up with other variations including manufacturers (that were more than 1200 by 2019), the list is extremely large. Android’s official website states that more than 24000 distinct devices exist in the market as of 2019. Each year this list grows with each small variation giving rise to multiple more additions. Can a manual process handle so many devices in each release? That’s impossible without Android automation.

2.Enhanced accuracy

Machines are accurate. When some algorithm is fed into a system, it will either perform correctly each time or incorrectly each time (pointing to the error in the algorithm). What it won’t do is randomly make errors on its own without any change in the code or algorithm. Humans are not like that. For routine work that a human does frequently (or repetitively), they are bound to make at least one mistake when the work is done a thousand times. 

This may be fine with the work where mistakes can easily be rectified or reversed or even identified easily. However, Android applications do not provide that level of comfort. A simple mistake in testing could mean a fault in the functionality which can be related to any action in the application. In the worst cases, it could even crash frequently on the end-user’s device. For such high-risk jobs, automation is a perfect way to reduce any such events in the future.

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3.Need for a scaling application

Smaller applications are easier to test, debug, and maintain. They have a smaller code base and a smaller team where everybody knows everybody. But as an application grows, so does the team along with it. A growing application means the code base will now include more files scattered all over the place. The organization will have multiple teams to manage various areas of the application and the application itself will start to look extremely complex with hundreds of components. One thing that a tester will feel in the process is how the testing time keeps on increasing with every release. Till one point it might be alright but beyond that point, we are just pushing the release date forward and forward.

Scaling of an application requires the adoption of multiple tools that will help the testing team in multiple areas. The first with a good return on investment will be an automation tool to be applied to these complex areas where the tester writes the script once and executes it as many times as they like. 

4.Incorporate parallel testing

To understand parallel testing, let’s take a contrasting example between manual testing and Android automation testing by keeping parallelism as the focus. Let’s say we have 100 tests to perform and ensure that the Android application is ready for the release. These 100 tests can be separately divided into 5 blocks of 20 tests each keeping in mind that each block has dependent tests. So these 20 can only be run in a sequential order. 

First, we start with manual testing. Here we have two options. Either let one tester test all the tasks which will start from 1 and sequentially go to 100. This means if one test took 5 minutes, the tester took 500 minutes to complete. Otherwise, we could take 5 testers and let them do each block together. This will take 20 x 5 i.e. 100 minutes. 

Let’s now consider Android automation testing for the same. One test in automation test will take around 1 minute to run so the tests are completed in 100 minutes. 

This run can further be divided with parallelism. If we parallelly run each block together, 100 tests are completed in just 20 minutes. Compare this time with a scale of thousands of tests and think of the time we save with Android automation.

5.Lower costs

To understand the cost reduction with respect to Android automation, let’s pick the same example used above with time already associated with the runs. In this, we can attach costs now by considering the costs of the tester charged to the company. So, if one tester takes $50 an hour then this becomes an additional cost to the costs of executing the test cases in the manual testing. Hence, the total cost becomes $250 for one hour or $416.66 for 100 minutes.

Similarly, for the Android automation testing described above, if one test took 5 minutes to write then the company is charged $2083.3 for writing these tests (for 500 minutes). However, it should be noted that this is just a one-time cost. If we talk about 10 next releases, the cost here remains the same but manual testing becomes $4166. Scaling this up to 100 releases clearly shows how much money an organization saves through Android automation.

6.Faster time of execution

Manual testing is time-consuming in a lot of ways. The most direct observation we can make is the time taken to execute one test depends on the type of test. If the test is complex and requires multiple steps, it will take more time to perform the actions on it. In addition, we have data-driven testing as well, where one field will have to take multiple values (sometimes thousands) to ensure that it is protected against invalid responses. It is a time-heavy task, which also opens up the scope for errors. 

Android automation can simplify this situation by not only reducing the time of execution per test but also executing the tests in parallel. Since it is done by a computer, each test will now take considerably less time and can do repetitive work as many times as possible.

Now, since the comparison is with “manual” testing, we should also take into consideration the “human” factor. So let’s say we have 100 tests and each test takes 5 minutes on average. This amounts to 500 minutes or more than 8 hours. Can any human work for 8 hours without ever taking a break or getting distracted with the same efficiency? Obviously not. What should take 500 minutes will convert to 600 minutes if done by two testers or more than 20 hours if only one tester is there. Whereas, in automation testing, a machine can work day and night without distraction or taking a break. Hence, the time difference is large between both methodologies.

7.Release faster

The more time we save, the more time we have for other testing activities. The more time we have, the quicker we are able to point out the bugs and tell them to the developer. The quicker we tell the developers, the quicker we get the fix and the quicker we merge it into the production. Hence, the impact of Android automation is navigated to the release cycles which is one of the major goals of an organization.

These reasons stand firm in making us inclined towards Android automation in case we are struggling with the decision and thinking whether it’s a good choice for us. Practically, considering the scale of applications today and how things operate in many small services, it is always recommended to adopt Android app automation from the start. 

When Do You Need to Automate Tests for Your Apps in Android?

While it is always recommended to go for automation, even if on a smaller scale, from the start of the project, sometimes time and resource constraints restrict us from doing that. However, we cannot stall it forever otherwise it starts impacting the efficiency of the team and produces a bug-induced application. In such a scenario, we should always keep looking at the signs that tell us it’s time to incorporate machine-based Android device testing.

1.When the application is made for diverse platforms

The section on Android fragmentation tells us how diverse Android devices are and not keeping their variation in mind could lead to cross-browser and cross-platform issues. This is not always the case for the organization as some organizations keep their application’s support to a bare minimum and escape this easily. However, this is not a recommended approach as not everyone uses the latest operating system and obviously with similar specifications. 

In the following graph, we can see the usage of Android’s version in the market:


As one can see, the latest Android operating system i.e. OS 13 is used by just 30.58% of the people using Android. It is therefore necessary to build the application for a diverse set of users and when you feel you are overwhelmed by the number of combinations it has started to make, it’s time for Android app automation.

2.When the application has too many components

With time, the application will start incorporating many features and enhancements to cater to the user’s requirements or bring something new to the ecosystem. Such enhancements are often large and require a separate component of its own from time to time. These components are often interlinked with each other although that is not always necessary. However, what is necessary is to create test cases that test them in isolation as well as in relation to other components.

When this scenario starts to appear, it may become a bit tough to manage the application testing manually and it would be time to include Android app automation instead.

3.When performance is extremely important

Some Android applications do not need to focus on the performance metrics of the application. For instance, a weather application that just shows weather-related information through various APIs. However, some Android applications have the top priority for performance such as game applications. And the rest lies somewhere in between.

The problem with the performance metrics is that developers and testers do not test it more often as the time is limited and it is completely invested in either rectifying the bugs or creating newer enhancements. When it comes to manual testing, the situation is even worse out there. So, if your Android application is something that requires performance checks from time to time, it is better to adopt automation. In Android app automation, the testers can script out performance-based test cases. They can be saved in the suite and run each time a code is pushed either in regression or through test farms. 

4.When target devices are too many

An application being cross-platform is different than having an application for an array of target devices. By cross-platform, we may only consider the operating system versions installed on various devices. However, target devices include the change in specification as well. So, if two devices are running Android OS 13, they will be counted as different target devices even if their screen size differs.

In the current market, mobile devices differ too much from each other on smaller parameters. A lot of manufacturers try to make their devices different by various means. This makes the target device list a long one and needless to say, we need to test on all of them for anomalies. This becomes a heroic task with manual testing. When the team feels that the device list is taking too much of their time and they start ignoring a few devices, it is better to adopt Android app automation rather than take high risks. 

5.When the test numbers have become too large

Test cases are of various types and each component will have at least one test case in each of those types ideally. For instance, there are tests written for regression runs, CI/CD pipeline runs, the farm runs, unit tests, acceptance tests, etc. Due to this, the test case list becomes very large in a very short time and keeps on increasing as well. The longer the list, the longer it will take for manual runs. Therefore, it is best to push all the tests to automation that can run complex thousands of cases in just a few hours.

While there are a few generic points, it should be noted that the need for automation can differ largely by the team and the people working on it. You may have a different reason that might not be listed here. Just remember that whenever the team is feeling under stress due to a lot of work and the time is always short, it is best to look towards Android app automation and analyze the testing phase from a different angle.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Android Automation App

Some of the factors you should consider when choosing an automated testing tool to automate your Android app testing,

1. Compatibility

The first aspect to consider is compatibility. “Is your tool compatible with all the Android operating systems that your application plans to support?” Your application may run on various old and new Android versions, so ensure the testing tool supports all OS versions for comprehensive testing and high test coverage. Testsigma supports different Android and iOS versions for automated mobile app testing.

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2. Pricing

Cost is another crucial aspect that you need to look into when it comes to investing in a platform. The pricing model of every platform varies based on the features supported, licenses, and other criteria. So, choose a tool that aligns with your business requirements and testing needs. 

3. Ease of use

Check whether the application is user-friendly and easy to use for testers and developers. Also, make sure there is proper documentation, customer support for technical assistance, and tutorials for quick adoption and onboarding. All these elements help minimize the learning curve. For example, Testsigms provides a powerful and intuitive visual interface allowing testers to create automated tests similar to Natural Language.

4. Customer Support

Does the platform offer adequate technical support to assist you with queries? Do they provide frequent updates to address bug fixes, new feature releases, and upgrades to improve performance?

5. Security

Other factors include security and data privacy. Is the platform safe and secure to use? Thoroughly check what security measures are implemented by the platform to ensure your data security and privacy.

How to Do Android App Automation?

The Android app automation can be done using two methods:

  • Scripted Android automation.
  • Codeless Android automation.

Both of them have their own strengths and bring different methodologies to the table.

Scripted Android app automation

The most conventional type of Android app automation is by writing code using any programming language given that the tool the testers are using supports it. These snippets of code are called scripts and may look as follows:

driver = webdriver.Chrome(‘./chromedriver’)



This small script prints the title of the webpage www.testsigma.com and is written using Selenium in Python programming language. As one can see, this snippet is the coded version of some action that the tester needs to perform on the website. Here, it is as simple as printing the title of the web page. However, practically, it can be much more complex and include search operations, inputting words into fields, scrolling the page, navigation, and much more.

Scripted Android app automation needs to be in a programming language only. Therefore, when the team starts their journey on this path, they need to be aware of the language as well as the test automation framework. This is generally not as simple as it looks like. A lot of the time the team has people that do not align on the same knowledge base as per their experience. In such a case, the project’s interest is kept in focus and additional money is spent on training the team members on the decided language and framework. Sometimes the team may hire new candidates as well which is also an additional expense for the project. Both of these methods will consume time as well and delay the project completion date which could be a problem if there is not much time left.

Codeless Android app automation

A contrastingly opposite approach towards testing the Android application using automation is through codeless automation. As the name suggests, the tester ditches the programming language (or code) and uses alternate methods to write scripts that will be understood by the machine. The type of method depends on the tool a tester adopts and there are no set generalized standards as of now. This is what gives power to a tool as it tries to stand apart from the crowd using its own mechanisms. What lies in a tester’s hand is to explore such tools and adopt the one that suits him and his team.

As an example, the codeless test automation tool Testsigma uses the English language to write scripts. The same script used above in Python could be written on Testsigma as follows:

Navigate to www.testsigma.com

It is not so hard to guess here that codeless test automation in most cases will not require any experience with the tool. A tester can read the documentation and use any tool within a single day of learning. Moreover, we cut down on the additional expenses highlighted in the scripted Android app automation. It is extremely rare that the team will require an additional member unless the workload needs to be shared. The only expense the team gets here is the subscription costs of codeless testing tools.

Learn more on how to automate your tests easily with codeless test automation tool Testsigma 

Best Tools for Android App Automation

The top mobile test automation tools that will help you in Android app automation and save a ton of your time can be listed as follows.

Codeless Android app automation

  • Testsigma
  • Katalon Studio
  • Ranorex

Scripted Android app automation

  • Appium
  • Testdroid
  • Selendroid
  • Espresso

All of them work in different styles and the testers are requested to learn about them before incorporating them into the project.

Android App Automation on the Cloud

The Android fragmentation makes us realize how many devices we need to deal with as testers and developers before releasing the application. Each device is important and this is what raises another question in our minds – How will we store so many devices?

The problem (or maybe the good thing) with Android is that the devices capable of running it keep appearing every day. Even if the team decides to buy out all the devices that are on the market as of today, we still need to spend money regularly. With so many devices comes the responsibility of connecting them to the infrastructure as well. A device lab is required where all the devices can be connected to some centralized server from where testers can execute the tests and install their application. All these things discussed here require a lot of time and dedicated resources, which means a lot of money. In addition, a dedicated team needs to maintain it to check for any anomalies and malfunctions and keep the infrastructure robust. 

A lot of the teams may not choose this path because of the high overheads involved. This is why some organizations have decided to take all this responsibility on them and design a lab that can be used by anyone with just a web browser. This becomes possible by cloud-based Android app automation.

A cloud-based system is accessible through a web browser and does not require any physical device in hand. Tools like Testsigma provide a secure connection to the device labs where real devices are housed for testing. Not only this, cloud-based tools come with a list of tools that help the testers initiate, process, and conclude their testing session on a single screen. To implement Android app automation, cloud systems provide integration capabilities and even support codeless or scripted test automation depending on the tool. However, not all cloud-based test automation systems are similar, and therefore, to understand their working in a better way, we can demonstrate the same using a tool working in the same domain.

Pros & Cons Of Using Automation Tools for Android Apps

Some pros and cons of using automated testing tools for Android apps include,


  • You can test your Android apps on a wide variety of devices, platforms, screen sizes, and resolutions. 

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  • You can easily scale your automated tests as your mobile application scales. 
  • Test maintenance is made easy. For instance, Testsigma’s auto-healing capability helps prevent test failures beforehand and thereby reduces test maintenance overhead.
  • You can achieve high test coverage by running your test across a wide variety of devices. Additionally, test automation tools allow you to automate every possible scenario, which is not feasible manually.
  • Avoid manual errors and get high test accuracy with Android app testing tools.


  • If your application’s UI is unstable, then automating UI tests won’t help, as the tests may keep breaking. So, go for automation if the application UI is stable and is not going through major changes..
  • When you are relatively new to the market and do not have many features to test, manual testing is a better way to test your Android application.
  • Test automation gives you an ROI if you are going to be executing your tests multiple times in the long run, but if you are most likely to run your tests only a couple of times, manual testing is the recommended approach. 

How does Testsigma help in Android App Automation?

Testsigma is a cloud-based codeless test automation tool for Android, iOS, or web-based applications. While it can be addressed as a “tool” among common testing terms to understand better, in reality, Testsigma is an eco-system that provides every functionality required from one end of testing to another. This includes support for various types of testing needs such as data-driven testing, regression testing, API testing, and cross-browser testing as well. 

Being a codeless tool, Testsigma implements artificial intelligence using natural language processing that can understand plain English and convert it to actions on its own. How easy it would be for someone just starting their career to write test cases in English and see the magic happening on a device connected through their credentials with just a couple of clicks!

To summarize the most celebrated features of Testsigma, we can list down the following:

  • English-based scripting: Testsigma takes input English language as test scripts to convert them into actions. This method is easier, faster, and low on maintenance.
  • Mobile test recorder: Testers can go one step further than codeless scripting and let the platform write test cases for them using a mobile test recorder. The recorder installs the Android application on real devices and presents the screen over the cloud just like a physical device. Then, the tester can interact with the application similar to manual testing while Testsigma will note his actions and convert them into test cases. These test cases can be saved and repeated on any device and as many times as wanted.
Mobile Test Recorder
  • Self-healing: Artificial intelligence algorithms incorporated into the mobile testing domain can detect the changes in UI and the tests associated with those changes. As a result, a self-healing process is initiated that modifies those test cases based on the changes in the user interface.
  • Versatile device lab: Testsigma comes with a diverse 2000-device mobile lab that can be used to test any Android application on any combination of specifications a tester likes.
  • Rich tools: The platform does not end its offerings at just codeless test automation. It goes one step further and provides all the necessary tools required for a testing experience. This includes screenshot capturing, test session recording, sharing the findings with teams, collaborating on a single test, and much more.
  • Diverse testing support: One of the most important things for Android app automation is to test using diverse methods to point out bugs from different angles. This includes cross-platform testing, data-driven testing, API testing, and regression testing just to name a few.
  • Reports: Finally, all the testing conducted on the Android application can be documented in a graphical report that is easy to read by technical or non-technical members.

With all these features, Testsigma also provides a free sign-up and an initial 21-day trial to test your hands on the platform and get to know its strengths hands-on. It could help you move things at least 5 times faster.

How to Use an Automation App to Perform Tasks on Android Devices?

Here we will explain how to automate tests for your android application with the help of low-code cloud-based test automation platform Testsigma.

Testsigma allows you to automate mobile, web, API, and desktop applications in one place.

With Testsigma’s intuitive interface and powerful features, you can easily automate tests on your Android devices (similar to using an Android phone) and create automated Android app tests on the go. A quick demo,

Step 1: Create a free Testsigma account to automate your Android app tests, or sign in if you’re an existing user.

Step 2: Click on Create -> New project or choose an existing project and use the Create Test Case button to start creating test cases.

Step 2: Android App Automation in Testsigma

Step 3: You need to first upload the Android app as an APK file. Then, use the Record feature to record user interactions on the mobile device which can later be run as automated tests.

Step 3: Automate Android App

Step 4: For example, if you want to log in, you can simply click on the Login button in the simulator and then click on the Tap button, and Testsigma performs the actions accordingly and creates them as automated tests.

step 4

Step 5: After creating all the required test cases to test a feature, click on the Run button to execute them. You can then find the results (pass/fail) along with other insights as shown below.

step 5

Best Practices for Android App Automation

To work with an Android app automation in the most effective way, the team is recommended to follow certain best practices for better results:

1.Choose tools wisely

A large part of Android app automation is the tools used to conduct the testing process. A wrong tool can demand additional time in managing the scripts and may take the testing process backward instead of proving to be fruitful. It is one of the most important decisions to make for a testing team and therefore it is always recommended to take as much time as required and settle on the most suitable tool as per the team, the experience, and the project.

2.Do not start testing without a strategy

A test strategy is required to document all the things that the team needs to do and all the things that could go wrong in the process. It is extremely important to analyze the risks and set the most optimum path for testing. Devising test strategies helps the team not get stuck in between and then retrace their path, all of which are huge time and monetary losses. To make the maximum out of automation testing, it is always recommended to devise a strategy, share it with the team, get feedback, redesign, and then start testing.

3.Use real devices as much as possible

Real devices are the actual physical devices available in the market. Since they are the exact same devices (with exact same hardware) that the end-user will use, they provide the best parameter values for various tests. Teams using real devices can explore bugs and glitches that might stay hidden in emulators and simulators. However, they are pricey to use and tools like Testsigma would be the best way to go. 

4.Keep removing target devices

As the new devices keep appearing in the market, they include newer APIs and faulty (or not so efficient) API deprecation. Some newer functions are also added while some previous ones are removed and so on. This makes it harder for developers to build an application that satisfies all the target devices and keeps adding the newer released ones. While it can be done practically, it just makes the code complex while we know that the market share of old phones keeps decreasing as well.

The best practice to follow in such a case is to keep eliminating the older devices as their APIs and other support are deprecated. However, this should be done with careful consideration and analysis only.

5.Do not underestimate non-technical metrics

While teams try to focus on technical metrics such as functional verifications, it is equally important to focus on non-technical metrics as well. A non-technical metric will equally impact the user (if not more) because sometimes it does not even let the user reach the functionality that the team developed and tested rigorously. For instance, if load testing is not done, a huge load can break the infrastructure and the user will not be able to interact with the application. Such metrics should always be tested with priority.

6.Monitor and analyze the defects

If the testers were able to expose bugs in Android app automation, they need to be documented and taken special care in the future. This can be achieved by repeatedly testing them on priority and implementing the rule that the test that failed earlier has a higher priority to fail again in the future.

The team should also constantly monitor the test runs and check the patterns of any failure. The bug may not always be in the Android application but sometimes in the infrastructure as well.

Following these best practices will definitely help the team work on a set path with minimum failures.


The open nature of Android has opened doors to any manufacturer who doesn’t have their own operating system and needs to blend into the market with their device. After all, developing your own operating system means your application interface, your own application developers, a hosting platform, and a lot more. Due to this, a lot of manufacturers opt for Android and fragment the already fragmented market even more. Hence, someone who is developing an Android application now has more responsibility for delivering to millions of users and taking care of the diversity that comes with it.

Android application automation is one thing that can help you in this aspect. It can share the responsibility, wrap things much quicker, and is far more accurate than manual. Not to mention the cost it saves and keeps saving as long as it is run. The whole idea of Android app automation has too much depth with a few variables that may make you ponder about the choices and their consequences. For instance, whether to go for scripted testing or codeless testing etc. This post tries to throw light on Android app automation by exploring all the possibilities and choices a user would want to make in the process. We hope this guide covers every little thing a new or experienced tester is looking for and takes advantage of it in the next project.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to automate Android apps using Java?

Android applications can be automated in any language as long as the framework used for automation testing supports it, such as Appium. If Java is one of the supported languages, then it can be used for automation.

Are Android automation apps safe?

Android automation apps are not only safe but highly recommended because of the time and money it saves for the organization. Moreover, there are no chances of test execution errors and it is more efficient than manual as well.

How to automate Android apps using Python?

There are many tools that support Python programming language to automate Android applications. Appium and Selenium are the most popular choice in this regard.

How to automate Android apps using Appium?

Appium is possibly one of the most popular automation testing platforms out there. It is extremely easy to test the Android application using Appium as well. All we need to do is install Appium, write a test script in the language we want, start the Appium server, select an Emulator to test the application on and run the test scripts on the setup.


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