Test from the command line

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This document describes how to run tests directly from the command line. This document assumes that you already know how to create an Android application and write tests for your app. For more information on how to build tests for your app, see Test apps on Android.

When you build your app using the Gradle build system, the Android Gradle plugin lets you run tests from your Gradle project using the command line. For more fine-grained control, you can also choose to run your tests through an Android Debug Bridge (adb) shell.

To learn how to run automated instrumented tests from the command line using virtual devices that Gradle manages for you, see Scale your tests with Gradle Managed Devices.

Run tests with Gradle

The Android Gradle plugin lets you run tests from your Gradle project using the command line.

The table below summarizes how to run your tests with Gradle:

Table 1. Different ways to run your tests with Gradle.

Unit test type Command to run Test result location
Local unit test Run the test task:

./gradlew test
HTML test result files: path_to_your_project/module_name/build/reports/tests/ directory.

XML test result files: path_to_your_project/module_name/build/test-results/ directory.

Instrumented unit test Run the connectedAndroidTest task:

./gradlew connectedAndroidTest
HTML test result files: path_to_your_project/module_name/build/reports/androidTests/connected/ directory.

XML test result files: path_to_your_project/module_name/build/outputs/androidTest-results/connected/ directory.

Gradle supports task name abbreviations. This means, for example, you can initiate the connectedAndroidTest task by simply entering the following command.

./gradlew cAT

You can also choose to run the Gradle tasks check and connectedCheck. These tasks run your local or instrumented tests, respectively, but additionally include other checks added by other Gradle plugins.

Run tests on a module

The test and connectedAndroidTest tasks run tests on each module in your project. You can run tests for just a specific module in your project by prefixing the test or connectedAndroidTest task with the module name and a colon (:). For example, the following command runs instrumented tests for just the mylibrary module.

./gradlew mylibrary:connectedAndroidTest

Run tests on a build variant

The test and connectedAndroidTest tasks run tests on each build variant in your project. You can target a specific build variant using the following syntax.

  • For local unit tests:
    ./gradlew testVariantNameUnitTest
  • For instrumented tests:
    ./gradlew connectedVariantNameAndroidTest

Run specific test methods or classes

When running local unit tests, Gradle allows you to target specific tests using the--tests flag. For example, the following command runs only the sampleTestMethod tests for the specified build variant. To learn more about using the --tests flag, read Gradle's documentation on test filtering.

./gradlew testVariantNameUnitTest --tests '*.sampleTestMethod'

Multi-module reports for instrumented tests

As described in table 1, Gradle saves instrumented test results in the build/ directory of each module that it tests. However, when running tests across multiple modules, it may be useful to combine all the test results into a single report. To generate a single report when running tests across multiple modules, follow these steps:

  1. In your project-level build.gradle file, add the following after the buildscript{} block:


    apply plugin 'android-reporting'


    apply(plugin = "android-reporting")
  2. Invoke the test or connectedAndroidTest task with the mergeAndroidReports task. For example:

    ./gradlew connectedAndroidTest mergeAndroidReports

    If you want to skip test failures in order for Gradle to finish running all remaining tests, add the --continue option:

    ./gradlew connectedAndroidTest mergeAndroidReports --continue

When Gradle finishes running all your tests, it saves the combined results in the path_to_your_project/build/ directory.

Run tests with adb

When you run tests from the command line with Android Debug Bridge (adb), you get more options for choosing the tests to run than with any other method. You can select individual test methods, filter tests according to a custom annotation, or specify testing options. Since the test run is controlled entirely from the command line, you can customize your testing with shell scripts in various ways.

To run a test from the command line, run adb shell to start a command line shell on your device or emulator. Inside that shell you can interact with the activity manager using the am command and use its instrument subcommand to run your tests.

As a shortcut, you can start an adb shell, call am instrument, and specify command line flags all on one input line. The shell opens on the device or emulator, runs your tests, produces output, and then returns to the command line on your computer.

To run a test with am instrument:

  1. Build or rebuild your main application and test package.
  2. Install your test package and main application Android package files (APK files) to your current Android device or emulator
  3. At the command line, enter:

    adb shell am instrument -w <test_package_name>/<runner_class>

    where <test_package_name> is the Android package name of your test application, and <runner_class> is the name of the Android test runner class you are using. The Android package name is the value of the package attribute of the manifest element in the manifest file (AndroidManifest.xml) of your test package. The Android test runner class is usually AndroidJUnitRunner:

    adb shell am instrument -w com.android.foo/androidx.test.runner.AndroidJUnitRunner

Your test results appear in STDOUT.

am instrument flags

You can find a list of all the flags to use with the am instrument command by running adb shell am help. Some important flags are described in the following table:

Table 2. Important am instrument flags.

Flag Value Description
-w (none) Forces am instrument to wait until the instrumentation terminates before terminating itself. The net effect is to keep the shell open until the tests have finished. This flag is required to see the results of your tests.
-r (none) Outputs results in raw format. Use this flag when you want to collect performance measurements, so that they are not formatted as test results. This flag is designed for use with the flag -e perf true (documented in the section am intrument options).
-e <test_options> Provides testing options as key-value pairs. The am instrument tool passes these to the specified instrumentation class using its onCreate() method. You can specify multiple occurrences of -e <test_options>. The keys and values are described in the section am instrument options. You can only use these key-value pairs with AndroidJUnitRunner or with InstrumentationTestRunner and its subclasses. Using them with any other class has no effect.
--no-hidden-api-checks (none) Disables restrictions on the use of hidden APIs. For more information on what hidden APIs are, and how this can affect your app, read Restrictions on non-SDK interfaces.

am instrument options

The am instrument tool passes testing options to AndroidJUnitRunner or InstrumentationTestRunner in the form of key-value pairs, using the -e flag, with this syntax:

-e <key> <value>

Some keys accept multiple values. You specify multiple values in a comma-separated list. For example, this invocation of AndroidJUnitRunner provides multiple values for the package key:

adb shell am instrument -w -e package com.android.test.package1,com.android.test.package2 \
> com.android.test/android.support.test.runner.AndroidJUnitRunner

The following table lists the key-value pairs you can use with your test runner.

Table 3. -e flag key-value pairs to use with your test runner.

Key Value Description
package <Java_package_name> The fully-qualified Java package name for one of the packages in the test application. Any test case class that uses this package name is executed. Notice that this is not an Android package name; a test package has a single Android package name but may have several Java packages within it.
class <class_name> The fully-qualified Java class name for one of the test case classes. Only this test case class is executed.
<class_name>#method name A fully-qualified test case class name, and one of its methods. Only this method is executed. Note the hash mark (#) between the class name and the method name.
func true Runs all test classes that extend InstrumentationTestCase.
unit true Runs all test classes that do not extend either InstrumentationTestCase or PerformanceTestCase.
size [small | medium | large] Runs a test method annotated by size. The annotations are @SmallTest, @MediumTest, and @LargeTest.
perf true Runs all test classes that implement PerformanceTestCase. When you use this option, also specify the -r flag for am instrument, so that the output is kept in raw format and not re-formatted as test results.
debug true Runs tests in debug mode.
log true Loads and logs all specified tests, but does not run them. The test information appears in STDOUT. Use this to verify combinations of other filters and test specifications.
emma true Runs an EMMA code coverage analysis and writes the output to /data/<app_package>/coverage.ec on the device. To override the file location, use the coverageFile key that is described in the following entry.

Note: This option requires an EMMA-instrumented build of the test application, which you can generate with the coverage target.

coverageFile <filename> Overrides the default location of the EMMA coverage file on the device. Specify this value as a path and filename in UNIX format. The default filename is described in the entry for the emma key.

When using the -e flag, be aware of the following:

  • am instrument invokes onCreate(Bundle) with a Bundle containing the key-value pairs.
  • The package key takes precedence over the class key. If you specify a package, and then separately specify a class within that package, Android will run all the tests in the package and ignore the class key.
  • The func key and unit key are mutually exclusive.

Usage examples

The following sections provide examples of using am instrument to run tests. They are based on the following structure:

  • The test package has the Android package name com.android.demo.app.tests
  • Two instrumented test classes:
    • Foo1 which contains the test method bar1, and
    • Foo2 which contains test methods bar2 and bar3
  • The test runner is AndroidJUnitRunner.

Run the entire test package

To run all of the test classes in the test package, enter:

adb shell am instrument -w com.android.demo.app.tests/android.support.test.runner.AndroidJUnitRunner

Run all tests in a test case class

To run all of the tests in the class Foo1, enter:

adb shell am instrument -w  \
> -e class com.android.demo.app.tests.Foo1 \
> com.android.demo.app.tests/android.support.test.runner.AndroidJUnitRunner

Select a subset of tests

To run all of the tests in the Foo1 class, and the bar3 method in Foo2, enter:

adb shell am instrument -w \
> -e class com.android.demo.app.tests.Foo1,com.android.demo.app.tests.Foo2#bar3 \
> com.android.demo.app.tests/android.support.test.runner.AndroidJUnitRunner

You can find more use cases in the AndroidJUnitRunner API reference.