Managing Appium Drivers and Plugins
To do anything useful with Appium, you need to have at least one Driver installed, otherwise Appium won't know how to automate anything. There is an entire Ecosystem of drivers and plugins out there!
This guide helps explain how to manage these drivers and plugins. There are two basic strategies: using Appium's extension CLI interface, or managing extensions yourself in an npm-based project.
Note: Alternative package managers are not supported by Appium at the time of this writing.
Using Appium's Extension CLI
With Appium's Extension CLI, you let Appium manage drivers and plugins for you. You will use CLI commands to tell Appium which extensions you would like to install, update, or remove. Here's an example of how you might install a driver using the CLI:
This command will install the latest version of the XCUITest Driver. The Extension CLI comes with a variety of commands and parameters; see the documentation for that command for all the specifics.
The all-important question when Appium is managing your extensions for you is: where are they installed?
Appium manages extensions in a directory specified by the
APPIUM_HOME environment variable. You
can set that variable to anything you like, and Appium will manage its extensions there. You can
therefore also use the
APPIUM_HOME environment variable to manage different sets of extensions,
for example if you want to have the same driver installed at conflicting versions:
APPIUM_HOME=/path/to/home1 appium driver install [email protected] APPIUM_HOME=/path/to/home2 appium driver install [email protected]
Running these commands will result in two separate
APPIUM_HOME directories being created and
populated with the corresponding version of the XCUITest driver. You can then use the same
environment variables to direct Appium which version to use on launch:
APPIUM_HOME=/path/to/home1 appium # use xcuitest driver 4.11.1 APPIUM_HOME=/path/to/home2 appium # use xcuitest driver 4.11.2
You don't need to set
APPIUM_HOME if you don't want to! By default, Appium will set
to the directory
.appium in your user home directory.
These installed packages will be managed by
Because Appium and Appium drivers are Node.js programs, if you are integrating your Appium scripts
into your own Node.js project, there is an alternative way to manage drivers and plugins: via
npm, like any other dependency.
Basically, whenever you run Appium, if you have not explicitly set
APPIUM_HOME, it will:
- Try to determine whether the current directory is inside an
- If so, it will check whether
appiumis a dependency (dev, prod, or peer) in the project's
- If so, unless you have specified
APPIUM_HOMEin your environment, Appium will ignore load drivers and plugins defined in that
This means you are freely able to add Appium drivers and plugins as regular package dependencies or dev dependencies. For
example, if your project has a
package.json which includes the following:
Then, if you run
npx appium inside your project, Appium will detect that it is a dependency of
the project, and will load the XCUITest driver which is also listed as a dev dependency for the
This strategy is only recommended if you are already using
npm for your project.
Otherwise, it is recommended that you use Appium's Extension CLI and, if necessary, adjust
APPIUM_HOME to change the location of stored extensions.