Chromedriver

Appium supports automating Android web pages (in Chrome and the built-in Browser) and hybrid apps that are Chrome-backed, by managing a Chromedriver instance and proxying commands to it when necessary. It comes bundled with the latest version of Chromedriver, installed through the npm package appium-chromedriver (Github: appium-chromedriver).

Unfortunately, with each update to Chromedriver there is an increase in the minimum supported version of Chrome, such that older devices are often unable to be automated with the bundled version. In the Appium server logs there will be an error like:

An unknown server-side error occurred while processing the command.
Original error: unknown error: Chrome version must be >= 55.0.2883.0

To get around this, Appium can be configured to use a particular Chromedriver version, either at install time, by either passing the --chromedriver_version config property, e.g.,

npm install appium --chromedriver_version="2.16"

Or specifying the version in the CHROMEDRIVER_VERSION environment variable, e.g,

CHROMEDRIVER_VERSION=2.20 npm install appium

This can also be set to LATEST to get the most recent version.

Finally, a version can be specified at runtime, by specifying the --chromedriver-executable server flag, along with the full path to the Chromedriver executable which was manually downloaded, e.g.,

appium --chromedriver-executable /path/to/my/chromedriver

Chromedriver/Chrome compatibility

The following is a list of Chromedriver versions and their corresponding minimum Chrome version that is automatable:

Version Minimum Chrome Version Link to Chromedriver
2.35 62.0.3202.0 v2.35 (link)
2.34 61.0.3163.0 v2.34 (link)
2.33 60.0.3112.0 v2.33 (link)
2.32 59.0.3071.0 v2.32 (link)
2.31 58.0.3029.0 v2.31 (link)
2.30 58.0.3029.0 v2.30 (link)
2.29 57.0.2987.0 v2.29 (link)
2.28 55.0.2883.0 v2.28 (link)
2.27 54.0.2840.0 v2.27 (link)
2.26 53.0.2785.0 v2.26 (link)
2.25 53.0.2785.0 v2.25 (link)
2.24 52.0.2743.0 v2.24 (link)
2.23 51.0.2704.0 v2.23 (link)
2.22 49.0.2623.0 v2.22 (link)
2.21 46.0.2490.0 v2.21 (link)
2.20 43.0.2357.0 v2.20 (link)
2.19 43.0.2357.0 v2.19 (link)
2.18 43.0.2357.0 v2.18 (link)
2.17 42.0.2311.0 v2.17 (link)
2.16 42.0.2311.0 v2.16 (link)
2.15 40.0.2214.0 v2.15 (link)
2.14 39.0.2171.0 v2.14 (link)
2.13 38.0.2125.0 v2.13 (link)
2.12 36.0.1985.0 v2.12 (link)
2.11 36.0.1985.0 v2.11 (link)
2.10 33.0.1751.0 v2.10 (link)
2.9 31.0.1650.59 v2.9 (link)
2.8 30.0.1573.2 v2.8 (link)
2.7 30.0.1573.2 v2.7 (link)
2.6 v2.6 (link)
2.5 v2.5 (link)
2.4 29.0.1545.0 v2.4 (link)
2.3 28.0.1500.0 v2.3 (link)
2.2 27.0.1453.0 v2.2 (link)
2.1 27.0.1453.0 v2.1 (link)
2.0 27.0.1453.0 v2.0 (link)

The complete list of available Chromedriver releases is here. To find the minimum supported version for any particular version, get the Chromium source code, check out the release commit, and check the variable kMinimumSupportedChromeVersion in the file src/chrome/test/chromedriver/chrome/version.cc. (To find the release commits, you can use git log --pretty=format:'%h | %s%d' | grep -i "Release Chromedriver version".)

Installing an network issues

When Appium is installed it needs to download Chromedriver, so there is the possibility that there could be network problems that make the install fail.

By default Chromedriver is retrieved from https://chromedriver.storage.googleapis.com/. To use a mirror of the ChromeDriver binaries use npm config property chromedriver_cdnurl.

npm install appium-chromedriver --chromedriver_cdnurl=http://npm.taobao.org/mirrors/chromedriver

Or add the property into your .npmrc file.

chromedriver_cdnurl=http://npm.taobao.org/mirrors/chromedriver

Another option is to use PATH variable CHROMEDRIVER_CDNURL.

CHROMEDRIVER_CDNURL=http://npm.taobao.org/mirrors/chromedriver npm install appium-chromedriver

It may also be necessary to adjust network proxy and firewall settings to allow the download to occur.