Skip to content

Install the UiAutomator2 Driver

You can't do much with Appium unless you have a driver, which is an interface that allows Appium to automate a particular platform.


For this quickstart guide, we're going to be automating an app on the Android platform, because the system requirements for Android automation via Appium are the same as for Appium itself (whereas the iOS driver, for example, requires you to be using macOS).

The driver we're going to use is called the UiAutomator2 Driver. It's worth visiting that driver's documentation and bookmarking it, because it will be an invaluable reference down the line.

Set up Android automation requirements

According to the driver, in addition to a working Appium server, we also need to do the following:

  • Download Android SDK platform tools. You will probably want to download Android Studio and manage the SDK tools from within it for the easiest experience.
  • Set an environment variable pointing to the directory on disk where the Android tools are installed. You can usually find the path to this directory in the Android Studio SDK manager. It will contain the platform-tools and other directories. We need to define and persist the environment variable as ANDROID_HOME (or alternatively ANDROID_SDK_ROOT).
  • Use the Android SDK manager to download whichever Android platform we want to automate (for example, API level 30)
  • Install the Java JDK (for the most recent Android API levels, JDK 9 is required, otherwise JDK 8 is required). It's easiest to use the OpenJDK packages. Make sure you get the JDK and not the JRE.
  • When the JDK is installed, you'll need to find the path to the JDK home directory as it was installed on your system. This will be the directory that contains the bin, include, and other directories. The path must be persisted as an environment variable named JAVA_HOME, so that Appium can find the appropriate Java tooling that is required to work with the Android platform.
  • Use Android Studio to create and launch an Android Virtual Device (an AVD, otherwise known as an emulator). You may need to download the system images for the API level of the emulator you want to create. Using the AVD creation wizard in Android Studio is generally the easiest way to do all of this.


    You can also use a physical Android device, so long as it is configured for debugging and development

  • With the emulator or device connected, you can run adb devices (via the binary located at $ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools/adb) to verify that your device shows up as connected.

Once your device shows up as connected in ADB, and you've verified that the environment variables are set up correctly in the terminal context where you are going to run Appium, you should be good to go! If you ran into problems with any of these steps, refer to the driver documentation, or the various Android or Java documentation sites as necessary.

Also, congratulations: whether or not you intended to, you now have the Android developer toolchain set up on your system, so you can get busy making Android apps if you want!

Install the driver itself

Since the UiAutomator2 driver is maintained by the core Appium team, it has an 'official' driver name that you can use to install it easily via the Appium Extension CLI:

appium driver install uiautomator2

It should produce output that looks something like:

Attempting to find and install driver 'uiautomator2'
✔ Installing 'uiautomator2' using NPM install spec 'appium-uiautomator2-driver'
Driver [email protected] successfully installed
- automationName: UiAutomator2
- platformNames: ["Android"]

Running this command will locate and install the latest version of the UiAutomator2 driver, making it available for automation. Note that when it is installed it tells you what platforms it is valid for (in this case, Android), and what automation name (the appium:automationName capability) must be used to select this driver for use during an Appium session (in this case, UiAutomator2).


In this quickstart we have used the Extension CLI to install the UiAutomator2 driver, but if you are incorporating Appium into a Node.js project, you might prefer to use NPM to manage Appium and its connected drivers. To learn more about this technique, visit the guide on managing Appium extensions.

Now, start the Appium server again (run appium), and you should see that the newly-installed driver is listed as available:

[Appium] Available drivers:
[Appium]   - [email protected] (automationName 'UiAutomator2')

With the Android setup complete and the UiAutomator2 driver installed, you're ready to write your first test! So pick the language you're most comfortable with under the quickstart menu and give it a shot.