Testing Builds on Real Devices

In this document, you'll learn how to integrate App Center Build and App Center Test to run your latest successful build on real devices.

Supported Configurations

App Center device testing requires:

  • An Android or iOS app.
  • The app package is compatible with running on physical devices.

Configuring your build

  1. Log into https://appcenter.ms
  2. Create your app by going to Add new > Add new app. More details: Creating and Managing Apps
  3. Name your app, select the target OS of your app, and the platform your app uses.
  4. Select the Build icon on the left side of the screen.
  5. Connect your code repository. More details: App Center Build Introduction.
  6. Choose your branch.
  7. click Configure to create a new configuration, or click the wrench/gear icon to edit an existing configuration.
  8. Click Save

If you close the settings page without saving, it will default back to its previous settings. Saving is disabled when settings are invalid or missing required information.

Enable Launch Testing

Using Launch Testing doesn't require writing tests or a license for App Center Test. For Android apps, the Launch Testing feature automatically handles testing using Xamarin.UITest, while for iOS it uses Appium.

Select the Test on a real device switch on the branch configuration page. The launch test adds a few minutes to your build time since the build waits for the test to complete. The benefit is that you know whether your app starts on a physical device.

Finding your launch test result can be done in a few ways:

  • On the results page for each Build, a link to the launch test is displayed.
  • Go to Test in the left-hand menu, and select Test Series > Launch-Tests to view all launch tests for that app.


Some Android configurations can create several APK files. Which makes it unclear to the build service which binary to test. Disable Generate one package(.apk) per selected ABI in your Android Build options to resolve the problem. Android apps require Internet permissions for Launch Testing. Make sure to declare internet permissions in your app manifest.

Automatically Deploy to App Center Test

You can integrate Build & Test to run a UI test suite with each build of your app. This feature has additional requirements and limitations compared to Launch Testing:

  • A valid Test trial or paid license is required.
  • Only UI tests written using Appium (JUnit), Calabash, Espresso, XCUITest, or Xamarin.UITest are currently supported.
  • Some testing frameworks require additional setup to enable App Center Test support, including Appium, Espresso & XCUITest
  • Use a Post-Build script to handle any tasks your test suite requires that isn't handled by your app build directly. These tasks might include compiling your test dlls & a command to upload your test suite to the Test service.
  • The Build service doesn't extend its timeout limit (1 hour) for full UITests, so unless test runs are short, using the --async flag in your upload command is required. Your Build completion status won't reflect whether the test suite passed or not.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Configure your app, Build & Test trial or license. (You can ignore the Launch Test setting in Build).
  2. Confirm that your test suite runs locally on a physical device, and that you can upload it locally to the Test service.
  3. Write your post-build script. Environment variables can help you write a valid build script.
  4. Save your Build configuration in App Center after the first time you commit a build script, or if you change its location in your repository. The build script should be located in the main app project's root folder.
  5. Within your build script, make sure to build your test suite if it wasn't already built along with your main app.
  6. Also within your build script, provide and execute an upload command for App Center Test that:
  • Points to all your Test dependencies, including your test dlls, app package & any other requirements of your test such as included datafiles.
  • Use the --async command to make sure your Build doesn't wait for the test suite to complete
  • Exclude your app dependencies, which should already be present in your app package. Including app dependencies in the upload can cause unpredictable behavior in your test run.

Sample Test Build Scripts

You can view examples of valid build scripts here: