How do I automate an Android NUnit Test project?


This guide explains how to automate an Android NUnit test project, not a Xamarin.UITest project. Xamarin.UITest guides can be found here.

When you create a Unit Test App (Android) project in Visual Studio (or Android Unit Test project in Visual Studio for Mac), this project will not automatically run your tests by default. To run NUnit tests on a target device, you can create an Android.App.Instrumentation subclass that is started by using the following command:

adb shell am instrument 

The following steps explain this process:

  1. Create a new file called TestInstrumentation.cs:

    using System;
    using System.Reflection;
    using Android.App;
    using Android.Content;
    using Android.Runtime;
    using Xamarin.Android.NUnitLite;
    namespace App.Tests {
        public class TestInstrumentation : TestSuiteInstrumentation {
            public TestInstrumentation (IntPtr handle, JniHandleOwnership transfer) : base (handle, transfer)
            protected override void AddTests ()
                AddTest (Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly ());

    In this file, Xamarin.Android.NUnitLite.TestSuiteInstrumentation (from Xamarin.Android.NUnitLite.dll) is subclassed to create TestInstrumentation.

  2. Implement the TestInstrumentation constructor and the AddTests method. The AddTests method controls which tests are actually executed.

  3. Modify the .csproj file to add TestInstrumentation.cs. For example:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <Project DefaultTargets="Build" ToolsVersion="4.0" xmlns="">
            <Compile Include="TestInstrumentation.cs" />
        <Target Name="RunTests" DependsOnTargets="_ValidateAndroidPackageProperties">
            <Exec Command="&quot;$(_AndroidPlatformToolsDirectory)adb&quot; $(AdbTarget) $(AdbOptions) shell am instrument -w $(_AndroidPackage)/app.tests.TestInstrumentation" />
  4. Use the following command to run the unit tests. Replace PACKAGE_NAME with the app's package name (the package name can be found in the app's /manifest/@package attribute located in AndroidManifest.xml):

    adb shell am instrument -w PACKAGE_NAME/app.tests.TestInstrumentation
  5. Optionally, you can modify the .csproj file to add the RunTests MSBuild target. This makes it possible to invoke the unit tests with a command like the following:

    msbuild /t:RunTests Project.csproj

    (Note that using this new target is not required; the earlier adb command can be used instead of msbuild.)

For more information about using the adb shell am instrument command to run unit tests, see the Android Developer Running tests with ADB topic.


With the Xamarin.Android 5.0 release, the default package names for Android Callable Wrappers will be based on the MD5SUM of the assembly-qualified name of the type being exported. This allows the same fully-qualified name to be provided from two different assemblies and not get a packaging error. So make sure that you use the Name property on the Instrumentation attribute to generate a readable ACW/class name.

The ACW name must be used in the adb command above. Renaming/refactoring the C# class will thus require modifying the RunTests command to use the correct ACW name.