Detecting Espresso UI Testing within an Android App

Detecting Espresso UI Testing within an Android App

11 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

When developing Android applications, it’s often necessary to alter the app’s behavior during UI testing with frameworks like Espresso. For instance, you might need to disable certain features to ensure test cases run properly. This article provides a guide on how to programmatically detect if your Android app is running Espresso tests, without creating additional build variants or using the BuildConfig.DEBUG flag.

Method for Detection

To detect whether your app is running an Espresso test, you can utilize reflection to check for the presence of the Espresso class at runtime. Here is a Java example that demonstrates how to implement this:

private static AtomicBoolean isRunningTest;

public static synchronized boolean isRunningTest() {
    if (null == isRunningTest) {
        boolean istest;
        try {
            // "" if you haven't migrated to androidx yet
            istest = true;
        } catch (ClassNotFoundException e) {
            istest = false;
        isRunningTest = new AtomicBoolean(istest);
    return isRunningTest.get();

This method checks if the Espresso class is available in the classpath. If the class is found, it means that the app is currently running an Espresso test. The result is stored in an AtomicBoolean to ensure thread safety and to avoid performing the class lookup each time the method is called.


Integrate the isRunningTest() method within your application code to conditionally disable or enable features when an Espresso test is running. Here’s how you might use it:

if (isRunningTest()) {
    // Disable or alter app features for Espresso tests

Alternative Kotlin Implementation

If you’re working with Kotlin, the equivalent implementation would be as follows:

val isRunningTest: Boolean by lazy {
    try {
    } catch (e: ClassNotFoundException) {

if (isRunningTest) {
    // Espresso only code

This Kotlin property uses lazy initialization to perform the Espresso class check only once, providing an efficient way to determine if the app is under test.


By incorporating the isRunningTest() method into your Android application, you can make runtime decisions based on whether Espresso UI tests are being executed. This approach enables you to maintain a single codebase for both production and testing, without the need for additional build configurations or compromising on debug features.

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