Android Privacy Policy May Break Your Test Automation Scripts

Last month, Google announced its plans to purge play store apps that do not include a privacy policy and the app required security permissions upon app installation.

Behind that requirement, Google is trying to provide its users maximum transparency on what the app is requiring, and what data it collects when users consume the apps.

An example for a native app that already implemented that requirement is StateFarm insurance, see below

So, with that simple request to mobile Android app developers, there are few quality implications.

Immediate Implications and Requirements

  1. Revise and continuously maintain your test code
    1. The above screen obviously was not planned for in the latest test automation cycle, which means that a new cycle will get stuck and fail since this is a new screen with a request for a user action – Teams ought to develop new test steps that upon initial app installation would test the following: When user Clicks Accept the app launches successfully, while when users Click Decline the app closes)
    2. Coverage matrix implications: Existing test suites should cover the above new scenario’s on the supported platforms – Device/OS combinations
  2. Varying permissions across platforms
    1. Most apps will require unique permissions that are (hopefully!) being used and required by the app to functions (see below visual from iUbenda).
    2. Different OS versions of iOS and Android might behave differently and support different security features like in Android 6.0 and above (Doze, Permission groups etc.)
  3. Compatibility of device/OS features and permissions
    1. Wha happens in the above regards, once an app supports even a normal related permission e.g. USE_FINGERPRINT. This permission since it resides in the normal group, it will be automatically granted to the user, however, what if the DUT (device under test) does not support this feature? How are teams differentiating in an automated way the test execution with regards to the device capability? Matching the device features and the test case as part of a dynamic test execution can be a powerful agile capability especially in the growing mobile fragmented market.

 

 

As seen in the above, from a testing perspective, Android apps that support “Dangerous Permissions” would require the Dev/Test teams to develop and validate a varying use case or device/OS behavior test case when tested on Android 6.0 and above compared to Android 5.1 and below (e.g Android API level < version 23).

 

 

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