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Bypass Screenshot Restriction

If you test Android mobile apps on Sauce Labs real devices and you see a black screen in your live testing session, you might need to enable Bypass Screenshot Restriction.

This black screen is caused by a setting called FLAG_SECURE that is sometimes added to Android apps. This prevents video or screenshots from being taken of the app.

Under the right conditions, when a user enables Bypass Screenshot Restriction, this allows Sauce Labs to work around the FLAG_SECURE setting so that the app can be tested. However, your ability to work around this setting is limited as described in Workarounds for FLAG_SECURE Apps.

note

Legacy app storage in Sauce Labs does not support this setting.

The results of this setting vary based on the type of testing you’re doing:

  • Live - If you attempt to run a live test on a real device, you will not be able to interact with any screens that have this setting.
  • Automated - You can run automated tests on real devices, but you will not be able to see video associated with those tests.

About FLAG_SECURE

The FLAG_SECURE flag is intended to let app developers designate sensitive screens in applications as secure. This means the designated windows can’t appear in screenshots, streaming video, or other displays deemed insecure. The actual effects of this flag depends on the Android mobile OS version:

  • Android 7.0 and 8.0 - Video works, but you can’t take a screenshot
  • Android 9+ - You can’t see video or screenshots

For more information, see FLAG_SECURE.

Workarounds for FLAG_SECURE Apps

Your ability to work around this setting to test will depend on a few factors:

  • Who owns the app:
    • If your developers have created this app, they should be able to provide you with a version that does not have the FLAG_SECURE flag enabled.
    • If your company has built this app on top of another company’s technology, your ability to request a version of the app without this flag is limited.
  • Whether Bypass Screenshot Restriction is an option:
    • If your developers have created this app and they can’t provide you with an app that doesn’t use FLAG_SECURE, the Bypass Screenshot Restriction is an option.
    • If you’re testing a scenario that includes interacting with an app owned by another company, Bypass Screenshot Restriction won’t work. For example if you need to use Google Pay to purchase something on your app, you won’t see video for that part of the purchase process.
    • If your app is built on another company’s technology, Bypass Screenshot Restriction won’t work.
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In cases where you’re using a third party app, you might be able to test your data directly on that app using live testing on a web browser.

Enable Bypass Screenshot Restriction

If you are testing your company’s proprietary app on a real device, you might be able to work around the FLAG_SECURE setting by enabling Bypass Screenshot Restriction on that app under certain circumstances (see Workarounds for FLAG_SECURE Apps).

What You’ll Need

Editing the App

  1. Go to Live > Mobile App.
  2. Hover over the app you want to test.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Under Default Settings > Instrumentation on the right, find Bypass Screenshot Restriction.
  5. Click the slider to Enabled.
  6. Click Back to App Selection at the top to test your app.