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Should you be using the computer for other things if computer is running appium automation tests for Jenkins? Will it cause tests to fail? Should you leave the computer used for Jenkins idle or can you actively open ide and other programs while the appium is running in the background?

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You could try using it in parallel but generally it's not recommended.

Appium test execution tends to get unstable when you use your computer for other stuff, especially when the target device is an emulator.

Another option (if your system can handle it) would be to set up a local VM, open IDE and other programs there while Jenkins runs on host machine.

Ideally though you should have dedicated machine(s) available and ready to execute your mobile tests at any time.

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