How to Mock Private Method Using Mockito: An Easy Guide

how to mock private method using mockito

Welcome to our easy guide on how to mock private methods using Mockito! In Java unit testing, mocking private methods is important to ensure the accuracy and reliability of your tests. Mockito is a popular Java framework that provides an easy and efficient way to mock private methods. In this section, we will give you an overview of the step-by-step process to mock private methods using Mockito.

Now let’s take a closer look at Mockito. Mockito is a powerful framework that simplifies the process of creating test doubles, making unit testing more efficient and effective. It allows you to create mock objects with a few lines of code in order to test your code in a controlled environment, without affecting the rest of the system.

Understanding Mockito: A Quick Overview

If you are a Java developer, you might have heard about mockito, a popular framework used for unit testing. Mockito enables you to create mock objects for a class or an interface, which can be used to simulate the behavior of the real object during testing.

Mockito has gained a lot of popularity because of its simplicity, ease of use, and extensive documentation. The framework is open-source and is actively maintained by the Mockito team. Mockito provides a rich set of APIs to create and configure mock objects, and it integrates effortlessly with popular testing frameworks, such as JUnit, TestNG, and others.

Mockito can be used to test both public and private methods of a class. However, testing private methods can be a bit tricky. In the following sections, we will dive into the details of how to use mockito to test private methods in Java.

Mocking Private Methods with Mockito: Step-by-Step

Mocking private methods can be essential in Java unit testing as it allows you to isolate specific parts of your code and test them thoroughly. In this section, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to mock private methods using Mockito.

Step 1 – Add Mockito Dependency:

The first step is to add the Mockito dependency to your project’s build file. You can do this by adding the following lines to your build.gradle file:

Gradle Maven
  dependencies {
      testCompile 'org.mockito:mockito-core:2.0.0'

Step 2 – Create the Mock Object:

The next step is to create a mock object for the class that contains the private method you want to test. You can do this using the Mockito.mock() method as shown below:

YourClass yourClassMock = Mockito.mock(YourClass.class);

Note: Replace YourClass with the name of your class.

Step 3 – Use Reflection to Access the Private Method:

Since private methods cannot be accessed directly, we need to use Java reflection to invoke the private method. You can do this using the following code:

Method privateMethod = YourClass.class.getDeclaredMethod("privateMethodName", arg1.class, arg2.class);

Note: Replace “privateMethodName” with the name of the private method and “arg1.class” and “arg2.class” with the appropriate argument types.

Step 4 – Mock the Private Method:

Now that we have access to the private method, we can use Mockito to mock it. You can do this using the following code:

Mockito.when(privateMethod.invoke(yourClassMock, arg1Value, arg2Value)).thenReturn(returnValue);

Note: Replace “arg1Value” and “arg2Value” with the appropriate argument values and “returnValue” with the value you want the method to return.

Step 5 – Test the Mocked Private Method:

Finally, you can test the mocked private method by calling it on the mock object created earlier. You can do this using the following code:


Note: Replace “yourMethod” with the name of the method that invokes the private method.

By following these steps, you can easily mock private methods in Java using Mockito and perform efficient unit testing.

Best Practices for Testing Private Methods

Testing private methods can be tricky and may lead to incomplete test coverage if not done correctly. Here are some best practices to follow when testing private methods using Mockito:

  1. Use reflection with caution: While reflection can be used to access and test private methods, it can also lead to brittle tests that break easily when the implementation changes. Use it only if necessary and avoid relying on it as much as possible.
  2. Test private methods indirectly: Instead of testing private methods directly, try testing the public methods that use them. This ensures that the private methods are tested indirectly and that the overall functionality of the class is being tested.
  3. Mock collaborator objects: If a private method collaborates with another object, it is important to mock that object in order to test the private method in isolation. This ensures that the test is not affected by any external factors.
  4. Avoid testing implementation details: Private methods are implementation details that can change frequently. It is important to focus on testing the behavior of the class rather than the implementation details of the private methods.
  5. Write clear and concise test names: Test names should be descriptive enough to understand what the test does without having to go through the entire code. This helps in quick debugging and understanding the test code.
  6. Follow a consistent testing strategy: It is important to follow a consistent testing strategy across all tests. This helps in maintaining uniformity and consistency in the testing process.
  7. Refactor the code: If testing a private method is proving to be difficult or is leading to overly complex tests, it may be a sign that the code needs to be refactored. Refactoring the code can help make it more testable and can simplify the testing process.

By following these best practices, testing private methods using Mockito can become a more efficient and effective process.


Here are some frequently asked questions about mocking private methods using mockito:

Q: Why should I mock private methods?

A: There are several reasons why you may want to mock private methods. For example, you may want to test a public method that calls a private method, without testing the private method itself. Or, you may want to simulate a certain behavior of the private method in your test, without actually executing the private method.

Q: Is it possible to mock private methods in Java?

A: Yes, it is possible to mock private methods in Java using mockito. However, it requires some additional steps compared to mocking public methods.

Q: How do I mock private methods using mockito?

A: Mocking private methods with mockito involves using the PowerMock extension library. You will need to annotate your test class with @PrepareForTest, and use the PowerMockito.when() method to mock the private method.

Q: Can I test private methods without mocking them?

A: It is possible to test private methods without mocking them, but it is generally not recommended. Testing private methods directly can lead to fragile tests that break easily when the implementation of the private method changes.

Q: What are some best practices for testing private methods?

A: Some best practices for testing private methods include testing them indirectly through public methods, or testing them as part of a larger scenario that involves multiple classes. You should also avoid testing private methods that are trivial or have no side effects.

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