The Android Emulator simulates Android devices on your computer so that you can test your application on a variety of devices and Android API levels without needing to have each physical device. The emulator provides almost all of the capabilities of a real Android device. You can simulate incoming phone calls and text messages, specify the location of the device, simulate different network speeds, simulate rotation and other hardware sensors, access the Google Play Store, and much more.
Testing your app on the emulator is in some ways faster and easier than doing so on a physical device. For example, you can transfer data faster to the emulator than to a device connected over USB. You can use the emulator manually through its graphical user interface and programmatically through the command line and the emulator console. For a comparison of the features available through each interface, see Comparison of Android Emulator tools.
The Android Emulator has additional requirements beyond the basic system requirements for Android Studiowhich are described below:. The use of hardware acceleration has additional requirements on Windows and Linux:. To work with Android 8. The Android Emulator was deprecated in June for bit Windows systems. Support for the bit Windows emulator continues until Juneincluding critical bug fixes, but no new features will be added. If you are using the emulator on a bit Windows system, you should plan to migrate to a bit Windows system.
If you are using the emulator on a bit Windows system, you can use the SDK Manager to install the latest version of the emulator for bit Windows. Each instance of the Android Emulator uses an Android virtual device AVD to specify the Android version and hardware characteristics of the simulated device.
To effectively test your app, you should create an AVD that models each device on which your app is designed to run. Each AVD functions as an independent device, with its own private storage for user data, SD card, and so on. By default, the emulator stores the user data, SD card data, and cache in a directory specific to that AVD.
You can run an app from an Android Studio project, or you can run an app that's been installed on the Android Emulator as you would run any app on a device. In the toolbar, select the AVD that you want to run your app on from the target device drop-down menu. Click Run. If you receive an error or warning message at the top of the dialog, click the link to correct the problem or to get more information.
If you don't have this file, enter the following command in a terminal window:. While the emulator is running, you can run Android Studio projects and choose the emulator as the target device. You can also drag one or more APKs onto the emulator to install them, and then run them. An APK Installer dialog appears. When the installation completes, you can view the app in your apps list. To add a file to the emulated device, drag the file onto the emulator screen.
You can view the file from Android Studio using the Device File Exploreror find it from the device using the Downloads or Files app, depending on the device version. A snapshot is a stored image of an AVD Android Virtual Device that preserves the entire state of the device at the time that it was saved — including OS settings, application state, and user data.
You can return to a saved system state by loading a snapshot whenever you choose, saving you the time of waiting for the operating system and applications on the virtual device to restart, as well as saving you the effort of bringing your app back to the state at which you want to resume your testing.
Starting a virtual device by loading a snapshot is much like waking a physical device from a sleep state, as opposed to booting it from a powered-off state. The simplest way to take advantage of snapshots is to use Quick Boot snapshots: By default, each AVD is set to automatically save a Quick Boot snapshot on exit and load from a Quick Boot snapshot on start.
Best Android emulator in 2020
The first time that an AVD starts, it must perform a cold bootjust like powering on a device. If Quick Boot is enabled, all subsequent starts load from the specified snapshot, and the system is restored to the state saved in that snapshot. Snapshots are valid for the system image, AVD configuration, and emulator features with which they are saved. When you make a change in any of these areas, all snapshots of the affected AVD become invalid.
Most controls for saving, loading, and managing snapshots are in the Snapshots and Settings tabs in the Snapshots pane in the emulator's Extended controls window. You can also control the Quick Boot options when starting the emulator from the command line.There are a lot of valid reasons why someone would want to run Android emulators on their PC.
App developers may be trying to test their application before shipping it out. Gamers may want to use a mouse and keyboard on their games. Maybe you just want it there to have it. Some old favorites either left the space or become unusable Andy, AmiduOS, and Leapdroidbut everything else here should work okay for most people.
Here are the best Android emulators for PC and Mac. There are three main uses for emulators. Gamers can use emulators on their computers to make some games easier to play. The second most common use case is development. Android app and game developers like to test apps and games on as many devices a possible before launch.
Usually the Android Studio emulator is fine for this kind of work. However, Xamarin and Genymotion are excellent for this type of use as well. The final main type is productivity. Any gaming emulator works as a productivity emulator to an extent. However, those with hyper specific use cases and a little knowledge can try ARChon and Bliss. Even so, in this day and age, we recommend going the Chromebook route if you want to run Android apps in a laptop or computer environment.
Finally, a bit of a disclaimer. At this time, no emulators run the latest versions of Android. Most of them run something around Android Oreo or Android Nougat. It features the usual array of gamer-oriented features, including good keyboard mapping controls, multi-instance, macros, high FPS, and graphical support.
This is one of the few emulators on the list that gets active updates nearly every month. In the latest versions, LDPlayer has optimized the performance of Free Fire to make it much easier to pull off the auto headshot, which has made it a growing favorite among Free Fire players. Android Studio is the default development console for Android. It comes with a bunch of tools to help developers make apps and games specifically for Android.
As it turns out, there is also a built-in emulator that you can use to test out your app or game. The setup is rather complicated and it can take a long time. However, developers can simply use this tool as their emulator for testing their apps. It also supports Kotlin in case developers want to try that out. You install it as a Google Chrome extension. It then gives Chrome the ability to run Android apps and games albeit with limited support.
From there, you have to obtain APKs and load them in. As an added rub, you may need to use a tool to change the APK in order to make it compatible. There are a lot more steps to make this work than most other Android emulators for PC.The Android Emulator lets you develop and test Android apps without using a physical device. This page describes command-line features that you can use with the Android Emulator. Use the emulator command to start the emulator, as an alternative to running your project or starting it through the AVD Manager.
For example, if you launch the emulator from within Android Studio running on a Mac, the default command line will be similar to the following:. When you use this option, it displays a list of AVD names from your Android home directory. You could set the environment variable in the terminal window before launching a virtual device, or you could set it through your user settings in the operating system; for example, in your.
In addition to installing an app through Android Studio or the emulator UIyou can install your app on a virtual device by using the adb utility.
Note: The adb utility sees the virtual device as an actual physical device. For this reason, you might have to use the -d flag with some common adb commands, such as install.
The -d flag lets you specify which of several connected devices to use as the target of a command. If you don't specify -dthe emulator targets the first device in its list. The emulator uses associated files, of which the AVD system and data directories are the most important. It helps to understand the emulator directory structure and files when specifying command-line options. Although, you normally don't need to modify the default directories or files. The system directory contains the Android system images that the emulator uses to simulate the operating system.
Run apps on the Android Emulator
The default locations are the following:. Use the -sysdir option to specify a different system directory for the AVD. When you create a new AVD, or when you use the -wipe-data option to reset the AVD to the factory defaults, the emulator copies the userdata.
Each virtual device instance uses a writable user-data image to store user- and session-specific data. For example, it uses the image to store a unique user's installed app data, settings, databases, and files.
The file is stored on your development computer and must be loaded at startup. You can view the sdcard. You can browse, send files to, and copy and remove files from a simulated SD card by using the emulator UI or the adb utility while the virtual device is running.To ensure you have the latest version, check the SDK Manager for updates.
For Android Emulator versions prior to For details of bugs fixed in each release, see the Android Studio release updates blog. This update includes support for running the emulator directly in Android Studio and virtual devices with Freeform Window Mode activated by default.
The Android Emulator can now be run directly in Android Studio. Use this feature to conserve screen real estate, to navigate quickly between the emulator and the editor window using hotkeys, and to organize your IDE and emulator workflow in a single application window. This hardware profile requires a system image with Android 11 Developer Preview 3 or higher.
Resizing freeform windows is currently broken due to issues transferring focus to the Window Manager. This will be addressed in a future Android 11 system image release. If you were previously unable to use the Android Emulator because your app depended on ARM binaries, you can now use the Android 9 x86 system image or any Android 11 system image to run your app — it is no longer necessary to download a specific system image to run ARM binaries.
These Android 9 and Android 11 system images support ARM by default and provide dramatically improved performance when compared to those with full ARM emulation. If you are using Windows bit, you cannot upgrade to version This update continues our work on the Project Marble initiative that was announced at the Android Developer Summit in November The following sections describe the Project Marble improvements that are included with this update:.
Starting with version This option is automatically disabled whenever the emulator is restarted. If you are using the command line, you can also enable host audio using the -allow-host-audio option, and you can use the following ADB commands to turn host audio data on or off, respectively:.
You can use headless builds to help you set up the emulator for Docker and continuous integration CI workflows. On Linux, headless builds no longer include the pulseaudio or libX11 libraries. The system-dependent shared libraries that are not packaged with the emulator has been reduced to the following list:.
To address CPU usage, the emulator now runs the following ADB commands on a cold boot after it receives a boot complete signal:. This update also includes the following general improvements that are part of the Project Marble initiative:. This update also includes the following general fixes that are part of the Project Marble initiative:.
The emulator now includes hardware profiles for foldable devices. To use these new hardware profiles, you must be using Android Studio 3.
Start the emulator from the command line
When you run the emulator using one of these hardware profiles, you can fold and unfold the device using the fold and unfold actions in the emulator toolbar, console commandsor the following keyboard shortcuts:. The emulator now includes AR macros that can help you test common AR actions. For example, you can use a macro to reset all the device's sensors to their default state. For more information, see Test common AR actions with macros.
This support is still experimental and is mainly for developers who work on system images, drivers, and game engines.The emulator provides versatile networking capabilities that you can use to set up complex modeling and testing environments for your app.
The following sections introduce the emulator network architecture and capabilities. An emulated device can't see your development machine or other emulator instances on the network. The virtual router for each instance manages the Note that the same address assignments are used by all running emulator instances.
That means that if you have two instances running concurrently on your machine, each will have its own router and, behind that, each will have an IP address of The instances are isolated by a router and can not see each other on the same network. Also note that the address If you want to access services running on your development machine loopback interface a.
Android apps running in an emulator can connect to the network available on your workstation. However, apps connect through the emulator, not directly to hardware, and the emulator acts like a normal app on your workstation. This can cause some limitations:. There are no built-in limitations on port numbers or ranges except the one imposed by your host operating system and network.
Depending on the environment, the emulator might not be able to support other protocols such as ICMP, used for "ping". Currently, the emulator does not support IGMP or multicast.
To communicate with an emulator instance behind its virtual router, you need to set up network redirection on the virtual router. There are two ways to set up network redirection: using emulator console commands and using the adb tool, as described below. Each emulator instance provides a control console that you can connect to, to issue commands that are specific to that instance. You can use the redir console command to set up redirection as needed for an emulator instance.
First, determine the console port number for the target emulator instance. For example, the console port number for the first emulator instance launched is Next, connect to the console of the target emulator instance, specifying its console port number, as follows:.
Once connected, use the redir command to work with redirection. To add a redirection, use:. For example, the following command sets up a redirection that handles all incoming TCP connections to your host development machine on To delete a redirection, you can use the redir del command.
To list all redirection for a specific instance, you can use redir list. For more information about these and other console commands, see Using the Emulator Console. Note that port numbers are restricted by your local environment.
This typically means that you cannot use host port numbers under without special administrator privileges.There are several reasons for emulating Android on a PC or Mac. It's often easier to test apps on a desktop than a mobile device, and for everyone else there's the appeal of being able to play mobile games on a much larger screen.
Indeed, gaming is the most common reason for emulating Android on a desktop computer, though you can also use an emulator to run any app from the Google Play Store. While business apps for Android may also be available, many of these are SaaS-based cloud apps anyway, so are just as accessible on your desktop PC via your browser anyway, though games usually aren't.
BlueStacks App Player is perhaps the best-known Android emulator, and it's hardly surprising given its quality and reliability. BlueStacks has been designed with ease of use in mind, and looks and feels just like Android on a tablet or smartphone. There are free and paid-for versions available. The free one includes some ads and the occasional sponsored app, but these are pretty discreet.
BlueStacks is primarily about games and the interface is essentially a front end for downloading and installing them, but it's also possible to visit the Google Play Store and search for other apps. If you want to add apps and games from other sources, you have the option of using standalone APK files.
Performance is decent assuming your hardware is reasonably powerful, making this a great way to bring Android to the big screen. If you're planning to use Nox for gaming, you'll be pleased to learn that you can use your favorite gamepad, and you have the option of mapping keys or buttons to perform various Android gestures.
Nox gives you a stock version of Android, and while it's designed with gamers in mind, you can install other apps from the Google Play Store too.
Nox is completely free, but it includes a number of great extras accessible from a vertical toolbar on the right-hand side of the window. Here you'll find screenshot and video recording shortcut, a link to a macro record, and the option to install software from APKs obtained from outside of Google Play. GameLoop is another Android emulator that is primarily for use as a gaming platform. There are other titles, of course, with other major titles such as Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto V available to play through the emulator, along with a host of other games.
However, like Bluestack this is really the purpose of GameLoop - the title gives it away - so if you're looking to use mobile apps for business and office then this probably isn't the platform for you.
However, if you're looking for easy access to major Android games on your desktop then GameLoop serves as a fine emulator. There are a couple of optional — and probably unwanted — extras bundled in the installer, so keep an eye out and decline them. Again, the primary idea behind AndY is to bring Android gaming to the desktop, and there's support for not only Xbox and PlayStation controllers, but also the option of using your Android phone as a gamepad.
Getting the emulator up and running is rather trickier and less intuitive than the other tools featured here though, and might be enough to put some people off. This is a shame because AndY is very impressive and it would be great to make it a little more accessible. Available for both Mac and Windows, it also gives you the option of rooting your virtual Android device to run more software.Thanks to assiduous accessory makers, you can also pair a lot of these emulators with special Android gaming controllersrather than using the on-screen buttons.
Most are legal to download and use, but you should exercise some caution with games. It may be legal to make copies of games you own, in some circumstances, but you should never distribute them. Some emulators will also require you to provide the BIOS, which can also be illegal, unless you use your own console. RetroArch is an open source engine that actually pulls in other open source emulators. Select the one you want to run when you start RetroArch up. Google Play.
Anyone who wants to turn the clock back to the days when arcades ruled needs to check this out. The Nintendo Entertainment System is fondly remembered by many gamers, and this emulator helps you relive some of those classic gaming moments. You can customize the virtual controller, save games, and even rewind the action. This free SNES emulator is open source, and compatible with the vast majority of games.
As long as games are in. There are also no ads, which is a rarity for a free app. You can use it to play free homebrew games, or dump your own PSP games in. You can even transfer saved games from your PSP. You will need a decent set of specs to run games. Not everything runs perfectly, and slow down is pretty common, depending on the Android device you use. Who can resist some old school Atari action?
This emulator is open source, and it runs well on the majority of Android smartphones.
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It also supports save states and some controllers via Bluetooth. It supports a wide variety of file formats, and you should be able to get a Bluetooth keyboard or game pad working with it. It has full mouse, keyboard, and joystick emulation, as well as a host of other features including LAN support that make it the best option in the Play Store right now.
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