Android Studio : Emulators


Developers can use the Android Emulator to create simulations of various Android devices on their computers. The application can be tested on numerous devices without requiring any physical device. The application can undertake all the features of an actual Android device. It is also faster to test your application on the Emulator than on real devices. Transferring data to the Emulator is quicker than sending it to a device over a USB port. There are several pre-defined configurations for different devices.

There are various versions of the Emulator which had been introduced to provide improved features for developers. Developers must test their apps on several devices before submitting them. It prevents any untoward incident when the app goes live. You can manually use the Emulator using the user interface. You can programmatically carry out using the console and the command line.

Using Android Virtual Devices

Create and manage virtual devices | Android Developers

You must be aware that the Emulators use an AVD (Android Virtual Device) to help specify the hardware and Android version of the simulated device. Hence, developers must create an AVD that can mimic the smartphones and be compatible with your app. The AVDs can be managed and created using the Device Manager.

The AVD can act as a device and have its private storage capacity for storing user information. The Emulator will store the SD card data, user data and the cache in a director, which is unique in the AVD. Once you launch the Emulator, it can effectively load the SD card and user card information from the AVD directory.

Run your app on Android Emulator

Android Studio How to run your app on emulator and phone | tablet - YouTube

Developers can run their app from any Android project. You must start the Emulator and run the app in the project. At Android Studio, you must create an AVD to help install and run your app. You can select the AVD you need for running the app from the toolbar. Next, click on Run. If there is a warning or an error message, you must click the link to have the issues corrected. You can also get additional information about the problem. You can also fix some errors before you can continue.


Requirements and recommendations

It has various system requirements, which are below:

  • 64-bit processor
  • HAXM 6.2.1 or later (HAXM 7.2.0 or later recommended)
  • SDK Tools 26.1.1 or higher
  • Windows: CPU with unrestricted guest support

Android Emulator requires hardware acceleration. Due to this, there are additional requirements on Windows and Linux:

  • AMD on Linux: AMD processor and support for Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 (SSSE3) and AMD Virtualization (AMD-V).
  • Intel on Linux or Windows: Intel processor and support for Intel EM64T (Intel 64), Intel VT-x, with Execute Disable (XD) Bit feature.
  • AMD on Windows: or higher Windows 10 April 2018 release or higher and Android Studio 3.2 with the Windows Hypervisor Platform (WHPX) feature.

Developers can have the requirement to work with Android 8.1 (API level 27) or higher system images. There must be an attached webcam which can capture 720p frames.

Android Emulator is deprecated for 32-bit Windows

Android Emulator application was deprecated in June 2019 for all 32-bit Windows systems. The support for the 32-bit Windows emulator was continued till June 2020. Developers cannot use the Emulator on a 32-bit Windows system. They must move to a 64-bit Windows system.

Running the Emulator in Android Studio

Run the Emulator directly in Android Studio

You can run the Emulator inside the Android Studio by default. You can save space on the screen and organise the Emulator and IDE in a single window. Using the hotkeys, users can also quickly navigate between the editor and the Emulator.


As the Emulator runs, there is access to rotating and other extended control options.

You can also execute the Emulator in a distinct window. You must use this route: File > Settings > Tools > Emulator (Android Studio > Preferences > Tools > Emulator on macOS). Deselect Launch in the tool window.

Remember that you cannot use the extended controls of the Emulator when it is active in the tool window. When the development workflow is heavily dependent on the extended controls, you can use the Android Emulator.

Installing and adding files

When you install the APK file on any of the emulated devices, you must bring an APL file into the emulator screen. The APK Installer dialog will come up, and once the installation is over, you can view the app.

When you wish to add the file into the emulated device, you can bring the file to the emulator screen. You can place the file in the /sdcard/Download/ directory.

Check the file from the Android Studio by using Device File Explorer. You can also find it through the device through the Files or Download app.

Traversing the Emulator screen

You can choose the input fields and menu items and click on the buttons and controls. The mouse pointer can act like a touchscreen. It is also possible to undertake generic activities using the Emulator. There are keyboard shortcuts which you can undertake for several common actions in the Emulator.


1. What is an Android Emulator?

An Android Emulator is a virtual device that simulates an Android phone, tablet, or wearable device on your computer. It allows developers to test and debug their applications in a variety of device configurations (such as different Android versions, screen sizes, and hardware capabilities) without needing to own physical devices.

2. How do I create a new Android Emulator in Android Studio?

To create a new Android Emulator:

  • Open Android Studio and go to the AVD Manager by clicking on the “AVD Manager” icon in the toolbar.
  • In the AVD Manager window, click on the “Create Virtual Device” button.
  • Choose the type of device you want to emulate from the list and click “Next.”
  • Select a system image (for example, a particular version of Android) to install on the emulator, then click “Next.”
  • Configure the emulator settings (such as orientation, scale, and hardware profile) and click “Finish.”

3. How can I install an app on an Android Emulator?

There are several ways to install an app on an Android Emulator:

  • From Android Studio: Run your app from Android Studio by selecting the target device from the device dropdown list in the toolbar and clicking the “Run” button.
  • Using ADB: You can use the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) command line tool by executing the command adb install path/to/yourApp.apk, replacing path/to/yourApp.apk with the path to your app’s APK file.
  • Drag and Drop: Simply drag and drop your APK file onto the emulator’s screen, and the installation process will start automatically.

4. Can I simulate phone calls and text messages on the Android Emulator?

Yes, the Android Emulator allows you to simulate phone calls and text messages. To do this:

  • Open the emulator and click on the “More” button (three dots) to open the Extended controls panel.
  • Go to the “Phone” tab to simulate a voice call or to the “SMS” tab to send a simulated text message.
  • Enter the phone number (if required) and the message, then click “Call” or “Send.”

5. How do I access the Internet from an Android Emulator?

The Android Emulator uses your computer’s Internet connection by default. If your computer is connected to the Internet, the emulator should also be able to access the Internet without any additional configuration. If you encounter connectivity issues, make sure the emulator’s settings for network emulation are correctly configured in the AVD Manager.

6. Is it possible to test GPS and location-based services in the Android Emulator?

Yes, you can test GPS and location-based services by manually setting the location in the emulator. To do this:

  • Open the Extended controls panel by clicking on the “More” button in the emulator.
  • Go to the “Location” tab where you can enter latitude and longitude coordinates or search for a specific location to simulate.
  • Click “Set Location” to apply the changes.

7. Can I use the Android Emulator for gaming or only for app development?

While the primary purpose of the Android Emulator is for developers to test and debug their applications, it is technically possible to use the emulator for gaming. However, performance and the gaming experience may not be optimal compared to using a physical device or a dedicated gaming emulator, as the Android Emulator is optimized for app development scenarios.

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