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Run Apps on the Android Emulator

The Android Emulator simulates various Android phone, tablet, Android Wear, and Android TV devices on your computer. It comes with predefined configurations for popular device types and can transfer data faster than a device connected over USB.

The Android Emulator provides almost all 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.

Watch the following video for an overview of some emulator features.

About the Android Emulator

Each instance of the Android Emulator uses an Android Virtual Device (AVD) to configure its size, form factor, Android version, and various hardware characteristics. To effectively test your app, you should create an AVD that models each device type that your app is designed to support.

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. When you launch the emulator, it loads the user data and SD card data from the AVD directory.

To create and manage AVDs, use the AVD Manager.


The Android Emulator has additional requirements beyond the basic system requirements for Android Studio:

The accelerated emulator requires one of the following on Windows or Linux:

To work with Android 8.1 (API level 27) and higher system images, an attached webcam must have the capability to capture 720p frames.

What's not supported

The Android Emulator doesn't include virtual hardware for the following:

The watch emulator for Android Wear doesn't support the Overview (Recent Apps) button, D-pad, and fingerprint sensor.

Run an app in the Android Emulator

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.

To start the Android Emulator and run an app in your project:

  1. Open an Android Studio project and click Run .

    The Select Deployment Target dialog appears.

    Select Deployment Target dialog
  2. If you receive an error or warning message at the top of the dialog, click the link to correct the problem or get more information.

    The No USB devices or running emulators detected warning means that you don’t currently have any emulators running or any detected hardware devices connected to your computer. If you don’t have hardware devices connected to your computer or any emulators running, you can ignore the message.

    Some errors you must fix before you can continue, such as certain Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (Intel HAXM) errors.

    For Mac, if you see a Warning: No DNS servers found error when starting the emulator, check to see whether you have an /etc/resolv.conf file. If not, enter the following command in a terminal window:

    ln -s /private/var/run/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf
  3. In the Select Deployment Target dialog, select an existing emulator definition, and then click OK.

    If you don’t see a definition you want to use, click Create New Virtual Device to launch the AVD Manager. After you define a new AVD, in the Select Deployment Target dialog, click OK.

    If you want to use this emulator definition as the default for your project, select Use same selection for future launches.

Launch the Android Emulator without first running an app

To start the emulator:

  1. Open the AVD Manager.
  2. Double-click an AVD, or click Run .
  3. The Android Emulator appears.

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.

Run the emulator with Quick Boot

Beginining with revision 27.0.2, the Android Emulator includes Quick Boot, which launches the emulator in just a few seconds. Although the AVD must perform a cold boot the first time you start it (just like powering on a device), all subsequent starts use Quick Boot—it boots fast and the system is restored to the state at which you closed the emulator or manually saved a snapshot (similar to waking a device). This feature is enabled by default for all AVDs.

Any update to the Android Emulator, system image, or AVD settings resets the AVD's saved state, so the next time you start the AVD, it must perform a cold boot. You cannot take snapshots while ADB is offline (such as while Android is still booting).

You can also control the Quick Boot options when starting the emulator from the command line.

Save snapshots automatically on exit

To control whether the emulator saves a snapshot for the currently open AVD when exiting, use the Save quick-boot state on exit menu in the emulator's Extended controls:

Your selection applies only to the currently open AVD.

Save snapshot at any time

If you don't choose Yes in the Save quick-boot state on exit menu to automatically save a snapshot on exit, you can use the Save Now button below this menu to save a snapshot at any time.

Disable Quick Boot

If you want to disable Quick Boot so your AVD always performs a cold boot, do the following:

  1. Select Tools > AVD Manager and click Edit this AVD .
  2. Click Show Advanced Settings and scroll down to Emulated Performance.
  3. Select Cold boot.

Perform a cold boot once

Instead of disabling Quick Boot completely, you can cold boot just once by clicking Cold Boot Now from the AVD's drop-down menu in the AVD Manager.

Quick Boot requirements and troubleshooting

Install and add files

To install an APK file on the emulated device, drag an APK file onto the emulator screen. 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. The file is placed in the /sdcard/Download/ directory. You can view the file from Android Studio using the Device File Explorer, or find it from the device using the Downloads or Files app, depending on the device version.

Use your computer mouse pointer to mimic your finger on the touchscreen; select menu items and input fields; and click buttons and controls. Use your computer keyboard to type characters and enter emulator shortcuts.

Table 1. Gestures for navigating the emulator screen

Feature Description
Swipe the screen Point to the screen, press and hold the primary mouse button, swipe across the screen, and then release.
Drag an item Point to an item on the screen, press and hold the primary mouse button, move the item, and then release.
Point to the screen, press the primary mouse button, and then release. For example, you could click a text field to start typing in it, select an app, or press a button.
Double tap Point to the screen, press the primary mouse button quickly twice, and then release.
Touch and hold Point to an item on the screen, press the primary mouse button, hold, and then release. For example, you could open options for an item.
Type You can type in the emulator by using your computer keyboard, or using a keyboard that pops up on the emulator screen. For example, you could type in a text field after you selected it.
Pinch and spread
Pressing Control (Command on Mac) brings up a pinch gesture multi-touch interface. The mouse acts as the first finger, and across the anchor point is the second finger. Drag the cursor to move the first point.
Clicking the left mouse button acts like touching down both points, and releasing acts like picking both up.
Vertical swipe Open a vertical menu on the screen and use the scroll wheel (mouse wheel) to scroll through the menu items until you see the one you want. Click the menu item to select it.

Perform common actions in the emulator

To perform common actions with the emulator, use the panel on the right side, as described in table 2.

You can use keyboard shortcuts to perform many common actions in the emulator. For a complete list of shortcuts in the emulator, press F1 (Command+/ on Mac) to open the Help pane in the Extended controls window.

Table 2. Common actions in the emulator

Feature Description
Close icon
Close the emulator.
Minimize icon
Minimize the emulator window.
Resize Resize the emulator as you would any other operating system window. The emulator maintains an aspect ratio appropriate for your device.
Power icon
Click to turn the screen on or off.
Click and hold to turn the device on or off.
Volume up
Volume Up icon
Click to view a slider control and turn the volume up. Click again to turn it up more, or use the slider control to change the volume.
Volume down
Volume Down icon
Click to view a slider control and turn the volume down. Click again to turn it down more, or use the slider control to change the volume.
Rotate left
Rotate Left icon
Rotate the device 90 degrees counterclockwise.
Rotate right
Rotate Right icon
Rotate the device 90 degrees clockwise.
Take screenshot
Take Screenshot icon
Click to take a screenshot of the device. The default save location is your computer desktop. To change the save location, select > Settings. The emulator creates a file with the name Screenshot_yyyymmdd-hhmmss.png using the year, month, day, hour, minute, and second of the capture, for example, Screenshot_20160219-145848.png.
Enter zoom mode
Enter Zoom Mode icon

Click so the cursor changes to the zoom icon. To exit zoom mode, click the button again.

Zoom in and out in zoom mode:

  • Left-click the screen to zoom in by 25%, up to a maximum of about twice the screen resolution of the virtual device.
  • Right-click to zoom out.
  • Left-click and drag to select a box-shaped area to zoom in on.
  • Right-click and drag a selection box to reset to default zoom.

To pan in zoom mode, hold Control (Command on Mac) while pressing the arrow keys on the keyboard.

To tap the device screen in zoom mode, Control-click (Command-click on Mac).

Back icon
Return to the previous screen, or close a dialog box, an options menu, the Notifications panel, or the onscreen keyboard.
Home icon
Return to the Home screen.
Overview icon
(Recent Apps)
Tap to open a list of thumbnail images of apps you’ve worked with recently. To open an app, tap it. To remove a thumbnail from the list, swipe it left or right. This button isn't supported for Android Wear.
Menu Press Control+M (Command+M on Mac) to simulate the Menu button.
More icon
Click to access other features and settings, described in the next table.

Extended controls, settings, and help

Use the extended controls to send data, change device properties, control apps, and more. To open the Extended controls window, click More in the emulator panel.

You can use keyboard shortcuts to perform many of these tasks. For a complete list of shortcuts in the emulator, press F1 (Command+/ on Mac) to open the Help pane.

Table 3. Extended controls details

Feature Description

The emulator lets you simulate "my location" information: the location where the emulated device is currently located. For example, if you click My Location My Location icon in Google Maps and then send a location, the map shows it.

To send a GPS location:

  1. Select Decimal or Sexagesimal.
  2. Specify the location.
  3. In decimal mode, enter a Latitude value in the range -90.0 to +90.0 degrees and a Longitude value in the range -180.0 to +180.0 degrees.

    In sexigesimal mode, enter a three-part Latitude value in the range -90 to +90 degrees, 0 to 59 minutes, and 0.0 to 60.0 seconds. Enter a Longitude value in the range -180 to +180 degrees, 0 to 59 minutes, and 0.0 to 60.0 seconds.

    For the latitude, - indicates south and + indicates north; for the longitude, - indicates west and + indicates east. The + is optional.

    Optionally specify an Altitude value in the range -1,000.0 to +10,000.0 meters.

  4. Click Send.

To use geographic data from a GPS exchange format (GPX) or Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file:

  1. Click Load GPX/KML.
  2. In the file dialog, select a file on your computer and click Open.
  3. Optionally select a Speed.
  4. The speed defaults to the Delay value (Speed 1X). You can increase the speed by double (Speed 2X), triple (Speed 3X), and so on.

  5. Click Run .

The emulator lets you simulate various network conditions. You can approximate the network speed for different network protocols, or you can specify Full, which transfers data as quickly as your computer allows. Specifying a network protocol is always slower than Full. You can also specify the voice and data network status, such as roaming. The defaults are set in the AVD.

Select a Network type:

  • GSM: Global System for Mobile Communications
  • HSCSD: High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data
  • GPRS: Generic Packet Radio Service
  • EDGE: Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution
  • UMTS: Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
  • HSPDA: High-Speed Downlink Packet Access
  • LTE: Long-Term Evolution
  • Full (default): Use the network as provided by your computer

Select a Signal strength:

  • None
  • Poor
  • Moderate (default)
  • Good
  • Great

Select a Voice status, Data status, or both:

  • Home (default)
  • Roaming
  • Searching
  • Denied (emergency calls only)
  • Unregistered (off)

You can simulate the battery properties of a device to see how your app performs under different conditions. To select a Charge level, use the slider control.

Select a Charger connection value:

  • None
  • AC charger

Select a Battery health value:

  • Good (default)
  • Failed
  • Dead
  • Overvoltage
  • Overheated
  • Unknown

Select a Battery status value:

  • Unknown
  • Charging (default)
  • Discharging
  • Not charging
  • Full

The emulator lets you simulate incoming phone calls and text messages.

To initiate a call to the emulator:

  1. Select or type a phone number in the From field.
  2. Click Call Device.
  3. Optionally click Hold Call to put the call on hold.
  4. To end the call, click End Call.

To send a text message to the emulator:

  1. Select or type a phone number in the From field.
  2. Type a message in the SMS message field.
  3. Click Send Message.
Directional Pad

If the AVD has the directional pad enabled in the hardware profile, you can use the directional pad controls with the emulator. However, not all devices can support the directional pad; for example, an Android watch. The buttons simulate the following actions:

Directional Pad Control

This control can simulate 10 different fingerprint scans. You can use it to test fingerprint integration in your app. This feature is disabled for Android 5.1 (API level 22) and lower, and for Android Wear.

To simulate a fingerprint scan on the virtual device:

  1. Prepare an app to receive a fingerprint.
  2. Select a Fingerprint value.
  3. Click Touch Sensor.
Virtual sensors > Accelerometer

This control lets you test your app against changes in device position, orientation, or both. For example, you can simulate gestures such as tilt and rotation. The accelerometer doesn't track the absolute position of the device: it just detects when a change is occurring. The control simulates the way accelerometer and magnetometer sensors would respond when you move or rotate a real device.

The control reports TYPE_ACCELEROMETER events on the x, y, and z axis. These values include gravity. For example, if the device is suspended in outer space, it would experience zero acceleration (all of x, y, and z will be 0). When the device is on Earth and laying screen up on top of a table, the acceleration is 0, 0, and 9.8 because of gravity.

The control also reports TYPE_MAGNETIC_FIELD events, which measure the ambient magnetic field on the x, y and z axis in microteslas (μT).

To rotate the device around the x, y, and z axes, select Rotate and do one of the following:

  • Adjust the Yaw, Pitch, and Roll sliders and observe the position in the upper pane.
  • Move the device representation in the upper pane and observe the Yaw, Pitch, and Roll and how the resulting accelerometer values change.

See Computing the Device's Orientation for more information about how yaw, pitch, and roll are calculated.

To move the device horizontally (x) or vertically (y), select Move and do one of the following:

  • Adjust the X and Y sliders and observe the position in the upper pane.
  • Move the device representation in the upper pane and observe the X and Y slider values and how the resulting accelerometer values change.

To position the device at 0, 90, 180, or 270 degrees:

  • In the Device rotation area, select a button to change the rotation.

As you adjust the device, the Resulting values fields change accordingly. These are the values that an app can access.

For more information about these sensors, see Sensors Overview, Motion Sensors, and Position Sensors.

You can import the AccelerometerPlay app to try out the Accelerometer control. Select File > New > Import Sample and select the app in the dialog. This app is showcased in the emulator video on this page.

Virtual sensors > Additional sensors

The emulator can simulate various position and environment sensors. It lets you adjust the following sensors so you can test them with your app:

  • Ambient temperature: This environmental sensor measures ambient air temperature.
  • Magnetic field: This position sensor measures the ambient magnetic field on the X, Y, and Z axes, respectively. The values are in microteslas (μT).
  • Proximity: This position sensor measures the distance from an object; for example, it can notify a phone that a face is close to it to make a call.
  • Light: This environmental sensor measures illuminance. The values are in lux units.
  • Pressure: This environmental sensor measures ambient air pressure. The values are in millibar (hPa) units.
  • Relative Humidity: This environmental sensor measures ambient relative humidity.

For more information about these sensors, see Sensors Overview, Position Sensors, and Environment Sensors.

Settings > General
  • Emulator window theme: Select Light or Dark.
  • Send keyboard shortcuts to: By default, some keyboard combinations will trigger emulator control shortcuts. If you’re developing an app that includes keyboard shortcuts, such as one targeted at devices with Bluetooth keyboards, you can change this setting to send all keyboard input to the virtual device, including input that would be a shortcut in the emulator.
  • Save quick-boot state on exit:
    • Yes: Always save an AVD snapshot when you close the emulator. This is the default.
    • No: Don't save an AVD snapshot when you close the emulator.
    • Ask: Prompt for whether to save an AVD snapshot when you close the emulator.

    Your selection applies only to the currently open AVD.

    To save an AVD snapshot at any time, click Save Now.

    For more information, read about the Quick Boot feature.

  • Screenshot save location: Click the folder icon to specify a location to save screenshots of the emulator screen.
  • Use detected ADB location: If you're running the emulator from Android Studio, you should select this setting (the default). If you run the emulator from outside Android Studio and want it to use a specific adb executable, deselect this option and specify the SDK Tools location. If this setting is incorrect, features such as screenshot capture and drag-and-drop app installation won't work.
  • When to send crash reports: Select Always, Never, or Ask.
Settings > Proxy

By default, the emulator uses the Android Studio HTTP proxy settings, but this screen allows you to manually define an HTTP proxy configuration for the emulator. For more information, see Using the emulator with a proxy.

Settings > Advanced
  • OpenGL ES renderer: Select the graphics acceleration type. (This is equivalant to the -gpu command line option).
    • Autodetect based on host: Let the emulator choose hardware or software graphics acceleration based on your computer setup. It checks if your GPU driver matches a list of known faulty GPU drivers, and if it does, the emulator disables graphics hardware emulation and instead uses the CPU.
    • ANGLE: (Windows only.) Use ANGLE Direct3D to render graphics in software.
    • SwiftShader: Use SwiftShader to render graphics in software.
    • Desktop native OpenGL: Use the GPU on your host computer. This option is typically the fastest. However, some drivers have issues with rendering OpenGL graphics, so it might not be a reliable option.
  • OpenGL ES API level: Select the maximum version of OpenGL ES to use in the emulator.
    • Autoselect: Let the emulator choose the OpenGL ES version based on the host and guest support.
    • Renderer maxium (up to OpenGL ES 3.1): Attempt to use the maximum version of OpenGL ES.
    • Compatibility (OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0): Use the version of OpenGL ES that is compatible with most environments.
Help > Keyboard Shortcuts

This pane provides a complete list of keyboard shortcuts for the emulator. To open this pane while working in the emulator, press F1 (Command+/ on Mac).

For the shortcuts to work, the Send keyboard shortcuts option in the General settings pane must be set to Emulator controls (default).

Help > Emulator Help

To go to the online documentation for the emulator, click Documentation.

To file a bug against the emulator, click Send feedback. For more information, see how to report emulator bugs.

Help > About

See which adb port the emulator uses, as well as the Android and emulator version numbers. Compare the latest available emulator version with your version to determine if you have the latest software installed.

The emulator serial number is emulator-adb_port, which you can specify as an adb command line option, for example.


When using an AVD with API level 25 or higher, the emulator provides a simulated Wi-Fi access point ("AndroidWifi"), and Android automatically connects to it.

You can disable Wi-Fi in the emulator by running the emulator with the command-line parameter -feature -Wifi.

Comparison of Android Emulator tools

The following table compares the tasks you can perform using the emulator UI, AVD Manager, commonly used command-line startup options, and the Emulator Console. In the AVD Manager, you can set hardware profile and AVD properties.

The table compares features that are similar, but not necessarily with identical functionality, between different emulator tools.

Although not listed in the table, the adb utility also supports commands for interacting with virtual devices, as described in Android Debug Bridge. For example, you can install an app on a virtual device by using Android Studio, the emulator UI, or adb. You can copy a file to a virtual device using the emulator UI or adb, and copy a file from a virtual device using adb.

Remember that to use certain features of the emulator with your apps, you need to enable them through various <uses-feature> elements and manifest permission constants, just as you would if you ran them on a hardware device.

Table 4. Comparison of Android Emulator tools

User interface control Hardware profile property AVD property Command-line startup option Console command
Device hardware
Device type: Phone/Tablet, Android Wear, Android TV
Back, Home, Overview, Menu Input: Has Hardware Buttons (Back/Home/Menu)
Settings: Send keyboard shortcuts to Input: Has Hardware Keyboard Keyboard Input

Directional Pad

Navigation Style: None, D-pad, Trackball, Wheel
Zoom Mode
Battery power command
Phone gsm and sms send commands
Rotate Supported Device States Startup: Orientation rotate command
Camera Camera

(can choose webcam)


Take Screenshot

Settings: Screenshot save location

Virtual sensors
Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, GPS, Proximity Sensor geo command
Fingerprint finger command
Volume -noaudio


event command
Disk Images and Memory
Memory and Storage: SD Card -sdcard
Memory and Storage: Internal Storage
RAM Memory and Storage: RAM -memory
Memory and Storage: VM Heap vm command
In the Your Virtual Devices page of the AVD Manager, right-click an AVD and select Wipe Data. -wipe-data
network status command
Network: Latency -netdelay network delay command
Cellular: Network Type Network: Speed -netspeed network speed command
Voice status
Data status
gsm command
Signal strength
Settings: Use detected ADB location -port


redir command
-tcpdump network capture start and network capture stop commands
In the System Image page of the AVD Manager, select a system image capable of VM acceleration. -accel
Multi-Core CPU
Emulated Performance: Graphics — hardware, software, or auto -gpu


-selinux {disabled|permissive}
Settings: Emulator window theme
Resize Screen Size and

Screen Resolution

window command
Default Skin Device Frame and

Custom Skin Definition

-screen {touch|multi-touch|no-touch}
-debug tags

Troubleshooting and known issues

Antivirus warnings

Some antivirus software may be incompatible with the Android Emulator.

If you're using Avast software and are having trouble running the Android Emulator, try disabling the Use nested virtualization when available setting in the Avast Troubleshooting settings.

HAXM on older, unsupported versions of Mac OS

If you are using Android Emulator on older, unsupported versions of Mac OS X (such as 10.9), then you may need to use an older version of HAXM (6.1.2), too.

Android Emulator runs slowly after an update

A number of external factors can cause the Android Emulator to begin running slowly after an update. To begin troubleshooting, we recommend the following steps:

If you are still experiencing problems with the Android Emulator running slowly, Report a Bug, including the necessary Android Emulator Details so we can investigate.

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