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Create and Manage Virtual Devices

In this document

  1. Viewing and Managing Your AVDs
  2. Creating an AVD
  3. Creating a Hardware Profile
  4. Working with Existing AVDs
  5. Working with Existing Hardware Profiles
  6. Running and Stopping an Emulator, and Clearing Data
  7. Importing and Exporting Hardware Profiles
  8. Hardware Profile Properties
  9. AVD Properties
  10. Creating Emulator Skins

Dependencies and prerequisites

  • Android Studio 2.0 or higher
  • SDK Tools 25.0.10 or higher
  • Active network connection for certain operations, such as downloading system images
  • adb integration enabled through Tools > Android > Enable ADB Integration

An Android Virtual Device (AVD) definition lets you define the characteristics of an Android phone, tablet, Android Wear, or Android TV device that you want to simulate in the Android Emulator. The AVD Manager helps you easily create and manage AVDs.

To effectively test your app, you should create an AVD that models each device type that your app is designed to support. For example, we recommend that you create an AVD for each API level that's equal to and higher than the minimum version you've specified in your manifest <uses-sdk> tag. By testing with API levels higher than required by your app, you ensure app forward-compatibility when users download system updates and can be confident that your app will continue to function normally.

An AVD contains a hardware profile, system image, storage area, skin, and other properties.

The hardware profile defines the characteristics of a device as shipped from the factory. The AVD Manager comes preloaded with certain hardware profiles, such as Nexus phone devices, and you can define and import hardware profiles as needed. You can override some of the settings in your AVD, if needed.

The AVD Manager helps you choose a system image for your AVD by providing recommendations. It also lets you download system images, some with add-on libraries, like Google APIs, which your app might require. x86 system images run the fastest in the emulator. Android Wear and Android TV devices tend to run best (and have the largest installed base) on recent releases, while users of Android phones and tablets tend to use slightly older releases, as shown in the API level dashboards.

The AVD has a dedicated storage area on your development machine. It stores the device user data, such as installed apps and settings, as well as an emulated SD card.

An emulator skin specifies the appearance of a device. The AVD Manager provides some predefined skins. You can also define your own, or use skins provided by third parties.

Just as with a real device, for apps to use certains features defined in an AVD, such as the camera, it must have the corresponding <uses-feature> setting in the app manifest.

Viewing and Managing Your AVDs

The AVD Manager lets you manage your AVDs all in one place.

To run the AVD Manager:

The AVD Manager appears.

AVD Manager main window

It displays any AVDs you’ve already defined. When you first install Android Studio, it creates one AVD. If you defined AVDs for Android Emulator 24.0.x or lower, you need to recreate them.

From this page you can:

Creating an AVD

You can create a new AVD from the beginning, or duplicate an AVD and change some properties.

To create a new AVD:

  1. From the Your Virtual Devices page of the AVD Manager, click Create Virtual Device.
  2. Alternatively, run your app from within Android Studio. In the Select Deployment Target dialog, click Create New Emulator.

    The Select Hardware page appears.

    Hardware Profile page of the AVD Manager
  3. Select a hardware profile, and then click Next.
  4. If you don't see the hardware profile you want, you can create or import a hardware profile.

    The System Image page appears.

    System Image page of the AVD Manager
  5. Select the system image for a particular API level, and then click Next.
  6. The Recommended tab lists recommended system images. The other tabs include a more complete list. The right pane describes the selected system image. x86 images run the fastest in the emulator.

    If you see Download next to the system image, you need to click it to download the system image. You must be connected to the internet to download it.

    The API level of the target device is important, because your app won't be able to run on a system image with an API level that's less than that required by your app, as specified in the minSdkVersion attribute of the app manifest file. For more information about the relationship between system API level and minSdkVersion, see Versioning Your Apps.

    If your app declares a <uses-library> element in the manifest file, the app requires a system image in which that external library is present. If you want to run your app on an emulator, create an AVD that includes the required library. To do so, you might need to use an add-on component for the AVD platform; for example, the Google APIs add-on contains the Google Maps library.

    The Verify Configuration page appears.

    Verify Configuration page of the AVD Manager
  7. Change AVD properties as needed, and then click Finish.

    Click Show Advanced Settings to show more settings, such as the skin.

  8. The new AVD appears in the Your Virtual Devices page or the Select Deployment Target dialog.

To create an AVD starting with a copy:

  1. From the Your Virtual Devices page of the AVD Manager, right-click an AVD and select Duplicate.
  2. Or click Menu and select Duplicate.

    The Verify Configuration page appears.

  3. Click Change or Previous if you need to make changes on the System Image and Select Hardware pages.
  4. Make your changes, and then click Finish.
  5. The AVD appears in the Your Virtual Devices page.

Creating a Hardware Profile

The AVD Manager provides predefined hardware profiles for common devices so you can easily add them to your AVD definitions. If you need to define a different device, you can create a new hardware profile. You can define a new hardware profile from the beginning, or copy a hardware profile as a start. The preloaded hardware profiles aren't editable.

To create a new hardware profile from the beginning:

  1. In the Select Hardware page, click New Hardware Profile.
  2. In the Configure Hardware Profile page, change the hardware profile properties as needed.
  3. Click Finish.
  4. Your new hardware profile appears in the Select Hardware page. You can optionally create an AVD that uses the hardware profile by clicking Next. Or, click Cancel to return to the Your Virtual Devices page or Select Deployment Target dialog.

To create a hardware profile starting with a copy:

  1. In the Select Hardware page, select a hardware profile and click Clone Device.
  2. Or right-click a hardware profile and select Clone.

  3. In the Configure Hardware Profile page, change the hardware profile properties as needed.
  4. Click Finish.
  5. Your new hardware profile appears in the Select Hardware page. You can optionally create an AVD that uses the hardware profile by clicking Next. Or, click Cancel to return to the Your Virtual Devices page or Select Deployment Target dialog.

Working with Existing AVDs

From the Your Virtual Devices page, you can perform the following operations on an existing AVD:

Working with Existing Hardware Profiles

From the Select Hardware page, you can perform the following operations on an existing hardware profile:

You can't edit or delete the predefined hardware profiles.

Running and Stopping an Emulator, and Clearing Data

From the Your Virtual Devices page, you can perform the following operations on an emulator:

Importing and Exporting Hardware Profiles

From the Select Hardware page, you can import and export hardware profiles:

Hardware Profile Properties

You can specify the following properties of hardware profiles in the Configure Hardware Profile page. AVD configuration properties override hardware profile properties, and emulator properties that you set while the emulator is running override them both.

The predefined hardware profiles included with the AVD Manager aren't editable. However, you can copy them and edit the copies.

Hardware Profile Property Description
Device Name Name of the hardware profile. The name can contain uppercase or lowercase letters, numbers from 0 to 9, periods (.), underscores (_), and parentheses ( () ). The name of the file storing the hardware profile is derived from the hardware profile name.
Device Type Select one of the following:
  • Phone/Tablet
  • Android Wear
  • Android TV
Screen Size The physical size of the screen, in inches, measured at the diagonal. If the size is larger than your computer screen, it’s reduced in size at launch.
Screen Resolution Type a width and height in pixels to specify the total number of pixels on the simulated screen.
Round Select this option if the device has a round screen, such as an Android Wear device.
Memory: RAM Type a RAM size for the device and select the units, one of B (byte), KB (kilobyte), MB (megabyte), GB (gigabyte), or TB (terabyte).
Input: Has Hardware Buttons (Back/Home/Menu) Select this option if your device has hardware navigation buttons. Deselect it if these buttons are implemented in software only. If you select this option, the buttons won’t appear on the screen. You can use the emulator side panel to “press” the buttons, in either case.
Input: Has Hardware Keyboard Select this option if your device has a hardware keyboard. Deselect it if it doesn’t. If you select this option, a keyboard won’t appear on the screen. You can use your computer keyboard to send keystrokes to the emulator, in either case.
Navigation Style

Select one of the following:

  • None - No hardware controls. Navigation is through the software.
  • D-pad - Directional Pad support.
  • Trackball
  • Wheel

These options are for actual hardware controls on the device itself. However, the events sent to the device by an external controller are the same.

Supported Device States

Select one or both options:

  • Portrait - Oriented taller than wide.
  • Landscape - Oriented wider than tall.

If you select both, you can switch between orientations in the emulator. You must select at least one option to continue.

Cameras

Select one or both options:

  • Back-Facing Camera - The lens faces away from the user.
  • Front-Facing Camera - The lens faces toward the user.

Later, you can use a webcam or a photo provided by the emulator to simulate taking a photo with the camera.

Sensors: Accelerometer Select if the device has hardware that helps the device determine its orientation.
Sensors: Gyroscope Select if the device has hardware that detects rotation or twist. In combination with an accelerometer, it can provide smoother orientation detection and support a six-axis orientation system.
Sensors: GPS Select if the device has hardware that supports the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite-based navigation system.
Sensors: Proximity Sensor Select if the device has hardware that detects if the device is close to your face during a phone call to disable input from the screen.
Default Skin Select a skin that controls what the device looks like when displayed in the emulator. Remember that specifying a screen size that's too small for the resolution can mean that the screen is cut off, so you can't see the whole screen. See Creating Emulator Skins for more information.

AVD Properties

You can specify the following properties for AVD configurations in the Verify Configuration page. The AVD configuration specifies the interaction between the development computer and the emulator, as well as properties you want to override in the hardware profile.

AVD configuration properties override hardware profile properties, and emulator properties that you set while the emulator is running override them both.

AVD Property Description
AVD Name Name of the AVD. The name can contain uppercase or lowercase letters, numbers from 0 to 9, periods (.), underscores (_), and parentheses ( () ). The name of the file storing the AVD configuration is derived from the AVD name.
AVD ID (Advanced) The AVD filename is derived from the ID, and you can use the ID to refer to the AVD from the command line.
Hardware Profile Click Change to select a different hardware profile in the Select Hardware page.
System Image Click Change to select a different system image in the System Image page. An active internet connection is required to download a new image.
Startup: Scale Select the initial size you want to use when the emulator launches. This size might be adjusted to a smaller size if it’s larger than the computer screen. The default is Auto (automatic).
Startup: Orientation

Select one option for the initial emulator orientation:

  • Portrait - Oriented taller than wide.
  • Landscape - Oriented wider than tall.

An option is enabled only if it’s selected in the hardware profile. When running the AVD in the emulator, you can change the orientation if portrait and landscape are supported in the hardware profile.

Camera (Advanced)

Select one or both options:

  • Front - The lens faces away from the user.
  • Back - The lens faces toward the user.

The Emulated setting produces a software-generated image, while the Webcam setting uses your development computer webcam to take a picture.

This option is available only if it's selected in the hardware profile; it's not available for Android Wear and Android TV.

Network: Speed (Advanced)

Select a network protocol to determine the speed of data transfer:

  • 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
  • Full (default) - Transfer data as quickly as your computer allows.
Network: Latency (Advanced) Select a network protocol to set how much time (delay) it takes for the protocol to transfer a data packet from one point to another point.
Emulated Performance: Graphics

Select how graphics are rendered in the emulator:

  • Hardware - Use your computer graphics card for faster rendering.
  • Software - Emulate the graphics in software, which is useful if you're having a problem with rendering in your graphics card.
  • Auto - Let the emulator decide the best option based on your graphics card.
Multi-Core CPU (Advanced) Select the number of processor cores on your computer that you’d like to use for the emulator. Using more processor cores speeds up the emulator.
Memory and Storage: RAM The amount of RAM on the device. This value is set by the hardware manufacturer, but you can override it, if needed, such as for faster emulator operation. Increasing the size uses more resources on your computer. Type a RAM size and select the units, one of B (byte), KB (kilobyte), MB (megabyte), GB (gigabyte), or TB (terabyte).
Memory and Storage: VM Heap The VM heap size. This value is set by the hardware manufacturer, but you can override it, if needed. Type a heap size and select the units, one of B (byte), KB (kilobyte), MB (megabyte), GB (gigabyte), or TB (terabyte). For more information on Android VMs, see Memory Management for Different Virtual Machines.
Memory and Storage: Internal Storage The amount of nonremovable memory space available on the device. This value is set by the hardware manufacturer, but you can override it, if needed. Type a size and select the units, one of B (byte), KB (kilobyte), MB (megabyte), GB (gigabyte), or TB (terabyte).
Memory and Storage: SD Card The amount of removable memory space available to store data on the device. To use a virtual SD card managed by Android Studio, select Studio, type a size, and select the units, one of B (byte), KB (kilobyte), MB (megabyte), GB (gigabyte), or TB (terabyte). A minimum of 100 MB is recommended to use the camera. To manage the space in a file, select External File and click ... to specify the file and location. For more information, see mksdcard.
Device Frame: Enable Device Frame Select to enable a frame around the emulator window that mimics the look of a real device.
Custom Skin Definition (Advanced) Select a skin that controls what the device looks like when displayed in the emulator. Remember that specifying a screen size that's too small for the resolution can mean that the screen is cut off, so you can't see the whole screen. See Creating Emulator Skins for more information.
Keyboard: Enable Keyboard Input (Advanced) Select this option if you want to use your hardware keyboard to interact with the emulator. It's disabled for Android Wear and Android TV.

Creating Emulator Skins

An Android emulator skin is a collection of files that define the visual and control elements of an emulator display. If the skin definitions available in the AVD settings don't meet your requirements, you can create your own custom skin definition, and then apply it to your AVD.

Each emulator skin contains:

To create and use a custom skin:

  1. Create a new directory where you will save your skin configuration files.
  2. Define the visual appearance of the skin in a text file named layout. This file defines many characteristics of the skin, such as the size and image assets for specific buttons. For example:
    parts {
        device {
            display {
                width   320
                height  480
                x       0
                y       0
            }
        }
    
        portrait {
            background {
                image background_port.png
            }
    
            buttons {
                power {
                    image  button_vertical.png
                    x 1229
                    y 616
                }
            }
        }
        ...
    }
    
  3. Add the bitmap files of the device images in the same directory.
  4. Specify additional hardware-specific device configurations in a hardware.ini file for the device settings, such as hw.keyboard and hw.lcd.density.
  5. Archive the files in the skin folder and select the archive file as a custom skin.

For more detailed information about creating emulator skins, see the Android Emulator Skin File Specification in the tools source code.

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