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Building APKs for Android emulators and devices

The default file format used when building Android apps with EAS Build is an Android App Bundle (AAB / .aab). This format is optimized for distributing to the Google Play Store, but AABs can't be installed directly to your device. To install a build directly to your Android device or emulator, you need to build an Android Package (APK / .apk) instead.

Configuring a profile to build APKs

By default, EAS Build produces Android App Bundle, you can change it by modifying the eas.json file:
  • setting buildType to apk
  • setting developmentClient to true
  • setting gradleCommand to :app:assembleRelease, :app:assembleDebug or any other gradle command that produces APK
{
  "build": {
    "preview": {
      "android": {
        "buildType": "apk"
      }
    },
    "preview2": {
      "android": {
        "gradleCommand": ":app:assembleRelease"
      }
    },
    "preview3": {
      "developmentClient": true
    },
    "production": {}
  }
}
Now, to run your build run eas build -p android --profile preview. Remember that you can name the profile whatever you like; we named the profile "preview", but you could call it "local" or "simulator", whatever makes most sense for you.

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If you haven't installed or run an Android Emulator before, follow the Android Studio emulator guide before proceeding.
  • Once your build is completed, download the APK from the build details page or the link provided when eas build is done.
  • Open up your emulator.
  • Drag the APK file into the emulator.
  • The app will be installed in a few seconds. When it's complete, navigate to the app launcher, find the app icon and open it.
  • You can share this build, it will run on any Android Emulator or device.

  • Once your build is completed, copy the URL to the APK from the build details page or the link provided when eas build is done.
  • Send that URL to your device. Maybe by email? Up to you.
  • Open the URL on your device, install the APK and run it.

  • Install adb if you don't have it installed already.
  • Connect your device to your computer and enable adb debugging on your device if you haven't already.
  • Once your build is completed, download the APK from the build details page or the link provided when eas build is done.
  • Run adb install path/to/the/file.apk.
  • Run the app on your device.