Android Studio Emulator

Learn how to set up the Android Emulator to test your app on a virtual Android device.

If you don't have an Android device available to test with, we recommend using the default emulator that comes with Android Studio. If you run into any problems setting it up, follow the steps in this guide.

Set up Android Studio's tools


Download and install Android Studio 3.0+.


Select "Standard" for the "Install Type" inside the wizard.


Inside Android Studio, go to Preferences > Appearance & Behavior > System Settings > Android SDK. Click on the "SDK Tools" tab and make sure you have at least one version of the "Android SDK Build-Tools" installed.

Android SDK build tools


Copy or remember the path listed in the box that says "Android SDK Location".

Android SDK location


If you are on macOS or Linux, add an environment variable pointing to the Android SDK location in ~/.bash_profile (or ~/.zshenv if you use Zsh) - for example:export ANDROID_HOME=/your/path/here. Copy and paste these two lines to do this automatically for Bash and Zsh:

[ -d "$HOME/Library/Android/sdk" ] && ANDROID_HOME=$HOME/Library/Android/sdk || ANDROID_HOME=$HOME/Android/Sdk
echo "export ANDROID_HOME=$ANDROID_HOME" >> ~/`[[ $SHELL == *"zsh" ]] && echo '.zshenv' || echo '.bash_profile'`


On macOS, you will also need to add platform-tools to your ~/.bash_profile (or ~/.zshenv if you use Zsh) - for example: export PATH=/your/path/here:$PATH. Copy and paste this line to do this automatically for Bash and Zsh:

echo "export PATH=$ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools:\$PATH" >> ~/`[[ $SHELL == *"zsh" ]] && echo '.zshenv' || echo '.bash_profile'`


Reload the path environment variables by running:

source ~/`[[ $SHELL == *"zsh" ]] && echo '.zshenv' || echo '.bash_profile'`


Finally, make sure that you can run adb from your terminal.

Set up a virtual device


On the Android Studio main screen, click "More Actions", then "Virtual Device Manager" in the dropdown.

Android Studio configure

If you already have a project, then the menu will show up under the three dots menu in the top right corner of the window.

Android Studio configure alternate


Press the "Create device" button.

Android Studio create virtual device


Choose the type of hardware you'd like to emulate. We recommend testing against a variety of devices, but if you're unsure where to start, the newest device in the Pixel line could be a good choice.


Select an OS version to load on the emulator (probably one of the system images in the "Recommended" tab), and download the image.


Change any other settings you'd like, and press "Finish" to create the virtual device. You can now run this device anytime by pressing the Play button in the AVD Manager window.

Multiple adb versions

Having multiple adb versions on your system can result in the error adb server version (xx) doesn't match this client (xx); killing...

This is because the adb version on your system is different from the adb version on the android sdk platform-tools.


Open the terminal and check the adb version on the system:

adb version


And from the Android SDK platform-tool directory:

cd ~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools
./adb version


Copy adb from Android SDK directory to usr/bin directory:

sudo cp ~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/adb /usr/bin