Linux may not be as popular as Windows, but it’s definitely quite widely used; and if you’ve ever wanted to try out an Android app in your Linux system, you’ve probably wondered what’s the best emulator to do.
After all, while Windows and macOS have a lot of Android emulators that users can try, Linux basically lacks them.
However, there are some Android emulators that are definitely worth trying, whether it’s checking out a new game, trying out an app or even testing the app being developed for Android. Here are 5 of the best Android emulators you can use in Linux.
Best Android Emulators you can use in Linux
Genymotion is one of the most popular Android emulators available in Linux (by the way, it’s also available in Windows and macOS), which you can try, and today it is one of the best. Unlike most emulators, Genymotion has a beautiful interface.
You can create a virtual device and just connect to it. The default virtual devices in Genymotion come with basic features, but if you want to install apps from the Play Store, Genymotion gives you a handy button to install Open Gapps on your virtual device in just a couple of clicks.
It’s pretty cool, and once You install Gapps, you can install almost any app you want to try. Genymotion is perfect not only to try the random Android app you found, but also to test an app you develop yourself.
The emulator comes with a set of stunning features designed for developers, including the fact that Android Studio is fully supported, so you can directly run your app from Android Studio and open it in the emulator.
Genymotion comes with emulators running Android version 4.1, up to Android 9.0 Pie and in a variety of form factors from smartphones to tablets and even user screen sizes, which can come in handy if you check what your app’s user interface looks like in various form factors.
If you’re looking for an emulator for android games, Genymotion is probably not for you. I tried to install PUBG Mobile and Free Fire on it, but it just says the device is incompatible. I installed Pigeon Pop on it and everything worked great, but there were visible input delays that were unacceptable for a comfortable game.
However, when I tried to install Genymotion on our HP Envy with Ubuntu 18.04.1, it had a problem with Virtual Box, although the Virtual Box was installed correctly. If you are experiencing the same problems, this may be due to the fact that your system includes a secure UEFI download.
Apparently, this is causing problems with Virtual Box. To get over it, you can use mokutil and disable a secure download on your laptop, after which Virtual Box should work normally and you can easily run Genymotion. You can visit this Ubuntu Wiki page for a detailed guide on how to use mokutil to disable a secure download.
If Genymotion isn’t fit for your purposes and you really want to run Android as a virtual machine in your Linux system,Android-x86 is probably what you’re looking for. The software is actually designed as an Android port for systems based on x86.
It’s an open source project, which means you can check the code if you’re interested. However, the best part of the Android-x86 project is that it is updated quite frequently and currently has a stable release which is available, based on Android Oreo.
Installing Android-x86 in your Linux system is pretty simple. You need to download the Android-x86 ISO file into your system, create a new virtual machine in Virtual Box, and install ISO as a download device. From there you can easily install Android on your virtual machine.
Overall, Android-x86 feels a little less responsive than Genymotion, but that’s not a problem, especially if you’re just going to use it to test apps. If you want games, Android-x86 probably isn’t the emulator you need.
3. Android SDK
If you’re a developer and want to use an emulator that is officially supported by Google and allows you to create multiple virtual devices running anything from Android Lollipop to Android Pie, WearOS and even Android TV, then you need the official Android Virtual Device (or AVD Manager) manager included in Android Studio.
You just need to install Android Studio on your Linux-based system, and once you’ve launched the software, you can just go to“Tools – AVD Manager”to create your first virtual device in Android Studio.
However, the biggest reason why many developers prefer to use a third-party emulator instead of a google official one is that it loads quite slowly. Of course, over time, everything has improved, but not enough to overtake the speed of Genymotion.
However, for developers, this is definitely the most flexible option. After all, not only does it offer the ability to create multiple virtual devices running anything from Android 5 to Android 9 Pie, it also allows you to create Virtual Android TV devices and WearOS virtual devices.
So you can test your apps in all of Google’s most used operating systems. In addition, the emulator comes with all the features you may need to test your app.
You can rotate the emulator, change the location, battery and network conditions, use the camera and more with the Android Studio emulator. If you’re a developer, you should definitely try it before checking other emulators.
Visit Android Studio
Anbox is one of the most unique Android emulators on this list. It’s not so much an emulator as a kind of Android Run Time (ART) in the sandbox that works in GNU/Linux systems. Comes with Android 7.1 – which is very convenient for the emulator.
The only reason Anbox is so far on the list is because it has some obvious problems. For starters, the emulator doesn’t come with installed Google Apps on it, which means there’s no Play Store, no Play Services, etc. so if you plan to install, say, PUBG Mobile, you’ll run into a lot of problems.
I tried to install a casual game (Pigeon Pop) that requires you to install Play Games on a device that Anbox doesn’t support. So yes, there are problems.
Also, if you’re a developer who’s trying to test your own app on Anbox, you won’t be able to just drag to install it. Instead, you’ll have to use ADB to install APK on Anbox using the‘adb install’ path_to_apk.apk command.
What’s worse is that installing Anbox can be a bit “difficult” for novice Linux users. This is a two-step process where you must first install multiple core modules and then download the very “base” of Anbox before you run the execution environment.
Fortunately, the Anbox website does a pretty solid job of explaining how you can do it. Keep in mind that if you run into problems when loading kernel modules, you may run into the same problem that I described with Genymotion, so try using the same solution.
If you want to run Android apps in your Linux system without having to install a separate emulator for them, YOU might be interested in ARChon. ARChon basically lets you run Android apps in Chrome.
So you can check apps without worrying about downloading emulators, creating a virtual device, or a problem with the UEFI secure download that originated in Genymotion.
Archon is simply installed as a Chrome extension in your system (there are instructions on the website) and from there you can use any of the different tools mentioned on the website to convert the Android app into apps compatible with ARChon, and just run them right into Chrome.
I’ve tried the example of the 2048 application that ARChon provides, and it works pretty well, and I’m pretty sure that most other simple applications like this will work without problems using ARChon.
Visit the ARChon website.
These are the top 5 Android emulators for Linux that you might like. Whether you want to test your app or just try out a new Android app on your Linux PC, these emulators should meet your expectations.
We tried to find an emulator that could be recommended for games, but unfortunately no one caught our attention. However, if you know about the Android emulator for Linux, which works well in games, report it in the comments below.