Android emulators

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This page is about emulating Android apps and games on PC as it is slowly building off an important library of exclusives, and emulation coupled with CheatEngine is certainly interesting. If you're interested in emulators for your Android phone, check this page instead.

Android is a mobile operating system (OS) based on the Linux kernel and currently developed by Google. Unlike iPhone, as well as older cell-phone models and older Japanese Galapagos mobile phones, emulating Android software on PC is more developed.

Like with DS emulators, the computer mouse is used to emulate touch screen presses (which can be less than ideal in many cases), and the keyboard emulates the button controller add-ons. Some emulators support X360 controllers as well with some more tweaks.

Android apps come in the apk file format (occasionally coupled with obb files). Just like its iOS equivalent (ipa files), their innards can be opened as a regular zip file.


Name OS Version Free USB Link Accuracy Recommended
Genymotion Windows, Mac, Linux 2.4.0 (Official Site) ✓ (Non-Dev Versions) High ✓✓
BlueStacks Windows, Linux Official Site Mid
andyroid Windows Official Site Mid
Google Chrome Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS duh Mid
  • Genymotion is an Android emulator with hardware-accelerated 3D graphics and USB host support, available for Windows, Mac and Linux. In its latest versions, it has pretty good compatibility with commercial games. It's a commercial product though, aimed at software developers and QA teams. You'll need to create an account and download the free non-commercial use license available (paid builds add features only useful for Android app developers).

Setting up the emulator itself is not too hard, but a bit of tinkering is required to add the Google Play store and ARM processor emulation (what you need essentially here to play the commercial releases) as well as Xbox 360 controller support. Not noob-friendly, but if you're experienced enough with Android to know your way around a rooted filesystem it shouldn't be too hard.

  • Bluestacks is also commercial with a free option (no account required). It's less good than Genymotion, and doesn't handle USB cable emulation. Previous versions used to come with an installer with adware, comes with junk apps within the emulator, and has a non-intuitive uninstaller, but that's no longer the case today. It includes Google Apps by default, though you'll need to "root" it to load apk files to your liking.
  • andyroid works too, though the company behind it did adware before previously.
  • Recently, Google Chrome can open apk files too, though their emulation on PC is average at best. Here's a compatibility list and a dedicated subreddit.
  • android-x86 can be a decent alternative too if run inside virtualbox.

Emulation of other Mobile Phones

Info dump here, each one will need to be moved to own article once enough info is gathered.

  • iOS (iPhone, iPad): Doesn't seem to really exist in the same way as with Android. So-called "iOS emulators" like iPadian are just recreations of a select few popular iOS apps, with no real emulation involved. Supposedly, a Mac-exclusive "simulator" in a iOS app development suite has mid-compatibility emulation of commercial games through some tricking it to believe it's part of the dev project (needs verification).
  • J2ME: KEmulator, close sourced & dead.
  • Other Western cell-phones (Ex, ...): some very rough emulators, colose sourced, dead
  • N-Gage: preserved but unemulated
  • Galapagos Japanese cell-phones (DoCoMo, i-mode, RoiD...): jar files with specific shell. Absolutely nothing in emulation or preservation. One iOS app supposedly emulated them but it's not clear if that one isn't just another iPadian scam.