I'm playing with Android development, but the emulator is sooo... slow... It takes upwards of five minutes just to start up!

I'm not interested enough in Android development to continue pursuing it with such a slow virtual device (and I don't really want to go buy a real device).

Is there a faster emulator? I'm looking for something that will integrate nicely with Eclipse and run on OS X, and also provide abilities to test on different screen sizes and OSes.

By faster I mean more responsive with a shorter bootup time.

  • 1. Be more patient, as a whole operating system is booted up on virtualized hardware. You can let the emulator stay open in background after the first launch. 2. Running your application on a real device connected via USB is possible with a single click from Eclipse and pretty fast. So you can quickly evaluate whether your input / interaction concepts work or not. Feb 5, 2014 at 18:22
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    @JensPiegsa He realizes that he can use a real device, however, he says, and I don't really want to go buy a real device.
    – hichris123
    Feb 5, 2014 at 18:26
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    If there was a faster emulator, it would be widely known... If you had unusual requirements, there might be something better (e.g. there are versions of Qemu that can do general computations a lot faster but with a markedly slower GUI or no GUI at all). But you have the same requirements as 99% of the users of the emulator, so you seem to be expecting a miracle. Feb 5, 2014 at 18:27
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    @Gilles you mean, like Bluestacks? I would have made that an answer, but I've neither used it myself nor seen it in action elsewhere. Only heard a couple of times it should be waaaayyy faster.
    – Izzy
    Feb 24, 2014 at 20:54
  • One problem with emulator is that some software simply requires reasonable timing, and won't work correctly on a device that is too slow.
    – SF.
    Feb 28, 2014 at 11:19

3 Answers 3


You can install Android in a virtual box environment on your local machine. This is usually done in order to allow the emulation of for example Google Maps-based applications which does not run in the emulato for licening reasons. The other advantage of this installment is that you only have to boot Android once and then hot-deploy your app after each change. There are plenty of tutorials on the net. This is one: http://www.howtogeek.com/164570/how-to-install-android-in-virtualbox/

As far as I know, this does however not come with ny direct IDE support. Instead, you have to deploy your app as if you installed it on a real device.


GenyMotion is a simple to install and start emulator that runs very quickly on top of VirtualBox. They keep it fairly up-to-date with latest Android versions.

As with most Android emulators running on virtual machines like VirtualBox, it runs very quickly, and usage of ADB to send it data and commands (usually used for development) is as quick as expected.

Includes support for Wifi, GPS, Open GL acceleration, Multiscreen, Full screen display, Battery, Gyroscope, Light, Temperature, Rotation Vector, and others.

It is compatible with Linux, Windows (which I have used it on successfully for awhile), and Mac.

It is free, but paid versions offer more features. Besides that usual thing, it also does not maintain older Android releases, such as Android 2.x. But if you're looking for emulation of recent Android releases, this is the easiest, and best I've used so far.

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    The current version dosen't seem to have ARM translation - this would be a non issue if you're building for both but its worth knowing. The fact that its x86 native does make it insanely fast. Feb 28, 2014 at 5:15
  • A zip file of ARM translation will do, if this message is not too late, just for later visitors.
    – JCCM
    Jul 1, 2015 at 13:25

You should enable Intel hardware acceleration (HAXM) and use an x86-based Android image when developing on an emulator in macOS. In short, this combination should improve both startup and run-time performance of your app under the emulator.

I wrote an article how to enable Intel HAXM and why it makes the Android emulator runs faster.

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