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The following is a set of steps that will help you achieve running a Goldfish (Android Studio) emulator in an headless way in the cloud. After that, all you need to do is expose the port ADB is listening (typically 5554), and use scrcpy to remotely connect to the emulator.


  1. Launch EC2 ARM based Instance (a1.metal / a1.2xlarge): (16 Gb RAM, 32Gb Disk), Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS (HVM) ARM x64
  2. sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
  3. sudo apt install default-jdk python3-pip repo python-is-python3 unzip libpcre2-dev adb
  4. wget https://dl.google.com/android/repository/commandlinetools-linux-8512546_latest.zip
  5. unzip commandlinetools-linux-8512546_latest.zip -d android-sdk
  6. sudo mv android-sdk /opt/
  7. mkdir /opt/android-sdk/cmdline-tools/latest
  8. mv /opt/android-sdk/cmdline-tools/* /opt/android-sdk/cmdline-tools/latest (ignore the error)
  9. at this point you should have sdkmanager and avdmanager under /opt/android-sdk/cmdline-tools/latest/bin/
  10. echo “export ANDROID_SDK_ROOT=/opt/android-sdk” » ~/.bashrc
  11. echo “export ANDROID_HOME=/opt/android-sdk” » ~/.bashrc
  12. echo “export ANDROID_EMULATOR_WAIT_TIME_BEFORE_KILL=60” » ~/.bashrc
  13. echo “export PATH=$PATH:/opt/android-sdk/cmdline-tools/latest/bin” » ~/.bashrc
  14. source ~/.bashrc
  15. sdkmanager –update
  16. sdkmanager –licenses
  17. cd /opt/android-sdk/
  18. Get emulator download link:
  1. unzip emulator.zip
  2. cd emulator
  3. copy text from https://chromium.googlesource.com/android_tools/+/refs/heads/master/sdk/emulator/package.xml
  4. nano /opt/android-sdk/emulator/package.xml –> paste copied text
  5. cat source.properties –> get Emulator version number from Pkg.Revision (Example: Pkg.Revision=31.3.9)
  6. update the following params in package.xml according to the version: , ,
  7. sdkmanager “system-images;android-31;google_apis;arm64-v8a”
  8. avdmanager -v create avd -f -n MyAVD -k “system-images;android-31;google_apis;arm64-v8a” -p “/opt/android-sdk/avd”
  9. avdmanager list avd –> check that you have MyAVD
  10. mkdir /opt/android-sdk/platforms
  11. mkdir /opt/android-sdk/platform-tools
  12. echo “Vulkan = off” » ~/.android/advancedFeatures.ini
  13. echo “GLDirectMem = on” » ~/.android/advancedFeatures.ini
  14. on Metal instance, enabled KVM access:

Run the Emulator:

Metal instance: /opt/android-sdk/emulator/emulator @MyAVD -no-window -no-audio -ports 5554,5555 -skip-adb-auth -no-boot-anim -show-kernel

Non-metal instance: /opt/android-sdk/emulator/emulator @MyAVD -no-window -no-audio -ports 5554,5555 -skip-adb-auth -no-boot-anim -show-kernel -qemu -cpu max -machine gic-version=max


  1. Use an ARM based EC2 instance. A Metal instance will allow ARM to run on the host CPU (via KVM). A non-metal instance will do ARM emulation which is much slower (but works).
  2. The Android Emulaotr isn’t included in the sdk-tools for ARM, we download it separately. After we install and update its package file, we can use sdkmanager to download system images and other emultaor-dependant packages.
  3. The platform-tools (adb, aapt2 etc.) aren’t not available for ARM64. We install ADB with apt-get (see apt list android-sdk* for other available tools).
  4. Make sure to create the /platforms and /platform-tools folders under /opt/android-sdk/ or the emulator will exit (folder can be empty).
  5. First run on non-Metal instance might take 10-15 minutes.
  6. Use “google_apis” system image and not “google_apis_playstore”. The “google_apis_playstore” requires authentication to connect via ADB (adb devices will show “emulator-5554 offline”)
  7. In case of unstable images (crash with illegal instruction), try using the aosp_atd image (e.g. “system-images;android-30;aosp_atd;arm64-v8a”)

Android Emulator HW options:

nano /opt/android-sdk/avd/config.ini nano ~/.android/avd/MyAVD.ini Specific parameters to consider: hw.ramSize=2048M disk.dataPartition.size=2048M

Disabling the “Ok Google” Hotword detection (might cause 100% CPU on non-metal instance):

adb shell “su root pm disable com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox” Note: run after Emulator fully loaded

Connecting to Emulator console:

  1. get token from: /home/ubuntu/.emulator_console_auth_token
  2. telnet 5554
  3. auth [token]
  4. save snapshot: avd snapshot save default

Manually setup system image (ex: android-32, Google APIs, ARM64):

  1. https://dl.google.com/android/repository/sys-img/google_apis/arm64-v8a-32_r03.zip
  2. mkdir /opt/android-sdk/system-images/android-32
  3. mkdir /opt/android-sdk/system-images/android-32/google_apis
  4. unzip arm64-v8a-32_r03.zip /opt/android-sdk/system-images/android-32/google_apis image path: /opt/android-sdk/system-images/android-[api_version]/[api_type]/[arch_type] (/opt/android-sdk/system-images/android-32/google_apis/arm64-v8a) avdmanager -v create avd -f -n MyAVD2 -k “system-images;android-32;google_apis;arm64-v8a” -p “/opt/android-sdk/avd2”

Useful ADB commands:

Connect: adb devices Install APK: adb install myapp.apk Uninstall app: adb uninstall com.package.name Start app: adb shell am start -n com.package.name/com.package.name.ActivityName Start app2: adb shell monkey -p com.package.name –pct-syskeys 0 -c android.intent.category.LAUNCHER 1 Stop app: adb shell am force-stop com.package.name Disable package: adb shell “su root pm disable com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox” Uninstall package: adb shell “su root pm uninstall –user 0 com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox” Check if running: adb shell dumpsys activity | grep -i run | grep -i com.package.name Forward port: adb forward tcp:8888 tcp:8888 Kill emulator: adb -s emulator-5554 emu kill

Emulator ARM builds: https://ci.android.com/builds/branches/aosp-emu-master-dev/grid? Specific: https://ci.android.com/builds/submitted/8664812/aarch64_sdk_tools_linux/latest/sdk-repo-linux_aarch64-emulator-8664812.zip

ARM System images: Google API Images: https://androidsdkoffline.blogspot.com/p/android-sysimg-google-arm-v8a-download.html All Images: https://androidsdkoffline.blogspot.com Another: https://androidsdkmanager.azurewebsites.net/GoogleAPIaddonSystemImages

References: https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/emulator#emulator_for_arm64_hosts https://github.com/google/android-emulator-container-scripts/issues/192 https://github.com/yaizudamashii/AndroidSDK/pull/1 https://medium.com/heuristics/deploying-android-emulators-on-aws-ec2-1-3-arm-architecture-and-genymotion-solutions-for-a-2ef3238542d5 https://gist.github.com/JonathanLalou/180c87554d8278b0e6d7

#reads #android emulator #cloud #goldfish