There are many good reasons why someone would want to use an Android emulator on their computer. App developers may be attempting to test their app before releasing it.
Gamers may prefer to play with a mouse and keyboard instead of on the keyboard of the phone. Maybe you just want it to be there for the sake of having it. In any case, Android emulation on a PC is possible, and it's a lot easier now than it was previously.
Andy, AmiduOS, and Leapdroid are among the old favorites that have either left the space or become unusable at some point, but everything else should work fine for most people. The best Android emulators for PC and Mac are listed below.
It's also worth mentioning that Windows 11 now supports native Android apps.
Google Play Games is also available in beta on Windows 11. When it's fully operational, this will be a fantastic option for gamers.
Keep an eye out for the ability to run apps and games natively on Windows 11 replacing the use of emulators for a variety of use cases such as gaming and general productivity.
Best Android Emulators for PC and Mac
In short, the following is a list of the top options.
- Android Studio
- Bliss OS
- Phoenix OS
- Remix OS Player
- Make your own
Platform: Cloud / PC / Windows / Mac / etc.
Many users consider BlueStacks to be the most comprehensive Android app player available, and with good reason. Apart from being compatible with both Windows and Mac, this emulator is jam-packed with features to enhance the gaming experience.
The Keymapping Tool, which allows you to create customized control schemes, the Instance Manager, which allows you to create multiple instances of the emulator and run multiple games at the same time, and quality-of-life features like Eco Mode.
This helps to reduce resource consumption while running the most demanding games, are among its most popular features. It's also the safest emulator available, with GDPR compliance certified — your data is always safe with them.
BlueStacks 5, the most recent version, is the lightest and fastest emulator ever, providing high-performance gaming even on low-end devices.
The new version addresses some of the most common complaints about the previous version, including the fact that it can feel bloated, especially on older hardware.
Try it for yourself right now and see why BlueStacks has a global community of over 500 million gamers!
2. LD Player
LDPlayer is a small Android emulator that focuses on gaming performance. It runs Android Nougat 7.1 and has all of the standard gamer features, such as good keyboard mapping controls, multi-instance, macros, high FPS, and graphical support.
Epic Seven, Clash of Clans, Arknights, and a slew of other games are supported. This emulator is one of the few on the list that receives regular updates to improve compatibility.
LDPlayer has improved the smoothness of Free Fire and Mobile Legends, as well as fixed the device restriction in Moonlight Sculptor, in the most recent versions.
LDPlayer is also a well-rounded emulator for using popular apps like TikTok, Instagram, and others. It takes some design cues from Bluestacks, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
It's a good all-arounder that should meet most people's needs.
3. Android Studio Emulator
The default development console (integrated development environment, or IDE) for Android is Android Studio. It comes with a set of tools to assist developers in creating Android-specific apps and games.
It turns out that there's a built-in emulator you can use to test your app or game. From time to time, we use the emulator to try out new Android versions.
Although the setup is somewhat complicated, it is by far the fastest and most feature-rich option on this list. You can run stock Android, download apps from the Google Play Store, customize launchers and keyboards, and emulate any device size or form factor.
You can even experiment with foldable gadgets!
4. ARChon runtime for Chrome
Platform: OS X, Linux and Windows
ARChon isn't your average emulator. It's a Google Chrome extension that you install. After that, Chrome will be able to run Android apps and games (albeit with limited support).
It's not easy to get this emulator up and running. You'll need to add the extension to Chrome. After that, you must obtain APKs and install them.
As an added complication, you may need to use a tool to modify the APK to make it compatible. Unlike most other Android emulators for PC, this one requires a lot more steps to get it to work.
However, it is compatible with any operating system that can run a Chrome instance (macOS, Linux, Windows, etc). We provided a link to the official GitHub repository, where you can find detailed instructions on how to use it.
5. Bliss OS
Price: Free / Optional donations
Platform: Chromebook, Windows/Linux PC or tablet
Bliss isn't your typical bliss. It's a virtual machine that acts as an Android emulator for PC. It can also be run directly from a USB stick on your computer.
The boot-from-USB option is clearly for power users and is not recommended for less intensive use cases.
The process of installing a virtual machine is simple, but it can be time-consuming if you've never done so before. The USB installation method is more difficult, but it allows your computer to run Android right out of the box.
This one isn't for the faint of heart. If you can make it all the way through the steps, Bliss is a truly unique emulator.
GameLoop is an Android emulator for gamers that was previously known as Tencent Gaming Buddy. It's so good that Tencent refers to it as the official emulator for its games, such as Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile.
Of course, it has games other than Tencent's, though its selection isn't as extensive as it could be.
The emulator gets downloaded and installed without a hitch, and the games we tried worked flawlessly. This isn't a good choice for productivity or development testing.
However, if you're looking for some mobile FPS gaming as well as some titles, this is a decent gaming emulator with a good selection of newer titles. Furthermore, the keyboard controls and performance are excellent.
Price: Free with paid options
Platform: Cloud / Windows / Linux / Mac
This Android emulator is primarily intended for programmers. It allows you to test your apps on a variety of devices without having to purchase any of them.
To suit your needs, you can configure the emulator for a variety of devices running different versions of Android. For example, you can run Android 4.2 on a Nexus One and Android 6.0 on a Nexus 6.
You have complete control over switching between virtual devices.
Although Genymotion's services are not ideal for consumer use, they are available for free for personal use. Its most useful feature is that it can be used on both your desktop and in the cloud.
Those without powerful computers can rely on Genymotion's servers to perform all of their tasks.
8. MEmu Emulator
Price: Free / $2.99 per month / $29.98 per year
Platform: Windows / PC
MEmu is another great Android emulator that appears to be popular among gamers. Support for both AMD and Intel chipsets is one of its most notable features.
Although most developers work on AMD processors, it's nice to see them pay special attention to AMD's platform. MEmu now runs Android 7.1, a significant upgrade from its previous version, which was 4.3 Jelly Bean.
You can even run multiple instances at the same time to test different games or features. It's aimed at gamers, similar to Bluestacks and other emulators, but it can also be used as a productivity tool.
The premium version, which costs $2.99 per month, removes ads, expands customization options, and provides premium support. The emulator receives updates on a regular basis. The current changelog can be found here.
Platform: PC / Windows
MuMu, a NetEase emulator, is actually quite good. It's yet another gaming emulator with a lot of the same features as its rivals. The emulator, like the majority of its competitors, runs Android 7.
Nonetheless, it has a respectable boot time and sufficient features to merit consideration. There's also a beta version that's optimized for low-end computers.
We didn't have any major problems with it, and we were able to download all of the games we wanted to test. In terms of features, MeMU, Bluestacks, and GameLoop have all surpassed it, and all three receive regular updates.
If none of the others work, this one will most likely.
Platform: Windows / Mac
Nox is another Android emulator for PC and Mac that can be used to play games. This includes standard features like keyboard key-mapping, controller support, and even the ability to key-map gesture controls.
For example, you can map the swipe right function to an arrow key and use it in a game that doesn't support hardware controllers.
Nox is kept up to date on a regular basis. It's also one of the few emulators that run Android 9, which is a much newer version than most emulators. This emulator also has multiple instances, allowing you to play multiple games simultaneously.
Even the script is recorded. Nox began as a lighter alternative to heavier hitters, but it is quickly maturing and becoming more usable.
11. Phoenix OS
Phoenix OS is a relatively new Android emulator for the PC. It has a gamer experience, as do most these days.
It does, however, provide a desktop-like experience, so it can be used for productivity as well. It comes with Google Play Services, though updating those services can be a pain at times.
That means you have access to all of the Google Play Store's apps and games.
Phoenix OS also runs Android 7.1, which is a fairly recent version of the Android operating system for an emulator. The emulator can be downloaded from its official website, and its forums can be found on XDA-Developers.
Platform: Windows / Android / Raspberry Pi
In the world of Android emulators, PrimeOS is a bit of a standout. It is not, in fact, an emulator. This is installed as a partition on your computer and starts up with native Android.
It's a gamer-focused Android experience, but if you really want to, you can use it for productivity. PrimeOS includes a gaming center, mouse and keyboard support, and access to the vast majority of Android apps and games.
To be honest, it runs almost identically to ChromeOS, minus the Chrome components. You have the option to multitask, watch videos, or play games.
The best part is that you don't need a virtual machine to run it on the most recent versions of Android (up to Android 11).
The official website is one of the worst on the list, but you won't be visiting it very often unless you want to download PrimeOS.
13. Remix OS Player
Jide's Remix OS Player is an older Android emulator for Windows. It runs Android Marshmallow, which isn't the most recent version available.
The installation process is simple, and it's also simple to use. It primarily caters to gamers. A customizable toolbar is included, as well as a few game-specific features.
It has features such as the ability to run multiple games at the same time.
However, because it's a fairly clean emulator, it can still be used as a productivity tool. The official website appears to be down, and we're fairly certain that Remix OS Player is no longer in active development.
If you want something older but still reasonably stable, you can download the builds from Sourceforge.
Price: Free / Enterprise options
Platforms: Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, macOS, and Windows
Xamarin is a cross-platform development environment (IDE) similar to Android Studio. The difference is that it can integrate with Microsoft Visual Studio to provide a more comprehensive development environment (for better or for worse).
This, like the Android Studio, has a built-in emulator for testing apps and games. We only recommend this one to developers, in case it wasn't clear. For regular consumer use, the setup is simply too time-consuming.
Xamarin's emulator isn't as powerful as something like Genymotion, but it'll suffice if you need it, and it's also customizable to your needs. It is available for personal use at no cost. Larger teams and companies may need to work out a payment plan.
15. Make Your Own
Price: Free (usually)
You can, as it turns out, create your own emulator. In a nutshell, this is how it works. You'll need to get VirtualBox. After that, go to Android-x86.org and download an image.
It's then a simple matter of finding one of the many guides available online and following the instructions. This is undoubtedly one of the more difficult methods, but it isn't nearly as time-consuming or difficult as installing an entire IDE such as Android Studio or Xamarin.
Without a tutorial and some prior knowledge, we don't recommend you try. It won't work properly, will be buggy, and will be difficult to fix unless you're a programmer.
Still, it'll be yours to customize however you want, and who knows, maybe one day you'll create and release an emulator to join this list.
Main uses for Android emulators
Emulators can be used for three different purposes. The first is for gaming, and it is the most common. Gamers can use emulators to make some games easier to play on their computers.
They don't have to rely on their devices' battery life, and macros and other tricks make the process easier. Because these little tricks aren't usually illegal (in most games), no one has a problem with them.
LDPlayer, BlueStacks, MeMu, KoPlayer, and Nox are some of the best Android emulators for gaming.
Development is the second most common use case. Before releasing an app or game, Android app and game developers like to test it on as many devices as possible.
Thankfully, Android Studio includes the "Android Virtual Device" (AVD), which outperforms all other emulators in terms of speed and functionality.
The only disadvantage for non-developers is that it comes with the space-consuming Android Studio and Android Software Development Kit installed (SDK).
Of course, for developers who already have all of the necessary software on their machines, this isn't an issue.
Productivity is the final major type. Because Chromebooks are cheaper and better for using Android apps on something other than a phone, and most productivity tools are cross-platform, this isn't nearly as common.
To some extent, any gaming emulator can be used as a productivity emulator. ARChon and Bliss, on the other hand, are for those with hyper-specific use cases and little knowledge.
Even so, if you want to run Android apps on a laptop or computer in this day and age, we recommend going with a Chromebook (with reasonably good specs). That's the way it should be.
Finally, a word of caution. At the moment, no consumer emulators are capable of running the most recent versions of Android. It can only be found in Android Studio, and it isn't for playing mobile games.
Fortunately, most apps and games work on older versions of Android, so this shouldn't be a major issue. The majority of emulators support Android versions 7.0 to 9.0.
Android Emulator FAQs
Which Android emulator for Windows 10 is the best?
The top Android emulators for PC and Mac are listed here: LDPlayer, Emulator for Android Studio, ARChon. It's also worth noting that, starting in 2021, Windows may allow Android apps to run directly in Windows 10. This could have a significant impact on the Android emulator market.
Is it possible to run an Android emulator on a PC?
There are few iOS emulators for PC and Mac, however, Android emulators perform better. Android emulators are used for a variety of purposes, ranging from app testing to gaming on a huge screen. Regular customers also want to try out Android OS on a Windows computer with a mouse and keyboard.
Which Android emulator is best for productivity apps?
For productivity programs, the Remix OS Player emulation is strongly recommended. It supports all Android games and runs the most recent versions of Android OS. It is multifunctional because it allows you to use multiple applications at the same time, such as chat apps, web browsers, and office software.
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