Running headless Android Emulator

Posted on 09 Feb, 2022

  1. Create an AVD

    echo no | $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/cmdline-tools/latest/bin/avdmanager create avd --force -n test --abi 'google_apis_playstore/x86' --package 'system-images;android-28;google_apis_playstore;x86' --device 'Nexus 6'
  2. Boot the Emulator

    $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/emulator/emulator -avd test -no-window -gpu swiftshader_indirect -no-snapshot -noaudio -no-boot-anim

    You will see an output similar like this

    emulator: Android emulator version (build_id 7491168) (CL:N/A)
    handleCpuAcceleration: feature check for hvf
    emulator: feeding guest with passive gps data, in headless mode
    cannot add library /Users/cs/Library/Android/sdk/emulator/qemu/darwin-x86_64/lib64/vulkan/libvulkan.dylib: failed
    added library /Users/cs/Library/Android/sdk/emulator/lib64/vulkan/libvulkan.dylib
    emulator: INFO: GrpcServices.cpp:315: Started GRPC server at, security: Local
    emulator: INFO: EmulatorAdvertisement.cpp:93: Advertising in: /Users/cs/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/avd/running/pid_60753.ini
    emulator: Cold boot: requested by the user
    Your emulator is out of date, please update by launching Android Studio:
     - Start Android Studio
     - Select menu "Tools > Android > SDK Manager"
     - Click "SDK Tools" tab
     - Check "Android Emulator" checkbox
     - Click "OK"
    emulator: INFO: boot completed
    emulator: INFO: boot time 26292 ms
    emulator: Increasing screen off timeout, logcat buffer size to 2M.
    emulator: Revoking microphone permissions for Google App.

    If you already have an AVD setup, use -list-avds flag to list available avds and provide that in argument to -avd above.

    $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/emulator/emulator -list-avds
  3. Verify emulator is successfully booted (required in case if you run the above command in background)

    $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/platform-tools/adb shell getprop sys.boot_completed

    This will return 1 if emulator is running.

Note: ANDROID_SDK_ROOT points to /Users/user/Library/Android/sdk/

Runninng Emulator inside Github Actions

name: Emulator Test

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    name: "Android"
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: "Check android emulator"
        run: |
          $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/cmdline-tools/latest/bin/sdkmanager --install 'build-tools;31.0.0' platform-tools 'platforms;android-29' > /dev/null
          $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/cmdline-tools/latest/bin/sdkmanager --install emulator --channel=0 > /dev/null
          $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/cmdline-tools/latest/bin/sdkmanager --install 'system-images;android-29;default;x86_64' --channel=0 > /dev/null
          echo no | $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/cmdline-tools/latest/bin/avdmanager create avd --force -n test --abi 'default/x86_64' --package 'system-images;android-29;default;x86_64' --device 'Nexus 6'

Emulator CLI Tips

  1. You can also record the session/screen using the -record-session flag. Specially useful when running emulator in headless mode

    $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/emulator/emulator -avd Pixel_2_API_27 -no-window -gpu swiftshader_indirect -no-snapshot -record-session filename.webm,7s

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