Not a lot of people know that you can run Android on your PC or Mac. For those savvy enough, they know you would have to use an Android emulator.
Why use Android on your PC or Mac? Some of you might not be able to imagine why you would use Android on a desktop or laptop computer, but there are legitimate reasons why you would want to do this:
- There are some users and consumers who would like to run a specific Android app, but they might not own an Android device, or they might not have one handy at the moment. In this situation, an emulator will help.
- App developers mainly use Android emulators to test their apps.
- There are some users and developers who want the flexibility that an Android emulator provides – being able to configure specifications on emulators depending on your requirements. Some emulators let you dictate what version, how many CPU cores to emulate, RAM, and external storage size, among others.
- Or, you might be a gamer and want to play Android games with desktop controls.
Whatever the case, Android emulators are pretty useful tools to have. You can install one on your PC, or you can even install an Android emulator on your Mac computer.
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I’ve listed down 10 Android emulators that you’d want to take a look at, depending on how you’re planning to use the software.
Run Android on your PC or Mac on the Best Android Emulators in 2018
Here are the best Android emulators that you can run on your PC and or Mac. I’ve listed them down and put in a word (or three) about what you might possibly use them for.
Also, take note of the strengths and downsides of the software, as not all Android emulators are built alike.
Android Studio Emulator
Android Studio is Google’s recommended app development software. If you are an app developer, you might have this installed on your PC or Mac computer already.
Included in this developer toolkit is the Android Studio Emulator, which is part of this suite of Android app development tools.
Strengths: This Android emulator is great for app developers, so you can test your apps on a full-fledged Android operating system emulated on your PC or Mac.
It is relatively easy to set up and easy to use if you are a developer. It is free to use when you download Android Studio and is backed by Google.
Challenges: Because it is focused on developers, this Android emulator might not be suitable for consumers and other casual users.
Bluestacks is probably one of the most popular names in Android emulators, if not the most popular. Bluestacks has been around for a while now, and people know that it is a solid emulator.
Bluestacks 4 is the latest version of this Android emulator, and it is available for both PC and Mac users. Bluestacks is also running the emulator on Android 7.1.2 Nougat, which is a relatively newer version of Android.
Strengths: Bluestacks 4 is designed to run Android apps and games on your computer, be it Mac or PC. So the installation is easy to use, and there are a lot of features on this emulator to make playing Android games on your computer easier.
And since Bluestacks 4 runs Android Nougat, so you can be sure that most of the new features of Android are usable, and there should be little to no compatibility issues with your apps at all. Did we say it is free to use and download? Yes, it is.
Challenges: Bluestacks 4 is great, but it isn’t perfect. There are still some bugs that you might encounter, and some features that might be difficult to learn for non-gamers and first-time users.
Remix OS Player
I was really happy when Jide Technology put out its own Android emulator, which is called Remix OS Player. Remix OS is Jide’s version of Android which came bundled with its devices when it still used to manufacture them.
Now Jide has jumped off the Android device market, but the Remix OS Player is still available for those who want an honest-to-goodness Android emulator. If you’re willing to overlook some hiccups, this emulator might just work for you.
Strengths: Remix OS Player is an emulator that is focused on gaming and consumer use. As such, users will find this Android emulator easy to learn.
Remix OS is based on Android Marshmallow, not the newest version, but it should be workable. There should be very few compatibility issues with apps you want to run, and it is free to download.
Challenges: Remix OS Player is an Android emulator that will run ONLY on Intel processors. There is no support for AMD-powered systems. It is also available only for Windows PC, and there is no support for Mac, nor will there likely be any in the future.
NOX Player 6
NOX Player is another popular Android emulator, and it is popular because it is designed for playing Android games on your PC or Mac. Yes, it has support for macOS.
NOX Player brings you a huge set of controls and features to make sure you’re able to play the games you want to play on your PC or Mac, with the best controls available.
Strengths: Being a gamer-centric Android emulator, NOX Player gives you more gaming features than you can wag your finger at. It even has support for gaming controllers.
Challenges: NOX Player 6, the latest version of this emulator, is still based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop at the latest. And while Android Lollipop isn’t the oldest version around, it certainly isn’t the newest – so be prepared to re-learn Lollipop when you use this, and expect some compatibility issues with newer apps.
Genymotion is a developer-centric Android emulator, and as such, it is probably one of the best in allowing you to test apps that you might be developing or building.
Genymotion has a huge set of features for full-fledged Android emulation, and you can use it on PC, Mac, or even Linux. This is why you have to pay an annual fee to build apps for profit.
However, if you just want a casual Android emulator for apps and games, there is a free-to-download, free-to-use edition that does not have all the features, but will allow you to run apps.
Strengths: Genymotion is one of the more popular Android emulators for developers. It has a lot of features, and it even has cloud-based emulation. If you are an app developer, you should seriously consider paying for this software.
Challenges: For casual users, Genymotion’s free tier should be sufficient. It doesn’t have all the features, and it only runs Android Marshmallow.
AMIDuOS prides itself as being the “fastest Android emulator” on Windows, but that is for you to find out. Certainly, it is one that uses less resources on your PC than others.
AMIDuOS runs on Windows only (no Mac support), and it allows you to run your Android apps and games on your PC. No gamer-centric features, just pure emulation so you can run apps on your PC.
Strengths: AMIDuOS has one thing going for it – it can run on both PCs powered by either an Intel or an AMD processor. It also uses very little resources from your PC.
Challenges: AMIDuOS runs Android Lollipop, and so you will have some compatibility issues with apps here and there.
Andy Android Emulator
Andy Android Emulator has been around for quite a while now, and it was probably one of the first to offer such a software. It’s not the newest, but it offers user-friendly features.
Andy Android Emulator – or popularly known as Andyroid – is still based on Android Jellybean, which is an old version of Android. But it still gives users a way to run Android apps on your PC or Mac (hooray for Mac support!).
Strengths: Andyroid is easy to install and easy to use, which is as much as we can say about it. It also has Mac support, and it is compatible with most popular Android apps.
Challenges: Since Andyroid is still based on Jellybean, don’t expect it to run the new games you want to play. Also expect some bugs with the user interface.
MEmu is one of the lighter Android emulators you can find, and its features are good enough to land it on our list. This emulator has support for both Intel and AMD processors, so that won’t be a problem when you use this.
MEmu focuses on being user-friendly and that’s what users get – an emulator where you can easily run your Android apps.
Strengths: Aside from being able to run on both Intel or AMD-powered PCs, MEmu currently runs on Android Lollipop, but with updates to Android Marshmallow and Android Nougat on the way.
Challenges: The only bad thing we can say about MEmu is that there is no support for Mac. Hopefully that will change soon.
ARChon is a bit unique from all the other emulators in this list, and that is because it runs on the Chrome browser program. Yep, you heard it right – ARChon is a browser-based emulator.
This is one for the techies, as it is one of the more complicated emulators to get up and running. But once you do get it running, you’ll be able to run Android apps from your Chrome browser. Imagine how nifty that would be!
Strengths: ARChon is incredibly lightweight, and it does not require much of anything aside from your Chrome browser. It is free to use and barely requires any installation at all.
Challenges: That said, it will take a bit of work to get it up and running. There are full instructions at the download link below, so have a go at installing this.
Ko Player doesn’t get much love as an Android emulator, and that’s because not a lot of people know about it. This emulator is Windows only, so no luck for you Mac users, but the features are good enough for us to recommend it.
Ko Player runs on Android Lollipop, so it will run most of the apps you will want to try on it. Its adaptable resolution on your PC makes it great for Android video apps such as Netflix and YouTube.
Strengths: Ko Player is compatible with Intel and AMD processors, which is a good thing. It also has a screen recording feature which is great for gamers on Android.
Challenges: There’s no Mac support for Ko Player, and you might experience some compatibility issues with newer games.
Conclusion: Android emulators are great for getting Android on your PC and Mac
Android is great, and I understand if you’ve fallen in love with it so much so that you’d want it on your desktop or laptop as well. Android emulators are great tools in this respect.
If you loved this list of Android emulators, give us a shoutout in the comments section.
Do you have other Android emulator recommendations we might have missed? Give us a comment and tell us why it should be on this list.