Why is the Android emulator so slow? How can we speed up the Android emulator?

I have a 2.67 GHz Celeron processor, and 1.21 GB of RAM on a x86 Windows XP Professional machine.

My understanding is that the Android Emulator should start fairly quickly on such a machine, but for me it does not. I have followed all the instructions in setting up the IDE, SDKs, JDKs and such and have had some success in starting the emulator quickly, but that is very rare. How can I, if possible, fix this problem?

Even if it starts and loads the home screen, it is very sluggish. I have tried the Eclipse IDE in version 3.5 (Galileo) and 3.4 (Ganymede).


Android Development Tools (ADT) 9.0.0 (or later) has a feature that allows you to save state of the AVD (emulator), and you can start your emulator instantly. You have to enable this feature while creating a new AVD or you can just create it later by editing the AVD.

Also I have increased the Device RAM Size to 1024 which results in a very fast emulator.

Refer the given below screenshots for more information.

Creating a new AVD with the save snapshot feature.

Launching the emulator from the snapshot.

And for speeding up your emulator you can refer to Speed up your Android Emulator!:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please first refer to the Intel list about VT to make sure your CPU supports Intel VT.

HAXM Speeds Up the Slow Android Emulator

HAXM stands for - "Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager"

Currently it supports only Intel® VT (Intel Virtualization Technology).

The Android emulator is based on QEMU. The interface between QEMU and the HAXM driver on the host system is designed to be vendor-agnostic.

Steps for Configuring Your Android Development Environment for HAXM

  1. Update Eclipse: Make sure your Eclipse installation and the ADT plug-in are fully up-to-date.

  2. Update your Android Tools: After each Eclipse plug-in update, it is important to update your Android SDK Tools. To do this, launch the Android SDK Manager and update all the Android SDK components. To take advantage of HAXM, you must be on at least release version 17.

  • Download the x86 Atom System Images and the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager Driver. Follow the image below:

  • Install the HAXM Driver by running "IntelHaxm.exe". It will be located in one of following locations:

    • C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\extras\intel\Hardware_Accelerated_Execution_Manager

    • C:\Users\<user>\adt-bundle-windows-x86_64\sdk\extras\intel\Hardware_Accelerated_Execution_Manager

    If the installer fails with the message that Intel VT must be turned on, you need to enable this in the BIOS. See the description for how to do this in Enabling Intel VT (Virtualization Technology) .

  • Create a new x86 AVD: Follow the image below:

  • Or as for new SDK,

Try Android x86. It's much faster than the Google Android emulator. Follow these steps:

  1. Install VirtualBox.
  2. Download the ISO file that you need.
  3. Create a virtual machine as Linux 2.6/Other Linux, 512 MB RAM, HD 2 GB. Network: PCnet-Fast III, attached to NAT. You can also use a bridged adapter, but you need a DHCP server in your environment.
  4. Install Android x86 on the emulator, run it.
  5. Press Alt+F1, type netcfg, remember the IP address, press Alt+F7.
  6. Run cmd on your Windows XP system, change the directory to your Android tools directory, type adb connect <virtual_machine_IP>.
  7. Start Eclipse, open the ADT plugin, find the device, and enjoy!

Any fast android emulator out there? It's pain to develop using android default emulator

Genymotion is great, since BlueStack App Player now forces you to install some apps to continue using free version. I tried Genymotion and quite happy with speed for App development, haven't tried gaming yet. Happy coding :)

You can speed up emulator by using hardware acceleration feature.

In order to make the Android emulator run faster and be more responsive, 
you can configure it to take advantage of hardware acceleration, using a 
combination of configuration options, specific Android system images and 
hardware drivers.

To use Virtual Machine Acceleration you need,

  • x86 AVD
  • processor which supports virtualization extensions
  • Android SDK Tools, Revision 17 or higher

and to configure graphics acceleration, you need

  • graphics processing unit (GPU)
  • Android SDK Tools, Revision 17 or higher
  • Android SDK Platform API 15, Revision 3 or higher

See the android documentation - Using Hardware Acceleration - for instructions on how to configure your system.

Why is the Android emulator slow?

Why is the Android emulator slow?

The biggest problem is the whole rendering process. It's basically a software OpenGL renderer running inside an ARM emulator. Thats really expensive to do. Try playing around with AVDs that have various screen sizes. You will see that (mostly) the AVDs with the bigger screens are way slower (e.g. tablets are unusable on my machine, hvga is almost like a real device).

Google is actually working on this, they demonstrated a (very) early hardware-accellerated, OpenGL based solution at the Google IO ADT session (minute 42:00 and onward) this year.

Until this is done, the only thing you can do is increase the RAM (as long as you have free physical RAM on your machine, if you add more than you can afford you will cause swapping, which slows things down even more) and enable snapshots for a faster startup.

  • Increase your device ram size when your system resources allow it
  • In the edit-device window set the enable-checkbox for "Snapshot"

that should already help boosting the speed.

The reason why it is quite slow: the Emulator is not really Android-specific or built just for Android - there is QEMU running behind the scenes.

Another important thing: The iPhone Simulator does not emulate the iPhone processor, therefore it's faster.
(Android) Emulator does emulate the ARM processor on the other hand side which makes it less performant

Emulator is slow only while it is loading. once you load , you don't have to load it at every execution of your project, so it's only a one time effort, as long as you don't close your emulator.

Faster Android development

is there any lightweight version of the emulator


is there some lighter IDE than Eclipse which supports Android development and Android debugger

Short answer: no. But, you can use the android tools to set up a project, use any plain text editor to edit java sources and use ant to compile everything and adb to install to the emulator.

See http://developer.android.com/guide/developing/other-ide.html

you can code in any text editor or java ide. The Android SDK supports command line compiling. Using eclipse is just the easiest way to do so.

  1. "Close" any projects you're not currently working on.

If you right-click and choose "Close Project" it will prevent Eclipse allocating any memory to them. This reduces the memory used, speeds up start-up time and the reduces likelihood of your computer using the paging file if it's low on memory.

  1. Definitely follow the advice above about doing your debugging on a real device, not an emulator, as this significantly reduces the amount of memory used.

  2. You can create a project in Eclipse but for some sessions leave Eclipse closed and just update the files using a lightweight code editor. Only switch to Eclipse when you need auto-completion from the SDK, to debug or anything else the IDE provides. Press F5 in Eclipse to re-sync the files.

  3. Finally, the more you split your code into separate files, the quicker it will be for Eclipse to rebuild the workspace when you save a file.