Best Android emulator: Your friends have a latest generation Android smartphone or tablet and always manage to enjoy the most popular games in the Play Store. You, on the other hand, in the mobile environment have made other choices or, in any case, you have a device that does not “hold up” as it should the most recent titles. For this reason, you’ve chosen to go a different path and look for a way to emulate Android on your PC.
By doing some research on the Net you have found various solutions suitable for the purpose, but you just do not know which ones to turn to. So here you are, on my site, looking for advice on the best Android emulator for computers. That’s the way it is, right? Then no problem, I would say that you have come to the right place.
In fact, I am going to analyze the topic as a whole, leading you to discover everything there is to know about the Android emulators available on PC. It does not matter from which operating system you want to perform this operation: I will examine a bit all the platforms, from Windows to macOS, arriving at Linux. How do you say? Can’t wait to proceed? Perfect, then you just have to take some free time and follow the quick instructions below. There is nothing left for me to do, except wish you good reading and have fun!
Before explaining what the best Android emulator could be for you , I think it may be interesting to deepen the question in general.
Well, as you surely know, an Android emulator is a “reproduction” of the operating system for Google mobile devices capable of fully (or almost) emulating the functioning of the latter on another platform – in this case Windows, macOS o Linux – thus also allowing the use on computers of apps designed for smartphones and tablets, including games.
The advantage of using an Android emulator lies in being able to use the Google operating system independently of the PC operating system . In fact, no dual boot is required, as Android will be reproduced exclusively within the emulation software . Also not to be underestimated is the ease of use that distinguishes these solutions, which usually have a completely guided configuration procedure.
Why, then, does someone continue to prefer the use of a generation tablet or smartphone to emulators? In addition to the obvious portability and convenience of the devices, there are other factors to consider as well. In fact, generally the performance of this type of program is not exactly excellent. Of course, the passing of the years has brought with it excellent improvements from this point of view, but clearly using a top of the Android range is yet another type of experience (even if the emulator is run on particularly performing PCs).
For the rest, using an Android emulator is very similar to using a smartphone or tablet equipped with the Google operating system. The games and applications, therefore, are downloaded from the Play Store , which requires a Google account to work. In short, nothing different from what happens using an Android mobile device.
That said, you should know that among the emulators for Android there are several possibilities to choose from: there are some more generic, some specifically dedicated to gaming and some that even work via the cloud, therefore directly from the browser. In the course of this tutorial, therefore, I will analyze various possibilities trying to make you identify the ones that may be the best Android emulators for your needs. Good continuation!
Best Android emulator for PC
After giving you a “general overview” about the world of Android emulators , I think it’s time to take action and show you some solutions that can allow you to reach your goal in the blink of an eye. Below you can find all the details of the case regarding Windows PCs .
If you ask an enthusiast what is the best Android emulator for Windows , you have a good chance that the latter will at least mention BlueStacks . In fact, it is one of the most popular free solutions in this world and it has been a long time that a good number of users make use of this program to access Android applications on PC , also due to the excellent performance that is usually available. able to provide (it is, in fact, also one of the best emulators for mobile gaming).
To proceed with the download of the program, connected to the official BlueStacks portal and click on the Download BlueStacks button in the center of the page. By doing so, you will get the BlueStacksMicroInstaller_ [version] .exe file . Then open the latter and click on the Install Now button .
At this point, wait for the program to finish downloading the necessary files as well as installing everything and you will be taken to the main BlueStacks screen.
At this point, all you have to do is run the setup wizard. This involves logging in with a Google account, which is essential for using the Play Store , or Google’s official digital store that allows you to download applications and games for Android.
To proceed, press the Play Store icon and then the Login button , type the email address and password of the Google account you want to use (you can also think about creating an ad hoc one) and complete the login procedure pressing the Next and Accept buttons .
Perfect, now you can correctly download games and applications through the Play Store , in order to use them from your computer. So use the search bar located at the top to search for the game or app of your interest, then download and install it by pressing the Install button , just as if the emulator were a traditional Android smartphone or tablet (if you don’t remember how you do this, you can consult my tutorial on how to download applications on Android).
At the end of the download and installation , which will take place automatically, then start the game or the app you downloaded, to use them, by tapping the Open button on the screen. Perfect, now you know how to use BlueStacks: nothing could be easier, right?
Even the BlueStacks interface does not include anything too complex: at the top right there are the tools that allow you, for example, to manage the volume or take a quick screenshot, while the classic Back keys peek out at the bottom right , Home and Recent . In short, you shouldn’t have any problems using the program. By the way, if in doubt, you can consult my guide on how to use BlueStacks.
Referred to by many as the best lightweight Android emulator (after all, everything is done via the browser), BlueStacks X is certainly a very interesting solution for those who are used to trying many video games . In fact, although currently in the preliminary phase (beta), the service allows you to get a good Android gaming experience without having to download anything.
To use the service, just connect to the official website of BlueStacks X to play via the cloud , which is similar to what happens with services like Google Stadia, only in this case we refer to Android titles .
To proceed, click on the speech bubble symbol on the left and search for the game you want to play online via the search bar located at the top left. Then, press the Play On Cloud button , which appears when you move the mouse over the icon of the title you want to play and finally log in with Google ( Log in with Google ), with your Facebook account ( Sign in with Facebook ) or with yours. Discord profile ( Log in with Discord ).
Once logged in, follow the instructions that appear on the screen to play the title you have just chosen. In any case, at the moment everything is still under development. For this reason, you may encounter some problems while using BlueStacks X. In case something does not go smoothly, you could therefore think of using the classic BlueStacks , which is certainly more stable.
Another very popular emulator on Windows is MEmu . The latter is generally believed to be able to offer excellent performance, so I decided to briefly explain how it works.
To download and use the emulator in question on your computer, connect to the official Memu website and click the DOWNLOAD button . You will then get the MEmu-setup-abroad-sdk.exe file : open it and press the Yes button to authorize Windows to run the installation package.
To start everything, click on the Quick installation button , possibly pressing the Reject button if you are asked to install other software not related to the emulator. At this point, you will have to wait for the installer to download the files necessary for the program to function correctly. Once the download is complete, press the Run MEmu button to proceed.
The MEmu interface is very simple to use: in the upper part there is a search bar for applications, while on the right there are the buttons to access all the necessary tools, from volume management to file installation APK . At the bottom right, the Back , Home and Recent Apps buttons also peek out . In short, it’s all very intuitive.
All you have to do is start the Google Play Store and complete the configuration, by logging in and following the instructions that appear on the screen. For the rest, if you intend to deepen the subject, you may be interested in consulting my tutorial on how to configure MEmu.
Other Android emulators for PC
As you can imagine, the emulators mentioned above represent only some of the best solutions of this type. In reality there are many others, but be careful: in the past malware related to well-known Android emulators have been found , which obviously I have avoided mentioning in this guide.
In short, before downloading a program, maybe do a little research on its reliability. In short, pay attention to what you find. That said, below I leave you a short list of other Android emulators , so that you have a certain choice.
- LDPlayer : the program winks at lovers of mobile gaming, promising excellent performance with video games.
- ArChon Runtime : if you are a bit of a geek user, you might want to take a look at this project. It is an extension for Google Chrome that allows you to launch Android applications directly via the browser. It’s not exactly simple to use, but if you’re a little familiar with the world of tech you shouldn’t have too many problems.
- GameLoop : emulator focused on video games. Lets you play a catalog of over 1,000 popular titles. If you want to know more, you can refer to my tutorial on how to play COD Mobile on PC.
Best Android emulator for Mac
If you are interested in Android emulators for Mac , the solution that might interest you the most is probably BlueStacks .
In fact, the program that I have already described in the chapter on Windows can also be safely installed on macOS. The installation is very simple and then the use of the program is almost identical to the Windows counterpart. To proceed, simply go to the official BlueStacks website , click the Download BlueStacks button , open the resulting BlueStacksInstaller- [version] .dmg file , double-click the BlueStacks icon and select the Open option .
After that, you just have to click on the Install Now button , enter the password for your user account on macOS and click on the Install assistant item . You may be asked to provide the right permissions in System Preferences and then you will need to log in with your Google account, but once this is done you will be able to proceed smoothly with emulating Android apps on Mac.
However, it counts that on macOS the development of BlueStacks seems to be going more slowly: for example, at the time of writing, for macOS BlueStacks 4 is still available while on Windows it has already arrived at BlueStacks 5.
For the rest, you may also want to deepen the aforementioned BlueStacks X (which is used via a browser) and ArChon Runtime (which is based on Google Chrome). To better analyze the topic, I suggest you refer to my guide on how to emulate Android on Mac, in which I have gone into further detail regarding the possibilities available in this regard.
Best Android emulator for Linux
How do you say? Are you interested in using an Android emulator on Linux ? No problem, I’ll give you some details right away that may come in handy.
Well, clearly some of the solutions I have included in the chapter on Windows PCs can be useful even if you want to proceed from a Linux distro.
More precisely, if you want advice, in this case you might be interested in, to avoid installation procedures via a terminal or the like, proceed through those services that are used via a browser.
You have therefore probably already understood where I want to go: among the most interesting Android emulators for Linux there are BlueStacks X (usable via browser) and ArChon Runtime (used via Google Chrome). I have already illustrated these possibilities previously in the guide, so I recommend that you consult the appropriate chapters.
In any case, certainly the possibilities are not lacking also for what concerns Linux and now you know where to direct your gaze.