We’re all well aware about the capabilities of the Android platform. There are smartphones today that can compete with a wide range of technologies. However, what makes those devices really tick is the core Android platform. But what if you own an iPhone and still want to try out Android? Well, you no longer have to purchase an expensive (or inexpensive) phone to find out.
There are emulators today that can help you run Android on your Mac or Windows PC. These bring full compatibility with all the features of Android, while some even update their emulators with the latest version of Android.
With these emulators, you can run apps, games, and do pretty much anything that an Android device can (barring phone calls, obviously). So we’re going to talk a bit about some of the most popular emulators out there. While some user friendly emulators are present here, we’re also going to talk about developer emulators that can help test out apps and games.
So let’s get to it.
5 Best Android Emulator For Mac
KO Player is a relatively new entrant in the emulators game. It markets itself as a mid-market emulator that can run apps and games comfortably. While the focus is mainly on games, this is a full blown Android emulator, so it can run pretty much any app on the Play Store as long as it is compatible with the Android version. The company’s website doesn’t mention which version of Android it’s running, but talks about a few popular apps that are compatible with KO Player (WhatsApp, Clash of Clans etc).
It also comes with features like gameplay recording, keyboard gameplay support, and comes with the Google Play Store pre-installed. It is said that about 99% of the Play Store apps are compatible with KO Player. The best part here is that KO Player is a free download, and can be snatched up directly from their official site. As with any free offering, expect some minor issues during usage. However, the developers are pretty keen on offering a fresh and refined experience.
This is yet another decent alternative for gamers. It comes with the ability to support joysticks and controllers (assuming your Mac supports that). There is zero lag during gameplay or general usage, so you can be assured of a smooth performance. Among the list of features here is the ability to keep multiple accounts on Nox, which is handy if you want to use it on the family computer. You will find that the emulator is compatible with pretty much every popular game and app right now.
Further, the emulator is compatible with x86 as well as AMD processors, thus bringing a wide range of devices under its compatibility list. Like with KO Player, Nox allows users to record their screen and share it on social media as they please. A gaming oriented emulator can be very handy for graphics heavy games as well as strategy games like Clash of Clans and Fortnite (which will reach Android shortly). More importantly, it’s light on your computer, helping it run smoothly and devoid of lag. This is also a free offering with no hidden caveats.
Bluestacks is probably the most popular Android emulator currently available in the market, and with good reason. This app has served Windows and Mac users for a few years now, giving them a viable way to use Android on their desktop. This isn’t an ideal setup for developers, though, as Bluestacks is marketed for the masses. This means there will be some lag when you operate, although it’s rapidly diminishing with each update. The recent version of Bluestacks was updated to Android Nougat, making it the freshest Android emulator out there. It’s too soon to tell if and when Bluestacks will update its offering to Android 8.0 or even 9.0.
As it stands, if gaming and social media is your priority, Bluestacks is an excellent emulator to have. It can run all the heavy games and even offer key mapping support, which has become a prerequisite with modern day Android emulators. Bluestacks is free to download, but will require a subscription for continued usage.
We are now coming to the dev-friendly emulators out there. You won’t find all the bells and whistles that you probably see with Bluestacks, Genymotion lets you test out how an Android device and version would work with a particular app. For example, you can have a Nexus 4 running Android 5.0 or an even older device running that version (assuming it’s compatible).
Genymotion can let you run an emulator directly on your PC or on the cloud, which very few emulators out there can do. This means you can share the functionings of your app with the rest of the world without them having to download a dedicated emulator.
This is a game changer for developers who like to get opinions on their projects from the masses or close associates. Naturally, the PC option is also present, so you’re free to use it the old fashioned way. This isn’t a free offering for personal use, though, so be prepared to subscribe to one of Genymotion’s plans to reap the benefits of all the features mentioned above.
Google’s very own Android Studio also comes with an emulator, although it’s significantly less flashy than a few commercial use emulators. However, it is updated frequently with new features. This is designed specifically for budding and experienced Android developers to test out their apps before it is pushed to the Play Store. It works with both PCs and Macs, so neither platform is left out. It has all the tools to build and design your apps, while the emulator feature allows you to glance through your creation.
Given the feature set, it is definitely not recommended for amateurs, as setting it up could take some time. Android Studio is a free download on both major platforms, and is a 880MB download for Macs.