Saturday, December 11, 2021

AndroidStudio Development with an M1 Mac


I got to use an M1 Mac as a loaner while my other Mac (2019, 32GB, MBP) was in the shop. So I used Time Machine to restore my work on the M1 MBP with 16GB. This M1 really is impressive in performance and using less power.  Having half the RAM of the Intel Mac wasn't noticeable at all.

Everyone should ditch their Intel and get one of these! That said, there are two impediments I had with getting work done: Android Studio and Open Broadcast Studio.  In this article I'll share how I resolved my issue with Android Studio.

The Issue 

Everything worked "out of the box" with Arctic Fox patch 4 (not a native M1 app), except I still couldn't get the emulator to launch.  But it actually was pretty easy to resolve once I learned a bit more about how Android emulation works.  

When I chose to launch my app, nothing would happen.  What was happening in my case is that it was trying to launch an emulator based on the x86 architecture.  So I needed to change the emulator.  The following is how. There are articles on StackOverflow, Reddit, and Medium but as AndroidStudio frequently releases new versions, a lot of the information is educational but the steps are quickly out of date.  (We are speeding toward the Singularity after all.)

Changing the Virtual Device

Note: As you go through the below images, you'll notice they are a tiny bit fuzzy. This is a compromise to get these big screenshots to fit in this webpage's layout. If you can't read something clearly, click on the image and it'll expand to full size and everything will be clear.

Go into the Android Vertical Device manager (AVD).

Create a new virtual device. 

Select the same phone type you were using before (I'm using Pixel 3a).

Download the version of Android OS you need (notice the ABI is for ARM).

Select the ARM emulator.  (Remember, Apple Silicon is an ARM architecture.)

After clicking finish you're ready to go back to AndroidStudio and launch the app in the emulator. (It will take more time on the first launch as it doesn't have things locally cached.)


When you're happy with the results of the new virtual device, go back into the Android Virtual Device manager and delete your old, unusable device and free up those GBs of storage.

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