Each application is designed to work with an operating system, for example Windows or macOS for the PC, or Android or iOS for mobile devices. At the same time, it is possible to turn your PC into a smartphone, using special programs that allow you to bring the mobile world inside your desktop. Let's see which are the best Android emulators for PC, with the most popular software for this function compatible with Windows PCs and Macs.
Android emulators: what they are and how they work
Android emulators are computer platforms, programs through which you can replicate the experience of Google's operating system within your PC. Android is in fact an open source project, so the code is accessible to everyone and can be used or modified at will. This is what companies like Huawei do, with their customized versions of Android in the EMUI edition.
To take advantage of this OS for mobile devices in the PC you must install a software, a program that lets you simulate all the Android functionality in the virtual machine. Some systems allow you to use Android applications on the PC, with compatible solutions for Windows and Mac computers, so you can for example play smartphone games on the PC.
You can also download applications directly from the official Play Store, to use them on the PC as if they were desktop programs. Other software is aimed at programmers, as it allows you to develop applications and programs for mobile devices directly from your PC, run bug tests and create utilities for Google's mobile operating system. In this guide we have gathered the best Android emulators, with a careful selection of the most interesting options.
Best Android emulators for Windows PC
Most Android emulators are designed for Windows PC, with lots of different options to choose from, some ideal for gaming, others also suitable for developers and testing mobile applications on the desktop. Here are the best programs.
The best Android emulator is undoubtedly BlueStacks, by far the most used program with versions for Windows PCs and Macs. In particular, this software is free, moreover it doesn't require any intervention to activate the dual boot function, so you don't have to manage two different operating systems. At the same time the system is really easy to use, proving to be very versatile for different purposes.
BlueStacks boasts a community with over 400 million users, and is especially appreciated for playing Android titles, with more than 1 million compatible video games. Key features include custom game controls, high performance to improve mouse and keyboard responsiveness, MOBA mode and a multi-instance option to run multiple games at once.
An excellent Android emulator on Windows PC is LDPlayer, a free software that is quick and easy to install. Unfortunately, it is only available in English, and it does not work on macOS PCs. The program is based on older versions of Android, however it is updated frequently, so it works adequately to play the most popular titles for smartphones.
The graphical interface is quite intuitive and of good quality, it is compatible with all major devices, in addition there is a multi-player function with support for the multiplayer option. With LDPlayer you can create multiple accounts, you can map the controls to use the mouse and keyboard, plus you can download applications directly from the Google Play Store.
To transport Android games to your PC you can use Memu, a completely free program available for Windows. One of the advantages of this Android emulator without virtualization is the presence of an Italian version, an important aspect to ensure an optimal experience. The graphics are of good quality, with a fairly efficient built-in mapping for peripheral management.
Inside the system there are several interesting features, such as the 3D effects option and the CPU and graphics card performance monitoring. This platform is based on Android 7, at the same time it is updated regularly and ensures good performance with Android games. With Memu you can create multiple accounts and find millions of compatible titles.
One of the best Android emulators for video games is definitely GameLoop, a software capable of supporting many titles for smartphones, including Call of Duty, PUBG and Free Fire. This program also offers many games of the latest generation, with a catalog always updated with the latest news in the industry, as indicated in the appropriate section of the official portal of GameLoop.
The emulator is compatible with all PC controls, from mouse to keyboard, is easy to install and is available for Windows PC. It lacks an Italian version, in fact it is only offered in English, however the configuration is quite simple and intuitive. It's not very efficient for using Android apps, while it's perfect for video games from the Android catalog, with custom settings and excellent performance.
Available only in English, but compatible with both Windows and macOS, NoxPlayer is a lesser known but equally valid Android emulator, especially for enjoying Android games on the PC. The list of applications that work with this program is really long, in fact, all major apps are present, such as WhatsApp, Netflix, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
The system is based on Android version 7, however, it supports any mobile game, with some specific versions made especially for this software. The download is free, although there are some recommended app ads. Features include multiple instances to play multiple titles at once, device synchronization and support for virtualization.
An Android emulator without virtualization is Phoenix OS, a true operating system that replicates Google's program for mobile devices, to be installed in your PC with dual boot operation. Basically it is an alternative OS, so you can run the software and have an environment that simulates Android on your computer.
Phoenix OS can be installed in Windows and macOS machines, it is free and fairly lightweight, offering good performance and a modern and intuitive interface. The system is built from Android version 7, with an easy-to-use menu, while the installation can be done via USB key support or with a virtual machine.
Best Android Emulators for Mac
Some Android emulators are designed specifically for the Mac, with dedicated and other compatible versions that allow you to use Android apps in Apple's macOS operating system. Here are the best proposals.
BlueStacks App Player
The best Android emulator for macOS PC is BlueStacks App Player, which as we have seen is also available for Windows. Downloaded by more than 90 million people, this software allows you to use a lot of mobile applications on your Mac, creating a real virtual copy of Google's operating system inside your Apple computer, with a fast and fairly simple installation.
To highlight the main menu that helps in navigation, with all the main features in sight. A very interesting feature is the ability to synchronize Android apps with those of the Mac, to improve the experience and avoid clashes between the two systems. The response times are not always perfect, but there are plenty of options such as multiplayer.
Those who own a Mac PC can use the Android emulator Andy OS to find all the video games for mobile devices within their macOS computer. The software is compatible with numerous apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram. With the program you can synchronize your desktop device with your mobile device, receive notifications from apps in real time and download applications from the official stores.
Andy OS is free to download without any download cost, it also supports many features such as microphone, webcam, sensors and gaming peripherals like PC mouse and keyboard. There is control mapping, custom configuration and you can connect wireless headsets as well. There are no storage space constraints, plus you can use your smartphone as a controller.
The best Android emulator on Mac for gaming is Droid4X, a software that is also compatible with Google Play Store and available with a Windows version. With this application you can record your screen, perform app downloads from the official stores, test your apps and synchronize functions precisely. The main use is for Android games on a Mac, where high image quality and adequate response time are guaranteed.
With Droid4X you can connect all the main Mac controls, or you can use your smartphone as a gaming device, customizing the functionality to your needs with an excellent setting program. The applications that can be integrated are numerous, both in the world of gaming and entertainment in general, with free download and immediate installation.
One of the best Android emulators on PC macOS is Genymotion, with which you can recreate the virtual environment of Google's operating system for mobile devices in the Mac. Installation is simple and fast, and it is also compatible with Windows and Linux, although the most popular version is the one for Apple PCs. It is mostly used by developers, to test applications and program compatibility.
This program takes advantage of SaaS (Software as a Service) cloud technology, and is able to provide accurate data on many parameters and performance indicators. Since it is a professional application, you will have to pay for it, with prices starting at $136 per year for the desktop version, or $0.05 per minute for the cloud version. With this program you can simulate a custom Android environment for testing Android applications on your Mac.