Android Platform Guide

This guide shows how to set up your SDK environment to deploy Cordova apps for Android devices, and how to optionally use Android-centered command-line tools in your development workflow. You need to install the Android SDK regardless of whether you want to use these platform-centered shell tools or cross-platform Cordova CLI for development. For a comparison of the two development paths, see the Overview. For details on the CLI, see The Command-Line Interface.

Requirements and Support

Cordova for Android requires the Android SDK which could be installed on OS X, Linux or Windows operation system. See the Android SDK's System Requirements.

Cordova supports Android 4.0.x (starting with Android API level 14) and higher. As a general rule, Android versions become unsupported by Cordova as they dip below 5% on Google's distribution dashboard. Android versions earlier than API level 10, and the 3.x versions (Honeycomb, API levels 11-13) fall significantly below that 5% threshold.

Install Cordova Shell Tools

If you want to use Cordova's Android-centered shell tools in conjunction with the SDK, download Cordova from Otherwise ignore this section if you plan to use the cross-platform CLI tool described in The Command-Line Interface.

The Cordova download contains separate archives for each platform. Be sure to expand the appropriate archive, android in this case, within an empty directory. The relevant executible utilities are available in the top-level bin directory. (Consult the README file if necessary for more detailed directions.)

These shell tools allow you to create, build, and run Android apps. For information on the additional command-line interface that enables plugin features across all platforms, see Using Plugman to Manage Plugins. See Application Plugins for details on how to develop plugins.

Install the Java Development Kit (JDK)

Install Java Development Kit (JDK) 7 or later.

When installing on Windows you also need to set JAVA_HOME Environment Variable according to JDK installation path (for example, C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_75).

Install the Android SDK

Install the Android Stand-alone SDK Tools or Android Studio. Proceed with Android Studio if you plan developing new Cordova for Android plugins or using native tools to run and debug Android platform. Otherwise, Android Stand-alone SDK Tools are enough to build and deploy Android application.

Detailed installation instructions are available as part of installation links above.

For Cordova command-line tools to work, or the CLI that is based upon them, you need to include the SDK's tools and platform-tools directories in your PATH. On a Mac, you can use a text editor to create or modify the ~/.bash_profile file, adding a line such as the following, depending on where the SDK installs:

    export PATH=${PATH}:/Development/android-sdk/platform-tools:/Development/android-sdk/tools

This line in ~/.bash_profile exposes these tools in newly opened terminal windows. If your terminal window is already open in OSX, or to avoid a logout/login on Linux, run this to make them available in the current terminal window:

    $ source ~/.bash_profile

To modify the PATH environment on Windows:

  1. Click on the Start menu in the lower-left corner of the desktop, right-click on Computer, then select Properties.

  2. Select Advanced System Settings in the column on the left.

  3. In the resulting dialog box, press Environment Variables.

  4. Select the PATH variable and press Edit.

  5. Append the following to the PATH based on where you installed the SDK, for example:

  6. Save the value and close both dialog boxes.

Install SDK Packages

Open Android SDK Manager (for example, via terminal: android) and install:

  1. Android 5.1.1 (API 22) platform SDK
  2. Android SDK Build-tools version 19.1.0 or higher
  3. Android Support Repository (Extras)

See Installing SDK Packages for more details.

Configure an Emulator

Android sdk doesn't provide any default emulator instance by default. You can create a new one by running android on the command line. Then, press Tools → Manage AVDs (Android Virtual Devices), then choose any item from Device Definitions in the resulting dialog box:

Press Create AVD, optionally modifying the name, then press OK to accept the changes:

The AVD then appears in the Android Virtual Devices list:

To open the emulator as a separate application, select the AVD and press Start. It launches much as it would on the device, with additional controls available for hardware buttons:

For a faster experience, you can use the Virtual Machine Acceleration to improve the execution speed. Many modern CPUs provide extensions to execute Virtual Machines more efficiently. Before attempting to use this type of acceleration, you need to determine if your current development system's CPU, supports one the following virtualization technologies:

  • Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x, vmx) → Intel VT-x supported processor list
  • AMD Virtualization (AMD-V, SVM), only supported for Linux (Since May 2006, all CPUs AMD include AMD-V, except Sempron).

Another way to find out if your Intel processor supports VT-x Technology, it's by executing the Intel Processor Identification Utility, for Windowsyou can download it from the Intel Download Center, or you can use the booteable utility, which is OS Independent.

After installing and executing the Intel Processor Identification Utility over Windows, you will get the following window, in order to check if your CPU supports the Virtualization Technologies:

In order to speed up the emulator, you need to download and install one or more Intel x86 Atom System Images, as well as the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM).

Open your Android SDK Manager, and select the Intel x86 Atom System Image, for whichever version that you want to test. Then go to Extras and select Intel x86 Emulator Accelerator (HAXM), and install those packages:

After download, run the Intel installer, which is available within your Android SDK at extras/intel/Hardware_Accelerated_Execution_Manager. Note:If you have any problems installing the package, you can find more information and step by step guidance check this Intel Article.

  1. Install one or more Intel x86 Atom System Images as well as the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager, available under Extras.

  2. Run the Intel installer, which is available within your Android SDK at extras/intel/Hardware_Accelerated_Execution_Manager.

  3. Create a new AVD with the target set to an Intel image.

  4. When starting the emulator, ensure there are no error messages indicating a failure to load HAX modules.

Create a New Project

At this point, to create a new project you can choose between the cross-platform CLI tool described in The Command-Line Interface, or the set of Android-specific shell tools. From within a source-code directory, here's the CLI approach:

    $ cordova create hello com.example.hello HelloWorld
    $ cd hello
    $ cordova platform add android
    $ cordova prepare              # or "cordova build"

Here's the corresponding lower-level shell-tool approach for both Unix and Windows:

    $ /path/to/cordova-android/bin/create /path/to/new/hello com.example.hello HelloWorld
    C:\path\to\cordova-android\bin\create.bat C:\path\to\new\hello com.example.hello HelloWorld

Build the Project

If you are using the CLI in development, the project directory's top-level www directory contains the source files. Run any of these within the project directory to rebuild the app:

    $ cordova build                   # build all platforms that were added
    $ cordova build android           # build debug for only Android
    $ cordova build android --debug   # build debug for only Android
    $ cordova build android --release # build release for only Android

If you are using the Android-specific shell tools in development, there is a different approach. Once you generate the project, the default app's source is available in the assets/www subdirectory. Subsequent commands are available in its cordova subdirectory.

The build command cleans project files and rebuilds the app. Here is the syntax for both Mac and Windows. The first pair of examples generate debugging information, and the second builds the apps for release:

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/build --debug
    C:\path\to\project\cordova\build.bat --debug

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/build --release
    C:\path\to\project\cordova\build.bat --release

Deploy the app

You can use the cordova CLI utility to deploy the application to the emulator or the device from the command line:

    $ cordova emulate android       #to deploy the app on a default android emulator
    $ cordova run android --device  #to deploy the app on a connected device

Otherwise, use the alternate shell interface:

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/run --emulator
    $ /path/to/project/cordova/run --device

You can use cordova run android --list to see all available targets and cordova run android --target=target_name to run application on a specific device or emulator (for example, cordova run android --target="Nexus4_emulator").

You can also use cordova run --help to see additional build and run options.

This pushes the app to the home screen and launches it:

When you run the app, you also build it. You can append additional --debug, --release, and --nobuild flags to control how it is built, or even whether a rebuild is necessary:

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/run --emulator --nobuild

Other Commands

The following generates a detailed log of the app as it runs:

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/log

The following cleans the project files:

    $ /path/to/project/cordova/clean

Open a New Project in the SDK

Once android platform is added to your project, you can open it from within Android Studio:

  1. Launch the Android Studio application.

  2. Select Import Project (Eclipse ADT, Gradle, etc).

  1. Select location where android platform is stored (your/project/platforms/android).

  1. For the Gradle Sync question you can simply answer Yes.

You are all set now and can build and run the app directly from Android Studio.

See Android Studio Overview and And Building and Running from Android Studio for more details.