Building for Emulator/AVD
In case you don’t have an officially supported device, don’t want to test changes on your daily driver, or are just someone who wants to test apps with LineageOS-specific features, we’ve still got you covered.
These instructions will help you build an emulator-compatible version of LineageOS, ready to run on your computer. If you want to use Android Studio/AVD there are also instructions for packing up/installing your custom build instead of the default AOSP images that Google provides.
What you’ll need
- A relatively recent 64-bit computer (Linux, macOS, or Windows) with a reasonable amount of RAM and about 200 GB of free storage (more if you enable
ccacheor build for multiple devices). The less RAM you have, the longer the build will take. Aim for 16 GB RAM or more, enabling ZRAM can be helpful. Using SSDs results in considerably faster build times than traditional hard drives.
- A decent internet connection and reliable electricity. :)
- Some familiarity with basic Android operation and terminology.
It may be useful to know some basic command line concepts such as
cd, which stands for “change directory”, the concept of directory hierarchies, and that in Linux they are separated by
Install the platform-tools
If you haven’t previously installed
fastboot, you can download them from Google.
Extract it running:
unzip platform-tools-latest-linux.zip -d ~
Now you have to add
fastboot to your PATH. Open
~/.profile and add the following:
# add Android SDK platform tools to path if [ -d "$HOME/platform-tools" ] ; then PATH="$HOME/platform-tools:$PATH" fi
source ~/.profile to update your environment.
Install the build packages
Several packages are needed to build LineageOS. You can install these using your distribution’s package manager.
apt-get installcommand directly in the Terminal.
To build LineageOS, you’ll need:
bc bison build-essential ccache curl flex g++-multilib gcc-multilib git gnupg gperf imagemagick lib32ncurses5-dev lib32readline-dev lib32z1-dev liblz4-tool libncurses5 libncurses5-dev libsdl1.2-dev libssl-dev libxml2 libxml2-utils lzop pngcrush rsync schedtool squashfs-tools xsltproc zip zlib1g-dev
For Ubuntu versions older than 20.04 (focal), install also:
While for Ubuntu versions older than 16.04 (xenial), install:
Different versions of LineageOS require different JDK (Java Development Kit) versions.
- LineageOS 18.1: OpenJDK 11 (included in source download)
- LineageOS 16.0-17.1: OpenJDK 1.9 (included in source download)
- LineageOS 14.1-15.1: OpenJDK 1.8 (install
- LineageOS 11.0-13.0: OpenJDK 1.7 (install
* Ubuntu 16.04 and newer do not have OpenJDK 1.7 in the standard package repositories. See the Ask Ubuntu question “How do I install openjdk 7 on Ubuntu 16.04 or higher?”. Note that the suggestion to use PPA openjdk-r is outdated (the PPA has never updated their offering of openjdk-7-jdk, so it lacks security fixes); skip that answer even if it is the most upvoted.
Create the directories
You’ll need to set up some directories in your build environment.
To create them:
mkdir -p ~/bin mkdir -p ~/android/lineage
~/bin directory will contain the git-repo tool (commonly named “repo”) and the
~/android/lineage directory will contain the source code of LineageOS.
Enter the following to download the
repo binary and make it executable (runnable):
curl https://storage.googleapis.com/git-repo-downloads/repo > ~/bin/repo chmod a+x ~/bin/repo
~/bin directory in your path of execution
In recent versions of Ubuntu,
~/bin should already be in your PATH. You can check this by opening
~/.profile with a text editor and verifying the following code exists (add it if it is missing):
# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ] ; then PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH" fi
source ~/.profile to update your environment.
repo requires you to identify yourself to sync Android, run the following commands to configure your
git config --global user.email "firstname.lastname@example.org" git config --global user.name "Your Name"
Turn on caching to speed up build
Make use of
ccache if you want to speed up subsequent builds by running:
export USE_CCACHE=1 export CCACHE_EXEC=/usr/bin/ccache
and adding that line to your
~/.bashrc file. Then, specify the maximum amount of disk space you want
ccache to use by typing this:
ccache -M 50G
50G corresponds to 50GB of cache. This needs to be run once. Anywhere from 25GB-100GB will result in very noticeably increased build speeds
(for instance, a typical 1hr build time can be reduced to 20min). If you’re only building for one device, 25GB-50GB is fine. If you plan to build
for several devices that do not share the same kernel source, aim for 75GB-100GB. This space will be permanently occupied on your drive, so take this
You can also enable the optional
ccache compression. While this may involve a slight performance slowdown, it increases the number of files that fit in the cache. To enable it, run:
ccache -o compression=true
ccachesize can be lower (aim for approximately 20GB for one device).
Initialize the LineageOS source repository
The following branches have been tested for building emulator images:
Enter the following to initialize the repository:
cd ~/android/lineage repo init -u https://github.com/LineageOS/android.git -b lineage-18.1
Download the source code
To start the download of the source code to your computer, type the following:
The LineageOS manifests include a sensible default configuration for repo, which we strongly suggest you use (i.e. don’t add any options to sync).
For reference, our default values are
-j 4 and
-j 4 part implies be four simultaneous threads/connections. If you experience
problems syncing, you can lower this to
-j 3 or
-j 2. On the other hand,
-c makes repo to pull in only the current branch instead of all branches that are available on GitHub.
repo synccommand is used to update the latest source code from LineageOS and Google. Remember it, as you may want to do it every few days to keep your code base fresh and up-to-date. But note, if you make any changes, running
repo syncmay wipe them away!
Start the build
Time to start building! Now, type:
source build/envsetup.sh lunch lineage_<arch>-eng mka
<arch> can be one of the following:
Notably, as of LineageOS 18.1 one can also build Android TV format verions of each arch above, the options for this are as follows:
x86 is recommended, as your computer can run it natively using hardware acceleration.
eng one can also target
userdebug, the latter is used by official AOSP emulator images, but ADB and communiction with the emulator will need to be enabled first.
Running the emulator
Assuming the build completed without errors, type the following in the terminal window the build ran in:
The emulator will fire up and you’ll see the LineageOS boot animation. After some time, it will finish booting up and be ready to use.
Success! So… what’s next?
You’ve done it! Welcome to the elite club of self-builders. You’ve built your operating system from scratch, from the ground up. You are the master/mistress of your domain… and hopefully you’ve learned a bit on the way and had some fun too.
Exporting for use in Android Studio/AVD
In case you want to run the emulator image independently from the system/terminal you built it in, you are able to export the built image into a format that can be used by Android Studio/AVD. To do that, run the following command in the same terminal that you originally started the build in:
If you now look into the
out/host/linux-x86/sdk_addon directory, you will find a ZIP file (ending in
-img.zip) that contains all the necessary files for running the emulator image externally.
To deploy the build into your Android Studio installation, move the contained folder (which is named after the architecture that you built for) into a subfolder of
AOSP uses the following path name by default, but you are free to make up your own as well:
system-images/android-<sdk version>/<tag>/<arch> (where
<tag> is one of
LineageOS emulator builds will use the tag
lineage by default (visible as “LineageOS” in the images list).
As long as you haven’t moved the folder directly into
system-images, the emulator image should now show up in the of the lists of images when creating a new virtual Android device.