Forcing the Android emulator to store changes to /system

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I know this is a recurrent question when working with the Android emulator, but is there a way to force the emulator to accept persistent changes to /system?

The emulator is based on QEMU, so it should be possible, in theory, to force the system image to behave the same way userdata (for instance) does, but I'm not familiar with how QEMU handles things. Any pointers?

At the moment (with Build Tools v26, if Google doesn't change things as often as they do) if you use the -writable-system directive while booting up the emulator from the command line, it will allow persistence to the /system partition through reboots. That is you will be able to write to the /system partition and if you reboot, the changes will still be maintained.

emulator -avd <AVD_NAME> -writable-system

This will also persist your changes to a qcow2 image file usually in .android/avd/<AVD_NAME>.avd/system.img.qcow2

You can even copy this system.img.qcow2 file, wipe the data off the AVD using the -wipe-data directive, place this file back into the directory, reboot and the system changes you made initially will still be persisted. (Caveat: at least for now, coz Google keeps changing things)

Tutorial: How to make a change permanent in "system" folder for , In my android emulator, couple of fonts were missing and wanted to /15417105 /forcing-the-android-emulator-to-store-changes-to-system)� I am using Nougat 7 emulator and was able to root the emulator. But after rebooting all the changes i made to android /system folder are gone. Is there any way to preserve the /system.

Update: The -nand option was apparently removed from the most recent versions of QEMU, so the following may not work anymore.

Update: See the accepted answer for the current way of doing things.


Yury's answer is the common one, but if you want to be able to script things (which is what I want in the end), you need to be able to find the emulator image in the /tmp directory.

I discovered that you can override QEMU's behavior. This is a bit hackish, but it works, so I ended up doing this :

  1. Copy system.img from the platform directory to your AVD directory.
  2. Convert the amount of space you need to hex. For instance, if you need 500M, this is 0x1f400000.
  3. Run the emulator in read-write mode :

    emulator -avd Galaxy_Nexus -qemu -nand system,size=0x1f400000,file=/home/fx/.android/avd/Galaxy_Nexus/system.img
    

    (If you put the emulator in verbose mode, you'll notice that it will, by default, use initfile= instead of just file=)

  4. Make your changes, they are immediately saved to the local system.img

  5. Now you can just start the emulator with emulator -avd Galaxy_Nexus, and it'll use your changes

Update: If scripting, QEMU does not sync changes immediately to the image, so if you're rebooting immediately after changing something, chances are you will lose data. I'm looking for a way around this...

Next update: Use adb -e emu kill to stop the emulator. reboot will just do bad things.

Forcing the Android emulator to store changes to /system, Forcing the Android emulator to store changes to /system. 发表于2019-9-17 | | 暂无分类. I know this is a recurrent question when working with the Android� Configuring the Android Emulator to run Android 10 is a great solution for exploring new features and APIs and testing with Android 10 behavior changes. Setting up the emulator is fast and convenient and allows you to emulate various screen sites and device characteristics. You can even emulate a foldable device (in Android Studio 3.5 and later).

It's actually a very good question. I had the same troubles. Here are my findings. Actually, I use Ubuntu and I'll describe the steps for Ubuntu. If you use Windows, you should just change the paths.

  1. Create new AVD, for instance example.avd
  2. Copy system.img from android-sdk-linux/platforms/android-10/images to ~/.android/avd/example.avd
  3. Make system.img as writable and readable (either in the properties or simply using terminal)
  4. Run your AVD using command emulator -avd example
  5. Remount your system as rw using adb shell mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtd0 /system (to discover the partition use command cat /proc/mtd)
  6. Make your changes...
  7. Now during the run of emulator find tmp emulator in /tmp/android-<your_computer_name> with strange name like: emulator-PQ7LgE and copy it in ~/.android/avd/example.avd
  8. Delete system.img and rename copied tmp emulator into system.img
  9. Close emulator
  10. Delete cache.img, userdata.img and userdata-qemu.img from ~/.android/avd/example.avd
  11. Run your emulator once again

Good luck!

Start the emulator from the command line, You can choose what version of the Android system you want to run in the By default, the emulator stores the user data, SD card data, and cache in the AVD The -http-proxy option forces the emulator to use the specified HTTP/HTTPS proxy To make changes to network delay while the emulator is running, connect to� This post will show you how you can make changes to files on the system partition on your Android emulator that will persist. First let’s make an Android virtual device (AVD). I’m going to use API 8, the standard Froyo distribution, for the target.

The solution #2 is amazing.

Here are some hints if you are using MS Win as host AVD directories are located as below, but the "short" path names should be used as file= path parameter. The quoted path variant doesn't work for some reason.

Win XP: C:\Documents and Settings\ (username) \ .android\avd\ ... Short C:\DOCUME~1\ (username) \ANDROI~1\avd\ ...

Win 7 C:\Users\ (username) \ .android\avd\ ...

You can create an own bat file, say "startrw.bat" as per following example:

@echo off
C:\<ADTFOLDER>\sdk\tools\emulator -avd <AVDNAME> -qemu -nand system,size=0x1f400000,file=C:\DOCUME~1\<USERNAME>\ANDROI~1\avd\<AVDNAME>.AVD\system.img
cd C:\<ADTFOLDER>\sdk\platform-tools
echo .
echo Wait ... 
echo .
echo When emulator is FULLY loaded press any key to connect adb shell to it
echo To make /system writeable type in adb shell:
echo .
echo -----------------------------
echo mount -o rw,remount /system 
echo -----------------------------
echo .
echo You can use the Eclipse ADT DDMS File Browser to browse or push-pull files now.
echo .
echo Closing this window closes the emulator ! 
echo .
echo Wait emulator to load Android. When done
pause
C:\<ADTFOLDER>\sdk\platform-tools\adb shell

This way you can load in one click. Once finished modifying, just close the current command window to kill the emulator.

It takes long time for most of things to load like Emulator, the ADT editor, Hooking DDMS file browser (you need to click on the emulator line left side to see the files tree on right window) and so on.

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Comments
  • Actually, even the local system image (in my AVD directory) is not persisted in the most recent versions of the emulator... Unless I did something wrong?
  • See Yury's answer about that, then maybe mine for an alternative way (found this just yesterday). You can use adb remount to make changes to /system, but they are not persisted if you restart the emulator, which is what I need.
  • Thanks! The blog where I originally found a solution was shut down recently. I definitely needed a new reference. ;)
  • see just this post stackoverflow.com/a/58935109/4797289
  • Thanks for keeping this up to date :)
  • the files remain changed, but the root is not active. Do you have a solution for permanent root with latest build-tools?
  • -wipe-data invalid command, also how to resize system partition? -partition-size also doesn't work, says invalid command (removed?)
  • This works, but note that it writes to a separated qcow2 file instead of to the .img directly: android.stackexchange.com/questions/110927/…
  • important note: you need to keep using -writable-system to see your previous persistent changes. omitting -writable-system will use the default system image, without your changes.
  • Hey man, this was a really amazing tip! Didn't knew at all, that it's possible to start the emulator in a read/write mode. Until now I've tried around with yaff2 to dynamically create images, but your answer made things much more easier. I'm using your mechanism now in the latest version of my Scala Libs for android installation script. Thanks a lot.
  • Thanks! It's too bad the Android team didn't add an option for that, instead of having to do some crazy stuff with obscure QEMU options... (By the way, I set the accepted answer to mine since we're using it in the latest sbt-android plugin, it works really well for setting up the emulator in one easy step!)
  • qemu-system-x86_64: -nand: invalid option — that means they removed support for doing that?