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How to Install Play Store in Android Studio Emulator

No Play Store in your Android emulator? Follow these simple steps to install the Play Store in Android Studio Emulator.

Depending on how you installed the emulator in the Android Studio, there might no be a Play Store. If you are just using the emulator to test your own apps then you don’t need the Play Store. That being said, if you want to try apps that are already available via the Play Store then you need to have it installed in the Android emulator. Of course, if you really want to you can install APK files in the emulator directly in two different ways.

However, if you want the full authentic experience or to avoid the hassle of installing apps via APK files, you have to have the Play Store in the Android emulator. The good thing is, the AVD Manager in Android Studio allows you to create emulators with Play Store built into them.

In this quick and simple article, Let me show you a simple way to create a new Android emulator with Play Store built into it.

Steps to Install Play Store in Android Studio Emulator

To install the Play Store in the Android Studio emulator, you have to create a new emulator with a system image that already has Play Store included. The good thing is, the AVD Manager gives you the system image with the Play Store. You don’t have to download it from a third-party.

You might have to download a system image which will around 1.5GB to 2GB. If you have data limits on your internet connection, becareful.

1. Open Android Studio. If you are using Windows, open the Start menu, search for “Android Studio” and click on it. If you have one, you can also double-click on the desktop shortcut.

2. Click “Configure → AVD Manager” option on the main screen.

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3. After opening the AVD Manager, click on the “Create virtual device” option. This is how you create a new emulator.

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4. Select “Phone” on the left panel, select the device in the middle plane. While selecting, make sure it has the “Play Store” icon in the Play Store column. This icon signifies the virtual device is compatible and comes with the Play Store. Click on the “Next” button.

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5. Here, select the system image you want to install and click “Next”.

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If the system image is not installed, you can download and install it by clicking on the “Download” link next to Release Name. This action will download the system image from Google. As I said before, the system image will be anywhere from 1.5GB to system image with play store 271220

6. Name the virtual device and click on the “Finish” button.

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That is all. With that, you have created a new emulator with Play Store, AKA, you’ve installed Play Store in Android Studio Emulator. You can launch the emulator by clicking on the “Play” icon in AVD Manager.

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Why can’t I install Play Store manually?

In case you are wondering why you need to create an entirely new virtual device just to have Play Store, it’s because Google doesn’t allow you to install the Play Store like any other app. The Play Store is deeply linked with the Android operating system and other core Google apps. As such, it is not possible to install it via the APK file. A few of the main reasons for this kind of behavior being security, reliability, and control.

You can try to install the Play Store by download an APK from the internet. However, when you try that you will see the “The APK failed to install. Error: Could not parse error string.” message.

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Now, there are some roundabout ways like using Open GApps. However, it is not worth the time and you couldn’t guarantee its compatibility or reliability. This is especially important since Google itself gives you the option to install a system image with Play Store already included.

I hope that helps. If you need any help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.