Snapshots and the New Android AVD Manager

So one of the biggest pains to mobile development with emulators is that starting up the emulator takes forever. Android tools version 9 addressed this finally by letting you take a snapshot of the emulator, just like you would do with a virtual machine. Here’s how I got my emulators really snappy.

First on the initial launch make sure you select Save to snapshot. Get the emulator up and running and put it into the state you want. I like to have it start at the desktop (home screen) view. Now close the emulator. I found that it wasn’t very responsive when closing, so wait a bit, watch the mouse icon go to “busy” and let it write everything to disk.

Now, launch the emulator again and this time uncheck Save to snapshot but make sure Launch from snapshot is chosen. Voila! The emulator launches quickly. And when you save it it shuts down quickly because it’s not saving anymore.

One caveat I’ve found with the emulator. When moving from network to network (i.e. one wifi point to another) for some reason the emulator loses Internet access (returning “host cannot be null” for HTTP requests). Unfortunately this means I have to have a save emulator snapshot for each of my common network and launch a new one, not from snapshot, when I’m on a new network. Anyone have any idea how to fix this?