Installing Google Play (GApps) on Visual Studio Android Emulators (2017 version)

2017, Feb 02    

The Visual Studio Emulator for Android does not ship with Google Play Services, so if you want to use those services, like Google Maps, you must install them.

Back in 2015, I outlined the installation steps, but those steps no longer work and the process is now much easier.

Download GApps

The best place to download GApps is from Team Android. Do not download from Open GApps, they will not install. Some versions from Team Android also do not install. I had to find an alternate version of GApps that installs and runs on Android 6.0. This requires an extra install, so see the instructions at the end.

The GApps versions I have found to work are,

API Android Ver Notes
23 6.0 Marshmallow [Part 1] [Part 2] See notes below
22 5.1.1 Lollipop [Download]  Play Store crashes occasionally
21 5.0 Lollipop [Download]  Google+ crashes
19 4.4 KitKat [Download] [Mirror]
17 4.2 JellyBean [Download]  Google+ crashes

Install Genymotion ARM Translation

The Visual Studio emulators are x86 whereas most Android devices are ARM based. I find that many apps work as is, but for those that don't you should download and install Genymotion ARM Translation which provides ARM to x86 translations.

Download the ARM Translation ZIP, then drag it onto your running emulator. When the dialog opens, select Install and shut down.

Once it finishes installing, shut down and restart the emulator.

Installing GApps

Installing GApps the same way by dragging the correct ZIP file and drop it on the running emulator. When the dialog opens, select Install and shut down.

When you are prompted, shutdown the emulator and then restart it.

Configuring GApps

Once the emulator restarts, open Google Play and sign in with your account. Once you are signed in, go to My Apps and update all installed apps. Once the various Google apps update, you will likely get notifications that you must update Google Play Services. Click on one of them to update.

On several versions of Android, Google+ will crash repeatedly. Dismiss the crash dialogs and try to update it using Google Play. If this does not work, go into App Settings and disable it.

Installing on Android 6.0

The version of GApps from Team Android crashed on Android 6.0, but I figured out a workaround based on z3ntu's post.

  1. Download and install the Genymotion ARM Translation then restart the emulator
  2. Download and install
  3. After rebooting, go to Google Play and sign in. Dismiss any crashes
  4. Download and install
  5. After rebooting, go to Google Play and update all installed apps