AppInventor:The Basics

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The Emulator

The emulator is a very useful tool for users who do not have android phones because it allows these users to run applications directly on their computer. The emulator will be most useful in classrooms that do not have the resources to buy phones for the students.

The emulator is included in the App Inventor Extras folder that can be downloaded from the App Inventor site. If you have not yet downloaded this folder go to our Before You Begin page. If you have already downloaded the folder follow these instructions to run the emulator.

1. Go to the App Inventor site ( and open a new project.

2. When the project opens click "Open The Blocks Editor" in the top right hand corner of your screen. Follow the prompts to open the blocks editor.

3. With the blocks editor open go to "My Computer" => C: Drive => Program Files => Android => App Inventor Extras. Next, double-click the "start emulator" file. You will see a blank black command box appear. Wait a few minutes for the emulator to appear on your screen. You will see the emulator powering on just as a phone would. When the emulator is completely powered on the main/home page of the phone will appear on the screen.

4. Leave the emulator open and switch to the blocks editor screen. At the top of the blocks editor click "connect to phone." The small picture of a cell phone to the right should turn yellow and the button should now say "communicating" This indicates that the program is searching for a device to connect to. If no phone is connected to the computer, then App Inventor will recognize and connected to the emulator.

  • NOTE: If a message appears saying "Plugin the phone or cable cord" ignore this message and simply click OK and then click "connect to phone" again.

5. When App Inventor successfully connects to the emulator the small phone will turn green, your emulator screen will say "Screen1" in the top left hand corner, and the screen will be a blank white screen. If you have not started working on a project then CONGRATS! you are all set and you can skip the next step and continue to our "Components" section below.

6. If you have already started a project and your application has not appeared on the emulator, click "Restart Phone App" at the top of the blocks editor. When your application appears on your emulator you are all set!

The Basic Features of App Inventor

Click these links to learn more about Components and Blocks, the two important features of AppInventor:



Google also provides you with a simple and quick tour of AppInventor that gets you familiar with the screen setup and it's features. Click this link to view Google's slideshow:

Once you have studied the information on each of these links you are ready to begin making applications. Please visit our Tutorials page to start.

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