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Is there any way to install Ubuntu Touch inside a virtual machine on a regular Ubuntu computer instead of on a phone or tablet? Or is there an emulator, like the one the Android SDK comes with?

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

Finally, there is an emulator!

Using the Emulator

How to install on Ubuntu 14.04:

sudo apt-get install android-emulator
cp -r /usr/share/android/emulator/ ~/
cd ~/emulator/

To run the emulator:


For Ubuntu 13.10 and older, you should just be able to install the deb from

To update your emulator, run these commands:

cd ~/emulator/
rm -f ./out/target/product/generic/ubuntu-rootfs.tar.xz

WARNING: Do not uninstall and then use apt-get autoremove on amd64. If you do, you will be left in an unbeatable state. Follow the instructions on the wiki to fix you system.

For more details or how to build from source, see the wiki page.

Other Methods

However, using the emulator can be to complex if you just want to run a an app or test the unity8 shell. So, there are two other methods:

1. Running Ubuntu Touch Apps

You can now install the core touch applications directly on an computer running Ubuntu 12.10 or later (or one of the derivatives, such as Kubuntu) using a PPA.

First, add the Core Apps Daily PPA by running these commands in a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-touch-coreapps-drivers/daily
sudo apt-get update

Then install the apps you want by running:

sudo apt-get install <app-name>

Or you can install all of them using

sudo apt-get install touch-coreapps

Here is a list of the core apps available:

  • ubuntu-calculator-app
  • calendar-app
  • ubuntu-clock-app
  • ubuntu-weather-app
  • ubuntu-docviewer-app
  • ubuntu-emailclient-app (not working yet)
  • ubuntu-filemanager-app
  • ubuntu-rssreader-app
  • ubuntu-terminal-app
  • stock-ticker-mobile-app
  • dropping-letters
  • sudoku-app
  • music-app

For more information, see this article on

2. Running the Unity 8 Shell

It is possible to run the mobile interface for Unity 8 on the desktop if you're running Ubuntu 13.10. To do this, install the unity8 package, either by clicking on the link or by typing the following command:

sudo apt-get install unity8

To run it, use this command:

unity8 -mousetouch

Unfortunately, there is no way to run apps in the shell. Clicking on a desktop app will open it in its own window and clicking on a Ubuntu Touch app will do nothing.

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An emulator is now available. – achiang Dec 5 '13 at 18:44
@achiang updated, thank you. – iBelieve Dec 7 '13 at 16:59
See also (for 13.10):… – david6 Dec 23 '13 at 0:04

There's now an experimental Emulator available. Check out

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This is rather a short answer with just a link. Could you update your answer with screenshots and instructions to install, in case the link gets changed? – iBelieve Dec 7 '13 at 1:37

Edit /usr/share/android/emulator/build/tools/


host_uri = ""
json_index_uri = "/devel-proposed/mako/index.json"


host_uri = ""
json_index_uri = "/ubuntu-touch/devel-proposed/mako/index.json"
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