You will need a Java 8 executable in your PATH as the sdkmanager tool is still not compatible with higher Java versions.
More info can be found here.

Download Android SDK Command line tools

Near to the end of the Studio page, a section exists under the name of “Command line tools only”, download the Linux tools.

Setting up the environment

Add the following environment variables to your ~/.profile
More info about these variables can be found here.

export ANDROID_SDK_ROOT=$HOME/.local/opt/android_sdk
export ANDROID_AVD_HOME=$HOME/.local/opt/android_avd

Activate changes by running source ~/.profile

Extracting the command line utilities

Extract the downloaded zip file to your ANDROID_SDK_ROOT

unzip ~/Downloads/ \

Installing the SDK

$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools/bin/sdkmanager \
'platforms;android-28' \
'build-tools;28.0.3' \
'system-images;android-28;google_apis;x86_64' \
'platform-tools' \
  • platforms;android-28: The Android SDK for API 28 (Android 9).
  • build-tools;28.0.3: Android SDK Build Tools.
  • system-images;android-28;google_apis;x86_64: An Android 9 system image for Android Virtual Device.
  • platform-tools: Tools such as adb and fastboot (Optional)
  • ndk-bundle: Android Native Development Kit (Optional). If this is installed, an additional environment variable ANDROID_NDK_ROOT, which is typically on $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/ndk-bundle

Searching Additional Utilities

To search a newer version of a package or installing a different package, you may search with the following command:

$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools/bin/sdkmanager --list | grep YOUR_QUERY

Creating an Android Virtual Device

An AVD can be created with the following command;

$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools/bin/avdmanager create avd \
-n MyAvd \
-d 'Nexus 5X' \
-k 'system-images;android-28;google_apis;x86_64'
  • -n: Specifies the name of the AVD
  • -d: Specifies the device definition. Find more definitions by running $ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools/bin/avdmanager list device
  • -k: Specifies the system image of the AVD. The system image must be installed to be used.

Starting the AVD

An AVD can be started with the emulator utility.

$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools/emulator @MyAvd


$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools/emulator -avd MyAvd


“This User Doesn’t Have Permissions to Use KVM” on Debian based systems when trying to run the AVD, there are two solutions

  • Installing qemu-kvm
  sudo apt install qemu-kvm
  sudo usermod -aG kvm USER*NAME

Though, since the Android Emulator already packs its own qemu, we can avoid installing qemu _just* for the permission to use /dev/kvm

  • Manually taking ownership of /dev/kvm
sudo groupadd kvm
sudo usermod -aG kvm USER_NAME

# The following must be run each boot,

# create a service or something similar.

sudo chgrp kvm /dev/kvm