How to create and use the SD Card with the Android Emulator

By default the Android emulator does not have an SD card enabled. I was looking for this while I tried to save some images which I viewed on the Android browser within the emulator. The emulator told me that it can not download / save the image because there is no SD card installed. Well, I would also save this on the phone’s memory … but it seems the emulator / Android OS does not like that.

However, enabling the SD card is compared to other device simulators quite cumbersome but it works and if you did it once it is pretty easy though. In the end it is a runtime configuration (additional parameter) to start the emulator with an SD card image file. So this needs to be done just once for each runtime / debug configuration in Eclipse. I just made that and it works fine. As I am using Mac OS X & Eclipse the following examples are for this platform. If you are running Linux or Windows you might need to adjust the paths but it should be fairly easy.

1. Create an SD card image file

In the command line you just enter the following commands:

$ cd /Developer/android-sdk-mac_x86-1.0_r1/tools/

$ ./mksdcard 256M /Users/YOUR_USER_NAME/Documents/workspace/android_sdcard

You can now check if the file has been created but if there is no error it should be there. You can also adjust the size if you want to have a smaller SD card image or even a bigger one. 😎

2. Tell your Android emulator you want to start with that SD card image file

Therefor, go to: “Debug » Debug Configurations… » [select or create an Android Application debug configuration] » Target” and enter at “Additional Emulator Command Line Options” the following:

-sdcard /Users/YOUR_USER_NAME/Documents/workspace/android_sdcard

Unfortunately, the Android debugger setup (at least in SDK 1.0 R1) does not take eclipse variables like ${workspace_loc} and therefor we need the full path in here. Anyway, this might look like:

How to create and use the SD Card with the Android Simulator

That’s it. Hit “Apply” and then “Debug” to start the emulator with your SD card.

Note: If your emulator is still running from the last test please close it first.

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16 thoughts on “How to create and use the SD Card with the Android Emulator”

  1. On my (Windows Vista) machine at least, the sdcard image had to be larger than 8M (the emulator crashed with an image of 8MB, even though mksdcard claims that this should work).

  2. A little gotcha…
    After I created the SD Card and updated the debug configuration, Logcat stopped generating output. Shutting down the emulator, restarting eclipse fixed the problem.

  3. Hi! i’ve got a problem while i look for in target the additional command line, i not found it, i haven’t find in the web something that can help me. So, any help? My Eclipse version don’t show the additional command line in the target tab.

  4. After Uploading Audio/Video/Images in sdcard, if it is not displayed in Gallery.

    Click on Dev tools–>Media Scanner. It will display scanning is finished, now if you click gallery You can see Video and Pictures.

    If you want to view Audio click “Music” icon.


  5. in creating of sdcard i got error segmentation fault in terminal,please any one give solution to create sdcard

    tkanking u in advance

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  7. The mksdcard command will create a new binary file. The ‘file’ parameter you give it should be a new file that it will create. Do not give it a parameter to an existing directory. This will cause a seg fault.

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