How to Use Android SDK? [A Complete Guide for Beginner]

Android SDK has always been an integral part of all 2.7 million Android apps available on the Google Play Store. However, many beginners or aspiring Android app developers don’t know how to use Android SDK.

If you are sailing in the same boat with such beginners, then do not worry. We have crafted this exclusive blog for you. With this blog, you get to check the key elements and steps to use Android SDK, and some commonly asked questions. So, shall we begin?

What is Android SDK?

The Android SDK consists of software development tools in one installable package that you use to develop Android apps. This software development kit includes an ADB bridge, emulators, and various source code to create the groundwork for an Android app.

The benefit of using SDK is that it provides a smooth flow of the development process, from developing and debugging through to packaging. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

A new SDK is released every time when Google releases a new version of Android. Developers use new SDK whenever they want to develop apps for the upcoming Android version in the market.

After learning about Android SDK, you must be looking for its essential elements. Didn’t you? Rest assured, we have shared all the key elements in the next section. Let’s get going.

Key Elements of Android SDK

  1. Platform Tools

  2. To be specific, these tools are unique for each version of Android. You need to update platform-tools continuously once it is downloaded. Moreover, platform tools are backward-supportive and support old platform versions of Android.

    It comes with various tools that interface with the Android platform and are required for Android development, such as adb fastboot, and systrace. You will also need platform tools if you try to unlock your device bootloader and flash it with a new system image.

    Platform Tools

    • Location: $ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools
    • Main Tool: adb (Helps to manage the state of an emulator or an Android device)
  3. Build Tools

  4. Initially, SDK build tools were clubbed and downloaded with platform-tools until it was not required to update them separately. Later, these were excluded, and now it is necessary for such apps, which require the minimum amount of battery consumption while it is in operation.

    Build Tools

    • Location: $ANDROID_HOME/build-tools/$VERSION/
    • Main Tools: aapt (To generate and unaligned, unsigned APKs), dx (To convert Java bytecode to Dalvik bytecode), and zipalign (To optimize your APKs)
  5. SDK Tools

  6. It consists of debugging tools, libraries, sample source code for creating Java profiles, testing tools and comes with Android Studio. Android SDK Tools have stock Android emulator, hierarchy viewer, SDK manager, and ProGuard.

    SDK Tools

    • Location: $ANDROID_HOME/tools
    • Main Tools: ant scripts (To build your APKs) and ddms (For debugging)
  7. Android Emulator

  8. This tool is an Android virtual device (AVD manager) that helps to simulate Android devices on your computer. Test your Android app on different devices and Android API levels without having the requirement of each physical device. It has all the capabilities of an actual Android device.

    You can perform activities like simulating phone calls, text messages, different network speeds, and hardware sensors, such as rotation, along with accessing Google Play Store.

    Android Emulator

  9. Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

  10. It is a versatile tool and helps to communicate with a device. Moreover, it has various features that let you install and debug Android applications. With this, you get access to the Unix shell to run multiple commands on a particular device.

    Now, you know the key elements/components of Android SDK, it would be much easier for you to proceed with the downloading process and to know how to use it. Let’s find out how you can install it and start working on your first Android app development project.

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How to Use the Android SDK?

Let’s start with your Android SDK tutorial to understand how you can use it. To use, you first need to download the Android SDK in your system. Let’s check all the steps to consider or follow to download Android SDK.

👉 Step 1: Start Android Studio

To download the Android SDK within Android Studio, you need to start Android Studio. Once you start it, select Configure > SDK Manager.

Start Android Studio

👉 Step 2: Install The Android SDK Platform Packages and Developer Tools

Now, you have to install various SDK platform packages and tools in this step. Try to install all the key components of Android SDK. These components will help you in your Android app development project and will smoothen the whole process.

  • Android SDK Build Tools
  • Android Emulator
  • Android Platform Tools
  • Android SDK Tools
  • Documentation for Android SDK

Install The Android SDK

You will find three tabs – SDK Platforms, SDK Tools, and SDK Update Sites. Now, you are ready to use Android SDK to build Android mobile applications. However, one more thing which is important here is that you do need to use Android SDK and Android Studio always together.

Yes, to use Android SDK separately, you can use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to develop either cross-platforms apps for iOS, Android, and Windows or 3D games. You just need to show a path to the chosen IDE.

In case you have decided to work with IDE, it is better to download Android Studio to know where SDK is downloaded. It will require IDE (Integrated Development Environment) path creation, and you can simply copy-paste.

👉 Step 3: Write Your Android App

To start working on your Android app using Android SDK, you can refer to the file. Download for free to check the steps.

Develop Your Android App

Download The File to Check Steps to Develop an Android App

In case you have queries like what is SDK manager and installation process of the Android Studio, then read our FAQ section. Here we have answered some commonly asked questions that readers generally have in their minds.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the Android SDK manager?

The Android SDK manager is a command-line tool. It helps to view, install, update, and uninstall the SDK packages. In case you use Android Studio, manage your SDK packages from the IDE instead of using the SDK manager.

Android SDK Manager

Image: Android SDK Manager

How to install the Android Studio?

Fortunately, Android Studio works on various platforms, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can install Android Studio directly from its homepage. Moreover, just make sure your operating system meets all the following requirements before you download it.

install the Android Studio

What is the benefit of command-line tools?

  • Much faster development and no GUI overhead (pseudo-terminals)
  • Shell scripting – you can convert repetitive tasks into one command and automate long tasks
  • Don’t need memorization
  • Shell programming language and can do multiple things using simple ops, like ‘|’, ‘&&’, ‘||’, and ‘redirection’


As we have discussed the key elements of Android SDK, steps to install and use the Android SDK, along with some frequently asked questions, hoping that you have found all the information you were looking for.

Being a leading Android app development company in the USA and India, you can definitely ask our Android app experts to validate your app idea.

Glovo, an on-demand delivery app and Nuzhah, a hotel booking app, and Gallery Guardian, a child protection app are some of the best apps that have received good reviews on the Google Play Store and are being used by millions of people. Here is a list of frequently asked questions to Space-O Technologies.

Author Bio
Amit Patolia
Amit Patolia
Designation: Android Team Lead

Amit Patolia is an Android Team Lead at Space-O Technologies. He has over 9+ years of experience in Android app development. He has guided to develop over 100 Android apps with unique features and functionalities. He also has expertise in Kotlin-based apps.