5 Steps on How to Build Android Source From The Scratch!

Most of the work to maintain and improve the Android platform is done by Google and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Most of the work to maintain and improve the Android platform is done by Google and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

This article will share a guide on how to construct the AOSP on Android Source. Let’s check it out!

Table of Content

Things You Should Know About Building Android Source

  • Android has more active installations than any other OS. It can be used in a wide variety of mobile gadgets, as well as TVs, computers, and even automobiles. Although Google is in charge of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), anyone is welcome to contribute to the open-source operating system’s development.
  • Investigating the system’s inner workings, which you may not have thought about before, will help you understand popular Android app development tools and code patterns. Investigating the system’s inner workings, which you may not have thought about before, will help you understand popular Android app development tools and code patterns. If you can understand and change how the Android platform works, you can change a lot of popular consumer products.

How to Build Android Source from the Scratch

You’ll learn the basics of Android app creation in this guide. 

  • Get your machine ready to compile the AOSP from scratch.
  • Gather the AOSP code.
  • Construct the Android virtual machine from its source code.
  • The boot animation may be changed by editing the AOSP code.

Note: The creation of Android apps and the development of Android platforms are two very separate things. The ability to create applications is helpful but not necessary to finish this guide.

Try to remember that learning to code for the Android platform might be challenging. The combination of technologies in the AOSP source tree makes it hard to learn, and there is less documentation available than for Android app development.

It takes time and effort, but you can learn about the Android platform and its many components. Please use this guide as a resource. Right now, you’re about to go on a thrilling adventure into the bowels of the Android underworld.

1. Getting Started

Click the Download Materials button at the top or bottom of the tutorial to get the starter project. You’ll find a file called bootanimation.zip that has the animation for the Android version you’re about to make. You don’t have to worry about making your own animation because the team at raywenderlich.com will do it for you.

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Note: You can use Adobe After Effects or other software like it to make your own animation from scratch. Just make sure to export the graphics and zip the data, as this tutorial will show you later.

2. Setting up the Development Environment

Before you start, you should know that there are some things you need to do to build the AOSP. You will need a computer with at least 300 GB (yes, 300!) of free space. You’ll need a good internet connection because you’ll be downloading a lot of data.

At the moment, AOSP does not support Windows as a work environment. You could use macOS, but Ubuntu Linux is the most common operating system for working with AOSP, so that’s what this tutorial will focus on.

Check out the official Google documentation for setting up a macOS build environment if you are still interested in macOS.

In this tutorial, you’ll use Docker to set up your development environment using an Ubuntu container running on a Linux host. You could just use the Linux host, but with Docker, you can keep the two environments separate. This is helpful if your host OS has different versions of the libraries you’ll need here.

Note: Since Docker is part of the setup, you might think that both macOS and Windows would work. Even so, performance will be very bad because Docker doesn’t work as well with macOS and Windows as it does with Linux. There’s a lot of input/output activity happening at once while construction is underway, so this happens.

3. Configuring the Ubuntu Container

In order to follow along with this guide, you should already have Docker on your machine. If this isn’t the case, head over to Docker’s official documentation for setup guidance.

  • When Docker is installed and running, you can finally begin having some serious computer-related fun.
  • Launch a command prompt and type in the following:
docker pull ubuntu:18.04
  • The official Ubuntu 18.04 image may be obtained from Docker Hub using this command.
  • To double-check that everything is set up correctly, use the following command:
docker image ls
  • All of the local Docker images are displayed here. Before moving on, double-check that the Ubuntu image is included in the list.
  • Make sure the new aosp folder is in a place where it will be easy to discover it; for instance, under the Desktop path /Desktop/aosp. The AOSP sources will be built in this directory.
See Also  How to Download the Android Source Code

4. Starting the Ubuntu Container

  • Then, type in this command:
docker run -v ~/Desktop/aosp:/home/aosp -it ubuntu:18.04
  • Starting a container from the Ubuntu image will allow you to share the new folder you’ve made.
  • By making this folder accessible to the Docker container, you can use it from within the container as well as from your host machine. Once you do so, the prompt in your terminal will read “root,” indicating that you are now running within a Docker container.
  • Run ls /home/aosp to check if you have permission to access the directory. If the folder you told the previous command to use with the -v argument doesn’t show up in the output, the Docker container can’t access it.
  • You may verify that you have access to the folder /home/aosp from within the Docker container by repeating the procedures outlined above.

5. Updating the Container and Installing Packages

  • Now, update the container’s Ubuntu packages by using the following command:
apt-get update
  • When you open your terminal, you should see the following results:
  • As the next step in the build process, you’ll need to install a number of packages used to compile the AOSP sources. Execute the following command to accomplish this:
apt-get install -y git-core gnupg flex bison gperf build-essential zip curl zlib1g-dev gcc-multilib g++-multilib x11proto-core-dev libx11-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libxml2-utils xsltproc unzip python python3 openjdk-8-jdk rsync

Note: This may take minutes to complete.

  • After installing Ubuntu, you will learn how to use a program that will speed up the process of downloading Android’s source code.

How to Build Android Source Using the Repo Tool

There is a tremendous amount of code in the Android codebase, all of which may be found in various Git repositories. Repository (Repo) is a tool that sits atop Git and streamlines the software development process. It’s a Python script that handles all of your revision control system interactions, making it easier to oversee multiple Git repositories.

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Repo does this by including a manifest file that has links to the most recent version of each Git repository. If you’re familiar with Git’s submodules, you’ll find the workflow familiar here.

Note: You should know that the manifest file is different from the Android manifest used to create apps for Android. A terrible coincidence gave rise to this moniker.

Using Repo, we will be able to acquire the Android source code. Follow the steps below!

  • Make a directory named “bin” inside /home/aosp. Then, modify the PATH environment variable to include /home/aosp/bin:
  • In this way, you may launch Repo from anywhere in your terminal.
  • If you want to add Repo to your container, you may do so by running the following command:
curl https://storage.googleapis.com/git-repo-downloads/repo > /home/aosp/bin/repo
  • This sends an HTTP request with the curl program, and then sends the result to /home/aosp/bin/repo by using the > redirect operator. The Repo script is just downloaded and then pasted into the bin folder.
  • Afterward, type in this command:
chmod +x /home/aosp/bin/repo
  • As the +x denotes, this makes Repo an executable program.
  • If you want to double-check your setup, type in this command:
repo help
  • Verify that your terminal’s output is identical to the one shown in the screenshot.
  • Great! The AOSP can now be built in your container.


  • Improving build speeds in mobile development is a prominent topic. As user expectations and product needs for mobile apps rise, as does the number of shared libraries and dependencies, build times automatically increase.
  • Add in the unit tests, linting, static analyzers, and other build phases that teams cram into their CI pipelines, and it’s no surprise that this topic comes up frequently in mobile development forums.
  • While automatically building on a CI server lets your team focus on other things, slow builds nevertheless have consequences.
  • The longer it takes for builds and automated tests to execute, the longer it takes your team to develop new features and fix problems with confidence.
  • Your engineers are wasting significant time if they have to wait 30-40 minutes to find that their build is broken.

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