Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Emulator vs Simulator - Mobile Application Development

There are one of the most common terms used by coders in the mobile application development industry, and the fact is, they sound like synonyms to each other. 

There surely is some similarity in the functioning of the two, but if you see from the eyes of a software tester, it doesn't make any difference.
Both are proving the same functionality.

The fact is Simulators and Emulators are two different concepts. If you are using any of them, then it is essential to know the difference between the two.

Let's try to understand them in the form of a Questionaire

Is there anything familiar between Simulator and Emulator?

Both of them provide a similar type of environment to run and test application programs written inside software-defined environments. This enables the programmer to run tests more quickly and accurately.

In the software industry, the real device testing phase comes at the later stage just before the actual production So you can easily take advantage of these emulated and simulated environments.

So, How Simulator and emulators are different from each other?


The dictionary meaning of Simulator is a program enabling a computer to execute programs written for a different operating system and dictionary meaning of Emulator, an emulator is a hardware or software that enables one computer system (called the host) to behave like another computer system (called the guest)

In simple language, Simulator is a program that imitates the visual os features of the testing device and enables us to test as if we are using on a real device whereas Emulator attempt to mimic all of the hardware features of a production environment, as well as software features.


The Emulator can be considered as a medium point between the real device and Simulator, although they just allow to set up the environment just close to the actual phone.

When to choose between Emulator and Simulator?

The choice between the two depends on your testing requirements.

In the software testing scenarios, when we are focussing just on the performance of the application when interacting with the other applications or environments, we choose Simulators.

In the software testing scenarios when we are focussing on the performance of the applications with the hardware and software of the phone as well as with other applications and environments, we got no other choice than choosing Emulator.

For example, if we want to test an application sending some message to another phone, we can use a simulator. Still, if we're going to send the live location, or some hardware or some intense software communication activity we have to choose the Emulator.

The Xcode by Apple comes with the Simulator and Android Studio by Google comes with the Emulator.


Simulator and Emulator may sound like a synonym but are actually different. There are different uses of both of them according to different use cases. When you are focussing on the performance of the applications with the hardware and software, we can choose the Emulator else Simulator is the best option.

Did you know this earlier?

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post written by:

Hi, Navjyot Singh is a coder, content maker and a freelance developer who's pursuing an undergraduate Engineering degree in Computer Science. He started out as a web developer but later picked up the mobile as his favourite platform to develop applications. A Writer by day and coder by night is loathed to discuss himself as the third person but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.