Adding Platforms and Packages

The Android SDK separates different parts of the SDK into separately downloadable packages. The SDK starter package that you've installed includes only the SDK Tools. To develop an Android app, you also need to download at least one Android platform and the latest SDK Platform-tools.

You can update and install SDK packages at any time using the Android SDK Manager.

If you've used the Windows installer to install the SDK tools, you should already have the Android SDK Manager open. Otherwise, you can launch the Android SDK Manager in one of the following ways:

  • On Windows, double-click the SDK Manager.exe file at the root of the Android SDK directory.
  • On Mac or Linux, open a terminal and navigate to the tools/ directory in the Android SDK, then execute android sdk.

When you open the Android SDK Manager, it automatically selects a set of recommended packages. Simply click Install to install the recommended packages. The Android SDK Manager installs the selected packages into your Android SDK environment. The following sections describe some of the available SDK packages and more about which ones we recommend you install.

Once you have installed your packages, continue to the next page.

Figure 1. The Android SDK Manager shows the SDK packages that are available, already installed, or for which an update is available.

Here's an outlines of the packages required and those we recommend you use:

SDK Tools
Required. Your new SDK installation already has the latest version. Make sure you keep this up to date.
SDK Platform-tools
Required. You must install this package when you install the SDK for the first time.
SDK Platform
Required.You need to download at least one platform into your environment so you're able to compile your application. In order to provide the best user experience on the latest devices, we recommend that you use the latest platform version as your build target. You'll still be able to run your app on older versions, but you must build against the latest version in order to use new features when running on devices with the latest version of Android.
System Image
Recommended. Although you might have one or more Android-powered devices on which to test your app, it's unlikely you have a device for every version of Android your app supports. It's a good practice to download a system image for each version of Android you support and use them to test your app on the Android emulator.
SDK Samples
Recommended. The samples give you source code that you can use to learn about Android, load as a project and run, or reuse in your own app. Note that multiple samples packages are available — one for each Android platform version. When you are choosing a samples package to download, select the one whose API Level matches the API Level of the Android platform that you plan to use.
Android Support
Recommended. The APIs available in this static library allow you to use a variety of new framework features (including some not available in even the latest version) on devices running a platform version as old as Android 1.6. For more information, read Support Library.

Tip: For easy access to the SDK tools from a command line, add the location of the SDK's tools/ and platform-tools to your PATH environment variable.