Emulator on Macs with Apple Silicon

Hi all,

So I've recently upgraded to a new MacBook with Apple's new M1 SoC, which comes with Rosetta 2 technology to translate x64 apps on the fly for compatibility with ARM. However, as expected, MIT App Inventor's macOS emulator does not function (natively or through translation).

Was just wondering if a native version of the emulator for ARM was being worked on. I'm by no means versed in how to build a native version myself (although I imagine that is possible), but I need it to test student app submissions for the computer science classes I'm a TA for. Looking for either an ETA on a working version, the instructions I'd need to follow to build a native ARM emulator, or an existing ARM alternative.

Thanks, and sorry if this is the wrong place to be posting about it!

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Update: I've downloaded Google's Android Emulator preview for M1 Macs, which is compatible with ARM. I installed ADB tools and installed the APK version of the MIT App Inventor companion app, however it won't allow me to input a code from App Inventor (WiFi connection). It shows the "waiting for USB or emulator" screen, and never gives me the opportunity to enter a code or scan (not that I can scan, with it being an emulator). Any suggestions?

We haven't started working on a version for the M1 Macs yet (we don't physically have one yet). However, you should be able to try the following.

  1. Download the aiStarter.py, bottle.py, and config.py files from here: https://github.com/mit-cml/appinventor-sources/tree/master/appinventor/misc/emulator-support
  2. Edit aiStarter.py and change the line that says ADB = ... and set it to be a string containing the path to your ARM copy of adb
  3. From the terminal, run python3 aiStarter.py to start aiStarter
  4. Start your emulator instance from Android Studio with the MIT AI2 Companion installed
  5. In App Inventor, select Connect > Emulator to start a connection

I should also note that we may not do an emulator for the M1 silicon. The reason being that once the iOS companion is approved you will be able to install it on M1 Macs via the App Store and have it run natively, instead of requiring an emulator.


Well there's your bottleneck! But yeah, makes sense.

This worked perfectly. Now I just need to figure out how to get aiStarter to start automatically when I open the Android Emulator, but that's a different issue.

I actually applied to be considered for TestFlight beta testing a while back, but I'm sure there are limits to how many people y'all can add to the program right now. Could you provide the signed IPA file (or Xcode project so I can compile and self-sign) so I can try installing it on my MacBook? I could provide feedback about the M1 AI2 experience, which could be helpful if you want to provide the best experience to M1 users without having to purchase a M1 Mac.

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