How to Install Android SDK without Android Studio on Ubuntu

Last updated: January 24, 2023

Android SDK consists of a collection of tools that help developers to create Android applications. It comes with tools such as Build Tools, Platform Tools, Emulator, Jetifier, and command line tools.

When you install Android Studio, the Android SDK comes along with it. Some developers may prefer to use their own preferred text editor or IDE and only need SDK tools for their development.

In this tutorial, we learn how to install Android SDK without android studio on a Ubuntu.

Prerequisites

  • One Ubuntu system with a sudo non-root user.
  • Java JDK 8 or above version installed.

Step 1. Setup Directory for Android SDK

First, create a directory structure to set up SDK Tool. In my case, going to place it in my home directory under ~/android/sdk directory.

For creating the directory, type:

mkdir -p ~/android/sdk

Step 2. Download Android command-line tools

Visit the Android Studio download page and grab the link to download sdk command line tool. This would be at the bottom of the webpage in the section "Command line tools only" and contained in a zip file.

Note: This package is generic for all Linux Distributions. We have tested only on Ubuntu.

Android command line tool

Change to the sdk directory created before:

cd ~/android/sdk

Download the zip file using wget command:

sudo wget https://dl.google.com/android/repository/commandlinetools-linux-9123335_latest.zip

Once downloaded, extract the .zip file using the unzip command:

sudo unzip commandlinetools-linux-9123335_latest.zip

Once extraction is completed, you will have a new directory named cmdline-tools. Now change to that directory.

cd cmdline-tools

Let's create a new directory inside cmdline-tools to hold all bin and lib contents.

mkdir tools

Now you can move everything inside the cmdline_tools directory to the tools directory.

mv -i * tools

Step 3. Let the system know SDK Location

For the SDK command line tool to work, we have to set up environment variables properly. For this let us set the ANDROID_HOME environment variable and update the PATH variable.

export ANDROID_HOME=$HOME/android/sdk
export PATH=$ANDROID_HOME/cmdline-tools/tools/bin/:$PATH
export PATH=$ANDROID_HOME/emulator/:$PATH
export PATH=$ANDROID_HOME/platform-tools/:$PATH
android sdk $Path settings

To make the changes permanent, you would need to add these commands to your shell profile file (e.g. .bash_profile or .bashrc).

Step 4. Install Android SDK Packages

The Android SDK command line tools package comes with sdkmanager command. This tool is used to manage the packages and components of the Android SDK. Commonly used to list, install and update packages.

To list all installed and available packages, type

sdkmanager --list
or
sdkmanager --list --channel=channel_id // Channels: 0 (stable), 1 (beta), 2 (dev), or 3 (canary)

The output is a long list of packages. You can use filter the list using grep - for example sdkmanager --list | grep package-name.

To install packages use the following syntax:

sdkmanager --install packages [options]

Some of the useful packages are platform tools, build tools, and emulator. To install those packages using sdkmanager, type:

sdkmanager --install "platform-tools" "build-tools;30.0.1" "emulator" "platforms:android-33"

To keep all packages on the latest version update packages use sdkmanager --update command.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learned how to install Android SDK without actually installing the full android studio. This is more useful for guys who are more interested to stick on the command line.

Thanks for reading, if you encounter any issues please leave a comment.

About The Author

Bobbin Zachariah

Bobbin Zachariah

Bobbin started his career in IT in the year 2000 as a computer science instructor and worked as a Linux system engineer and senior analyst roles. Currently working in DevOps environments to increase efficiency and improve delivery time in AWS Cloud infrastructure. He is certified in RHEL, CCNA, and MCP and holds a Masters's in computer science. When in his free time love playing cricket, blogging, and listening to music.

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