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Last pushed: 3 years ago
Short Description
Run Android Apps in Docker containers using ARC Welder
Full Description

Running Android apps using Docker and ARC Welder

This tutorial will allow you to run multiple Android Apps using ARC Welder inside individual Docker containers.

docker pull jess/chrome
  • Start a container
docker run -it \
    --net host \
    --cpuset-cpus 0 \ 
    --memory 512mb \ # max memory it can use
    -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix \ # mount the X11 socket
    -e DISPLAY=unix$DISPLAY \
    -v $HOME/Downloads:/root/Downloads \
    --device /dev/snd \ # so we have sound
      --entrypoint /bin/bash \
    --name chrome \

  • Start Chrome (Manual)
google-chrome --user-data-dir=/data

A Chrome Browser window will appear.
  • Install ARC Welder (Manual)

Navigate to :

Click on "The ARC Welder app"

Select "+ add to chrome"

This will take a few minutes while it downloads the ARC Welder and runtime.

Confirm it is installed : Settings, Extensions.

  • Enable WebGL

Step 1: Type chrome://flags in the address bar

Step 2: Press Ctrl + f and type ” Rendering list “, “Override software rendering list” should come up, Now click on Enable and restart the browser.

Step 3: Close the Chrome window.

  • Commit these changes to a new image
Get the container image id : 

docker ps -a |head -2

Commit these changes to a new image :

docker commit <container id> arc-welder:base
  • Almost there. This is our base image. You can run this and provide an entrypoint or you can use a Dockerfile.

Create a Dockerfile with contents :

FROM arc-welder:base

ENTRYPOINT [ "/usr/bin/google-chrome" ]

#This is the app-id of ARC Welder that we installed 
CMD [ "--user-data-dir=/data", "--app-id=emfinbmielocnlhgmfkkmkngdoccbadn" ]

Build a new image :

docker build -t arc-welder:latest .

Start the ARC Welder container :

docker run -it \
        --net host \
        --cpuset-cpus 0 \
        --memory 512mb \ # max memory it can use
        -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix \ # mount the X11 socket
        -e DISPLAY=unix$DISPLAY \
        -v $HOME/Downloads:/root/Downloads \
        --device /dev/snd \ # so we have sound
        --name arcwelder \

Note : If you want to save the state of any apps you run then you will need to add in this line when starting the container :

-v $HOME/.config/google-chrome/:/data \ # if you want to save state

The ARC Welder app will appear.

You will be prompted for a .apk file. In the command above we setup this volume : $HOME/Downloads:/root/Downloads. On your host you can download a .apk file from and then select this in the ARC Welder gui.

That's it.

Tested Angry Birds, Instagram, Twitter, Evernote.

Tried Facebook, Netflix and AirDroid but hit issues.

  • What's the point?

This allows Developers or Testers to start Android apps just by starting a container. Multiple apps can be run at the same time in complete isolation. No changes have been made to your host system.

  • Future work :

Automate the install of ARC Welder

The end user should be able to pass in the location of a .apk at container runtime and this gets loaded into ARC welder.

Docker Pull Command