Installing AOSP on a mac - part 1

Effie Barak

In this post, I’m going to go into the details of how to download and install AOSP on a modern macOS machine. The instructions on the official Android page are somewhat out-of-date, and aren’t as well-maintained as the Linux instructions.

1. Create a case-sensitive disk image:

Because Android requires a case-sensitive filesystem, we need to create a separate drive.

This was easy-peasy using the Disk Utility tool, the important thing here is that it must be case sensitive or nothing will build:

  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Hit File -> New Image
  3. Name it and decide where you want it to live
  4. Choose the format “Mac OS Extended (Case- Sensitive, Journaled)
  5. Choose the image format “sparse disk image”
  6. Choose the size (I put 150GB here). Make sure if you change other settings that this setting doesn’t reset back to the default 100MB.
  7. Hit “Save”

Creating an image disk

After it’s done creating (should be super fast for a sparse image), verify that the new drive is indeed case-sensitive by hitting “info” on it

Disk info

If it’s not (I had a bug in my old Mac and it kept creating a non case-sensitive image), run this command:

# hdiutil create -type SPARSE -fs 'Case-sensitive Journaled HFS+' -size 150g ~/AOSP.dmg

Notes about my process

  1. I used the Disk Utility UI tool. It seems to work just great! My old computer for some reason didn’t agree to create a case- sensitive image, but my new Mac running Sierra 10.12.3 seems to completely agree to this
  2. The official docs say to allocate 40GB, but that’s like… KitKat? When I tried 100GB it threw up from lack of space in the middle of building, so I went with 150GB. The final size after compiling is around 80GB but it’s possible that a sparse image is even more wasteful or that there are things created during build that are later cleaned up.

2. Install the JDK:

  • Install XCode command line tools:

    xcode-select –install

  • Install these packages from Homebrew:

    brew install automake
    brew install sdl
    brew install git
    brew install gnupg

  • Set the file descriptor limit:

Open bash_profile by typing

nano ~/.bash_profile

And add these two lines to it: ulimit -S -n 1024

export PATH=~/bin:$PATH

(the second line is for later but might as well)

Your file should have these lines added so it would look something like this: bash_profile

Save (by clicking ^O and enter to confirm the file name) and Exit (^X)

Notes about my process

I chose Homebrew to install / install packages from instead of MacPorts and switched the packages names accordingly, if you prefer MacPorts (or care), see the original instructions.

3. Download the Source:

  • Initialize a Repo client Navigate into the AOSP drive

    cd /Volumes/AOSP
  • Make a directory for the code and go into it

    mkdir android
    cd android

  • Configure your user name and email (it has to be an email address that is connected with a registered Google account)

    git config –global “Your Name”
    git config –global “

  • Sync the repo

    repo sync

Part 1 completed!

Great news, now all you have to do is wait ~30-60 minutes for the sync to complete, and you’ll have a local copy of AOSP!