Version: 2018.2
Troubleshooting Android development
Reporting crash bugs under Android

Building apps for Android

There are two locations to configure settings that affect how your app is built:

  • Player Settings - Allows you to configure runtime settings for the app. For more information on Player Settings, see Android Player Settings.
  • Build settings - Allows you to configure build system parameters and build the app.

The output package includes an APK, and an APK expansion file (OBB) if the Split Application Binary option is selected in the Unity Editor’s Player Settings window. For more information on OBB files, see OBB Support.

To optimize for download and installation size, enable the Split APKs by target architecture option in Player Settings. The Split APKs by target architecture option produces one set of APKs and OBBs for each device architecture selected in the Target Architecture list in the Player Settings. You can upload this set of APKs (and OBBs, if enabled) to the Google Play, or other, store instead of a FAT APK in which all of the selected architectures are included into a single APK. For more information on this feature, see Multiple APK support on the Android Developer website.

Configuring Build Settings

To configure and build apps for Android, access the Build Settings window, select File > Build Setting. In Platforms, select Android.

To set Android as your default build platform, click the Switch Platform button.

When you have specified your build settings, click the Build button to create your build. To build the app, click Build And Run to create and run your build on the platform you have specified. In Platform, select Android.

Option Purpose
Texture Compression The Unity Android build system supports the following texture compression format options: Don’t override, DXT (Tegra), PVRTC (PowerVR), ETC (default), ETC2 (GLES 3.0), and ASTC. For advice on using these formats, see the Texture Compression section.
ETC2 fallback 32-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit, half resolution.
Build System
Internal - Generate the output package (APK) using the internal Unity build process, based on Android SDK utilities. Selecting Internal hides the Export Project checkbox.
Gradle - Generate the output package (APK) using the Gradle build system. Supports direct Build and Run and exporting the Project to a directory. This is the default Build System for Unity.
Export Project Export the Project as a Gradle project that you can import into Android Studio.
Development Build A development build includes debug symbols and enables the Profiler. Selecting Development Build allows you to select the Autoconnect Profiler, Script Debugging, and Scripts Only Build options.
Autoconnect Profiler Allows the Profiler to automatically connect to the build. Selectable when the Development Build option is selected. For more information on the Profiler, see Profiler Overview.
Script Debugging Allow script debuggers to attach to the Player remotely. Enabled when the Development Build option is selected.
Scripts Only Build Check this option to build just the scripts in the current Project. Enabled when the Development Build option is selected.
Compression Method Compress the data in your Project at build time. Choose between the following methods:
Default - The default compression is ZIP, which gives slightly better compression results than LZ4 and LZ4HC, but data is slower to decompress.
LZ4 - A fast compression format that is useful for development builds. Using LZ4 compression can significantly improve loading time of games/apps built with Unity. For more information, see BuildOptions.CompressWithLz4.
LZ4HC - A high compression variant of LZ4 that is slower to build but produces better results for release builds. Using LZ4HC compression can significantly improve loading time of games/apps built with Unity. For more information, see BuildOptions.CompressWithLz4HC.
SDKs for App Stores Select which third party app stores to integrate with. To include an integration, click Add next to an App Store name. The Unity Package Manager automatically downloads and includes the relevant integration package.

Texture compression

Unity uses the Ericsson Texture Compression (ETC) format for textures that don’t have individual texture format overrides. When building an APK to target specific hardware, use the Texture Compression option to override this default behavior. Texture Compression is a global setting for the Project. If a texture has a specific override on it, that texture is not affected by the Texture Compression setting. For additional information, see Textures.

For additional information on textures and texture compression, see Android 2D Textures Overrides.

For additional information on the texture compression formats, see Texture compression formats for platform-specific overrides. In particular, see the Notes on Android at the end of the topic.

Note: Texture Compression is a global setting. Individual textures override the global setting.

ETC2 fallback

For Android devices that don’t support ETC2 (which don’t support GL ES3), you can override the default ETC2 texture decompression by choosing from 32-bit, 16-bit, or 32-bit with half the resolution formats.

This option allows you to choose between the uncompressed image quality and the amount of memory the uncompressed texture occupies. 32-bit RGBA texture is the highest quality format, and takes twice the required disk space as the 16-bit format, but a texture in 16-bit might lose some valuable color information. 32-bit half-resolution reduces the memory requirement further, but the texture is likely to become blurry.

Build system

Unity supports two Android build systems: Gradle and Internal.

The steps involved with building for Android are:

  • Preparing and building the Unity Assets.

  • Compiling scripts.

  • Processing the plug-ins.

  • Splitting the resources into the parts that go to the APK and the OBB, if Split Application Binary is selected.

  • Building the Android resources using the AAPT utility (internal build only.)

  • Generating the Android manifest.

  • Merging the library manifests into the Android manifest (internal build only.)

  • Compiling the Java code into the Dalvik Executable format (DEX) (internal build only.)

  • Building the IL2CPP library, if IL2CPP Scripting Backend is selected.

  • Building and optimizing the APK and OBB packages.

Gradle build system

The Gradle build system uses Gradle to build an APK or export a Project in Gradle format, which can then be imported to Android Studio. When you select this build system, Unity goes through the same steps as the Internal build system excluding resource compilation with AAPT, merging manifests, and running DEX. Unity then generates the build.gradle file (along with the other required configuration files) and invokes the Gradle executable, passing it the task name and the working directory. Finally, the APK is built by Gradle.

For more details, see Gradle for Android.

Internal build system

The Internal build system creates an APK using the Android SDK utilities to build and optimize the APK and OBB packages. For more information about OBB files, see OBB Support.

Exporting the Project

If you need more control over the build pipeline, or to make changes that Unity does not normally allow (for example, fine tuning the manifest files that are automatically generated by Unity), you can export your Project and import it into Android Studio. Exporting a Project is only available when you have selected Gradle as your Build System.

To export the Project:

  1. From the Build System drop-down menu, select Gradle.
  2. Check the Export Project checkbox. When Export Project is checked, the Build button is relabeled Export and the Build And Run button is disabled.
  3. Click the Export button and select a destination folder for the roject.

When the export finishes, open Android Studio and import your project. For more information on importing projects to Android Studio, see the Migrate to Android Studio section of the Android Developer documentation.

Build or Build and Run

The Build Settings window offers two options: Build and Build and Run. Using either option saves the output packages (APK and OBB, if enabled) to the path that you select. You can publish these packages to the Google Play Store, or install them on your device manually with the help of Android Debug Bridge (ADB). For further information about installing apps manually, see the Run your app section of the Android Developer documentation. For information on ADB commands, see the Android Debug Bridge section of the Android Developer documentation.

Selecting Build and Run saves the output packages to the file path you specify, while also installing your app on the Android device connected to your computer.

If the Split Application Binary option is enabled, the OBB file is pushed to the correct location on your device. If Development Build is checked, Unity also sets up a Profiler tunnel and enables CheckJNI. After that, the app is launched. The Split Application Binary setting is located in the Publishing Settings section of the Player Settings window.

Tip: Specify the output path for the packages and then use the Ctrl+B (Windows) or Cmd+B (macOS) keyboard shortcut to Build and Run using the saved output path.

  • 2018–09–03 Page amended with editorial review

  • Updated functionality in 5.5

Troubleshooting Android development
Reporting crash bugs under Android