The Difference Between Emulator and Simulator

Emulators and simulators help to perform essential processes in the Software Development Lifecycle. That is, testing mobile apps before releasing them. Hence, these two programs are virtual devices that mimic another device’s behaviors. And these tests done through the two programs are essential. It ensures the maintenance of standards and assurance of quality.

Moreover, they help developers to minimize the budget they spend on mobile app testing. So most mobile app developers use this software. And they tend to use these programs at the beginning level of mobile app testing. Besides, these two software serve excellently. That allows users to get access easily to test their apps on mobile devices quickly. In addition to their good sides, they have disadvantages too. 

There is a common misunderstanding among people that these two programs have similar features. It is valid only to a certain extent. The reason is that they have both similarities and differences. So, this article aims to explain the differences between these two programs. And we’ll also provide a detailed explanation of their advantages and disadvantages.

emulator and simulator difference

What are Emulators?

This Program is software that enables your computer system to copy another device’s hardware and software characteristics. So it is like this software replaces the original device’s fundamental use. And we call these programs virtual devices. So they can adapt to the target device’s features. Those features include battery state, location, and many other things.

What are Simulators?

This process helps you to create a suitable environment to copy another device’s behavior. Besides, it also enables copying the target device’s arrangement. And these programs are more for analysis. And by using this process, you can understand how your target device would operate in a natural world background.

Emulators and Simulators: Similarities

You can understand the differences better by looking at the similarities between the two programs.

So both these two applications provide an environment to run tests to check software. And these environments they provide are flexible. Besides, they are software-defined. Accordingly, you don’t have to wait long to run software tests.

Therefore, developers use these two programs to run software tests before they release their software. Thus both programs provide you with speedy and adjustable software testing environments. And this is the process that happen in real-device testing.

The Difference Between Emulators vs Simulators

Now you know the similarities between the two programs. But those similarities don’t mean that they are 100% identical to each other. So they also have differences.

The environment created by simulators has every type of software variable. Not only software variables but also arrangements. And you will see these variables and arrangements in the app’s real production environment. On the other hand, the other program mimics this production environment’s hardware and software features. To this end, usually, you should write this program using the assembly language.

In contrast, simulators don’t reproduce the real hardware features. The reason is that they create only software domains. To that end, you need high-level programming languages.

Accordingly, emulators take a middle ground between simulators and devices. In contrast, simulators only copy domain features. And your device software can form these features using the software. And emulators copy both hardware and software features. However, they aren’t a complete replacement for real-device testing. The reason is that they may not perform ideal hardware and software copying jobs. And they create an environment similar to the environment you’d see on an actual device. So, this process means complete re-implementation of a real-device environment.  

Difference Between Testing Procedures of Emulators and Simulators

Testing Carried Out Through Emulation Testing Carried Out Through Simulation
Emulation aims to mimic the external behavior of a particular object.  On the other hand, the simulation aims to reproduce a particular object’s internal behavior.
Developers prefer to use this program when they need to examine the things like calculations. Moreover, making transactions also belong to these external behaviors.  In contrast, developers prefer using this program when they want to test the internal behavior of the mobile. These internal behaviors include internal hardware and software. 
Machine-level assembly computer languages are used to write emulators. High-level languages are used to write simulation program.
And they serve well in debugging.  But, these programs are week in serving for debugging purposes.
This program is a complete reproduction of the parent software. It is what happens often.  In contrast, this re-implements only a part of the original software.

When Should You Use Emulators?

Emulators become extremely helpful in examining how software interconnects with hardware. They also help to test how software interconnects with a hardware and software combination. In addition, this software can help you determine whether any firmware update you have done brings problems. In addition, they are helpful in revealing the arrangement of RAM and CPU for your application.

When Should You Use Simulators?

Using this software, you can examine whether a particular app performs as expected. This test concerns the interaction between such applications and external environments.

For example, assume that you want to examine whether an app can deliver data to another app. So an environment created by this type of program is usually enough for this performance. Besides, there is another instance in which you might need this process. That is to test whether an interface of an application displays well under various screen designs.

Advantages of the Emulators and Simulators


Developers prefer using emulators and simulators as they are affordable. Otherwise, they would have to maintain expensive production systems for mobile app testing. Accordingly, less expensiveness is one of the advantages of these two programs.


Both these mobile app testing programs copy the behavior of another device. But, when compared to other simulating hardware, they are easily usable. Moreover, they can easily be used in the cloud too. Apart from that, you don’t have to buy extra software licenses to use this software.

Flexible Production Process

When you have a perfect production schedule, you can deliver a product with good quality. So to be successful, a detailed production plan is essential. So, emulators and simulators adopt smart methods. As a result, the production process becomes speedy and flexible. Accordingly, this software can be employed to take good decisions and improve the project’s design.

Easy Test Mechanism

Emulators and simulators are faster and cheaper. And they are easy to use. Moreover, they make the software development cycle more manageable. Besides, they contribute a lot in reducing risk before product launching.

Disadvantages of Emulators and Simulators

So far, we have discussed the good sides of these two programs. However, they have disadvantages too. For example, even though they help test mobile apps, these results might not be 100% accurate. So if these two programs don’t show you correct test results, your production will become a failure. As a result, you and the team will keep fixing problems all the time following the wrong test results. 

In addition, the following is a list of things that these two programs cannot test.

  • Battery performance
  • CPU performance
  • Memory usage
  • Video and sound quality
  • Connectivity issues
  • Matchingness with other applications
  • Color display


Both emulators and simulators function as virtual devices. Moreover, it is found that the former is most appropriate for tests done at the beginning levels. Mobile applications play a significant role in our day-to-day lives. Therefore, developers take great care in launching apps. Accordingly, apps require many tests before launching. And these tests done through the two programs that we discussed above are essential. It ensures the maintenance of standards and assurance of quality.

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