The topic you requested is included in another documentation set. For convenience, it's displayed below. Choose Switch to see the topic in its original location.

Windows Phone Emulator for Windows Phone 8

[ This article is for Windows Phone 8 developers. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation. ]

Windows Phone Emulator is a desktop application that emulates a Windows Phone device. It provides a virtualized environment in which you can debug and test Windows Phone apps without a physical device. It also provides an isolated environment for your application prototypes.

Windows Phone Emulator is designed to provide comparable performance to an actual device. Before you publish your app to the Windows Phone Store, however, we recommend that you test your app on a physical device. For more info, see How to deploy and run an app for Windows Phone 8.

You can test your app on a unique emulator image for each of the OS versions and screen resolutions supported by Windows Phone. The default emulator image in Visual Studio is Emulator WVGA 512MB, which emulates a memory-constrained Windows Phone 8 phone. This default selection encourages you to target the largest possible market for your Windows Phone 8 app. For more info, see Developing apps for lower-memory phones for Windows Phone 8.

This topic contains the following sections.



Windows Phone Emulator is a component of the Windows Phone SDK. For info about how to install the Windows Phone SDK, see Get the SDK.

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 installs both the Windows Phone 8 Emulator and the Windows Phone 7.1 Emulator.


When you uninstall Windows Phone SDK 8.0, the Hyper-V Virtual Ethernet Adapter that was created for the emulator to use is not automatically removed. You can manually remove this virtual adapter from Network Connections in Control Panel.

System requirements

For important info about the hardware, software, and configuration requirements for Windows Phone Emulator, see the following topics.

Important noteImportant Note:

The Windows Phone SDK 8.0 setup program checks the prerequisites for running Windows Phone 8 Emulator. It displays warnings if the prerequisites are not present, but it does not require them.

If your computer or your network doesn't support all the requirements for running the emulator, you can still install the SDK and develop apps for Windows Phone 8. You can only debug and test them, however, on a registered Windows Phone 8 phone.

Backward compatibility

Windows Phone 8 Emulator requires Visual Studio 2012; it is not backward compatible with earlier versions of Visual Studio.

Windows Phone 8 Emulator cannot load apps that target Windows Phone OS versions earlier than Windows Phone OS 7.1.

The networking connection of the Windows Phone 8 Emulator behaves like the connection of a desktop computer with these characteristics:

  • The emulator appears on the network as a separate device with its own IP address.

  • It does not require any additional networking software that is not already installed with the Windows 8 operating system.

  • It is not joined to a Windows domain.

  • It copies the proxy settings from the development computer.

To understand the capabilities of the emulator's network connection, think of it as similar to a Wi-Fi connection from your Windows Phone to the same network. If an app running on your phone can access a network resource over its Wi-Fi connection, then an app running on the emulator can also access the same network resource.

Important noteImportant Note:

If your development computer requires domain membership to access network resources, apps running on the emulator can’t access those network resources unless you get an exception from your corporate IT department.

For more info about the network requirements of the emulator, see System requirements for the emulator for Windows Phone 8.

To troubleshoot networking issues in the emulator, see Troubleshooting the emulator.

The implementation of graphics rendering and networking in Windows Phone 8 Emulator has changed from Windows Phone OS 7.1 Emulator. The following table briefly describes these changes and the effect that they have on testing apps in the emulator.

Emulator feature

Behavior of Windows Phone OS 7.1 Emulator

Behavior of Windows Phone 8 Emulator 


Graphics rendering

Uses the computer’s hardware graphics card.

Uses software emulation.

Graphics in Windows Phone 8 Emulator may be faster or slower than on a physical phone.


Uses the computer’s network connection.

Connects directly to the network as a separate device.

For more info, see Networking in the Windows Phone 8_emulator.

Windows Phone 8 Emulator is connected directly to the network with its own IP address. Depending on your network configuration and your firewall or proxy settings, the emulator may not be able to reach some network destinations.

Sample photos

The media library is pre-populated with sample photos.

Sample photos are added to the media library when you open the Photos Hub for the first time in the emulator.

If you want to test an app that uses the photo chooser task, or an app that uses the MediaLibrary class, run the emulator and open the Photos Hub manually to populate an album with sample photos before you test your app.

The following table describes features of the Windows Phone 8 hardware and platform that you can test in the emulator. The Windows Phone 8 Emulator supports some features that are not supported in the Windows Phone 7.1 Emulator.

Some of the listed features are only supported partially or only under certain conditions, and some require an additional download.

Supported feature


Multiple screen resolutions

You can use the Windows Phone 8 emulator to test your app on the following screen resolutions:

  • WVGA (800 × 480)

  • WXGA (1280 × 768)

  • 720p (1280 × 720)

For more info, see Multi-resolution apps for Windows Phone 8.

Screen configuration options

Windows Phone Emulator supports the following screen configuration options:

Memory-constrained devices

You can use the emulator to test your app on images that emulate the following memory-constrained devices:

  • Emulator WVGA 512MB, for apps that target Windows Phone 8.

  • Emulator WVGA 512MB, Emulator 7.8 256MB, and Emulator 7.1 256MB, for apps that target Windows Phone OS 7.1.

For more info, see Developing apps for lower-memory phones for Windows Phone 8.


Networking support is integrated with Windows Phone Emulator. Networking is enabled by default. You do not have to install network drivers for Windows Phone Emulator or configure networking options manually in most environments. For more info, see Networking in the Windows Phone 8 Emulator.

You can also use Simulation Dashboard to simulate a poor network connection. For more info, see How to simulate a low-bandwidth connection or poor signal for Windows Phone 8.

Language and region settings

You can change the display language and region settings in Windows Phone Emulator for testing purposes. For more info, see How to test region settings in the emulator for Windows Phone 8 and How to test a localized app for Windows Phone 8.

Application lifecycle and tombstoning

You can test the behavior or your app when it is deactivated or tombstoned. For more info, see How to test app state changes for Windows Phone 8.

Local folder (previously known as isolated storage)

Data in isolated storage persists while the emulator is running, but is lost once the emulator closes. For more info about isolated storage, see Quickstart: Working with files and folders in Windows Phone 8.

Camera and video (with limitations)

For more info about support for camera and video in Windows Phone 8 Emulator, see the section titled “Using the emulator” in each of the following topics:

This feature is not supported in the Windows Phone 7.1 Emulator.

Location (GPS) simulation

For more info, see How to test apps that use location data for Windows Phone 8.

Accelerometer simulation

For more info, see How to test apps that use the accelerometer for Windows Phone 8.


Requires a host computer that supports multi-touch input. Simulation of multi-touch by using the mouse is not supported in the emulator.


Requires and uses the microphone on the host computer.

Proximity (NFC)

You can test proximity with the help of an additional download. For more info, see Proximity for Windows Phone 8.

In-app purchase

You can test In-App Purchase with the help of an additional download. For more info, see In-app purchase testing for Windows Phone 8.


For more info, see How to test copy-and-paste in the emulator for Windows Phone 8.

Lock screen

For more info, see How to simulate the lock screen for Windows Phone 8.


For more info, see How to simulate a reminder for Windows Phone 8.

The following table lists some additional capabilities of the emulator.



Hardware keyboard and hardware buttons

You can use the host computer keyboard as a hardware keyboard. You can also use special keys to emulate the phone’s hardware buttons. For detailed info, see How to use the computer keyboard with the emulator for Windows Phone 8.

Screenshot tool

Windows Phone Emulator provides a screenshot tool that makes it easy to capture screenshots of your application that fit the size requirements for the Store. For more info, see How to create screenshots for the Store for Windows Phone 8.

The following list describes features of the Windows Phone 8 hardware and platform that you cannot test in the emulator. You have to test these features on a physical device.

  • Compass

  • Gyroscope

  • Vibration controller

  • Brightness. The brightness level of the emulator is always High.

To find answers and solve problems as you work with the tools in Windows Phone SDK 8.0, visit the Tools for Windows Phone Development forum. To see all the forums for Windows Phone development, visit Windows Phone Development Forums. To review other support options, visit MSDN Troubleshooting and Support.