Building Android O with a Mac

Christopher Ney
Mar 26, 2018 · 6 min read

After spending several hours to analyse dozens of posts and articles to compile Android O MR1 AOSP, I decided to write a short manual to help you to build your AOSP effortlessly ;-)

This article is based on Official Android documentation:

My Environment

  • OS: macOS Sierra 10.12.5
  • CPU: 2,9 GHz Intel Core i5 (influence the speed compilation)
  • RAM: 8 GB 1867 MHz DDR3 (8GB minimum, recommended 16GB)
  • Disk: 200GB free space (after AOSP sources downloaded — minimum 200GB)
  • Device: Nexus 5X (bullhead)

Setup your Build Environment

xcode-select --install
  • Install Homebrew with:
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
$ java -version
> java version "1.8.0_144"
  • Install GIT with:
brew install git
  • Install Python with:
brew install python
  • Install Make with:
brew install make

Creating a case-sensitive disk image

Case sensitive volume of 200GB with the following command line:

hdiutil create -type SPARSE -fs 'Case-sensitive Journaled HFS+' -size 200g ~/android.dmg

Install tools and libraries via MacPort

Install MacPorts: then type the following command line:

POSIXLY_CORRECT=1 sudo port install gmake libsdl git gnupg

Then create and edit the .bash_profile file with the following code:

cd ~
nano .bash_profile
# set the number of open files to be 1024
ulimit -S -n 1024
# Compiler cache
export USE_CCACHE=1
# mount the android file image
function mountAndroid { hdiutil attach ~/android.dmg.sparseimage -mountpoint /Volumes/android; }
# unmount the android file image
function umountAndroid() { hdiutil detach /Volumes/android; }
export PATH="/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:$PATH"
export PATH=~/bin:$PATH
export ANDROID_JAVA_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8)

Download AOSP source code

To identify the right branch to download, check the Build number of the target device. In our case OPM5.171019.017 which isncorresponding to the branch android-8.1.0_r18.

Branches and Builds codename:

Warning: when you choose a branch be sure that the branch support the targeted device!

Select the targeted AOSP version with the branch with -b parameter: android-8.1.0_r18

source ~/.bash_profile
mkdir ~/bin
curl > ~/bin/repo
chmod a+x ~/bin/repo

cd /Volumes/android

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global ""

repo init -u
repo init -u -b android-7.1.1_r1
repo sync

Building ASOP source code

Open terminal:

cd /Volumes/android/WORKING_DIRECTORY/ # Set ccache
prebuilts/misc/darwin-x86/ccache/ccache -M 50G
# Clean out directory
make clobber
# Jack server configuration
export JACK_SERVER_VM_ARGUMENTS="-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -XX:+TieredCompilation -Xmx6g"
./prebuilts/sdk/tools/jack-admin kill-server
./prebuilts/sdk/tools/jack-admin start-server
# Setup environment
source build/

Select the device target with lunch command, then build the sources with make command:

# Select device target
# Build sources (cofee time)
make -j4

When the build process if finished you get the following message:

[100% 7091/7091] Install system fs image: out/target/product/generic/system.imgout/target/product/generic/system.img+ maxsize=1918388736 blocksize=2112 total=1879048192 reserve=19379712#### make completed successfully (02:52:17 (hh:mm:ss)) ####

Install new Android Build on Device

Connect the Device in USB, enable the Developer Mode, then input the following command lines in you Terminal:

cd out/target/product/<product_name> 
adb reboot bootloader
fastboot oem unlock 
fastboot flashall -w

Restore Android Image

To restore an official Android Image please download the target Image and follow the instructions:

cd ~/Downloads/bullhead-opm5.171019.017/adb reboot bootloaderfastboot oem unlock

Rebuild a single package

To rebuild a single package (example: Dialer App) instead of rebuild the entire baseline, use the following command lines:

source build/
# Select device target
# Rebuil single pacage (exemple Dialer)
mmm packages/apps/dialer/

The output APK path will be prompt by the console, or located at the following path:

# Recompiled package output
cd /out/target/product/<device_targeted>/obj/APPS/<app_name>_intermediates

How to install it

adb install -r out/target/product/<device_targeted>/system/priv-app/<app_name>/<app_name>.apkadb reboot

System UI

Build System UI only:

source build/
# Select device target
# Rebuil single pacage (exemple Dialer)
mmm frameworks/base/packages/SystemUI/

How to install it

adb install -r out/target/product/<device_targeted>/system/priv-app/SystemUI/SystemUI.apkadb reboot

Android Framework

  • Build Framework JAR only: mmm framework/base/
  • Build Framework Resources only: mmm framework/base/core/res/

How to install it

# Root the device
adb root
adb disable-verity
adb reboot
adb remount
# Remove older framework
adb shell
cd /system/framework/
rm framework-res.apk
# Push the new Framework
adb push out/target/product/<device_targeted>/system/framework/framework-res.apk /system/framework/
# Reboot the device
adb reboot

Signing Build

The standard Android build uses four keys, all of which reside in build/target/product/security:

  • testkey: Generic default key for packages that do not otherwise specify a key.
  • platform: Test key for packages that are part of the core platform.
  • shared: Test key for things that are shared in the home/contacts process.
  • media: Test key for packages that are part of the media/download system.
cd /build/target/product/security/


To sign an app with one of the existing key, use the following instruction (LOCAL_CERTIFICATE) into the associated makefile



Can not find Mac SDK or Required minimum for the macosx platform

Download and uncompress the exact missing Mac SDK version into the following directory:

  • /Applications/

Download Mac SDKs:

Error: could not find jdk tools.jar

Need to defined $ANDROID_JAVA_HOME used in ~/build/core/

export ANDROID_JAVA_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8)echo $ANDROID_JAVA_HOME

Download and install JDK before :

Make error — already defined

If you got the following error during the AOSP compilation:

including ./go/src/ *** go/src/ MODULE.TARGET.STATIC_LIBRARIES.spirv-cross already defined by go/src/ *** [out/] Error 1

Go to the already defined directory and rename simply the file to

GC overhead limit exceeded

GC overhead limit exceeded. Try increasing heap size with java option '-Xmx<size>'.FAILED: /bin/bash out/target/common/obj/JAVA_LIBRARIES/framework_intermediates/with-local/classes.dex.rspOut of memory error (version 1.2-rc4 'Carnac' (298900 f95d7bdecfceb327f9d201a1348397ed8a843843 by overhead limit exceeded.Try increasing heap size with java option '-Xmx<size>'.Warning: This may have produced partial or corrupted output.

To increase the the heap size use the following command lines:

export JACK_SERVER_VM_ARGUMENTS="-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -XX:+TieredCompilation -Xmx6g"./prebuilts/sdk/tools/jack-admin kill-server./prebuilts/sdk/tools/jack-admin start-server

Case-insensitive filesystem

You are building on a case-insensitive filesystem.

You are building on a case-insensitive filesystem.
Please move your source tree to a case-sensitive filesystem.
Case-insensitive filesystems not supported.

Creating a case-sensitive disk image:

Fatal error file not found

If the following error is raised during the Android building process:

external/iptables/extensions/../include/linux/netfilter_ipv4/ipt_ECN.h:13:10: fatal error: 'linux/netfilter/xt_DSCP.h' file not found#include <linux/netfilter/xt_DSCP.h>

Please check the filename user or lower case. Remember that the Android building process is case-sensitive.

In this case create a symbolic name xt_dscp.h for the original file xt_DSCP.h with the following command lines:

cd external/iptables/extensions/../include/linux/netfilterln -s xt_dscp.h xt_DSCP.h


No space left on device

If the case-sensitive partition become full (no free space available):

[ 25% 2/8] build out/target/product/generic/obj/JAVA_...RARIES/SystemUI-proto-tags_intermediates/classes.jackninja: error: mkdir(out/target/product/generic/obj/JAVA_LIBRARIES/SystemUI-proto-tags_intermediates): No space left on device

Open Terminal and increase the partition size:

hdiutil resize -size <new-size-you-want>g ~/android.dmg.sparseimage

Missing and no known rule to make it

If the flowing error is raised during a single package compilation thought mm or mmm command:

ninja: error: 'out/target/common/obj/JAVA_LIBRARIES/metrics-helper-lib_intermediates/link_type', needed by 'out/target/common/obj/APPS/SystemUITests_intermediates/link_type', missing and no known rule to make it12:39:35 ninja failed with: exit status 1make: *** [run_soong_ui] Error 1

Compile the bidding library metrics-helper:

mma platform_testing/libraries/metrics-helper/

OR, go to the main makefile and disable the Unit tests project compilation by commenting the include line:

include $(BUILD_PACKAGE)
# disable the sub-project makefile: ./tests/
# include $(call all-makefiles-under,$(LOCAL_PATH))

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