Stack OverflowIs there a way to run Python on Android?
[+963] [22] e-satis
[2008-09-19 13:21:12]
[ python android ase android-scripting ]
[ ]

I like the Android platform. Actually, with some friends, we even participate in the ADC with the Spoxt project.

But Java is not my favourite language at all. We are working on an S60 [1] version and this platform has a nice Python API. Of course there is nothing official about Python on Android, but since Jython [2] exists, is there a way to let the snake and the robot work together?

(2) Let's test Joel's theory about the possibility of updates for well-google-ranked SO posts. See below or this:… - unmounted
(12) You mean not everybody is interested in python on android? - unmounted
(19) I mean the contrary. Given the little content of this post, if it's well ranked, it must be a huge expectation. I strongly hope the best for this project, I'm myself more a pythonista than a Java guy and coding Android with this language would sky rock the prototyping phase. - e-satis
I was kidding too. I meant that you should update the question, since some answers have been obsoleted by google's announcement. - unmounted
(2) Oh, right... I don't think updating the question is usefull, but changing the accepted answser certainly is. - e-satis
A scripting language inside a bytecode application inside a virtual machine it spell slowness. no wonder why those phones need dualcore even quadcore soon. Im not hating on Android or Python it just that... - user457015
(1) Technically, when you code in Python, you always code using "a scripting language", it always generate bytecode, and it always run in a virtual machine. - e-satis
@e-satis you right. I'm new to python and its technicality, Im used to compiled languages C/C++. But still a virtual machine inside a virtual machine is not going to be the fastest thing ever, and can probably compete to be the slowest ever way to execute code. For sure its has its utility. I don't hate on Python nor Android, but ... - user457015
(6) @user457015 I think you should really read up on how modern JVMs are implemented, they're nowhere near to "scripting" or "interpretation" by now. If anything, Java is now only ~ 10-25% slower than well / perfectly written C/C++ code. And there's way less place to screw up writing in Java... - TC1
[+353] [2011-11-18 21:49:45] JohnMudd [ACCEPTED]

One way is to use Kivy [1]:

Open source Python library for rapid development of applications that make use of innovative user interfaces, such as multi-touch apps.

Kivy runs on Linux, Windows, OS X, Android and iOS. You can run the same [python] code on all supported platforms.

Kivy Showcase app [2]


(20) If you use Kivy, here is a tool to help package your project into an APK: - gdw2
(5) @e-satis did Kivy work out for you? was it useful? I would be really thankful if you could post your experiences with Kivy in my question :) - juliomalegria
@julio Never had the chance to test it. We mostly do web app using jquery mobile instead. - e-satis
(4) I've been playing around with Kivy this past week attempting to write a game. Their main developers were very quick to answer questions on IRC however if you've programmed a GUI before Kivy will make you say WTF quite a bit. Some examples of undocumented things that were weird for me: All widgets get every on_touch_down event even if the event occurred outside their region, No widget has a draw() method, almost everything happens via a custom observer pattern on custom Properties they made up (note these share the name with Python's property, but are not the same) - Trey Stout
(4) @Trey: What about non-GUI-related things? Are there any limitations regarding usage of Python's modules? What about access to Android-specific features, such as ability to read messages, add notification, work in the background, make a photo, read contacts list, determine GPS location etc.? - Tadeck
(4) And now there is iOS support too! - rubik
(10) Now, almost a full year later, is support any better? Has here been any notable improvements? - TankorSmash
(2) And another year, damn google, with all the python they seem to love with websites, there's no love for python in Android. - Dexter
First link dead - CatShoes
[+218] [2009-06-10 05:24:29] Heat Miser

There is also the new Android Scripting Environment [1] (ASE) project. It looks awesome, and it has some integration with native Android components.


(48) True, but they have to have ASE installed, it's not a solution that lets you write an Android app in python without anything already installed (normal user will be all "wtf is this ASE thing?) - Stuart Axon
(6) @Stuart that cracked me up. --> normal user will be all "wtf is this ASE thing? - user201788
(14) Further, ASE is a restricted environment; you cannot write full-blown Android apps even if ASE is pre-installed. See - Sridhar Ratnakumar
(2) I think it was renamed to SL4A. - Vanuan
(2) You can write apps, package them, and even sell them on Play Store if you like, with SL4A now days. It's come along well since the comments above were posted. If you want Python on Android, then PY4A, which runs on SL4A is probably the best choice. - Carl Smith
I confirme, SL4A now permits to write packages of application ready to use, I tried with perl it works - ubugnu
[+122] [2009-06-10 05:13:13] unmounted

YES! [1]

An example via Matt Cutts [2] -- "here’s a barcode scanner written in six lines of Python code:

import android
droid = android.Android()
code = droid.scanBarcode()
isbn = int(code['result']['SCAN_RESULT'])
url = "" % isbn
droid.startActivity('android.intent.action.VIEW', url)

the curly quotes fsck with the code parsing - lfaraone
(20) s/YES/meh. maybe/'s extremely limited. anything graphical or multi touch? a big NO. - gcb
@gcb you can't use the normal android widget set, but you can use "webviews" (which is what the native gmail application uses, for example). - gdw2
(5) golfed: import android as a;d=a.Android();d.startActivity('android.intent.action.VIEW',"http://books.googl‌​"%int(d.scanBarcode()['result']['SCAN_RESULT'])) - Alex L
@gdw2, surely the native Gmail app only uses WebViews to parse emails though, not for the actual UI. That makes the comparison a bit absurd. - Veselin Romic
[+43] [2011-01-28 12:18:47] muriloq

"The Pygame Subset for Android [1] is a port of a subset of Pygame functionality to the Android platform. The goal of the project is to allow the creation of Android-specific games, and to ease the porting of games from PC-like platforms to Android."

The examples include a complete game packaged in an APK, which is pretty interesting.


(1) Several aspects were broken on my Droid X (buttons, or touchscreen, can't remember), so I didn't get very far with this route. - gdw2
[+41] [2011-05-26 09:21:31] Rab Ross

There's also SL4A [1] written by a Google employee.


[+35] [2011-10-12 13:49:09] gabomdq

I've posted instructions and a patch for cross compiling Python 2.7.2 for Android, you can get it at my blog here:

EDIT: I've open sourced Ignifuga [1], my 2D Game Engine, it's Python/SDL based and it cross compiles for Android. Even if you don't use it for games, you might get useful ideas from the code and the builder utility (named Schafer, after know who).


Impressive. +1 for this. Not accepted because you can't possibly write anything for the public with this. - e-satis
If you mean you can not do graphic apps with it, you most definitely can, of course, more work is needed. I actually use this port combined with SDL 1.3, it's not trivial to go from the python interpreter to an interactive app, but it can be done. - gabomdq
[+29] [2008-12-20 16:56:57] Damon

I just posted some directions for cross compiling Python 2.4.5 for Android [1]. It takes some patching, and not all modules are supported, but the basics are there.


[+27] [2008-11-01 20:29:44] lacker

As a Python [1] lover and Android programmer, I am sad to say this is not really a good way to go. There are two problems.

One problem is that there is a lot more than just a programming language to the Android development tools. A lot of the Android graphics involve XML files to configure the display, similar to HTML. The built-in java objects are really integrated with this XML layout, and it's a lot easier than writing your own code to go from logic to bitmap.

The other problem is that the G1 (and probably other Android devices for the near future) are really not that fast. 200 MHz processors, and RAM is very limited. Even in Java you have to do a decent amount of rewriting-to-avoid-more-object-creation if you want to make your app perfectly smooth. Python is going to be too slow for a while still on mobile devices.


(36) There is not a single java word on an Android phone, it's compiled to byte code during the packaging process. Speed is not the issue : Google could provide tools producing the right byte code from a python code (like for Jython). BTW, Dalvik is not the Java VM so this is not about Java VS Python. - e-satis
(60) Hehe. 200 MHz... 4 years later and now phones have quad-core processors... LOL. - Touzen
JAVA bytecode still needs to be processed by a JVM, and the Java language requires a garbage collector anyway. Actual speed could only come from C++. - LtWorf
[+15] [2012-03-19 15:45:27] Carl Smith

SL4A [1] does what you want. You can install it on your droid easily from their site, and don't need root.

It supports a range of languages, Python support is currently for version 2.6, but there's a 3.2 port [2] you can use too. I've used that port for all sorts on a Galaxy S2 and it worked fine.

SL4A scripts have a library available for each supported language that gives you an interface to the Android API as a single Android object:

import android
droid = android.Android()

# say "hello world" using the text to speech facade
droid.ttsSpeak('hello world')

Each language has pretty much the same API, and you can even access the device with JavaScript inside a webview or something:

var droid = new Android();
droid.ttsSpeak('hello from js');

There's also some support for native Android user interfaces.

There's also a third party project named QPython [3] that builds on SL4A, and throws in some stuff of their own. It has more features, and is actively developed.


Thanks for posting this...especially the qpython link. Saves me the hassle of porting python myself - MonaLisaOverdrive
[+12] [2008-09-19 13:26:53] Ilya Kochetov

Not at the moment and you would be lucky to get Jython to work soon. If you're planning to start your development now you would be better off with just sticking to Java for now on.

This answer's old, but the thing about sticking to Java is still true. SL4A's great if your just hacking your device, but it's pretty much limited to that. - Carl Smith
[+10] [2010-12-07 21:46:18] android lover

Check out the blog post that explains how to install and run Python [1] and a simple webserver written in Python on Android.


Very nice. If you can run a server, you may be able to run django. Django demo on an android tablet anyone ? - e-satis
(1) I've run web2py on my droid. Not too hard. - gdw2
@gdw2 im curious how you managed to get web2py to run here? using sl4a and using python to run to start the server? When you do this though, you need to launch the browser separately. And im sure you would have to make the end users install sl4a as well. - skift
@luckysmack If I recall, I only started it using the terminal (ssh'd in to my phone). I never went so far as to package it into an app (with its own icon). - gdw2
You could potentially run a server and then fire up a webview UI and go from there, but when you create a web server, you're generally expecting independent clients to make requests to it anyway. You could package the server, give it an icon and even publish it in the Play store, but it's a nasty way to publish Android apps. SL4A's good for personal projects, and open source hacks. You can't do anything too serious with it in practice. - Carl Smith
[+10] [2012-01-06 14:34:25] gdw2

Using SL4A [1] (which has already been mentioned by itself in other answers) you can run [2] a full-blown web2py [3] instance (other python web frameworks [4] are likely candidates as well). SL4A doesn't allow you to do native UI components (buttons, scroll bars, and the like), but it does support WebViews [5]. A WebView is basically nothing more than a striped down web browser pointed at a fixed address. I believe the native Gmail app uses a WebView instead of going the regular widget route.

This route would have some interesting features:

  • In the case of most python web frameworks, you could actually develop and test without using an android device or android emulator.
  • Whatever Python code you end up writing for the phone could also be put on a public webserver with very little (if any) modification.
  • You could take advantage of all of the crazy web stuff out there: query, HTML5, CSS3, etc.

(1) Cherrypy works well, with ws4py websocket support. Bottle is also fine on SL4A. - Carl Smith
(1) UPDATE: I've been using CherryPy and ws4py on SL4A with Python3 for a few weeks now, with no problems there either. - Carl Smith
[+7] [2012-01-09 04:46:53] gdw2

From the Python for android [1] site:

Python for android is a project to create your own Python distribution including the modules you want, and create an apk including python, libs, and your application.


(1) Duplicate of a duplicate. - e-satis
(1) @e-satis: Thanks for your comment. I don't see which answer I'm duplicating. I can only guess that you think PFA is the same as Kivy. Though it's hosted under the Kivy project, you don't even have to use Kivy to use PFA. - gdw2
Check @tito's deleted answer at the bottom point to PFA. Plus, there is little interest is running PFA without kivy since it's the only toolkit you got. - e-satis
It's not because kivy is currently the only toolkit available (some people are working to intregrate others) than it's a duplicate. Please consider the others options as-it, and not merge all into one post :| - tito
[+6] [2012-05-09 15:44:49] e-satis

Yet another attempt:

This one embed directly the Python interpretter in your app apk.

[+6] [2013-06-12 19:46:35] kyle k

I use the QPython application. It has an editor, a console, and you can run your Python programs with it. The application is free, and the link is

(2) Now qpython added Django support! That's all that I need! Amazing! - swdev
[+4] [2011-03-29 16:42:06] fooba

There's also python-on-a-chip possibly running mosync: [1]


[+4] [2013-03-11 09:36:58] Hitul

You can run your Python code using sl4a [1]. sl4a supports Python, Perl [2], JRuby [3], Lua [4], BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl [5], and shell script.

You can learn sl4a Python Examples [6].


[+1] [2014-10-06 14:59:14] radix07

Didn't see this posted here, but you can do it with Pyside and Qt now that Qt works on Android thanks to Necessitas.

It seems like quite a kludge at the moment but could be a viable route eventually...

[+1] [2015-01-13 02:08:57] Anzel


I want to post this as an extension to what @JohnMudd has already answered (but please bare with me as English isn't my first language)

It has been years since then, and Kivy has also evoluted to v1.9-dev, the biggest selling point of Kivy in my opinion is its cross-platform compatibility, you can code and test under your local environment (Windows/*nix etc.), you can also build, debug and package your app to run in your Android/iOS/Mac/Windows devices.

With Kivy's own KV [1] language, one can easily code and build the GUI interface easily (it's just like Java XML, but rather than TextView etc., KV has its own ui.widgets for the similar translation), which is in my opinion quite easy to adopt.

Currently Buildozer [2] and python-for-android [3] are most recommended tools to build/package your apps. Having tried them both and I can firmly say that they make building Android apps with Python a breeze. Users who feel comfortable in their console/terminal/command prompt should have no problems using them, and their guides are well documented, too.

Futhermore, iOS is another big selling point of Kivy, provided that you can use the same code base with little changes required to test-run on your iOS device, via kivy-ios [4] Homebrew tools, although Xcode are required for the build before running on their devices (AFAIK iOS Simulator in Xcode currently doesn't work for the x86-architecture build). There are also some dependency issues which required manually compiled and fiddled around in Xcode to have a successful build, but wouldn't be too difficult to resolve and people in Kivy Google Group [5] are really helpful too.

With all being said, users with good Python knowledge should have no problem picking up the basics in weeks (if not days) to build some simple apps.

Also worth mentioning is that you can bundle (build recipes) your Python modules with the build so users can really make use of many existing libraries Python bring us, like Requests [6] & PIL [7] etc. through Kivy's extension support [8].

Sometimes your application requires functionality that is beyond the scope of what Kivy can deliver. In those cases it is necessary to resort to external software libraries. Given the richness of the Python ecosystem, there is already a great number of software libraries that you can simply import and use right away.

The last but no the least, if you are going to use Kivy for more serious/commercial projects, you may find existing modules not satisfactory to what are expected. There are some workable solutions too, with the "work in progress" of pyjnius [9] for Andoird, and pyobjus [10], users can now access to Java/Objective-C classes through those modules to control some of the native APIs.

My experience in Kivy is that it will find its best fit with seasonal Python programmers and some serious programmer who wants rapid development or simple code base maintenance. It runs well in multiple platforms, albeit not really at the level of native feeling.

I do hope more Python/app programmers find my little information useful and start taking a look of Kivy, it can only get better (with more supports and libraries/modules get ported) if there are great interests from the community.

P.S.I have no relationship with Kivy whatsoever, I'm merely a programmer who really likes the idea of bringing Python coding fun to mobile/cross-platform development.


[+1] [2015-02-25 13:04:47] GR Envoy

Another option if you are looking for 3.4.2 is this archive on github

It currently supports Python 3.4.2 and the 10d version of the NDK. It can also support 3.3 and 9c

It's nice in that you simply download it, run make and you get the .so or the .a

[0] [2014-12-03 12:00:59] guoshichao

While there is one book called Developing Android on Android, of which introduce how to develop apps on the Android device by using the Python language, and this book should be a good start for you.

[0] [2015-03-16 03:37:32] John

You can install a PyDev Builder inside your eclipse. It works for me. Here is the link.

python development -