Accessing Files on Emulators

When you are developing on an emulator, you may want to look at the files created by the application. Each emulator and SDK tools have different capabilities on reading and writing files to disk. You may want to do this to open a SQLite Database, or to change the hosts file in Windows Mobile Emulator.

Windows Mobile Emulator

Windows Mobile Emulator, I have found to be the most cumbersome. You must shutdown the emulator, and load the VDD separately to see what is stored locally.

Open up HyperV and ensure the image you want to open is stopped.


Next, go to the Settings for this Emulator, select the Hard Drive and copy the location of its Virtual Hard Disk.


Open Disk Management and select Action > Attach a VHD.


Copy the virtual hard disk’s location and press OK.



The hard drive will now be available for you to browse. The folder structure is very similar to a Windows installation.

Application and Files
C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Packages\{Package family name}

Visual Studio Android Emulator

There are multiple ways to access vhd for Android. You can use the same method as above or you have two other options.

Install App

You can install a file explorer app on your Android device to browse through files. There are a lot to choose from, search File Explorer on Google Play Store on your emulator.

Android SDK Tools

Open the Android Device Monitor


From here you can select your emulator and open the files as needed in the File Explorer.



data > app > appname

data > data > appname

iOS Simulator

The iOS simulator runs on a Mac, even if you are building via Windows. IOS is much simplier to access than the others as it is just stored in a directory on the main disk drive.

First you will want to find your DeviceId. On your Mac, go to Hardware > Device > Manage Devices.


Then find your simulator and record the Device Identifier.


Now to get to your file location in iOS 8 and above, fill in the below. Regarding the ApplicationId, I normally look through a few folders until I find the right one.