Genymotion is a third-party Android emulator that is lightning fast and can save you time when you’re doing your development work. As a bonus, Genymotion is free for non-commercial use.

SEE: Speed up your Android development cycle with Genymotion

One issue with Genymotion is that none of the pre-baked images include Google Play Services. As Google continues to increase the power and functionality provided by this closed-source-nonofficial piece of the Android stack, not having Google Play Services available on my Genymotion emulator is a serious problem.

Fortunately, it turns out adding the component is quick and painless on Windows and Mac OS, thanks to a very slick drag-and-drop installer built into the latest version of Genymotion. The tutorial that follows will have your Genymotion emulator up and running Google Play Services in no time.

Note: this tutorial assumes you already have Genymotion and VirtualBox (a required dependency of Genymotion) installed on your development machine. If not, you can find the documentation to do so in the Genymotion User’s Guide.

1. Start Genymotion and choose the Google Galaxy Nexus image running Android version 4.3 (Jelly Bean) (Figure A).

Figure A

2. Download the signed Google Play Services ZIP file (for Jelly Bean) and save it locally on your Mac or PC. (For your convenience you can get it here.)

3. Drag you local copy of the ZIP file directly into the Genymotion emulator (Figure B).

Figure B

4. You should get a confirmation that the emulator recognizes the file. Click OK and wait for the install to finish (Figure C).

Figure C

5. Click OK again, then shut down the Genymotion emulator and restart it.

6. At this point, you will be able to see the Google Play Store icon on the emulator (Figure D).

Figure D

7. However, Google Play Services will frequently crash (Figure E).

Figure E

8. To stop the crashing Google Play Services on the virtual device needs to update. For this to happen, you must either connect it to an existing or a new Google account. Open Settings on the virtual instance of the Android OS (Figure F).

Figure F

9. From within Settings choose Accounts (Figure G).

Figure G

10. Proceed with the standard Google Account Setup Wizard (Figure H).

Figure H

11. Now that the emulator is connected to a Google Account launch the Play Store and bring up the Settings (Figure I).

Figure I

12. Scroll all the way down to the Build Version cell and tap it a couple times (Figure J).

Figure J

13. If you don’t see a textbox after a few taps telling you the service is up to date, close down and restart your emulator and repeat steps 11, 12, and 13.

14. Once Google Play Services has applied the latest version fix for your OS, you should be good to go (Figure K).

Figure K