App Inventor Setup

For this lesson, we refer you to MIT's App Inventor site, which has complete setup instructions.     

The setup requires that you already have a gmail account. If you do not, you should go back to the previous lesson before moving on.

App Inventor is an example of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which means that all of the software tools needed to design, develop, and test a mobile Android app are integrated within the App Inventor platform. IDEs are part of the standard toolkit that programmers use to develop programs.

App Inventor is a cloud application. It runs completely within a browser. Chrome, Firefox and Safari are the recommended browsers. Make sure your computer has the latest version of your preferred browser.

The Setup instructions describe four options for developing apps with App Inventor. The following links will bring you to App Inventor's site for the setup instructions.

We recommend that you set yourself up with at least three options. This course is best experienced with an Android mobile device, either a tablet or smartphone. Not all lessons will work completely with the emulator. But there are times when the emulator will come in real handy.

Once you've finished the setup, you can use the Test App below to know if all the components are working correctly.

Testing Your Setup

Follow these instructions to create a simple test app to make sure that your device is properly configured with Wifi or the Emulator and the App Inventor Companion. If your device is properly configured, then using the App Inventor Companion to scan the barcode should result in the app opening on your device.
  1. Download TestApp.aia, the App Inventor Test App project and remember where your computer downloads the file (e.g., Desktop, Downloads folder). (NOTE: App Inventor project files are zip archives but they have the App Inventor suffix, .aia, short for App Inventor Archive.)

  2. Open App Inventor 2.

  3. Go to Project.

  4. Select Import Project (.aia) from my computer.

  5. Browse to and select the TestApp.aia project you just downloaded.

When the project opens, you will be viewing the App Inventor Designer.

The Designer is where you will design your app's User Interface. This app has an image, a couple of labels that display text and a Player component that will play a triumphant sound.

Now, switch to the Blocks Editor by clicking on Blocks in the top right-hand corner of your window.

The Blocks Editor is where all the coding happens. Notice that App Inventor blocks connect together like puzzle pieces. The blocks for this app will cause it to display a congratulatory message on your screen and play a sound.

You are on your way to becoming a programmer! In the next lesson, you will learn how to navigate through the different views, what each view is specifically for, how to design an app, and how to program an app.

Running the App on your Device via Wifi Companion

For now, we just want to make sure everything is set up properly. Follow these instructions to test your set up.

  1. Make sure that both your computer and your phone or tablet are connected to the same wifi, then start the MIT AI2 Companion app on your phone or tablet.
  2. App Inventor, click Connect and then select AI Companion. This will display a 6-letter code both as a barcode and as plain text. (Note: The 6-letter code will be a unique code and different from the one shown below)

  3. On the companion app, either type in the 6-letter code and click the “Connect to App Inventor” button or scan the barcode.

Running the App on your Device via USB Connection

For set up instructions, please go here and follow steps 1-6.

Running the App on the Emulator

If you are using the Emulator, the steps are as followed:

  1. In App Inventor, click Connect and then select Emulator.

  2. This will automatically connect to the app to the the Emulator. There is no need to scan a barcode or type in a 6-digit code. The connection will happen automatically.


If everything is configured properly, you should see the Test app on your device or emulator. You should see a message and an image of an Android. You should also hear a round of applause for your great work!

If the app is not running correctly, you may need to retrace your setup steps to make sure you performed all of the necessary steps. After doing that, if you are still having problems, post a question in the forum.