Using PoCL on Android

It is possible to build and use PoCL on Android. However, the setup requires a number of options to be set. To see an example project, have a look at the PoCL-R Reference Android Java Client . This Reference app uses both the proxy and remote device in its example apps. It also builds a custom version of JOCL so that PoCL can be used in Java instead of calling C code using the Java Native Interface (jni). These guidelines assume that Android studio is used as an IDE, but it should be possible to do something similar with a different IDE. It is also assumed that a recent enough version of the NDK and CMake (the one found in the SDK tools of Android Studio) have been installed via Android Studio. Versions that have been used before include: NDK 25.1.8937393 and 26.0.10792818 and CMake 3.22.1.

CMake Arguments

A number of features in PoCL such as CPU devices and the icd loader are not available on Android. Below is a list of recommended CMake options:


It is recommended to Build PoCL as an external project in the CMakeLists.txt that belongs to the native code of the Android project. This will set the ANDROID_NDK, ANDROID_PLATFORM_LEVEL and ANDROID_ABI to what you are building the project for. By default, Android Studio will build native code for multiple architectures (ARM 32/64 and x86), so the ANDROID_ABI will change for each architecture. Adding pocl as a library dependency to your native code will ensure that it is packed into the APK. It is recommended to set -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=0 so that PoCL gets built as a static library (libpocl.a) as this is easier to use.

Building Remote Client

If you want to make use of PoCL-R, you can add -DENABLE_REMOTE_CLIENT=YES to the cmake options and make sure that network access is allowed in the AndroidManifest.xml.

Building Proxy Device

The proxy device allow you make use of any system provided OpenCL implementation as well as any devices provided by PoCL at the same time. Combined with the remote device, this allows you for example to easily switch between executing kernels locally or remotely or create a pipeline where work is done on both devices at the same time. To make use of the Proxy device on Android, You first need to make sure that the phone comes with an OpenCL library and that is whitelisted by the vendor. Starting with API level 24, vendors need whitelist libraries that are allowed to be dlopened. To check that OpenCL is whitelisted do this:

  1. adb into the phone

  2. run:

    cat /vendor/etc/public.libraries.txt
  3. check that is there

For newer Android versions (Android 12 and up), you also need to add:

    android:required="false" />

to the <applications> element of the AndroidManifest.xml

Once you know that your phone comes with an OpenCL library, it’s possible to use the proxy device. To build the proxy device add the following CMake options to the ones mentioned before: -DENABLE_PROXY_DEVICE=YES -DVISIBILITY_HIDDEN=NO. This will build the proxy device and pocl as a static library. If you want to use JOCL, you need to also add -DPROXY_USE_LIBOPENCL_STUB=YES and set -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=YES. This will build a dynamic library of pocl.

NOTE: The proxy driver suffers from the same issues the remote driver has with Mali GPUs. See that section for a workaround.

Setting PoCL Environment Variables

The easiest way to set PoCL environment variables is to create a native function that calls stdlib.h’s setenv function.

Using JOCL

It is possible to use JOCL on Android. However, by default JOCL does not get built for Android. It also doesn’t look for libpocl. See the android reference client readme on how to build JOCL for android and a submodule to our JOCL repo that looks for on Android.