Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
How to run Android apps on Windows 11: Detailed guide
Windows 11 launched on October 5 after spending months in beta. However, the launch version of Windows 11 came without one of the most-anticipated features — native Android emulation allowing users to run Android apps on their PCs. Microsoft had then said it would be testing the feature soon and releasing it to the stable Windows 11 channel later.
The ability to run Android apps on Windows 11 is now being tested in the beta channel via the Windows Insider Program. This means you can get your hands on it right now, and we’re here to help you with just that. Here’s how to run Android apps on Windows 11.
How to get Android apps on Windows 11
There are a few steps to getting Android apps on Windows 11. Currently, you will need to be on the Windows Insider Program, running Windows 11 beta channel build 22000.282 or later. You also need to enable hardware virtualization and meet minimum system requirements. Provided your system supports this feature, you should be able to run Android apps on Windows 11.
Check the minimum system requirements
To begin with, your PC needs to meet the minimum requirements to get Windows 11. Here are the requirements.
|Windows 11 system requirements|
1GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
64GB or larger storage device
UEFI, Secure Boot capable
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per colour channel
Internet connection and Microsoft account
Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account
Current Windows version
Windows 10, version 2004 or later
You can check your system specifications in Windows Settings, in the About section in the System tab. To run Android apps on Windows 11, you’ll be using the Amazon App Store via the Microsoft Store, so you’ll also need a US-based Amazon account. Additionally, your computer’s primary storage will need to be an SSD to get the subsystem to install, rather than HDD.
Join the Windows Insider Program and update
Android apps on Windows 11 are only available in the beta builds via Windows Insider Program right now. So you’ll need to enroll in the program and get the latest Windows 11 beta on your system. Here’s how you can go about that.
- Head over to the official website for the Windows Insider Program. Log in with the same Microsoft account that you use on your current Windows system, and proceed to register.
Install the Windows Subsystem for Android
Now that you have the latest Windows 11 beta, you can move on to install the Windows Subsystem for Android. This is basically an entire build of Android that runs as a virtualization instance inside of Windows, letting you run Android apps on Windows. There are a few steps to getting the subsystem on your Windows 11 beta.
- Open Microsoft Store, and click on the Library tab at the bottom left corner.
Sideloading the Windows Subsystem for Android
Some folks may not be able to get their hands on the Windows Subsystem for Android and Amazon App Store despite following the steps. In that case, installing the Subsystem manually is an option. It’s a little tricky, but it can work.
- Search for Windows PowerShell, right-click on the app search result and click on Run as administrator.
Install Android apps on Windows 11
If you managed to get the Amazon App Store to install directly, then you can just open it by searching for it from the Start menu. It will ask you to log in once, with your Amazon US account. Once done, you can just search for the app you want, and click on the Get button to download it. Any Android app installed on Windows 11 will show up as a normal program you can directly run from the Start menu.
Also read: The best Android emulators for PC and Mac
If you don’t have access to the store, which you won’t if you sideloaded the Subsystem, you will have to manually download the APKs and install them via PowerShell. For this, you will need to have systemwide Android Debug Bridge aka ADB installed on your system. This is needed because the Subsystem acts like an Android phone wirelessly connected to the Windows 11 PC, and you can use ADB to leverage that connection to push APKs of your choice. This method is useful for installing apps that are not available on the Amazon App Store, too.
- Download the 15-seconds ADB Installer from here. Extract and run the installer.
- Give the administrator permission when asked. It will run in a terminal window as well, asking you Y/N as yes or no for installing specific components. We need all three components, so press Y and then the Enter key for all three — install ADB and Fastboot, install ADB system-wide, and install Drivers. The driver installer will pop up as a separate window, which you have to follow to finish the installation.
There’s an easier method coming soon, via the WSATools app. More on that when it arrives.
What Android apps can you get on Windows 11?
For now, the Amazon App Store for Windows has only 50 apps available. These include games like Lords Mobile, June’s Journey, Coin Master, reading apps like Kindle, and apps for kids, like Khan Academy Kids, and Lego Duplo World. Big apps like Gmail and YouTube are missing, due to the absence of Google Services in this setup.
With the sideloading method, it’s more or less the same issue. You will not be able to install apps that require Google Services, or have split installation files with .APKM extension. However, you can install a lot more than 50 apps this way, provided you can find the APK file.
Benefits of running Android apps on Windows 11
There’s one big upside to native Android emulation on Windows — no need to install third-party Android emulators. There’s a ton of uses for this, including using chat apps like WhatsApp on your PC, or trying to play mobile games on your PC. The process of installing Android apps on Windows has always been a long one, but when the final release of this feature hits, it will become quick and easy, likely for good.
It is also likely to take up fewer system resources in comparison to third-party emulators. So far, in the beta stage, this feature has a few quirks, but we expect it to be smooth sailing by the time it’s ready for public release.