One of the most highly-touted features of Windows 11 is its ability to run Android apps. At the time of this writing, Microsoft’s release version of the operating system still doesn’t run Android, but if you’re a Windows dev, beta, or release channel, you can do so now. There are a few caveats when running Android apps on Windows 11, and most importantly, Microsoft only wants you to install apps from the limited Amazon store and none of the Google apps. Luckily, there is a way to disable app downloads, but you still won’t be able to use those that require Google services. Below, we will show you how to set up the Android subsystem for Windows and install apps in the official way through the Amazon Store. We’ll then show you how to turn them off.
Requirements for running Android apps on Windows 11
Before you can start running Android apps, you need to install and configure the Android subsystem for Windows, which does the emulation. To do this, your computer must meet two requirements.
- Windows 11 Insider Build 22000.282 or later. If you are not a Windows Insider user, you need to register by going to Settings->Windows Update->Windows Insider.
- Virtualization is enabled. To check if it is enabled, launch Task Manager and click the Performance tab. There, in the lower right corner, there will be a line that says “Virtualization: Enabled” (hopefully). If it is not enabled, you must enter your BIOS and enable it there.
How to run Android apps on Windows 11
As long as you have the correct build of Windows 11 on your PC and virtualization enabled, there are only a few things you need to do to get Android apps running.
1. Go to Android Windows Subsystem Web Page (opens in new tab). Theoretically, you could also search for this app in the Microsoft Store, but in our case it did not appear in the search.
2. Click the Get button, which is labeled Install / Open if you installed it before. The Windows Subsystem for Android menu opens in the Microsoft Store app.
3.Click the Install buttonin the Microsoft Store app. An overlay menu will appear with information about the Amazon App Store.
4. Click Next.
5. Click Download.
You’ll have to wait a minute or two for the app to load.
6. Click Open Amazon Appstore. The Amazon login screen will open.
It may take a minute or two to open.
7. Click the “Sign in” or “Create a new Amazon account” button. If you have an Amazon account of any kind – and most people do – you can simply sign in with that account. After clicking the button, you will be prompted to sign in.
The Amazon Appstore screen will appear listing all the Android apps you can currently install on Windows 11.
8. Click “Get” for the app you want to install. You can also click on an app’s icon to learn more about it before deciding to download it.
9. Click Install to confirm.
All the latest Android apps you installed will be available, like all other apps, through the Start menu or Windows search.
When starting each app, if it’s the first Android app you’ve opened in this session, it will launch the underlying Windows Subsystem for Android. This may take a few seconds.
If you closed the Amazon Appstore app, you will need to restart it if you want to open and install more Android apps.
How to download Android apps on Windows 11
Because the Amazon app Store has such a limited selection of Android apps that can work on Windows, you’ll want to try third-party app downloads. On an Android device, sideloading apps is as simple as turning on sideloading in the settings and then using the file manager app to find and click on the APK installation file of the desired program.
However, Windows Subsystem for Android does have two ways to sideload the app. The simple method we’ll cover below involves installing an application called WSATools and using it to do the installation for you. The hardest way is to install Android Developer Bridge, a set of tools for programmers, and use commands to send the APK file to the Android Windows environment. Since WSATools seems to work just fine and is much simpler, we’ll use this.
1. Install WSATools from the Microsoft Store. You can get there by Visit Store URL (opens in new tab) and click Get.
During In testing, we found that APKPure seems to have a much wider selection of apps, but many of them are in XAPK format, which WSATools does not install. In order to install these XAPK files, you need to download native APKPure app as an APK and install it with WSATools. You can then launch the APKPure app to search its library and install apps directly.
3. Launch WSATools on your PC.
4. Click the Select APK button and select one of them on your disk.
5. Click the Install button. It may take a minute or two for the app to install.
You can now choose whether to open an app or install another.
Any apps that that you download will be available from the start menu, so you can always find them just like other Windows and Android apps.