Enabling Android App Installation on Windows 11
You may have heard that Windows 11 allows you to run Android apps — sounds great, since not all Android apps have a dedicated Windows variant. Unfortunately, under the veil of this milestone statement, the official solution is limited. However, it can fortunately be fixed.
The thing about Microsoft’s official solution is that it was created in partnership with Amazon and doesn’t have Google Play Services (which are required to run the Google Play Store). At the same time, it allows you to sideload (via adb) any app — if you have an .apk file. If this is the option that concerns you, here are the sequentially listed steps you should follow:
1. Change the region in Windows settings to USA (feature only available in USA)
2. Start virtualization
* if you are using Windows “Home”, you will also need to download and install virtualization packages from the Microsoft website manually *
3. Install the Amazon store application from the official Microsoft store.
Windows Subsystem for Android” will be installed during the installation.
If you would like to have a Play Store with all the apps, below is the solution for you.
“Windows Subsystem for Android” is basically an image of the Android operating system that runs using virtualization. The lack of Google services (along with Play Store) is actually a common problem on Chinese Android phones, so there is a solution that people have been using for years. Google services is not only the Play Store application itself, but also several system packages that contain resources and configuration files. The solution requires modifying the Android operating system to add the missing packages. There is a great guide on how to do this for “Windows Subsystem for Android”:
How to install Google Play Store on Windows Subsystem for Android
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The article helps you with the following points:
1. Download the latest “Windows Subsystem for Android” package.
2. Download the re-packaged Google services
3. Check the repository which simplifies the process of modifying the Windows package
Modify the “Windows Subsystem for Android” package to include Google services.
Tip: Don’t forget to remove the previously installed “Windows Subsystem for Android” before installing the modified package!
After installing the modified package, you will get a fully working Play Store with all the content and full support for system APIs like touch, location, camera etc. App updates also work automatically and even after updating “Windows Subsystem for Android” it keeps the Play Store and all apps installed.
The only disadvantage is performance. I have an Acer Spin 5 with i7–1065G7, 16GB RAM and SSD (no separate GPU — maybe that’s the reason) and from my perspective the performance with this configuration could be compared to Snapdragon 810 (2014 flagship) or SD 460 (2020 budget) or even lower. This is based solely on my personal feelings after running a few apps and games.
This guide requires some knowledge of the system, packages, git, and took me about 4 hours to complete. On the other hand, you can dig into scripts and files to understand what is going on and see if they are doing something undesirable. There are easier options, such as a tool called “Windows Toolbox”, but I found articles about it also installing malware in the process. This is also worth checking out:
A Windows 11 tool to enable the Google Play Store was actually malware
Best daily deals Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more. The sketchy tool also created a…
So here you have some solutions to get around some perceived system limitations. Keep in mind that all of these guides can rapidly evolve and it’s worth to follow the newest solutions.
Words by Oleksii Bieloborodov, Mobile Technical Lead at Altimetrik Poland