Yes, you will be able to sideload Android apps, aka APKs, on your Windows 11-powered PC. The confirmation comes from famed engineer Miguel de Icaza, who currently works for Microsoft. Miguel didn’t reveal any other information around this but emphatically replied “Yes!” when asked whether Windows 11 will allow sideloading of Android APKs.
Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 11 last week and one of the biggest announcements, or should we say surprises, was native support for Android apps. The company said users will be able to search for Android apps from the Microsoft Store and download and install them on their Windows 11-powered PC, irrespective of whether it runs an Intel, Qualcomm, or AMD processor. A new Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) will enable this possibility.
This would be the first time the ultra-popular desktop operating system will be natively supporting Android apps. However, there’s a catch here: you will be using the Amazon Appstore for downloading Android apps on your Windows 11-powered PC. This is likely because WSA is said to enable compatibility for the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which doesn’t require Google Play Services support. And since Amazon’s FireOS is based on AOSP, Microsoft is partnering up with the retail giant for bringing Android apps to Windows.
However, that also means you’ll be getting a lackluster selection of Android apps to install on your Windows 11 PC. Yes, the Amazon Appstore doesn’t offer the greatest selection of apps. Thankfully, Microsoft will allow sideloading of Android APKs, so you will be able to install any app you want.
Windows 11 will allow APK sideloading but not all Android apps may work
During the announcement last week, Microsoft executives noted that not every Android app found in the Amazon Appstore will run on Windows 11. So many sideloaded apps may not work either, or perhaps not work properly. Nonetheless, Microsoft did mention TikTok and Khan Academy Kids, so most big and popular Android apps are likely to run seamlessly on Windows 11.
All this said, it’s unclear how sideloading of Android APKs on Windows 11 will work. Whether users will be able to simply download the APK file and install it right away like an EXE file or there will be some added steps, only time will tell.
It’s also pertinent to mention here that Microsoft hasn’t officially confirmed that Windows 11 will allow Android APK sideloading. No doubt, Miguel has rich experience in the software space and is currently employed with Microsoft as well. However, his Twitter bio explicitly notes “Working at Microsoft, not speaking for them”. So you might want to take this information with a grain of salt. We will let you know if more information emerges in the coming weeks.
Microsoft has said it will release an early build of Windows 11 in the Windows Insider Program this week. So we might get to know a lot more about the next major version of the Windows OS soon.