Windows brought a lot of changes and exciting additions to the Windows ecosystem along with a revamped visual aesthetic. Among the numerous changes, Microsoft announced that people can install Android apps on Windows 11 computers.
This was one of the biggest announcements, and it made Android users take notice. While it’s not quite like installing apps on your Android phone, it’s still a major step in that direction. Having Android apps on a computer can actually be a great thing for some users, and it’s probably the reason why some users got the upgrade, but how do you install the apps?
First, make sure you’re in the Windows Insider Program
At the time of writing this article, this functionality is in beta, so it won’t be for everybody. If you want to try out this feature, you should consider joining the Windows Insider program. When you’re in the program, you’ll be able to try out new features that are coming to Windows.
Firstly, make sure you’re on the Windows insider channel build 22000.282 or higher. Open the Start Menu and click Settings. Navigate to the Windows Update section and go down to the option that says Windows Insider Program. Clicking that option will give you the option to “Choose You Insider Settings.” Select the Beta setting, and you should be good to go.
Just know that if using on any sort of beta or preview build of the software, puts you on shaky ground. It’s not completely stable, so you should expect crashes from time to time.
Next, check if you have Hardware Virtualization enabled
Next, you’re going to need to check if something called “Hardware Virtualization” is enabled. To do this, head on over to your task manager. If you don’t know how to find it, press ctrl+Shift+Esc. In the task manager, go to the tab named Performance. There, you should see a status called Virtualization. Make sure it says that it’s enabled (if it’s not, then read below).
After that, you’ll need to check if you’re on the latest version of the Microsoft store. Go to the Microsoft Store and go to the Library tab on the bottom left. From that point, update everything that needs to be updated. You need the Microsoft Store to be on version 22110.1402.6.0 or higher. After you update everything, you may want to restart your computer.
After that point, you should be able to install and use Android apps on your Windows 11 computer. Since this feature is still in beta, you might experience some bugs or crashes, so be wary of that.
What if Virtualization isn’t enabled?
If you’re using an Intel chip, then there’s a possibility that Virtualization won’t be enabled out of the box. If not, then you will need to take a few extra steps to enable it. What you want to do is access your system’s BIOS or UEFI settings. Depending on when your computer was made, you have one or the other.
If your computer uses BIOS, then restart your computer and press the appropriate button to access the setup menu. Depending on the computer, it could either be the F2 key or Delete key. If your computer uses UEFI, you’ll need to hold Shift while clicking the Restart option, and your computer will display a certain screen when it restarts.
Once you’re in the menu, just know that you have access to some deeply rooted system settings, so just be careful what you change. At this point, you’re going to have to do some digging around to find the Virtualization settings. When you enable it, hit Save & Exit and boot the computer as usual.
If you’re having trouble finding the setting, the best thing to do is to look up the process for your computer’s model on the internet. That’s a safe bet if you’re worried about messing something up in your computer system.
About Android apps on Windows 11 computers
While it seems nice that you can install Android apps on your Windows 11 computer, there’s a pretty significant caveat that might affect the experience. Most Android users enjoy apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, and other Google apps. The thing is that you can only get those apps from the Google Play Store.
Windows 11, however, won’t be pulling its apps from the Play store. Rather, it’s going to be getting its apps from the Amazon app store. The Amazon app store has an expansive collection of apps, but there are some basic Android apps that just aren’t there.
If you get the apps running on your computer, then you’ll have to know that you won’t be able to mirror your Android handset completely. Recently, Google did announce that it’s making Google Play Games available to download on Windows 11, so that might be a sign that Google is considering adding its Play services to Windows.
Remember, this is still in beta
There’s no word on when to expect this feature to come out of beta, and for the time being, there are going to be some limitations. Right now, there’s a finite list of apps that you can use on your Windows 11 computer. You won’t have access to the entire Amazon app library at the moment, but that should change when this feature leaves the beta stage.
As stated before, when you join the Windows Insider program and get your computer set up to run the apps, you’re going to be sacrificing stability. A safe bet would be to only try these out on a dedicated computer. Yes, that sounds excessive, but if you’re using your work computer to test it out, you’re putting a lot at risk.