How To Get Apps On A Computer

How To Get Apps On A Computer – Editors select and review products independently. If you make a purchase through our affiliate links, we may receive commissions to help support our testing.

Want to run an Android app or game on your PC so you don’t get stuck on a tiny phone screen? Maybe you need to test the feature on your Android device, but you don’t have an Android device. Your options will depend on the mobile device you own or which version of Windows you’re running, but there are several ways to run Android (and its apps) on your PC.

How To Get Apps On A Computer

For apps installed on your phone, you don’t need anything to install Android on your computer. The Microsoft Your Phone app (opens in a new window) lets you connect your Android mobile device to Windows to access apps, view notifications and photos, and send messages. You can even add Android apps to Favorites or pin them directly to the Windows taskbar.

How To Download Apps

If you want to show your phone’s screen directly, click the phone screen image in your phone’s desktop app (Opens in a new window). Allow the app on your phone and the phone screen will be displayed in Windows. Then you can navigate the phone screen by clicking the mouse.

This is not always an ideal solution. While the feature works with most Android devices, it works best with Samsung phones (Opens in a new window). Some features require a Windows 10 PC with at least 8GB of RAM and Android 11, May 2020 update or later.

If you plan to play games, this can lead to some lag and graphical blur, and you won’t be able to easily share files directly from your PC to the Android app. But it falls short for quick access to your installed Android apps. (Here’s more on how to connect your Android phone to your Windows 11 PC.)

Like Android, you should try BlueStacks (Opens in a new window). Over the years, it has become the best Android app emulator, making it a great solution for games and apps that don’t have a corresponding desktop version.

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BlueStacks 5 (Opens in a new window), the latest version of the software, takes up 5GB of space on your computer (along with any apps you’ve downloaded) (Opens in a new window). Open the app and you’ll be greeted with a customized home screen and access to the Play Store. Download any apps you want and they will appear as their own shortcuts on the BlueStacks home screen and Windows desktop. Double-click the icon to launch the app in question.

If you want to play Android games on a dedicated PC, consider installing BlueStacks X (opens in new window) instead. This version of the software is a cloud solution that allows you to stream games without having to download them first. For this reason, BlueStacks X has no storage requirements.

The emulator includes built-in mouse and keyboard maps that can be adapted to the touch controls you find in various Android games. You can also adjust the resolution, DPI, FPS, and the amount of CPU or RAM allocated to the emulator to ensure the best balance between speed and graphical fidelity.

Since BlueStacks uses virtualization to emulate Android, for best performance you’ll want to go into your computer’s BIOS and enable Intel VT-x or AMD-V if your computer supports it. You can also search for “Turn Windows features on or off” in Windows and check the “Virtual Machine Platform” option.

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Unfortunately, BlueStacks comes with some ads and clutter, but it’s not as intrusive as it used to be, and it’s a small price to pay for the functionality you get—especially the Android version options (Opens in a new window) it offers.

If you want to explore the Android operating system itself rather than individual apps, Genymotion is a decent emulator. Its main product is for developers and costs money to use, but there is a free version of the software (Opens in a new window) that can be downloaded for personal use; you must first create an account on the website.

Genymotion uses VirtualBox to emulate Android, so you must have VirtualBox installed on your computer or download a version that includes the VirtualBox suite. During the download process, make sure you select Personal use during the wizard. (And like BlueStacks, you’ll want to enable Intel VT-x or AMD-V from your computer’s BIOS if you have one.)

When you launch Genymotion, it will present you with a list of device models that you can install – this will determine the screen resolution, Android version, and resources allocated to the emulator. Install the desired template and double-click it to enter the Android system. You can navigate on the home screen, launch apps, and simulate real events like GPS location.

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Note that you start with a very basic version of Android that doesn’t come with many modern Google apps or features, but you can add the Play Store by clicking the Open Gapps icon in the sidebar to install.

You also won’t get custom versions of Android no matter which model you choose – for example, choosing a Samsung Galaxy S10 model won’t get Samsung One UI. It defines the resolution and specifications of the virtual machine. (Genymotion supports Android versions 4.4 to 10.0.)

Genymotion works well for exploring Android settings and other built-in features, but we wouldn’t necessarily use it to run our own apps because it doesn’t integrate with a PC like BlueStacks. If Genymotion doesn’t suit your needs, Google’s official Android Software Development Kit (Opens in a new window) comes with an Android emulator, although installation is more complicated.

If you’re looking for something full-featured, the Android-x86 project (Opens in a new window) will get you as close as possible to real Android on your PC. Android-x86 is an open source project that brings Android to the x86 platform, allowing it to run on a PC instead of an ARM-based phone or tablet.

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You have two options for running Android-x86. If you want to run Android as a desktop operating system for your PC, you can download it as an ISO disc image and burn it to a USB drive with a program like Rufus (Opens in a new window). Then, insert that USB drive into the computer in question, reboot, and enter the boot menu (usually by pressing a key like F12 during boot).

By booting Android-x86 from a USB drive, you can run Android directly in the environment – without affecting your computer – or install it on your computer’s hard drive for regular use (and better performance).

Alternatively, if you want to run Android-x86 on top of an existing operating system, you can download a disk image and run it in VirtualBox (Opens in a new window). If you’re not familiar with VirtualBox, it’s still a little more advanced, but our guide to running Windows on a Mac will get you up to speed.

The official site also has some tips on how to install and run Android-x86 (Opens in a new window) in a virtual machine. It’s more work than using something like BlueStacks, but it’s closer to pure Android, which is a nice plus.

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With Windows 11, Microsoft adds built-in support for Android apps, which are now available to all users who meet the system requirements. To run Android apps on Windows, make sure your OS and Microsoft Store are up to date and install the Amazon Appstore (and the Windows Subsystem for Android).

Then you can download Android apps from Amazon. This feature is still in preview, so there may be a limit to the number of apps you can download.

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Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer and tech who has been building PCs for 10 years. He eats potato chips with chopsticks to avoid getting grease on the mechanical keyboard.

As a content editor, I have to cover a wide range of topics and also make our stories accessible to everyday users. Technical writer, copywriter, and baseball, comics, and more. given my history as a versatile freelancer covering topics, I’ve learned to make myself an expert. Editors select and review products independently. If you make a purchase through our affiliate links, we may receive commissions to help support our testing.

You’ve switched from a Windows device to a Mac and you’re probably enjoying the change, that is, until you find out that your favorite Windows app or game doesn’t have a MacOS version. However, all is not lost. You have several different choices for running Windows applications on an Apple system.

Your options are running low

How To Run Android Apps On Your Computer With Android X86

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