Windows 11 is a completely redesigned operating system inside out. The functionality of running Android apps natively on Windows machines is living proof of that.
Starting Windows 11, you will be able to download and install Android apps just like any other app on your PC and enjoy the interoperability of the OS to its fullest. However, one major hiccup in that area is that you can only download Android apps through the Amazon Appstore, which at the time of writing this guide does not have that many options to cater to everybody’s needs.
Fortunately, since the Windows Subsystem for Android runs Linux kernels and Android OS on top of Windows 11, you can easily sideload any Android app if you have the APK file of it.
Thus, without further ado, let’s get started.
Preparing your Machine
Before you dive right into sideloading Android apps on your machine, you need to make sure ‘Virtualization’ is enabled on your PC in order to run things smoothly.
To know the current status of ‘Virtualization’ on your machine, press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc shortcut on your keyboard. This will bring a Task Manager window to your screen.
Next, click on the ‘Performance’ tab from the top section of the window and make sure the ‘CPU’ option is selected in the left sidebar. Now, look for the ‘Virtualization’ label situated in the bottom right corner; if it is preceded by the ‘Enabled’ label you can move to the next section of this guide.
If you do not have the ‘Virtualization enabled on your computer, you will need to do so from the BIOS menu of your machine.
To do so, first, Shut down your machine using the Start Menu; wait for a few seconds, and turn it back on. Then, at the first sign of boot, press the Del or F2 or F10 key (depending upon the manufacturer) to enter the BIOS menu.
Next, head to the ‘Advanced’ tab using the left/right arrow keys or using the mouse if your system supports mouse input in BIOS settings. Then, highlight the ‘Virtualization’ field by using the arrow keys or selecting it by mouse button. Next, press Enter or Space to change the value to ‘Enabled’.
Now, press the F10 key to save the changes made. Then, select the ‘Yes’ option from the prompt using the arrow keys, and hit Enter to reboot the system.
Virtualization will be now enabled on your machine.
Install Android Apps Using Android Platform Tools
Once you have enabled virtualization, you will now need to download the Android SDK Platform tools in order to sideload Android apps on your Windows machine.
Note: Make sure you have the .APK file for the app you wish to install on your Windows machine before continuing.
To download platform tools, first, head to developer.android.com/platform-tools using your preferred browser. Then, scroll down and click on the ‘Download SDK Platform-Tools for Windows’. This will open an overlay window on your screen.
Next, scroll down and click on the checkbox preceding the ‘I have read and agree with the above terms and conditions’ option. Then, click on the ‘Download Android SDK Platform-Tools for Windows’ button.
Once the download has been completed, head to your default downloads directory to locate the folder. Then, right-click on the folder and select the ‘Extract all’ option to extract the folder.
Now, head to the directory containing the
.APK file of the Android app and copy it by pressing the Ctrl+C shortcut on your keyboard. Then, head to the extracted folder and paste the file by pressing the Ctrl+V shortcut.
Note: Make sure to copy the file name of the APK and keep it handy, as it will be needed in further steps.
After that, head to the Start Menu and type ‘Windows Subsystem for Anrdroid’ to search for WSA. Once you locate it from the search results, click on it to launch.
Then, from the WSA window, locate the ‘Developer mode’ label and toggle the following switch to the ‘On’ position. Also, note the IP address displayed on the tile.
Now, back to the extracted folder, type cmd in the address bar, and hit Enter to open the Command Prompt window set to the current directory.
After that, type the following command and hit Enter to connect with Android Debug Bridge (ADB).
Note: Replace the <IP address> placeholder with the actual IP address displayed on the WSA window.
adb.exe connect <IP address>
Then, type or copy+paste the following command and hit Enter to install/sideload the Android app on your Windows system.
adb.exe install <file name>.apk
Once the app has been successfully installed, you will receive a message stating so on the Command Prompt window.
Finally, head to the Start menu, type the name of the app you just installed to search for it. Once the search results have been populated, click on its tile to launch it.
That’s it, folks, this is how you can sideload any Android app on your Windows machine provided you have the APK file to install it.