Let’s look at how to use Windows Subsystem for Android and Android Debugging Bridge (ADB) to install any standard Android app package (APK) in Windows 11. This guide will cover the complete process that will help you run any Android app in Windows 11.

Microsoft is partnering with Amazon to implement the integration of the Amazon AppStore with the Microsoft Store. This means that you can’t officially access the vast library of apps on the Google Play store. At the moment, not even all applications from the Amazon AppStore are available for testing. Insiders can only test Microsoft and Amazon’s approved 50 selected apps.

How to run any Android app in Windows 11

Fortunately, Microsoft immediately provided the ability to debug the Windows Subsystem for Android. As a result, you can access and debug the Android virtual layer on the Windows 11 host system using the Android Debugging Bridge (ADB) tool. You can use ADB to install any standard Android app package (APK), including uploading to the subsystem of applications that are not available in the Amazon AppStore.

How to Install any Android App in Windows 11

The Windows subsystem for Android is in beta testing. Applications approved by Microsoft and Amazon were likely further optimized for the subsystem, so they secured their places in the first batch. There is no guarantee that other applications will work correctly right away. The only way to test compatibility in practice is to run the application in the Windows Subsystem for Android.

To download any Android app to Windows 11 for Android, follow these steps:

  • Download the APK file of your desired application or game from a trusted source.
    • Projects supported by the community are available in third-party forums (XDA etc.).
    • Open source application APKs are often found on GitHub repositories or on third-party sites such as F-Droid.
    • Finally, there are third-party resources with APKs, such as the Mirror APK and APKPure.
  • Once you have obtained the APK file, start the Windows Subsystem environment for Android. Go to the Start menu > All Apps > Windows Subsystem for Android.
How to run any Android app in Windows 11
  • Subsystem settings will open. You need to activate the Developer Mode switch.
How to run any Android app in Windows 11
  • Since the Android environment runs next to the kernel of the Windows host system, we can access it through the localhost interface (127.0.0.1). In fact, the Android layer also communicates with a random IP from the private network 172.30.0.0/24, which is visible under the IP address.
    • If you cannot see the IP address in the form 172.30.x.x, click on the Files option at the top of the settings screen to go to the subsystem file system in the built-in Explorer. Then click the Refresh button next to the IP address option to get the IP address. Now you can copy it at the touch of a button.
How to run any Android app in Windows 11
  • Now we can connect using ADB from the Windows 11 host system. You can use localhost (127.0.0.1) with port 58526, or the IP address shown in the settings window to establish a connection.
  • Configure ADB:
    • Open the ADB Installer website and download platform-tools for Windows under ADB and fastboot.
How to run any Android app in Windows 11
  • Unpack the downloaded archive and move the platform-tools folder to a convenient location. In our example, this will be C:\platform-tools
How to run any Android app in Windows 11
  • Open a new Windows terminal window and navigate to the ADB location:
cd C:\platform-tools
  • Next, type one of the following commands:
adb connect 127.0.0.1:58526

or

adb connect IP-address

(Replace the IP address with your IP address from the previous step.)

  • Now you can install our APK via ADB. The command should be as follows:
adb install "spark.apk"
How to run any Android app in Windows 11
  • In our example, we downloaded the Spark email client apk file on the Apk Mirror website.
  • If it goes correctly, the shortcut to the Android app will be created in the Start menu. Tap the shortcut to launch the app.
  • If you can’t find the Shortcut to the Android app, you can manually launch it using the following command:
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\WindowsApps\MicrosoftCorporationII.WindowsSubsystemForAndroid_8wekyb3d8bbwe\WsaClient.exe /launch wsa://<PACKAGENAME>
  • For example, to run the Spark application, type the following in the Run on Windows window:
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\WindowsApps\MicrosoftCorporationII.WindowsSubsystemForAndroid_8wekyb3d8bbwe\WsaClient.exe /launch wsa://com.readdle.spark
  • You can also call the application directly from the ADB Shell window:
adb shell monkey -p <PACKAGENAME> 1
  • To run a Spark application, the command must be:
adb shell monkey -p com.readdle.spark 1

You’re done!

Conclusion:

I hope this guide on How to run any Android app in Windows 11 was easy. If you face any issues, please comment below.

Also, note that unofficial applications will have access to the network. Thus, you can install and use popular mobile browsers inside the Windows subsystem for Android, such as Firefox. Browsers can be used to download other applications. Windows 11 also allows you to apply firewall rules to Android apps. Although you can install an app that depends on Google Apps, it won’t start because it doesn’t exist. As a workaround, you can use microG.

How to run any Android app in Windows 11
Author

Ruby has been a writer and author for a while, and her content appears all across the tech world, from within ReadWrite, BusinessMagazine, ThriveGlobal, etc.

Write A Comment