A Guide to Sideload Android apps on Windows 11

The most effective feature of Windows 11 is that it runs android applications. So, if you have recently installed Windows 11, you must be very excited to use it as well. But, there is a catch! Microsoft has paired up with Amazon and allows only the Amazon Appstore. So, that means your Google Play store and its vast library is not accessible to you officially. Amazon play store has only 50 curated apps for now. So, what do you?

Well, Microsoft has come up with the solution too. It provides a working debugging option with the same. So, you can debug the underlying Android layer from the host OS by using a simple Android Debugging Bridge. This ADB allows installing any Android app installation package. So, you can simply sideload your necessary Android apps in Windows, and here is a step-by-step guide to how to do so.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sideloading Android Apps

Please note that the Windows subsystem is beta-quality software. The apps present in the Amazon store are highly optimized for this environment. That is why they can be installed easily. Now, some other Android apps are that can function out of the box. So, the only way you can check the compatibility is to sideload them. Here are some simple steps you can follow for the same.

Download the APK file

  • If the project was created by the community, you should look at the relevant discussion on the XDA forums or other similar websites.
  • Open-source app APKs may frequently be available on GitHub or marketplaces like F-Droid.
  • Finally, it’s worth browsing for third-party APK hosting websites like APK Mirror and APKPure.

Remember that you do not need to use the x86(-64) version of the APK because Intel Bridge Technology allows WSA to simulate native ARM (64) programs on x86 systems. Having said that, for the best performance on a laptop running Windows on ARM, always select the ARM (64) APK.

Start Windows Subsystem

When you have the APK file in your possession, launch the Windows Subsystem for the Android environment. Select “All applications” from the Start Menu, then search for the “Windows Subsystem for Android TM” shortcut. To make it simpler, you may also write “subsystem” into the search box.

Enable Developer Mode

The Windows Subsystem for Android settings screen should now appear. Enable the “Developer mode” toggle by scrolling down.

Access through the localhost interface

We may connect to this specific Android instance using the localhost ( interface since it is coexisting with the host Windows kernel. In reality, as can be seen under the IP address column, the Android layer also ties itself to a random IP from the private network.

To launch the Android layer by launching its built-in file explorer software, click on the “Files” option at the top of the Settings screen if you are unable to see the IP address in the form of 172.30.x.x. The IP address will then appear after clicking the “Refresh” button. Now, you can just click a button to copy it.

Connect to ADB

Once the Android layer has started, we may connect to it from the host Windows 11 OS via ADB. To connect, use either the IP address displayed in the Settings box or localhost ( with port 58526. Since you’ve configured ADB to be accessible from anywhere on your computer, launch a new Windows Terminal window and enter one of the following commands:

“adb connect <IP address>”

Install APK

We can now use ADB to install the desired APK. The following should be the command:

“adb install <full_path_to_the_APK_files>”

Instead of the standard APK file, your desired program may be offered as an app bundle such as AAB/APKS/APKM/XAPK. If this is the case, follow our instructions for installing Android apps through sideloading.

Create a shortcut

If all goes according to plan, a shortcut to the Android app will be added to the Windows Start Menu, just like any other Windows software. To launch the application, click the shortcut. Installing a launcher on Windows Subsystem for Android is another quick way to access sideloaded programs.

Now, you can enjoy your Android applications in your new Windows 11. Keep in mind that sideloaded programs will have network access, so you may install and utilize the Android version of well-known browsers like Firefox within the Windows Subsystem for Android and use that to start downloading apps right away.

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Q. How do I manually install Android apps on Windows 11?

Just like you would if you were using the App store on an Android for Fire device, click on the app icon to install an Android app. After choosing install, let the App store handle the rest. When it’s finished, the install button will change to “Open”. Select it.

Q. Can Windows 11 run Android apps directly?

Yes, Windows 11 can indeed run Android applications. Currently, the function is only accessible in a select few nations, but if you wish, you may run it informally.

Q. Can Windows 11 run APK files?

The public may now install APK on Windows 11 and use their favorite Android apps through Microsoft Store as it has been announced that Windows 11 will enable running Android apps in its future editions in February 2022.

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