Wondering if there’s a way to run Android apps on Windows 10 and enjoy your favorite apps and games on the big screen? Here’s everything you need to know about running Android apps on Windows, and the best Android emulators that allow it.
Ever since Apple and Google took over the mobile market with iOS and Android OS, Microsoft has been eying that particular consumer market. After conquering the PC software space, Microsoft geared up to make Windows Phone the “it” thing among mobile users. After a brief period of relevance alongside Nokia to create the ill-fated Lumia brand, Microsoft decided – if you can’t beat them, join them. As of today, Microsoft may not own a single mobile phone in the market, but it has firmly planted itself as a major Android and iOS app developer.
It brings the most popular apps to mobile platforms such as the Office Suite, OneDrive, and the Microsoft Launcher to bring a Windows-style feel to Android smartphones. However, there can be times when you’re looking to run Android apps on Windows 10, for an interconnected experience. Back in the day, running Android on Windows 10 meant discovering every loophole in the book and using process-heavy Android emulators for Windows to make it all work. Even then, the user experience of mobile apps on Windows 10 was subpar, to say the least, but not anymore.
How to Run Android Apps on Windows 10
In recent years, as a move to offer Android and iOS a connected experience when using Windows 10 on their PC and laptop, Microsoft has given a major push to Your Phone Companion app. Designed to be a phone manager app, it allows you to view and reply to messages, check out incoming notifications, and even make phone calls directly from your Windows 10 computer. Apart from being able to view the phone images gallery directly on your computer, a recent update has extended the ability to run Android apps on Windows 10.
Further pushing the screen mirroring feature that was recently introduced, Your Phone app for Windows 10 under the Apps tab. You will be able to not only see all the apps installed on your phone, but open them at a click in a separate tab, just as you would open a Windows app. While Microsoft hopes to bring the feature to all Android devices in the near future, it is currently under development. The beta build is available only to members of the Windows Insider Program and limited to Samsung Galaxy smartphones, with whom Microsoft holds a longstanding partnership.
Step 1: Set up Your Phone app
- Download and install the Your Phone Companion app on your Android phone.
- Turn on Bluetooth on your phone and your Windows 10 computer.
- On your Windows 10 PC, use the Windows menu bar to find and open the Your Phone app.
- Sign in to your Microsoft account on the phone or scan the QR code shown on your PC.
- Grant permissions when the Your Phone Companion app requests for them with a message prompt.
Wait for the devices to be synced, after which you should be able to see the Android phone on the top-left corner of the Your Phone app. You should be able to see options for Notifications, Messages, Photos, Apps, and Calls tabs on the left.
Step 2: Use Android apps on Windows 10
- From the Your Phone app, open the Apps tab on the left side of the screen.
- You will be able to see all the apps currently installed on your Android phone. Click on any app icon that you wish to open on your Windows computer.
The app will open in a separate window, and you will be able to browse and navigate through it just as you would on your phone. A single click will react just like a tap, while the click and hold action works as a tap/hold gesture. Scrolling using the mouse or a trackpad would work identically on the vertical and horizontal screen of the apps.
Use Android Apps on Windows 10 with Android Emulators
Even before Android emulators became a common phenomenon for Windows 10, Google offered one officially for mobile app developers. The Android Studio app development suite comes with an Android emulator tool, along with many other tools. Since you’re only looking to run Android apps on Windows 10, there’s no need for you to get Android Studio and its massive installation file. Instead, feel free to pick up any of the best Android emulators for Windows 10 that we’ve listed below.
BlueStacks is not only ideal for using apps on Windows 10 but for enjoying a big-screen experience for mobile gaming. The service also developed an initiative called the BlueStacks Select program, offering incentives and rewards to users with exclusive content and in-game items by collaborating with game developers. You’re also provided intuitive controls for gaming with the mouse and keyboard, and support for a gamepad.
- One of the oldest services in the world of Android emulators.
- Dedicated platform for gaming with support for higher resolution high-definition graphics.
- Multi-Instance permission to open multiple apps and games in one go.
- A built-in communication channel through BlueStacks Friends.
- Simplified installation and doesn’t use excessive system resources.
Although Nox App Player is not updated to the latest Android OS version, it is by no means an inferior Android emulator for Windows 10. Unlike BlueStacks, which creates its Android-based UI, Nox Player stays true as an Android emulator, making a virtual Android device that can be customized based on hardware specs and display settings.
- A highly stable emulator with the “true” form of Android UI.
- The program is free to use with no advertisements or paid features.
- Rooting capability can be enabled from the Settings.
- Allows real-time Android emulation to test out device-specific apps and games.
- Among the most customized Android emulators, you can get.
The basic features and design style of MEmu is similar to that of the Nox Player, with a standalone virtual Android emulator design. You can open multiple instances of the MEmu Player at once, so you’re not stuck to using just one app at a time. A simplified user interface, combined with customization, makes the MEmu Android emulator for Windows 10 a solid choice.
- Performance-driven Android emulator with a slick and clean user interface.
- Free with no advertisements or any locked premium features.
- MEmu Player comes readily rooted with superuser permissions.
Since Android OS is an open-source platform, it creates plenty of room for improvement from the manufacturer and independent developers. The same goes for the Android emulator space, where AndY has built a “Desktop Mobile” for users who want to run Android apps on Windows 10 on a platform that is simple to get around. One of the few emulators running a stable version right out of the box, AndY has a clean user interface that resembles stock Android.
- Based on the relatively new and stable version of Android 7.1.2 Nougat.
- Smooth app to app transitions and overall user experience.
- Simplified navigation without any overly complicated features.
- It is integrated for location, voice, and camera support, making it the closest thing to a virtual Android device.
Custom Android OS ROMs may have been around for a while, but the release of RemixOS Player, Chrome OS comes to Windows 10. Based on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow, RemixOS Player is seemingly the unique Android Windows emulator you’ll ever find. Unlike the others on the list that work as a virtual Android machine to emulate the OS, this emulator creates a desktop version of Android for your PC.
- The Android desktop emulator looks and functions like Chrome OS.
- Can manage multiple apps at once as tabs on the same window without even switching.
- Built with native support for mouse and keyboard along with gaming controller pads.
- Packed with superuser root access to grant permissions easily.
Microsoft has come a long way from licking its wounds after an astounding defeat in the mobile market. With the advent of Microsoft Surface Duo, which is running Android OS along with a slew of Microsoft apps as defaults, it is formally entering the mobile realm once again, but with a stronger foothold. Apart from the very first foldable Surface Phone, the software development end at Microsoft is working overtime with Samsung to bring connected user experience to Galaxy smartphone users. However, even if you don’t feel like joining team Samsung + Microsoft just yet, there are plenty of dependable Android emulators for Windows 10 to take for a ride.
Would you rather wait for Microsoft to extend the support to run Android apps on Windows 10 with the Your Phone app, or choose a decent Android emulator from the list above? We’d love to know what you think, so reach out to us in the comments section below.