These are the best native apps for Windows on ARM: Edge, Zoom, VLC, and more
Windows on ARM is slowly becoming a much better experience than what it used to be a couple of years ago. Microsoft introduced x64 app emulation for Windows on ARM PC users last year, where they could run x86 win32 applications without any modifications. While that opened the opportunity for better app support for Windows on ARM, the number of native apps is still very limited.
Windows on ARM basically means running Windows 10 on a machine powered by an ARM architecture-based processor. Windows has been based on the x86 architecture on Intel and AMD processors. The benefit of the ARM architecture is that it’s power-efficient and allows mobile devices to be always on and always connected. Microsoft had started teasing Windows 10 for ARM back in 2016, and we saw the first ‘Always Connected PCs’ the following year.
Today there are a handful of ARM-based Windows machines, with the most popular one being Microsoft’s own Surface Pro X. Recently we saw the Samsung Galaxy Book Go and the HP Elite Folio that are pretty decent options. Let’s now have a look at some of the native apps available for Windows on ARM.
Microsoft Edge can run natively and is probably the best browser for Windows running on ARM. It offers the same functionality and features as the regular version, and in fact, Microsoft recently launched Edge for Mac devices running on the M1 chip, which means it’s well optimized for ARM.
Adobe has been working on bringing the entire Adobe CC suite to ARM-based Windows PCs. While Photoshop and Lightroom have been available in beta, last month, the company officially pulled Photoshop for Windows on ARM out of beta. Do note that in order to run Photoshop on an ARM-based Windows PC, you need to install the 64-bit Creative Cloud app; however, it will no longer offer 32-bit apps anymore, which means you’re giving up on other CC apps.
If you don’t like Edge for any reason, then Firefox is another browser that can now natively run on ARM-based Windows devices — at least the ones that run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets. Firefox offers a bit of flexibility in terms of functionality compared to Edge.
The popular file archiving tool, 7-Zip is can now run on ARM with the alpha version of the app available for download on their official website. A stable version is expected to launch soon.
Popular video conferencing app, Zoom, has also made its way to the list of native apps for Windows on ARM. According to a changelog shared by the company, Zoom’s Virtual Background isn’t supported on the ARM version yet. However, you can expect everything else to work just as well as on the x86 version for traditional PCs. You can download the ARM version of Zoom over here.
VLC has a native app for Windows PCs running on ARM. It’s essentially the same video player we’re used to that can play all sorts of video formats. You can download the ARM version of VLC from the official website.
Microsoft’s messaging platform, Teams, was primarily launched for business users for collaborative purposes including document sharing, hosting presentations, schedule meetings, and so on. It’s available as a dedicated app for ARM-based Windows PCs and with the arrival of Windows 11, the experience is going to completely change, as Microsoft is planning to integrate it with the new OS itself.
Bandizip is another free file archiver for Windows operating system that supports all major archive file formats and various customization options. It has officially supported Windows 10 on ARM since v6.18, and it works natively on ARM64 CPU. You can download Bandizip over here.
FileZilla is a free and open-source, cross-platform FTP application, featuring the FileZilla Client and FileZilla Server. It supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS protocols along with features such as Site Manager, Directory Comparison, File and Folder View, and Transfer Queue. You can download FileZilla for Windows on ARM here.
The popular video and movie streaming service is available as a UWP (Universal Windows Platform) app via the Microsoft Store. According to the documentation, it supports ARM and ARM64 architecture.
Like the UWP-based Netflix app, there is a standalone Twitter app that can be downloaded and installed on devices with Windows on ARM. You can grab the official Twitter app from the Microsoft Store.
The beloved photo-based social media platform is also available as a dedicated UWP app that can be installed on Windows machines running on ARM. Download the Instagram app for ARM devices running on Windows via the Microsoft Store.
The ‘Your Phone’ app for Windows allows you to link your Android phone to your PC to view and reply to text messages, make and receive calls, get real-time mobile notifications, run your phone apps, and a lot more. You can even copy, edit, and drag and drop photos without ever touching your phone. The app can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store and supports notebooks running on ARM and ARM64 platforms.
Games for Windows on ARM
If you’re looking for games, there are some popular titles that can run natively on Windows running on ARM chipsets. These include League of Legends, DOTA 2, Starcraft 2, CS: GO, Minecraft, Plague Inc., GTA: San Andreas, and the recently added World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. Here’s a complete list of games that can natively run on ARM-based Windows laptops and tablets.
These are some of the best native apps for Windows on ARM. But things are about to change drastically with the arrival of Windows 11. The Microsoft Store will be completely revamped and will introduce a variety of new apps, including Disney+. Additionally, Android apps are finally going to make their way to Windows through the Amazon App Store. This means the native app experience on Windows, including PCs running on ARM, will change once Windows 11 launches completely later this year.