Windows Insiders in Release Preview can now try Android apps on Windows 11
If you’re a Windows Insider enrolled in the Release Preview channel and you’re running Windows 11, you can now start testing Android apps on your PC. Microsoft is preparing to roll out the feature to all Windows 11 users next month – albeit it’ll still be labeled as a preview – and as is customary, Windows Insiders in the Release Preview channel can try it a little early.
If you don’t know yet, Android apps on Windows 11 run on the Windows Subsystem for Android, which is built off of the Windows Subsystem for Linux that’s been part of Windows 10 (and 11) for many years now. Microsoft is launching them in partnership with the Amazon Appstore, which is the only official source where you can get Android apps for your Android PC. Currently, there are only about 50 apps available there, and this only works in the United States, but you can work around those limitations.
By changing some settings, you can install Android apps from anywhere on the web, and as long as Google Mobile Services aren’t required, they should work. You can learn more about sideloading Android apps on Windows 11 here, and it’s even easier if you use a new third-party app called WSATools.
For Insiders in the Beta channel (and later, the Dev channel), Android apps have been available for a few months and recently, our Managing Editor, Rich Woods, wrote about how the experience has evolved. It’s still not perfect, but if you need a way to run smartphone apps on your PC, it gets the job done.
If you’re not a Windows Insider, it’s likely that Android app support is going to arrive alongside next month’s Patch Tuesday updates on February 8, but that’s not a guarantee. Alongside that, you’ll also get a new weather widget on the taskbar, a new microphone mute icon and easy window sharing for Teams, plus new Notepad and Media Player apps. It’s going to be a big month for Windows 11, even though a true feature update is only expected in the second half of the year.