How to Use Bluestacks to Run Android Apps on Windows

Gain access to Google Play Store apps on your computer

Screenshot of BlueStacks running on Windows, with Google Play Store icon, and six apps icons displayed (three games, a drawing app, Microsoft Word, and a weather app)

BlueStacks lets you run Android games and apps on Windows. Once you know how to use BlueStacks, sign in to the Google Play Store to install and use Android apps on your laptop or desktop.

What is BlueStacks?

BlueStacks is software that brings Android N (7.1.2) to your Windows system. It gives you the ability to use the mouse and keyboard from your system with Android apps. And, unlike a smartphone with a fixed-size screen, you may resize BlueStacks windows to make apps larger or fullscreen. Since not every Android app offers either a Windows, macOS, or web-based equivalent, BlueStacks is one of the easiest ways to gain access to Android apps on your Windows computer.

BlueStacks lets you run multiple Android apps at once, and opens each app within a new tab within BlueStacks. It also offers a multi-instance mode that lets you run multiple instances of the same app, which may appeal to productivity buffs as well as gamers. BlueStacks also enables streaming Android gameplay live to Twitch.

How to Use BlueStacks

To run BlueStacks 4, you’ll need:

  • A system running Microsoft Windows 7 or newer
  • An up-to-date graphics driver
  • An Intel or AMD processor
  • At least 2 GB of RAM
  • At least 5 GB of storage available

You’ll also need an administrator account on your Windows system to install BlueStacks. For the best experience, you’ll want Microsoft Windows 10, 8 GB (or more) of RAM, SSD storage, and a faster graphics card or capabilities. 

BlueStacks also works on macOS. For that to work, you’ll need:

  • macOS Sierra (10.12 or more recent) with up-to-date drivers and system software
  • At least 4 GB of RAM
  • At least 4 GB of storage space

As with Windows, you’ll need an administrator account to install BlueStacks on macOS.

An older version of BlueStacks, BlueStacks 3, is no longer supported, although many support pages for that version remain available.

How to Install BlueStacks

Before you can begin to Android apps on your Windows or macOS computer, you'll need to install the BlueStacks app. It's a straightforward install:

  1. Open a browser and go to www.bluestacks.com.

  2. Select Download BlueStacks.

    Screenshot of BlueStacks.com with
  3. Save, then run the downloaded file. The download and install process may take some time, especially if you have a slower internet connection or slower system.

    If you encounter a problem, try turning off your antivirus software.

  4. BlueStacks should start automatically once it installs. Again, this may take some time, depending on the capabilities of your connection and system.

  5. Once started, BlueStacks gives you the opportunity to sign in to your Google Play account. You’ll need to go through the Google Play sign-in process to access, install, and use Android apps from the Play Store on your system.

    Install option for Google Play:
  6. After you complete the Google Play sign in, you're all set to install Android apps.

How to Install and Use Android Apps From the Google Play Store With BlueStacks

Once you have BlueStacks installed on your PC, you can begin to download and install Android apps to use from that computer.

  1. If BlueStacks isn’t already open and running, double-click BlueStacks to start it.

  2. Double-click (or tap) Google Play to open the Play Store.

  3. Browse or search for the Android app you want to install. Select the app to see details.

    Screenshot of Google Play Store within BlueStacks (shows search box and
  4. Select Install to download the app to your system. The system displays an icon for each installed Android app within the BlueStacks app.

  5. Double-click the app icon to run the installed Android app.

    BlueStacks screenshot, with 7 app icons show, in addition to Google Play Store icon
  6. In BlueStacks, each app opens within a separate tab. You may switch between tabs to switch between running Android apps.

    Screenshot of BlueStacks, showing Kingdom Rush Origins game in one tab, with Home tab displayed, as well.
  7. By default, BlueStacks also displays a sidebar with several controls to the right of Android apps. You may use these controls to adjust app volume, change keyboard controls, capture screenshots or recordings, set your location, virtually “shake” the device, or rotate the BlueStacks screen.

    Plague game running in BlueStacks tab. The sidebar to the right shows various volume, location, and keyboard control options.
  8. Optionally, you may pay (e.g., $3.33 per month) to upgrade a BlueStacks account to remove ads.

    Screenshot of BlueStacks account area shows Premium subscription (for $3.33/month)