How to Use Bluestacks to Run Android Apps on Windows

Gain access to Google Play Store apps on your computer

BlueStacks runs 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 a Windows computer. 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.

Not every Android app offers a Windows, macOS, or web-based equivalent. BlueStacks is an easy way to gain access to Android apps on your Windows computer.

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

How to Use BlueStacks

To run BlueStacks 4, you'll need:

  • A computer with 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 PC to install BlueStacks. For the best experience, you'll want Microsoft Windows 10, 8 GB (or more) of RAM, SSD storage, and a fast 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 install Android apps on your Windows or macOS computer, you'll need to install the BlueStacks app.

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

  2. Select Download BlueStacks.

    BlueStacks.com with "Download BlueStacks" button on the web page
  3. Save, then run the downloaded file. The download and install process may take some time, especially if you have a slow internet connection or a slow computer.

    If you encounter a problem, turn off your antivirus software.

  4. BlueStacks should automatically start after it installs. This may take some time, depending on the connection and your computer.

  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.

    Install option for Google Play: "Sign in" or "I'll do it later"
  6. After you complete the Google Play sign in, you're set to install Android apps.

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

After BlueStacks is installed on your PC, you can download and install Android apps to use from that computer.

  1. If BlueStacks isn't open and running, select BlueStacks to start it.

  2. Select Google Play to open the Play Store.

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

    The Google Play Store within BlueStacks (shows search box and "New & updated" games" with other menu items, such as "For you", "Top charts", "New", etc.)
  4. Select Install to download the app to your computer. The system displays an icon for each installed Android app within the BlueStacks app.

  5. Select the app icon to run the installed Android app.

    BlueStacks with seen app icons showing, in addition to the Google Play Store icon
  6. In BlueStacks, each app opens in a separate tab. Switch between tabs to switch between running Android apps.

    BlueStacks, showing Kingdom Rush Origins game in one tab, with Home tab displayed, as well.
  7. By default, BlueStacks displays a sidebar with several controls to the right of the Android apps. 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, pay (for example, $3.33 per month) to upgrade a BlueStacks account to remove ads.

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