How to Run Android Apps on Windows 10

Learn about running Android apps through Windows

What to Know

  • The easiest way is to use the Your Phone App from Microsoft.
  • However, this method actually runs the app from your phone and displays it on Windows rather than emulating Android on Windows.

If you want to ensure your files and data are easily accessible across devices, one way is to run the same apps on your PC as you do on your Android phone. Microsoft’s operating system has become increasingly Android-friendly, and we’ll show you how to use this to run apps from your Android device on your Windows 10 PC.

How Can I Run Android Apps on My PC?

There are two main ways to run Android apps on a Windows 10 machine.

  • You can use an Android emulator. This is an application which simulates an entire Android device (including both hardware and software), so the Android app will behave as if it's on an Android device. Emulators allow you to install the app locally, so it’s always available, but they borrow a good amount of horsepower from your PC. If you feel like this is the approach for you, use the Bluestacks emulator to run Android apps on your PC.
  • The other option is to run the app from your phone, but display and interact with it through your PC. This has the advantage of not requiring complicated emulators, but it also requires your phone be linked to your PC while you’re using your apps.

In this article, we're only going to cover using Microsoft's Your Phone app which allows you to interact with an Android phone via your PC. You can check out the emulation solution with the link above.

How Do I Run Android Apps on My Windows 10 Laptop?

These instructions require the following:

  • A Windows PC with at least the Windows 10 May 2020 Update installed.
  • An device running version 11.0 (or higher) of Android.
  • In addition, Microsoft recommends having at least 8 GB of RAM.

To run Android apps from your phone on Windows, take the following steps:

  1. First, get the Your Phone app from Microsoft to install on your Windows 10 PC. Make sure the version you get is at least 1.20104.15.0.

  2. Next, go to the Google Play store to get the Your Phone Companion app If you already have it installed, make sure it’s updated, as you’ll need at least version 1.20104.15.0 to access your apps.

  3. You'll need to link your Android device to your PC. Make sure they’re on the same network, then open the Your Phone app on the PC.

  4. Click on the Get Started button.

    Get Started on Microsoft Your Phone Welcome screen
  5. Check the I have the companion app ready option if you installed the “My Phone” app as described in step 2. Otherwise the URL on this screen will take you straight to it.

    I have the companion app already highlighted on Microsoft Your Phone App set up page
  6. Once it’s installed, you can easily pair your phone by clicking the Pair with QR Code button

    Microsoft Your Phone App, Pairing with QR Code
  7. Then, open the Link to Windows option in Android Settings, which will display a screen to confirm you are in fact seeing the QR Code. Tap Continue.

  8. Finally, point your phone at the QR Code. Once the camera picks it up, the Windows app will show a screen explaining the permissions it requires.

  9. On the phone, you can tap Allow to give Windows the permissions it needs as they come up. When you’re finished tap Continue, and the two devices are linked.

    Continue in settings for linking Android to PC
  10. On the PC you’ll get a welcome screen showing your phone and PC are now linked; on the Android device, you may see an additional permission as shown in the below screenshot. You'll need to accept this now, and it will also appear once each time you connect your devices. Click Start recording or casting with Your Phone Companion, which is what allows your phone to transmit its app (or entire screen) to the PC.

    Allow and Start Now in settings for linking Android to PC
  11. Select the Apps option in the left-hand panel.

    Apps in Microsoft Your Phone App Showing Linked Device
  12. This will display a list of apps installed on your phone. Click on the app you want, and it will launch in a window just as it looks on your device.

    Microsoft Your Phone App displaying a CNN Android app
  13. Alternately, you can use the Open Phone Screen link to open a window which mimics your device, home screen and all. You can open and interact with apps in this way as well.

    Open phone screen on Microsoft Your Phone App mirroring Android

Screen Mirror vs. App Launch

When opening apps in step 13, they will open within the “phone’s” window. However, when launching from the Apps screen in the Windows Your Phone app, they open in separate windows. This means you can multi-task by having multiple Android app windows open at once. You can also pin these apps to the Taskbar, just like any normal Windows app.

  • How do I connect my Android to my Windows PC?

    Connect your phone and PC with a USB cable and select Transfer files on your Android. On your PC, select Open device to view files > This PC. Alternatively, connect wirelessly via Bluetooth.

  • What is the best Android emulator?

    BlueStacks, Andy, Genymotion, Remix OS, and NoxPlayer are some of the most popular Android emulators for Windows. Android Studio from Google also has a built-in emulator.

  • Can I run Windows on Android?

    No, but you can use Microsoft Launcher to access Windows apps from your Android phone or tablet. Microsoft Launcher customizes your phone's look with Windows 10-style wallpapers, themes, and icons.

  • Can I use Android apps on Windows 11?

    Yes, Windows 11 supports Android apps. You can purchase Android apps for Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store. You do not need an emulator to run them.

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