How to Get Android Apps on a Chromebook? One of the most exciting changes Google made to its Chrome OS platform in recent years was the addition of Android app support in 2016. While Chrome OS could already run browser extensions and web apps, the addition of Android apps has dramatically increased the value of the platform.

Almost all Chromebooks released in or after 2019 support Android apps and already have the Google Play Store enabled; there is nothing you need to do. However, there are new and old models that just can’t run Android apps due to hardware limitations. If you’re not sure if your Chromebook qualifies, Google provides an extensive list. The company says it will continue to “evaluate more devices.”.

how to get android apps on a chromebook

How to Get Android Apps on a Chromebook

Please note that not all Android apps will run on your qualifying Chromebook. Again, this is due to hardware limitations because the developer has not released an application that, for example, runs natively on Intel processors. Also, keep in mind that Android apps consume local storage, so be careful when downloading all your favorites. These applications cannot be downloaded to an SD card.

Read on to find out how to get Android apps on a Chromebook. If your device does not qualify (yet), we will suggest an alternative.

Update Chrome OS

First, let’s make sure your Chromebook is running Chrome OS version 53 or newer. Since Chrome OS is currently at version 96, this is probably not a problem, but it is important to make sure.

update chrome os

Step 1: Click on the Quick settings panel (next to the system clock) followed by Settings cog from the pop-up menu.

Step 2: When the Settings the window opens, select About Chrome OS listed on the left.

Step 3: On the right, you will see that the platform updates automatically if a newer version is available. If it does not update automatically, click the Search for updates and reboot as requested.

Enable Google Play Store

You probably already have the Google Play Store enabled, but if it’s not clearly visible on the shelf or launcher, here’s how to make sure it’s on.

enable google play store

Step 1: Click on the Quick settings panel (system clock) followed by Settings cog from the pop-up menu.

Step 2: Please select Applications listed on the left.

Step 3: Please select Google play store listed to the right.

If the Google Play Store is enabled, you will see a Remove button. If not, continue to the next step.

Stage 4: Click on the Light button displayed next to Install apps and games from Google Play on your Chromebook.

Step 5: Please select Plus in the pop-up window.

Step 6: Please select I agree after reading the Google Terms of Service.

Step 7: The Google play store appears on the screen. Accept the additional terms and conditions.

Now you can proceed to the next section.

Download and install your Android apps

The process of installing Android apps from the Play Store on a Chromebook is similar to installing it on an Android device. You will see that the Play Store will be formatted for a tablet style screen. Other Android apps can work the same way – an app will adopt the tablet UI if the developer enabled it. Otherwise, they will scale to the larger screen of the Chromebook or remain visually in smartphone mode. For the latter, they may fail if you force a full screen window.

download and install your android apps

Step 1: To install an app, locate it in the Play Store, click its entry, and click the green one Install on pc button.

Note: Android apps that are not compatible with your Chromebook will not appear in the Play Store.

Step 2: The application will download and install. When done, click on the green Opened or open the application from the Launcher.

Step 3: Authorize the necessary permissions. For example, Microsoft Word requests access to media, photos, and files. Click Let or Deny.

You can manage Android apps like other Chrome OS apps. The same window controls are in the upper right corner, while behind The arrow key is in the upper left corner, allowing you to easily navigate the application.

Note: Some applications may be “instant applications”, which means that you can open them and test them before downloading them. This is a great way to test how an Android app works before choosing to fully install it.

Change app permissions or uninstall it

change app permissions or uninstall it

Step 1: Click on the Quick settings panel (system clock) followed by Settings cog from the pop-up menu.

Step 2: Please select Applications listed on the left.

Step 3: Please select Manage your applications listed to the right.

Stage 4: Click on the application you want to modify or remove.

Step 5: To modify the permissions, click the Lever next to each one to turn them on or off. For example, Microsoft Word can access the storage, but not the camera, microphone, or contacts.

If you just want to uninstall the application, click the Uninstall instead.

Additional tips for the Android app

Chromebook type: The quality of the Android app experience will vary depending on your Chromebook. For example, Chromebooks with a touchscreen, and 2-in-1s in particular, will provide the best Android app experience. System components like accelerometers will make gaming and other tasks more enjoyable too. Remember, always update Chrome OS before trying to download Android apps.

Synchronizing: Your Android apps, like other apps, will automatically try to sync with the data on any other Chromebook you are signed into. However, they may not sync if you are using the app on a non-Chrome device.

Administrators: Admin settings may block the ability to add Chrome Store or Android apps to your computer. If you are at work or school, you may need to obtain permits or move to a different network.

For Chromebooks that are not compatible with Android

Chromebooks are supported by Google Play Store or not. The underlying hardware needs to be Android-compatible, and jumping into the developer channel won’t make Android apps work magically. Again, check Google’s listing to see if your device supports the platform. It is in the stable channel or is marked as “planned”.

One possible solution is to download Android apps with Linux. This can be useful for those who prefer Linux commands and could make some Android apps more stable on a Chromebook. Also, downloading apps means you don’t have to get your apps through the Play Store, which can make it easier to access some apps that you might want to use.

However, there is a problem: the process is not easy. You must be comfortable with Linux and Android APKs for everything to work. Here are some other things to consider:

  • Installing Android apps outside of the Google Play Store is dangerous, as they could contain malware.
  • Android apps may just not run normally on your Chromebook hardware.
  • Your Chromebook may not have enough space to host Android apps and tools.

If you want to take the risk, take the following steps.

compatible with android

Step 1: Click on the Quick settings panel (system clock) followed by Settings cog from the pop-up menu.

Step 2: Please select Advanced, then Developers.

Step 3: Look for Linux development environmentand select Light. Linux will take several minutes to configure. Confirm the instructions on the screen to continue.

Stage 4: Linux should be installed with your terminal open and ready to receive commands. Now, you will need the tools and the APK to download your Android apps. Type / paste the following command to download the ADB tools:

sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb -y

Step 5: With the Linux Terminal still open, type the following command:

adb connect 100.115.92.2:5555

Step 6: In the pop-up window for Allow USB debugging, check the box next to Always allow and then select okay.

Step 7: Install the Android APK. To download a downloaded Android APK, use the following command in the Linux terminal:

adb install appname.apk

The whole process is certainly not for everyone, but those who are happy to use Linux will find it to be a great way to run Android apps without the Play Store.

A note about Android on Chromebooks

In previous versions of Android, the framework could not run natively on Chrome OS and instead had to use a virtual environment. This is now rapidly changing as Android 11 is being adopted by a wide variety of Chromebooks. The Android 11 update enables Android apps to run smoothly with Chrome with increased security, fewer bugs, and smoother overall performance. That’s one of the reasons it’s a good idea to have a newer Chromebook if you want to use Android apps – Google seems to be planning to add Android 11 to around 100 current Chromebooks.

Above article is first published by the link. We curated and re-published.

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