How to get Android apps on a Chromebook

One of the most interesting changes Google made to its Chrome OS platform in recent years was the addition of support for Android apps in 2016. While Chrome OS could already run browser extensions and Web applications, the addition of Android applications has significantly increased the value of the platform.

Almost all Chromebooks released in 2019 or later support Android apps and the Google Play Store is already enabled. You have nothing to do. However, there are new and old models that simply cannot run Android apps due to hardware limitations. If you’re not sure if your Chromebook qualifies, Google provides a full list. The company said it would continue to “rate more devices.”

Keep in mind that not all Android apps will work on your qualified Chromebook. Again, this is due to hardware limitations as the developer has not released an app that, for example, runs natively on Intel processors. Also, keep in mind that Android apps consume local storage, so beware of downloading all of your favorites. These apps cannot be downloaded to an SD card.

Read on to find out how to get Android apps on a Chromebook. If your device is not (yet) eligible, we will offer you 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 in its 96th version, that’s probably not a problem, but it’s important to make sure.

Step 1: Click it Quick Control Panel (next to the system clock) followed by Settings cog from the context menu.

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

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

Activate the Google Play Store

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

Step 1: Click it Quick settings panel (system clock) followed by Settings cog from the context menu.

2nd step: To select applications listed on the left.

Step 3: To select Google play store inscribed on the right.

If the Google Play Store is enabled, you will see a To delete button. If not, go to the next step.

Step 4: Click it Light up button displayed next to Install apps and games from Google Play on your Chromebook.

Step 5: To select Following in the pop-up window.

Step 6: To 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.

You can now move on to the next section.

Download and install your Android apps

The process of installing Android apps from the Play Store to a Chromebook is similar to that of an Android device. You will find that the Play Store will be formatted for a tablet style screen. Other Android apps can work the same way: an app will take on the tablet UI if the developer has it enabled. Otherwise, they’ll fit into the Chromebook’s larger screen or stay in smartphone mode visually. For these, they can crash if you force a full screen window.

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

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

2nd step: The app will be downloaded and installed. When you’re done, click the green Open or open the app from the launcher.

Step 3: Authorize the necessary permissions. For example, Microsoft Word requests access to media, photos, and files. Click on To allow Where Refuse.

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

To note: Some apps may be “instant apps”, which means you can open them and try them out before downloading them. This is a great way to test how well an Android app works before you choose to install it completely.

Change app permissions or uninstall

Step 1: Click it Quick settings panel (system clock) followed by Settings cog from the context menu.

2nd step: To select applications listed on the left.

Step 3: To select Manage your applications inscribed on the right.

Step 4: Click on the app you want to edit or remove.

Step 5: To modify the permissions, click on the button To fall over next to each to activate or deactivate them. For example, Microsoft Word can access storage but not the camera, microphone, or contacts.

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

Additional tips for the Android app

Chromebook Type: The quality of your Android app experience varies depending on your Chromebook. For example, Chromebooks with touchscreens, and especially 2-in-1s, will provide the best Android app experience. System components like accelerometers will also make gaming and other tasks more enjoyable. Remember to always update Chrome OS before trying to download Android apps!

Synchronization: Your Android apps, like other apps, will try to automatically sync with data on any other Chromebooks you’re signed in to. However, they might not sync if you’re using the app on a device other than Chrome.

Administrators: Administrator settings may block the ability to add the Chrome Store or Android apps to your computer. If you are at work or school, you may need to secure permissions or switch to a different network.

For Chromebooks that don’t support Android

Chromebooks either support the Google Play Store or don’t. The underlying hardware must support Android, and jumping into the Developer Channel won’t magically make Android apps work. Again, check Google’s listing to see if your device supports the platform. It’s either in the stable channel or marked as ‘planned’.

One possible workaround is to load Android apps using Linux. This can be useful for those who prefer Linux commands and could make some Android apps more stable on a Chromebook. Also, app sideloading means you don’t need 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 catch: the process is not easy. You have to be comfortable with both Linux and Android APKs for it to work. Here are some other things to consider:

Installing Android apps outside of the Google Play Store is dangerous because they may contain malware.

Android apps may simply not work normally on your Chromebook hardware.

Your Chromebook may not have enough space to host Android tools and apps.

If you want to take the risk, follow the next steps.

Step 1: Click it Quick settings panel (system clock) followed by Settings cog from the context menu.

2nd step: To select Advanced, then Developers.

Step 3: To look for Linux development environment, and select Light up. Linux will take several minutes to install. Confirm the on-screen instructions to continue.

Step 4: Linux should install with its terminal open and ready for commands. Now you will need the tools and the APK to load 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

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

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

adb install appname.apk

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

A note about Android on Chromebooks

In previous versions of Android, the framework couldn’t run natively on Chrome OS and had to use a virtual environment instead. This is changing rapidly now as Android 11 is adopted by a wide variety of Chromebooks. Android 11 update makes Android apps work seamlessly with Chrome with increased security, reduced bugs, and smoother overall performance. This is 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.

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