How to run Android apps and games without WSA on Windows 11

Windows 11 may have lost the Windows Subsystem for Android, but you can still download and install mobile apps and games on your computer.

Windows 11 Android apps and games
Windows 11 Android apps and games / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • To run Android apps and games on Windows 11, you can install BlueStack and use the Google Play Store to install any apps and games from the platform.
  • If you only want to play mobile games, you can install the Google Play Games app, which adds a virtualization layer to run Android games on Windows 11 (or 10).

On Windows 11, you have multiple ways to install and run Android apps and games now that Microsoft has discontinued the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) and the Amazon Appstore from the operating system. You can still access WSA, but it’s no longer being developed, and support will end on March 5, 2024.

You can use BlueStack to run Android apps and games or the Google Play Games platform on Windows 11 (and 10) to access Android games only.

BlueStack has been around for many years, and it’s a free application that uses virtualization to bring the Android gaming platform to Windows users. (It also works in macOS). However, you can also access the Google Play Store to install virtually any app, including Gmail, Maps, and others like Instagram, TikTok, and more.

On the other hand, Google Play Games is an app from Google that allows you to play Android games on Windows 11 and 10. The app uses a virtualization layer that allows Android games to run on Windows. The app is still a preview as a beta download that gives you access to many games, but not all of them.

In this guide, I will outline the alternatives to installing and running Android apps on Windows 11.

Warning: Although these apps work as advertised, the browser may flag the installer as malicious, but they should be safe to download. However, use these applications at your own risk.

Install Android apps and games on Windows 11 with BlueStack

BlueStack is primarily a gaming platform, but it can also run apps, and more importantly, it can run the Google Play Store with the app player environment. 

BlueStack hardware requirements

The app has a minimum hardware requirement, but it doesn’t demand a lot of resources:

  • Operating system: Windows 11, 10, and older versions down to 7.
  • Processor: Intel or AMD.
  • Memory: 4GB (8GB recommended).
  • Drive: 5GB of free space (SSD recommended).

You can always check your computer specifications with these instructions.

Install BlueStack

To install BlueStack on Windows 11 (or 10), use these steps:

  1. Open BlueStacks (web).

  2. Click the Download BlueStacks 5 button and save the installer on your computer.

    BlueStacks download

    Quick note: You can also download version 10 of the app, but I found that version 5 works better on my computer.
  3. Double-click the installer to launch the installation wizard.

  4. Click on Install now.

    BlueStacks install

  5. Open Start.

  6. Search for BlueStacks 5, right-click the top result, and choose the Run as administrator option.

  7. Click on App player from the left navigation pane (if applicable).

  8. Click on System apps.

  9. Click the Play Store option.

    BlueStacks Google Play Store

  10. Click the Sign in button to access the Google Play Store on Windows 11.

    Google Play Store Sign in

  11. Sign in with your Google account.

    Quick note: If prompted to set up a backup, turn off this feature and click the “Accept” button.
  12. Click the I agree button to accept the Google Play Store terms of use.

  13. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

  14. Search for and choose the app from the results.

  15. Click the Install button.

    Threads app install on Windows 11

  16. Click the Open button.

Once you complete the steps, the Android app will install on Windows 11.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t expect the experience to be nearly similar to the one from your phone to your tablet. Since this is a free application, it includes advertisements, and the virtualization layer can make the experience feel sluggish. However, it’s an alternative if you must access an Android app from your Windows computer.

Install Android games on Windows 11 with Google Play Games

At the time of this writing, Google Play Games is still in beta, but it gives you access to over one hundred mobile games.

Google Play Games requirements 

If you plan to run Android games, you have to make sure that the computer meets the minimum hardware requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows 11 or 10 (latest version).
  • Processor: Intel or AMD.
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU or better.
  • Memory: 8GB or higher.
  • Drive: 10GB of free on an SSD.

In addition, you will need to have virtualization enabled on the system.

Install Google Play Games on Windows 11

To install Android games on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Google Play Games (web).

  2. Click the Download (beta) button to download the installer.

    Google Play Games download

  3. Double-click the file to install the application.

  4. Click the “Sign in with Google” to access the service with your Google account.

    Google Play Games sign in

  5. Create a gaming profile (Gamertag).

  6. Click the Create profile button.

    Google Play Games create profile

  7. Click the Accept button to accept the terms.

  8. Click the Finish button to accept the privacy terms.

  9. Click on All games from the left pane.

  10. (Optional) Turn on the “Only show games that run well on this PC” toggle switch.

    Android games for PC

  11. Choose the Android game to play on Windows 11.

  12. Click the Install button.

    Windows 11 install Android games

Once you complete the steps, you can play the mobile game on your Windows computer. When using this platform, the progress will sync to the cloud and across devices, allowing you to pick up where you left off.

The Android game support is available in over one hundred regions, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].