How to sideload Android apps on Windows 11

Yes, it's possible to sideload Android apps on Windows 11, and in this guide, you will learn how.

Windows 11 sideload Android apps
Windows 11 sideload Android apps

UPDATED 2/16/2022: You can “sideload Android apps on Windows 11,” and you will learn how in this guide. The ability to install Android apps is now available for everyone using the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) and the Amazon Appstore. However, it’s also possible to sideload Android apk apps (such as Gmail, Twitter, and virtually any app) on Windows 11 using a specific third-party tool known as ADB (Android Debug Bridge) Installer.

The process to run Android apps requires installing WSA on Windows 11. If you do not have it already installed, follow these instructions in the provided link and continue with the steps below.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to sideload Android apps outside the Amazon Appstore on Windows 11. (See also this video tutorial in the Pureinfotech YouTube channel explaining how to complete this task.)

Sideload Android apps on Windows 11

To sideload Android apps on Windows 11 through the WSA platform, use these steps:

  1. Open the ADB Installer webpage.

  2. Under the “ADB and fastboot” section, click the Download button for the Windows 11 platform.

    Download ADB installer

  3. Save the zip file on the computer.

  4. Double-click the platform-tools zip folder.

  5. Click the Extract all button from the command bar.

    Extract platform tools zip

  6. Select the location to extract the files that allow sideloading of Android apps.

  7. Click the Extract button.

  8. Open Start.

  9. Search for Windows Subsystem for Android and click the top result to open the app settings.

  10. Turn on the Developer mode toggle switch.

    Windows Subsystem for Android Developer mode

  11. Click the Manage developer settings option to start WSA on Windows 11 (if applicable).

  12. Click the Refresh button in the “IP address” setting.

  13. Click the Copy button to copy the IP address of the “Windows Subsystem for Android” virtual machine to the clipboard.

    WSA copy IP address

  14. Open Start.

  15. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  16. Type the following command to navigate to the platform-tools folder and press Enter:

    cd C:\platform-tools

    In the command, change the path with the location where you extracted the files.

  17. Type the following command to connect to the Windows Subsystem for Android app and press Enter:

    adb connect

    In the command, change the IP address corresponding to your WSA instance.

  18. Type the following command to “sideload the Android app on Windows 11” and press Enter:

    adb install gmail.apk

    Sideload Android app on Windows 11

    In the command, specify the name of the apk package you downloaded from another source and want to install on Windows 11. Also, the .apk file should be stored in the platform-tools folder to work.

Once you complete the steps, the Android app will install on Windows 11, and it’ll be available from the Start menu like any other app.

If you want to uninstall the app, right-click the app from the Start menu, and select the Uninstall button.

Install Windows Subsystem for Android and Amazon Appstore

Before installing Android apps on Windows 11, you first need to install the Windows Subsystem for Android. However, virtualization needs to be enabled on the motherboard’s firmware before adding the platform. If you don’t have this feature enabled, check your computer manufacturer to find the specific details to complete this task.

In addition, you have to enable the Virtual Machine Platform on the Windows Features page. You can turn on this by opening Start, searching for “Turn Windows features on or off” and clicking the top result. Then check the Virtual Machine Platform option, click the OK button, and restart the computer.

The apps in the Amazon Appstore require 8GB of RAM (16GB recommended), a solid-state drive (SSD), and a supported processor (Intel Core i3 8th Generation, AMD Ryzen 3000, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8c, or above), and the Microsoft Store app must be version 22110.1402.6.0 or higher. You can check by clicking the Get updates button in the Library tab of the app (bottom-left corner).

At the time of this writing, WSA is only available for devices based in the United States with the latest release of Windows 11. Once the computer has the latest updates, install the Amazon Appstore from the Microsoft Store that also installs the Windows Subsystem for Android platform on the computer automatically.

If you plan to use the Amazon Appstore, you will also need to sign in with a United States-based Amazon account. After the computer has all the components, you can continue to sideload Android apps.

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].