5 Apps that help you run Android mobile apps on your Laptop

How to have Android Apps on PC
How to get your Android mobile apps running on your Laptop?

Your smartphone can easily be synced with Windows with a USB cable wire, Bluetooth or in the cloud and you can import or export your data or switch it between the two operating devices. But do you know that you can also share the software or apps on your Android and make them run on your PC?

After all who doesn’t want to have the most favourite games or pokies apps on a wider screen to play and enjoy that is your PC or laptop?  Most of these apps are perfectly running smoothly on multiple Android devices too, so all your stuff gets synced over fairly effortlessly once you’ve signed in with your Google account. There are exceptions, like WhatsApp – which really needs a phone attached to work – but most apps will be fine with having your laptop registered as another device.

Not only pokies games apps but whatever app you choose, there are various ways to get them on your laptop. Here are a few of the means to get your Android mobile apps running on your Laptop.

You can run Android apps on a Windows PC or laptop using an Android emulator app. BlueStacks is one solution, but it’s not entirely intuitive in use. YouWave and KoPlayer are alternatives for emulating Android in Windows.

5 Apps to help Android mobile apps run on your Laptop

1. BlueStacks App

BlueStacks App
BlueStacks App

The BlueStacks App Player is free to use. The program will allow you to run Android apps on your Windows laptop, but as it’s not a full Android emulator you won’t get the full Android experience.

In order to use BlueStacks you’ll have to sign in with a Google account; if you don’t already have one you’ll need to sign up for one as you would on any Android device. A key emphasis of BlueStacks is on playing Android games under Windows, so when you run BlueStacks most of the screen will be taken up with game suggestions. Note that BlueStacks includes Google Play, so you can search for and install apps in just the same way as with a true Android phone or tablet.

With the software downloaded and installed, you can browse through games on the Google Play Store straight from the opening splash screen or via the System app folder under the My apps heading on the left. For anything you can’t find, you need to click Home then Install APK and point Bluestacks towards a file you’ve downloaded from a repository like APK Mirror.

Bluestacks comes with a bunch of useful features too, like a full-screen mode, keyboard control support (where available), an integrated screenshot tool, and the ability to set your location manually (just so Android doesn’t get confused about where you are). It’s the slickest emulator experience on Windows, certainly as far as pokies games go.

2. You Wave App

You Wave App
You Wave App

There is another full Android emulation on your PC called YouWave. YouWave uses Oracle VM VirtualBox as the emulation engine but, paradoxically if you already have VirtualBox installed you have to uninstall it before installing YouWave.

There are two editions, the Free Edition, which currently runs on Android 4.0.4 (ICS), whilst the Premium Edition runs on 5.1.1 (Lollipop) and costs $29.99, where you’ll need to apply the Activation key within 10 days of purchase.

YouWave is very similar to BlueStacks, even down to the issues of pixilation and zooming, but whereas BlueStacks seemed like a fully-working Android experience, YouWave reminds you more of an Android Tablet screen on your Windows machine. Either way, both will provide an acceptable Android experience, but if you’re tempted to take the YouWave route, it is advised to make good use of the free version before deciding whether to buy it.

3. KoPlayer and NoxPlayer

KoPlayer and NoxPlayer
KoPlayer and NoxPlayer

There are other Android emulators out there, which are specifically designed to run Android games, such as KoPlayer that are aimed at those looking to play their favourite Android games on PC. However, you will need a graphics card that supports OpenGL 2.0 in order to run the program.

NoxPlayer for both Windows and macOS matches Bluestacks pretty much feature for feature but is even faster and more intuitive to use. Again, you get full access to the Google Play Store so you’re not reliant on loading in APKs from third-party sources. The interface is slick and easy on the eye, and we had no problems getting the emulator up and running.

When you’ve opened the software, just head to the Play Store app in the Google folder and pick the apps you want to use. Like Bluestacks, you get plenty of handy features for managing Android apps on a computer, like options for tweaking mouse and keyboard input commands, a built-in screenshot tool, and a full-screen mode. You can even transfer files between your computer and your virtual Android device, as well as run multiple instances of Android apps if you need to (for different user accounts, maybe), which Bluestacks can do as well.

If you’re still on an older version of Android but you should find most of your favourite Android apps working in the Nox Player. Click the cog icon to set the application options, including the graphics rendering mode, how much of your system resources it can use up, and the default resolution.

4. Windows programs on Android

Windows programs on Android
Windows programs on Android

To run Windows on an Android phone or tablet you’ll need some virtualisation software and a strong internet connection, and to keep your PC running at home. Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app does the job with certain versions of Windows, and soon you will also be able to use CrossOver with Android devices running an x86 processor.

Solutions for using Windows applications on an Android device tend to involve accessing a Windows PC or a virtual PC via the cloud rather than running the software directly on your smartphone or tablet. While this is undoubtedly a reflection on the more limited resources available on most Android devices, it’s a perfectly workable solution.

The first method is to connect to your home PC using the Microsoft Remote Desktop app on your Android device. It has the advantage of giving you access to all the software you use on your PC, but there are some serious drawbacks that limit its usefulness.

Although you don’t have to install any software on your PC, it will work only if that PC is running certain editions of Windows. In particular, for Windows 8 you need Enterprise or Pro while for Windows 7 it’s restricted to Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate. Given that most home users have basic or Home editions, it’s not an option. The option is not natively available for Windows 10 users, where there’s no support to run the Remote Desktop Client on Android.

Note that although you can run the Remote Desktop app on any Android device, if you’re going to be using it to any great extent, an Android tablet would make a lot more sense than a smartphone. After all, trying to navigate a Windows desktop on a small smartphone screen is going to involve a lot of zooming and panning.

5. Android Apps on Chromebooks

How to get Android apps on Chromebooks
Android Apps on Chromebooks

Android app support is now rapidly improving on Chromebooks, and you can check out the current list of Chrome OS machines that can run apps from the Play Store here. The Google Play Store appears just like one of your Chrome OS apps, and because you’re already signed into your Google account on the Chromebook, you can jump straight into the apps – browsing and installing them works just as it does on any Android smartphone.

You will notice in this integration that clicking on an app link on the web fires up the Play Store app rather than opening the Play Store site, and that’s not always going to be the behaviour you want. Despite a few imperfections and glitches, the experience of running Android apps on Chrome OS now feels much more polished than it used to be. You can drag around individual windows, minimise them to the app shelf, and even make them full-screen through apps that haven’t been optimised for tablet use might struggle with this.

Finally, you will see that it’s rare to find any Android apps that won’t work on Chromebooks, although occasionally glitches can happen. Apps update automatically in the background, just as they would on any other Android device, and on most Chromebooks, you now have the choice of touchscreen or even stylus input as well as using your keyboard and trackpad.