Sideload Android APKs on Windows 11 with ADB

| October 22, 2021 | Featured, Software

Windows 11 Android ADB apps

Now that Android apps can be installed on Windows 11 PCs; Microsoft has also opened the developer options, allowing users to sideload apps via Google’s ADB commands. This will allow you to bypass the Amazon AppStore and download apps that aren’t available via the store.

UPDATE: We have now got this working outside of the United States. So, the only thing you need it to be in the beta channel of the Windows Insider program and on the latest Windows 11 build.

If you don’t want to mess around with ADB commands, you can follow this guide to installing apps via the Microsoft Store and Amazon AppStore.

Since the Windows Subsystem for Android emulates an Android device, you can open the Android files app and have a poke around the system. You also have access to developer options and if you right click on an app and select app settings, it will take you to the Android settings page for that app.

How to sideload Android apps on Windows 11

Time needed: 10 minutes.

To install Android apps via ADB you will need to be in the United States and a Windows Insider on the latest Windows 11 beta channel build. This guide assumes you already have the Windows Subsystem for Android installed. If not, first follow this guide.

  1. Install Android Studio

    You will need to install Android Studio, which also installs ADB onto your PC. You can do so here.

  2. Run the Windows Subsystem for Android

    To run the Windows Subsystem for Android app you want to run the Amazon AppStore app which initialises the subsystem. Once open you can close the Amazon AppStore.

  3. Enable Developer Mode

    Now, open the Windows Subsystem for Android app. You will be greeted with a settings page, find Developer mode, and turn it on. You should now see an IP address that you can ADB connect to.

  4. Connect to your Windows Android device

    Since, the Windows Subsystem for Android mimics an Android device you can ADB connect to it on the same private network. To do this open CMD and enter cd followed by the location ADB is installed. It should be installed in C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Android\Sdk\platform-tools. So “cd C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Android\Sdk\platform-tools”

  5. Run the ADB command

    Now that you are in the correct folder enter the following into CMD. “adb connection <IP ADDRESS>” This should successfully connect you to your “Android” device.

  6. Download an APK

    Head over to you APK website of choice and download an APK. Ensure it is an APK, it will not work with XAPKs. Once downloaded rename it and move it into the root of you C: drive for ease of use.

  7. Install APK via ADB

    Go back into CMD and type in the following command. “adb install C:\<NAME OF APK>.apk” and hit enter. It should now install, and you will see it on your app list. Open the app and enjoy.

There is a chance some apps won’t work when sideloading as the subsystem is still new and in preview. You can expect a few bugs here and there. Other than that, enjoy using Android apps on Windows 11!

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