Using Android Apps on Windows 11: Our Experience So Far

Using Android Apps on Windows 11: Our Experience So Far


I recently installed Windows 11 on my computer and was eager to try out one of its newest features – the ability to run Android apps. As an Android user for many years, having access to the Google Play Store and my favorite Android apps directly on my Windows laptop sounded too good to be true.

After using Android apps on Windows 11 for a few weeks now, I wanted to share my experience so far. There are some clear benefits but also a few limitations that potential users should keep in mind. Overall, I think the feature has potential but still needs some polishing.

Getting Set Up

Getting Android apps running on Windows 11 took a bit more setup than I expected but wasn’t too difficult. Here are the steps I followed:

  • Upgraded to Windows 11 – Android app support only works on Windows 11, not Windows 10. I had to request the Windows 11 upgrade manually through Windows Update.

  • Enabled Virtual Machine Platform – This optional Windows feature is required to run the Android subsystem. I enabled it through the Turn Windows Features On or Off settings.

  • Downloaded the Amazon Appstore – This provides the main interface to download and install Android apps. I had to switch to the Dev channel for Windows Insider updates first.

  • Setup my Amazon account – I signed in with my existing Amazon account in the Appstore to access apps.

  • Installed my apps – I browsed the Appstore, searched for apps like Instagram and Kindle, and installed them with one click.

While a bit involved, I found the overall process straightforward enough as an experienced Windows user. The documentation from Microsoft helped for reference. The main hassle was switching my Windows Insider updates to Dev channel but I could switch it back after setup.

Using Android Apps in Windows

My daily usage of Android apps on Windows 11 has been a mix of both positive and negative experiences.

On the plus side, apps like Kindle, Instagram, Subway Surfers and Chicken Scream ran flawlessly once installed. Performance was snappy, I was able to use touchscreen gestures, and the apps worked like I expected. Having app icons in the Windows Start Menu next to my desktop programs felt natural.

However, I also ran into a few headaches:

  • Limited app support – The Amazon Appstore has only a subset of the apps I normally use on my Android phone. Major apps like Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Uber were all missing.

  • App compatibility issues – A couple apps I installed from the Appstore ended up not working properly. For example, Pinterest crashed every time I tried opening it.

  • No Google Play Store access – The official Google Play Store and its much wider app selection is not currently available. Relying on Amazon’s Appstore felt limiting.

  • Redundant apps – I wound up with two Kindle apps, two Subway Surfer games, etc. – the Android version and my existing Windows app.

Overall the experience felt incomplete without core Google apps and services. But when Android apps did work properly, they integrated surprisingly well.

Performance and Hardware Compatibility

Based on my experience, Android app performance on Windows 11 has room for improvement but is decent on supported hardware.

Apps definitely don’t feel as smooth and responsive as they do natively on my Google Pixel 6 Pro. But for casual use they’ve been functional. I noticed occasional lag and stuttering, especially when launching apps for the first time. But once loaded, apps are generally responsive.

System requirements do seem to play a role. I first tried Android apps on my aging Surface Pro 4. Performance was quite laggy and unstable. But after upgrading to a new Lenovo laptop with 11th gen Intel Core i7, apps have run significantly better.

Windows 11 leverages Intel Bridge technology to run Android apps on Intel CPUs. So best performance will likely require an Intel chip from the past few years. Older or non-Intel hardware may have difficulties. Tablet mode touch support helps as well for Android apps.

Overall I’d say performance is adequate but not yet iPadOS or ChromeOS levels of optimization. Improving speed and hardware compatibility will be an ongoing process.

Recommendations for Potential Users

Based on my time testing out Android apps on Windows 11 so far, here are my recommendations for potential users:

  • Don’t rely on it yet for critical apps – Stick to web apps for things like email, video calling, etc until more compatibility issues are fixed.

  • Try it out for supplementary casual apps – It works well enough for games, social media, reading, etc.

  • Have reasonable hardware – Make sure to run it on a supported Intel CPU from the past few years and consider touchscreen for optimal experience.

  • Provide feedback to Microsoft – Report any apps that don’t function properly so issues can be addressed.

  • Keep waiting if you need Google services – Lack of Gmail, Maps, Chrome, etc severely limits practicality for now.

Overall I would characterize Android app support on Windows 11 as an interesting work in progress at the moment. For the casual app user, it shows potential but still requires patience as Microsoft refines the integration. It’s not something I would recommend relying on heavily yet in its current form. But as the ecosystem expands over time, it could develop into a very convenient feature. I’m keen to see how Android app support continues evolving on Windows.


While running Android apps natively on my Windows laptop has been an intriguing novelty, the overall experience feels quite unfinished in its debut state. Performance is passable but lacks polish, hardware support seems limited, the Amazon Appstore feels restrictive, many key apps are unavailable or unstable, and Google services are glaringly absent. Yet when apps do function properly, they integrate surprisingly well.

As Microsoft expands app support, compatibility, performance optimizations and integrations over future Windows 11 updates, Android apps on Windows have the potential to become an incredibly useful capability. But there are clearly still rough edges that need smoothing out first. For now, my recommendation would be cautious optimism and measured expectations. The ingredients for something great seem to be there, but it’s not fully baked yet. I’m excited to keep testing it out as the feature develops further.



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