Android Browsers

How To Run Android Apps in Chrome on Mac / Linux / Windows

Skye Hudson 13-10-2014

It’s now possible to run Android apps in the Chrome browser — it just takes a little bit of work.


Google has officially brought four Android apps to Chromebooks, so it would seem that it’s only a matter of time before more and more Android apps become officially available on the Chrome Top 6 Android Apps We'd Like To See On Chrome OS Soon In light of the impending cross platform portability, we take a look the Android apps we would most like to see made available on the Chrome operating system sooner rather than later. Read More browser. If you can’t wait, however, let’s run through a few options for running Android apps in Chrome right now.

Note: We’ll be looking at Chrome on Windows here, but the same processes should work on Macs or Linux devices as well.

Prerequisite: ARChon Custom Runtime

Before getting started, you’ll need to download this Chrome extension. This allows Android apps to work properly on Chrome, but it’s still very much unofficial and unstable, so don’t expect everything to work perfectly.

There are three download options available for the runtime that depend on your system. To check if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit browser, you can navigate to chrome://chrome in your address bar, or you can click the three line menu button in the upper right and select About Google Chrome at the bottom.



Once you’ve downloaded the correct version (and this may take a while, as it’s a 100MB file), unzip the folder. Then type chrome://extensions into your address bar to view a list of all your current extensions. Here, select the Developer Mode box in the upper right.



Now you’ll want to press Load unpacked extension and select the folder where you unzipped ARChon. Make sure it is enabled, and you’re good to go. You can now choose from one of the three options below, depending on which you find easiest.



Option 1: APK Conversion in Android App

Your Android apps as they are now on your phone or tablet are not able to run in Chrome. To make this possible, they have to be repackaged to be compatible with ARChon. This would be a pretty complicated task — if it weren’t for this Android app: ARChon Packager [No Longer Available].

Once you’ve got the app downloaded and installed, open it up. You’ll be given two options for choosing an app: an installed app, or an APK from your phone’s storage. An APK is the installable file for an app, but you don’t need to worry about that if you just want to use a regular app you already have installed. Select Installed application and choose next.



I chose Pulse as the app I want to try on Chrome. You can then select if you want it to run in phone or tablet mode in Chrome, and if it should be oriented for portrait or landscape. You can also give it access to the files on your PC or enable ADB Android Won't Connect to Windows Over ADB? Fix It in 3 Easy Steps Is ADB not detecting your device? When Android is unable to connect to ADB, here's how to fix it and get connected again. Read More if you’re a developer.

Once you hit Finish, the app will be converted into a nearly Chrome-ready ZIP file. You then need to transfer that file over to your computer either by using a USB cable, or by selecting the share button at the end of the process to email it or upload it to your preferred cloud storage service.

When the ZIP file is on your computer, unzip it. You’ll then want to go back into chrome://extensions, select Load unpacked extensions, and select the unzipped folder. Once it’s loaded in, click Launch to access the app.



And there you have it. Using this method, Pulse ran perfectly for me.


But if you don’t have an Android device, the next option might be better for you.

Option 2: APK Conversion in Chrome App

For this option, you’ll need to download Twerk [No Longer Available] from the Chrome Web Store. You will also need an APK file already, the installable file for an app. APKs are notoriously hard to get hold of because of the high likelihood of malware in so-called “cracked” apps Cracked Android Apps and Games: Read This Before Downloading The statistics don't lie: Most Android malware comes from outside Google Play. Downloading cracked apps -- or any type of app -- from a shady website or untrustworthy third-party app store is the way most... Read More , but there are quite a few legitimate APKs available for download straight from the developers over at the XDA forums.

If you have obtained a legitimate APK, this method will work perfectly. Otherwise, move on to option 3.

The process here is simple. Launch Twerk from the Chrome App Launcher or enter chrome://apps into your address bar. Then, locate your APK file in your local file browser and drag it over into the Twerk window.


You can then select several options, like whether to run it in portrait or landscape, and build it by pressing the pink Android at the bottom. Then you’ll choose where to save it.

After that, head back into your Chrome extensions (chrome://extensions in your address bar) and select Load unpacked extension. Find the folder that Twerk created and select it. Your app should now be in Chrome, and you can launch it just like any other Chrome app!

Option 3: Find Converted APK Online

This option is probably the simplest out there because you don’t have to tinker with any of your own apps. For this one, you’re just going to download apps that are already compatible with ARChon — the biggest disadvantage is the limited amount of apps available like this.

Visit this community-created Google Spreadsheet of apps that have been tested with ARChon. Most of them have a download link at the far right to download the files, but you take your own risk when downloading these. There is no guarantee that they are safe files, so exercise regular caution. You can also try browsing this Chrome APKs subreddit.

Once it is downloaded, unzip it if it’s zipped, go to your Chrome extensions page (chrome://extensions in your address bar), and select Load unpacked extension. Find the unzipped downloaded folder and select it to load it into Chrome. You can now find it at chrome://apps to launch like a regular app!

What Is Your Favorite Android App On Chrome?

As we bide our time until Google makes this an official feature, this is your best bet for getting tons of Android apps running on your Chrome browser.

What is your favorite app that you’ve been able to get running? Do you have any other methods of running Android apps on Chrome that you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Jennifer Deegan
    November 11, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for this. Do you know which is the best method if I want an app to be able to access the bluetooth dongle? I am hoping to code for a sphero robot from my PC using the sphero lightning app.

    I'm currently trying to set up android in a virtualbox virtual machine and having some trouble convincing google play to install the app at all.


  2. HYD
    April 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

    You are the man... Looking for it for loooong time...

  3. venky
    December 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    It does not works, can you please provide a proper instructions. it is quite difficult to understand.

  4. John
    November 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

    im trying to use apps that require location services to be on. is there a way to allow the app in chrome the abilitiy to access the location services

  5. damo
    April 10, 2015 at 4:43 am

    do apps that require interent eg snapchat, kik work for any of you guys?
    i have so far got kik, snapchat and instagram to open but it cannot connect to the logon server?

  6. Pete
    March 7, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Anyone try getting the Star Wars Commander APK running in Chrome on Windows?

    Yes I know there is a windows client but, that client uses different servers so my game won't sync.

    I would really rather have a Surface Pro 3 as opposed to an iPad or Android tablet and this is the only annoyance I have regarding the Surface.

    • Anonymous
      July 8, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Any luck making this work? I'm just looking for ways to do the same and want to know weather it's worth loosing time over.

      • Anonymous
        July 8, 2015 at 10:59 am

        Yes, I used DuOS and it worked great!

  7. Riley
    February 24, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    im running on Chrome from a Mac and managed to install an app, however i can't make it full screen, it only covers 3/4 of the screen and wont let me maximise, anyone else have the problem?

    • Wraj
      March 30, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      I guess I can run all my android app in a MAC.
      Is it a stable one ?
      Do I need a license for it?

  8. jonny
    February 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Just tried A+ VCE Player but got:
    Application not licensed.Unable to validate license. Check to see if a network connection is available

    So close. Bummer :-(

  9. georgie 10864101010
    December 13, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Can you help me?

    I am struggling to use Twerk to package apps as when I try to run them and it just will refuse to run. I am using archon 1.2 for arm.

  10. LexaAleynik
    December 10, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Unfortunately, none of these methods did not help with the installation VLC.

  11. John Smith
    October 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Can we use lucky patcher to patch some apps and hack them ?

    • Justin Dennis
      October 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      I have no idea! Give it a shot and let us know if it works. :)

  12. Kulbhushan
    October 16, 2014 at 6:29 am


    There is a warning - "Warning: The custom runtime will replace the official runtime component. To go back to the official runtime you will need to uninstall the custom one and reinstall the official one.".

    Is it relevant for users using Google Chrome on Windows? What does it actually mean? What are its implications? Pls guide. Thanks.

    • Justin Dennis
      October 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      I was able to uninstall with no issues. I don't think the custom runtime harms the official runtime in anyway; just a necessary warning. To be honest, though, I don't understand the inner workings of it, so if you don't feel comfortable tinkering with it, it may be safer to leave it alone.

  13. BaimInc
    October 15, 2014 at 1:28 am

    i try n error...thanks 4 share..

  14. Nick
    October 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    want to get kingdom conquest 2 on chrome with this, has anyone else had any luck?

  15. averyvh
    October 14, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Really want to try this now. It would be awesome to get all my Humble Bundle games running on my computer.

    • Anonymous
      October 15, 2014 at 3:00 am

      Agreed! All I have is an iPod touch, so bring able to use those games would be great!

  16. Myles
    October 13, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Do the apps not have access to the internet this way?

    • a
      October 15, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Yes, they've got internet access. Google play services are missing, however.

  17. Vyomesh
    October 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Can we use whatsapp by this ....

    • firstclass
      October 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Most messenger apps dont work with this method yet.

    • neyson
      November 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      use pidgin. you miss some features but it's ok