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How to run Android apps (apk) using Google Chrome on Windows, OSX, and Linux

Last night I was in a pinch and needed to poke around in an Android app, but I didn’t have an Android phone or tablet with me. So, I started trying to figure out a way to run Android apps, or .APK files, on my Macbook Pro. The solution I found actually works on any desktop or laptop computer running Windows, OSX, or Linux. All you need is Google Chrome. It’s very easy and only takes about 30 seconds to setup. Here’s how to do it.

How to run Android Apps, .APK files, on your PC or MAC

You will only need a few items to do this.

The magic that runs Android apps in Chrome is ARC Welder. This app is developed by Google, and it’s pretty new. There are some compatibility issues with it and apps that require the Google Play store, but they are working through those issues relatively quickly. Let’s go ahead and download the Google ARC Welder app from the Chrome store.

Head over to this link and click “ADD TO CHROME” in the top right-hand corner of the box that pops up.


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Chrome will now ask you to confirm the new app by clicking “Add.” Go ahead and do that.

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Now ARC Welder has been added to Chrome.

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You might notice that some files are downloading. You will need to wait a minute or two until it finishes. After I added ARC Welder, Chrome downloaded two files. The first was about 120MB and the second was around 8MB. Just wait until there are no more downloads.

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Now, we can open ARC Welder by opening it from the Google Chrome Apps menu.

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After selecting a folder, ARC Welder will prompt you to add an .APK file (app). Select an .APK file. After you do so, you will be prompted to adjust a few settings.

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After adjusting the settings to your liking, click on “Launch App” and your app should open right up! I selected Moon Reader, my favorite ebook reading app on my Android Tablet.

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I have yet to come across an app that hasn’t worked in ARC Welder, but YMMV. Let me know how it worked for you in the comments below. Thanks!