You might not have to wait for Windows 11 to run Android apps on your PC
Windows 11 will release soon with a bunch of new features — including the ability to run Android apps (here’s how to download Windows 11). But Samsung Galaxy owners have already seen the future. Certain Android phone users can currently access Android mobile apps directly from their Windows 10 PC, thanks to an update to the Your Phone app that Microsoft rolled out to the general public last August. Windows 10 also lets you run multiple Android mobile apps side by side on your Windows 10 PC and supported Samsung devices.
This feature lets you pin your favorite Android mobile apps to the Taskbar or Start menu on your computer for quick and easy access. The apps will open in separate windows from the Your Phone app, letting you use them basically the same way you would on your phone — even if the Your Phone app isn’t open. Windows 10 also lets you search for your previously pinned apps from within your Start app list, without needing to install the apps on your desktop or sign into them again.
With many people moving to a remote or hybrid work environment due to the ongoing pandemic, the ability to access phone apps on a larger desktop or laptop screen, with a mouse, pen or touchscreen, could help with multitasking.
Though the feature is available now, at this point it’s available only for Samsung Galaxy phones. Find the full list of supported phones on Microsoft’s support site.
What do you need to run Android apps on a Windows 10 PC?
In addition to a Samsung Galaxy phone (at least for now), you’ll need a PC running the Windows 10 October 2019 Update or later. Check what version you’re running on your PC by going to Settings > Updates & Security > Check for update. (The latest version of Windows 10 is the May 2021 update.) If you still need to upgrade to Windows 10, you can download Windows 10 for free.
You’ll also need the latest version of the Your Phone app, and Link to Windows. On your phone, you’ll need to be running Android 9.0 or greater, with the Link to Windows integration.
Finally, your phone and computer must be on the same Wi-Fi network for the feature to work.
Read more on TechRepublic: Windows 10: A cheat sheet
How to run Android apps on your Windows 10 PC
Once you have everything you need and your phone and computer are connected, the Your Phone app window should appear on your desktop. To open your Android apps on your desktop:
- Click the Apps shortcut from the menu on the left. You’ll see a list of all the apps on your phone.
- Click the app you want from the list, and it will open in a separate window on your PC.
Note that not every app will work with your mouse or keyboard, but many will.
And here are a few more tips for interacting with your mobile apps on your desktop with your mouse and keyboard, according to Microsoft:
- Single click will behave the same as any single touch/tap interaction.
- Right-click anywhere on your phone screen to navigate to the previous page.
- Click and hold will behave the same as a tap/hold interaction.
- Click and hold and drag to select content.
- Mouse scroll to move between pages vertically or horizontally.
For more, check out Windows 10 hacks you need to know and the best Android 12 features we’ve found.