Android apps for Windows 11 are finally here, and the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) can be set up. Now, the only official way to install Android apps is by using the Amazon Appstore. However, the Amazon Appstore has a limited catalog. Fret not, because you can sideload Android apps on WSA running on Windows 11.
Sideloading apps requires android application package (.APK) files, the Android Debugging Bridge (ADB), and the WSATools app. You can sideload any Android app as long as you have its APK file. This Windows 11 guide will help you sideload Android apps on Windows 11. Likewise, let’s have a look at the process.
Sideload apps on Windows Subsystem for Android
You can grab any app’s APK file and install it on WSA. Note that you can install any application you want, be it a game, productivity app, or music player. Most apps should work just fine on Windows 11, except those that require special optimizations or a specific DRM level – like Netflix.
We’ll be sideloading a popular third-party app store called “Aurora Store” on WSA. You can sideload Android apps on Windows 11 using the following two methods:
Method 1: Sideloading Manually
1. Download the APK file of your desired Android application from any of the popular APK download websites.
2. Set up ADB platform-tools on your machine. If not already set up, you can also download the SDK Platform-Tools for Windows that contain the required ADB files and extract them into a folder on your PC.
3. Open the Start Menu, search for “Windows Subsystem for Android,” and open it when the search result appears.
4. The Settings screen of the Windows Subsystem for Android will open. Scroll down and enable Developer mode. After that, click on the Copy button on the “IP address” tab. If you don’t see the IP address, click on the Refresh button below it, and the IP address should appear.
Note: If the IP address doesn’t show up even after refreshing, open the Files app from the first option on the Settings page.
5. Further, open the Command Prompt from the Start Menu. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + R, type “cmd” in the Run dialog, and press Enter.
6. Now, you’ll need to navigate to the folder where you extracted the SDK Platform Tools SDK. Suppose your files are located in the directory
D:\platform-tools. Enter the following syntax in the command prompt:
cd /d D:\platform-tools
7. Enter the following syntax to connect to WSA.
adb connect <ip address>
Replace the <ip address> with the one that you copied earlier. The syntax should look like this:
adb connect 172.17.149.24
8. Navigate to the APK file that you downloaded earlier and right-click on it. Further, select the option called “Copy as path” from the menu.
9. Open the Command Prompt window again and enter the following syntax:
adb install <file-path>
Replace the <path> with your own by pasting it. The final path should look like this:
adb install "C:\Users\dudej\Desktop\Work\Sideload\aurora.apk"
10. ADB will install the APK file that you downloaded, and you can find the app in the Start Menu.
11. Finally, open the Start Menu, search for the installed app, and open it.
Method 2: Sideloading using the WSATools app
1. Download and install the WSATools app from the Microsoft Store.
2. This process setting up ADB platform-tools and adding it to the PATH system variable. Set up and install ADB platform-tools on your device.
3. If you have both WSATools and ADB set up, open the Windows Subsystem for Android and turn on the developer mode. Also, run any Android app you have installed (or even the Files app) to make sure WSA is on.
4. Open the WSATools app. As soon as you open it, locate and select the .APK installation file that you want to sideload on your PC.
5. Once selected, click on the “Install” button to install the application.
6. Finally, open the installed application or install another app after the process is complete.
This concludes the process of sideloading Android apps on Windows 11 using ADB and WSATools. These apps can work along with regular Windows apps. However, be aware that while downloading APK files from the internet, as various malicious files appear as regular files.
It was known before that Microsoft would allow sideloading apps on Windows 11 once the Windows Subsystem for Android releases. Can you sideload and use Android apps on Windows 11? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure to check our other Windows 11 guides as well.