Install and manage Android apps in Windows 11 easily with WSA Pacman
Microsoft surprised its audience when it announced that Windows 11 will support Android apps. Finally, users could access their mobile apps and games without a third-party emulator.
After the initial oohs and ahhs, there was a chorus of sighs when it turned out that the feature, and access to the Amazon Appstore, was limited to users in the US, at least while it is being tested. That didn't deter eager users from discovering a way around the restriction. If you don't know how to install Android apps on Windows 11, read this guide to get started.
In the article that I linked to, I recommend a shortcut to install the apps. It uses a BAT file that tells the operating system to process APK files via the Windows Subsystem for Android, all you need to do is drag and drop the APK file over the .BAT. While that is convenient than typing commands, it does have some downsides. While the app's being installed, you will see the Command Prompt screen open and close, you may not find much information there.
WSA Pacman allows you install and manage Android apps in Windows 11 easily
WSA Pacman is a third-party program that solves this problem. The open source tool acts as a frontend package installer, that allows you to install Android apps easily, just you would on a mobile phone. The main difference between the old shortcut method and this program, is that the latter has a GUI. You will still need to install the Windows Subsystem for Android to use this utility, so once again, I recommend following the aforementioned guide.
Once you have WSA working on your computer, download WSA Pacman tool from its repository, and install it. You'll be given an option to associate the WSA Package manager with .APK files, which is very useful.
Note: The program's interface will display a Connected status, indicating that WSA is working correctly. If you see an error, try the repair option under the app's settings. Repairing the app also helped me fix an error in WSA, it kept saying IP address unavailable even though it was working fine previously.
Now that WSA Pacman is up and running, open any APK that you wish to install by double-clicking on the file in Explorer. You will see a pop-up that lists the permissions required by the app and its version number, this is the new tool doing its job. Click the install button to proceed, and when it had been completed, the tool will ask you whether you need a shortcut for the app on the desktop.
Windows 11's Start Menu is a mess due to bugs/missing features, one reason why I don't like it because it doesn't list all apps correctly, including Android apps that you may have installed. WSA_Pacman helps with this too, just click the Manage Applications option on its GUI, and it displays a list of all Android apps on the computer.
Selecting an app from the list lets you view its info, uninstall it, etc. You may use WSA_Pacman to access the Android Settings page and make changes as required.
I stumbled across the tool on reddit. It has a Dark mode that you can toggle, along with an option to auto-start with Windows, choose the transparency effect for the GUI, and use adaptive icons. WSA Pacman's source code is available on GitHub. It is written with Flutter, and comes in an optional portable version.
The program is user-friendly, and more convenient than using the Command Prompt or Batch files.
Do you use Android apps on Windows 11? If so, what are your favorites?
Linux Desktop alternative needed!
Didn’t hear anything good about Anbox for a long time. (
Do you have a Wayland environment? If so, I’d install Waydroid
Nice and well explained article, thanks @Ashwin! Happy New Year 2022, I’m going home these days so I probably will read Ghacks again in January. :]
I can’t find a single app I would want to run on my desktop computer.
I wanted to try some Nintendo games, but they have some form of protection on them. Didn’t try installing Google Play Store and Play Services though.
WSATools on Microsoft Store.
WSA sucks, ngl. It’s not just that it doesn’t have Google Play Services but the performance sucks too. Might as well just use BlueStacks with all of its stinking bloat.
As always, love ghacks. <3