How to turn your PC or Mac into an android device

Android is slowly capturing the smartphone market, not only because it’s user-friendly but making apps for Android is easy and developer friendly. More and more apps are coming out and there is plethora of apps to choose from.

So, have you ever wondered how you can run Android apps on pc or mac? Or is it even possible to do so? Today, we are going to go through many options that can let you run android apps on pc or mac.

The Android emulator

Emulation is always an option to run any application on another Operating System or device. It has been done in past with popular Game consoles like NES, PS2 or more. Emulation though can be illegal for most of the devices out there but Google SDK itself provides the emulator. The emulator is capable of running any android apps on PC or Mac.

android apps on PC or Mac

The emulator can run android apps on any configuration or resolution. But there is a slight problem, the installation process is complicated and can requires patience to setup once. But once done, it can yield great results. Also, the emulation is quite slow and sluggish on slower devices. To overcome this, one need to have high end machine.

To get started, you have to download the Google SDK from Google’s site, which uses the SDK manager program to choose the version of the operating system you want to download. It is recommended to download the latest Kitkat 4.4 version, though you can also choose the older version.

Also read: Top 5 Android Apps – You probably didn’t know

The AVD manager provides the option to create multiple virtual devices. The virtual devices can be configured according to the choice you make or it can also be set to pre-confugred options like the Nexus devices.

After getting the virtual device setup, you have to make sure that Play Store is installed as the emulator is just the core of the stock open source version of Android i.e. no Goggle apps included.

The Play Store can be installed using the file management. Once the APK is taken and installed (Go to SDK directory -> Tools folder and place the apk file there.), use command prompt where the AVD is running. Enter “adb install filename.apk”. And finally, the app will be added to your virtual device, ready to be launched.

Advantage of having an unmodified Android device is that you can use the emulator to test apps in the emulator.

Android PC ports

What about installing a complete Android OS on your PC? Time consuming but easy compared to using Android Emulator. There are two leading options available; android on Intel Architecture and another Android-x86 Project.

But none of them are perfect and can cause lot of problems to the user. One another option is to install using Virtualization tools like VMware or VirtualBox. As there is no Google Play integration here, you want to install apps manually.

The master card – BlueStacks

What if I told you, that the there is even better option, that is not only easy but stable? There is one and it is known as BlueStacks.

The app that can run another apps, looks interesting? Let’s dig deep into what it can do. The app runs a modified version of Android which in turn lets the user to play the apps with enough stability and efficiency. The good thing about BlueStacks is that, Play Store is built-in, so that you can access all your purchased content without further mingling with BlueStacks core.

android apps on PC or Mac

The Bluestacks app opens up just like any other application and you can start your adventure of android apps and games with a single click or a search. The search will return a beautiful slide of tablets containing the search results. The experience is very real to when you do it on real Android Device. You can also install Nova or Apex, which are third party launcher into Bluestacks and set it as default.

The only drawback that Bluestacks have is the support of mouse for the application, but it still is better than other options to run android apps on PC or Mac. Bluestacks can also be used with the support of touch input. It can be done on Windows 8 easily as it support touch input. Bluestacks uses “Layercake” technology to make this possible.

Another issue with Bluestacks is that the apps don’t run on the standard Android build. Users can enjoy the freemium service or the pro subscription for just $2.


This ends our tour of “android apps on PC or Mac”. It can be easily said that users looking for simple solution for running android apps on PC or Mac can easily choose Bluestacks. Others, who like experimentation or are more technically adept, can choose to go with Android Emulator or the Android PC ports.

Image Courtesy : Extreme Tech