How to install Android apps on macOS

Apple’s macOS can actually run Android apps, but not by default.

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Apple’s latest Macs, including the MacBook Pro (2023), are some of the most powerful consumer computers on the market. macOS Ventura users get to take advantage of some advanced features, such as automations, system-level customizations, and more. However, what many aren’t aware of is the ability to run Android apps on a Mac. While you can’t install an Android application on macOS by default, there are some steps you can follow to unlock this capability.

Installing Android applications on a Mac

  1. You will first need to install an Android OS emulator on your Mac. While there are plenty of options out there, I personally recommend using Google’s Android Studio. It’s free, offers a wide variety of device types and OS versions, and has no ads. Pick the ARM version if you have a Mac that runs on Apple silicon.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 1: android studio different OS versions list
  2. Once the download process concludes, go ahead and install Android Studio by following the on-screen instructions.
  3. Launch the Android Studio app from the Applications folder when it’s ready.
  4. Click Open when the security alert pops up.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 2: macOS security alert for installing app from the web rather than App Store
  5. Tap on More Actions to reveal additional app options, then select Virtual Device Manager.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 3: Virtual device manager option under more actions button in Android Studio app
  6. Click on the Create virtual device button.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 4: create virtual device button in android studio
  7. Choose one of the phone and tablet options available, then tap on Next.
    • Note that not all emulator device options support the Google Play Store. So if you plan on downloading apps from the Play Store, pick a device with the Play Store icon next to it. You can install APK files from external sources regardless of this selection.
      How to install Android apps on macOS 5: phone device list highlighting the play store icon and next button
  8. Pick an Android OS version, then tap Next.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 6: Android 12 selected with next button highlighted
  9. Optionally give your virtual device a name, then tap on Finish.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 7: finish button highlighted
  10. Tap the Play button to launch the virtual device.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 8: play button next to the newly created virtual device
  11. Give the emulator a few seconds to boot. You can then download and install Android apps through the Google Play Store, after signing in to your Google account.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 9: google play store app icon highlighted on the virtual pixel 4 running android 12
  12. Alternatively, you could install APK files from web sources you trust, as you would normally do on an Android phone.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 10: install button for WhatsApp apk file that was downloaded from chrome
  13. You can then launch the app you’ve installed from the emulator’s home screen.
    How to install Android apps on macOS 11: WhatsApp icon on the Home Screen of the virtual device after it was installed successfully

As you can see, running Android apps on macOS isn’t a complex process. You just need to know where to look. Once you set up the emulator for the first time, it’ll be easy to get back to it whenever you need it. It’s ideal for those who use an iPhone as a main device but need to test a certain Android-only app or feature. And considering Android Studio is offered by Google, it’s always updated to include the latest OS versions and Google hardware options.

MacBook Pro 2023
Apple MacBook Pro (2023)

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The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2023) models adopt the same exterior chassis first introduced in 2021. They offer boosted M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 support, HDMI 2.1 compatibility, a notched display, and more.