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How to Install Android Apps on Chromebook

Now that Google updated ChromeOS to include the Google Play Store, Chromebook users can install Android apps on their computer. Previously, users had to hack things or wait for developers to customize their Android app for use on a Chromebook, but Google announced earlier this year that they would put the Google Play Store on ChromeOS.

install android apps on chromebook

We’ll show users how to install Android apps on Chromebook if their Chromebook supports it. This will include changing from the stable release channel of ChromeOS to the developer’s channel. That means users will start running a ChromeOS version that might include some glitches and bugs. However, it also offers new features not available to most users, like the Google Play Store. If you use your Chromebook for work or school and can’t afford bugs and glitches, then you should wait until Google makes it available on your Chromebook.

asus chromebook flip

Google started with the ASUS Chromebook Flip. The Google Chromebook Pixel and Acer Chromebook R11 got it next in mid-July. The rest of most modern Chromebooks made in the last year will eventually get it. If your Chromebook can run build number 53.0.2768.0, the first version that includes the Play Store, then you can follow the steps below to get it early.

How do you know if yours will work? Here’s the list of now supported devices that will get the Google Play Store this year. Unfortunately, that list is only for those that can run the Google Play Store in the stable build of ChromeOS. More Chromebooks will let you install Android apps if you run ChromeOS in the beta or developer builds. The list of Chromebooks that support the Google Play Store on developer or beta channels changes quickly. Head over to the Google+ Chromebooks community to find out if your Chromebook will support Android apps.

How to Install Android Apps on Chromebook

chromebook settings

Go to the ChromeOS settings by clicking on the icon in the lower right corner of the screen at the right end of the Shelf. It will look like your Google account avatar. Then click on Settings (see above).

chromebook settings about chrome os

At the top of the window that opens up, there’s a link that reads About ChromeOS. Click it. Look for a link in the middle of the box that opens that reads More Info…. The box expands and shows a button that reads Change Channel.

chromebook more info settings

Click it and then click on Developer – unstable and then click on the button that appears asking to restart the system. The computer will restart and install the update.

developer channel - unstable

When the computer restarts, log in and the Google Play Store will pop up and ask the user to Agree to the user agreement.

google play store agreement

Click the Agree button and then click on SIGN IN on the next screen. The Google Play Store asks you to accept another agreement. Click on ACCEPT. The Google Play Store now runs on your Chromebook.

microsoft excel for android

To install apps find an app you want to install. For example, we’ll install Microsoft Excel. Search for it in the search box. The app will show up in a grid of apps that the search finds. Click on the app’s thumbnail and then click on the INSTALL button. The app will install. Once it’s finished click on OPEN to run it for the first time.

chromebook launcher android apps

Android apps that you install on a Chromebook show up in the  Launcher. Click on the search icon at the left end of the ChromeOS Shelf. You can search for the app title or click on the All Apps box. This opens another box with all the Chrome Web Apps and Android Apps that you’ve installed on the device. Most likely the Android apps will show up on the rightmost screen. Click on the rightmost blue line at the bottom of the box of app icons or use the arrow keys to scroll to the right.

pin to shelf on chromeos

If you want quicker access to the Android apps you install on the Chromebook, right-click on an app icon and choose Pin to Shelf in the menu that pops up.

How Well Do Android Apps Run on a Chromebook?

So far, most of the Android apps I installed on my Chromebook work well. One of my apps is a book viewer and lets me view two different books at a time. The control that opens the split screen view sits in the bottom right corner. The ChromeOS Shelf covers this control and I had to set it to Autohide so that the Shelf would disappear.

android share feature broken on ChromeOS

The Share feature doesn’t work properly in one app. I tapped the Share button and it came up with a Share via… button. Usually, I tap on this button and it gives me a list of apps I can use to share the photo. On the Chromebook, it does nothing since the Share via feature doesn’t work in ChromeOS.

Other than these two minor issues, all the ChromeOS apps I’ve installed work well. It opens a new world to Chromebook users.

 

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8 Comments

  1. T.

    06/27/2016 at 5:06 am

    well i have the r11 new chromebook released in feb. 2016 cb5-132t-c32m was told that it will be one of the first three to get playstore ok i also went tand change to the dev channel thats a lie it dont do has this page says so someone told it wrong or google just wants the high dollar books to get chromei and im sure others was told that this one was to get android apps

    Reply

  2. PETER Chibuye

    06/27/2016 at 1:23 pm

    thanks

    Reply

  3. edutechlab

    06/27/2016 at 7:57 pm

    Great tutorial, thanks for being on top of the roll out!

    Reply

  4. Scott D Allan

    07/05/2016 at 3:53 pm

    I have an i3 chromebook with a passmark score way above all of these newer systems with crummy intel atoms and rockchips, yet I wont have access to android apps simply because the market demands I get a new chromebook. This piece of junk has been sitting in my closet useless. Google abandoned me. Gee thanks google.

    Reply

  5. Steven Y

    10/12/2016 at 12:17 pm

    My Acer CB3-111 didn’t have the app store after doing what was mentioned in the article. Has anyone had any luck?

    Reply

  6. S. Day.

    10/15/2016 at 11:12 pm

    I have a hp chromebook. I changed to developer mode, but nothings happened!

    Reply

  7. K9

    12/28/2016 at 12:11 am

    i have acer 15 and there was no pop up for google play…

    Reply

  8. SId

    03/03/2017 at 9:23 am

    Just Tested Nothing shows on my Toshiba Chromebook.

    Reply

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