Native Android app support is one of Windows 11’s most exciting features, but there are some notable limitations.
The most significant is that you can only officially download apps from the Amazon Appstore, which has a tiny fraction of those you’ll find on the Google Play Store. It also remains in testing at the time of writing, limited to the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program if you have a US account.
But what if there was a way to access the full Play Store library on any Windows 11 device right now? It sounds too good to be true, but we’ve tested and can confirm that the method described in this article works.
How to install the Google Play Store on Windows 11
Before proceeding, it's worth noting that this process only works with x86, 64-bit devices. There’s a separate link below for ARM-based devices, but it won’t work on 32-bit hardware.
You’ll also need to make sure virtualization is enabled first. Head to Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows features on or off. Make sure the boxes next to ‘Virtual Machine Platform’ and ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’ are both ticked, then click ‘OK’ to confirm.
If you’ve already installed the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), you’ll also need to uninstall it. Open Settings > Apps > Apps & features and search for it. If nothing appears, it’s not installed.
- Head to Settings > Privacy & security > For developers
- Under ‘Developer Mode’, click the toggle to turn it on, then click ‘Yes’ to confirm
- Download a new version of the Windows Subsystem for Android via the following link. If you’re using an ARM-based device such as the Surface Pro X, use this link instead
- Once complete, head to the downloads folder in File Explorer and double-click the file known as ‘WSA-Patched’ to unzip it
- In the search bar at the top of the Start menu, type ‘powershell’
- From the options on the right, click ‘Run as Administrator’. Click ‘Yes’ to confirm you allow the app to make changes
- In the PowerShell window that appears, paste ‘Add-AppxPackage -Register C:\WSA-Patched\AppxManifest.xml’, but replace the ‘C:\WSA-Patched\’ section with the location of the unzipped file in File Explorer (click the address bar, then copy and paste it). In the example below, it’s ‘Add-AppxPackage -Register C:\Users\anyro\Downloads\WSA-Patched\WSA-Patched\AppxManifest.xml’
- It might not look like anything has happened, but you should now see ‘Windows Subsystem for Android’ in the Recommended section of the Start menu. Click to launch it
- From the window that appears, click ‘Files’ to start the WSA
- After a few seconds, you should see a pop-up saying ‘Windows Defender Firewall has blocked some features of this app’. Click ‘Allow access’ to continue
- You should now see the Play Store and Amazon Appstore in the Recommended section of the Start menu. However, in its current form you’re unable to sign in
- To fix this, download ADBKit from the following link. It’s a very small file, so will only take a couple of seconds
- Head into the downloads folder of File Explorer again and double-click the ‘ADBKit’ file
- Double-click the file named ‘adb’ and choose ‘Extract all’, then ‘Extract’ to confirm
- Back in the Windows Subsystem Settings, click the toggle to turn on ‘Developer mode’. You should now see a message next to it saying ‘ADB can be connected on 127.0.0.1:58526’
- Launch the Play Store app and keep it open
- In File Explorer, find and open the ‘ADBKit’ folder you already unzipped. Right-click anywhere and choose ‘Open in Windows Terminal’
- Run the command ‘.\adb.exe connect 127.0.0.1:58526’
- Even if you get an error message, this should still have been completed successfully. Run the command ‘.\adb.exe devices’ to confirm – If you see ‘127.0.0.1:58526’ under ‘List of devices attached’, it’s worked
- Run the command ‘.\adb.exe shell’
- Run the command ‘su’. You should see a message saying ‘You are now root’
- Run the command ‘setenforce 0’. The PowerShell window should now look similar to below
- Head to the Play Store window and click ‘Sign in’. You should now be directed to log in with your Google email and password
- Once signed in, you can install apps just like you would on any Android phone
That’s it! You can now install any Android app from the Google Play Store on your Windows 11 device. These can be pinned to the taskbar and work with Windows 11’s multitasking features. They also adjust their appearance to the device theme.