How to run Android apps on your Chromebook - Install, Run, and Develop

Just like any other laptop or tablet, a Chromebook with the Chrome browser and Chrome extension works fine. The lack of Mac and Windows applications, however, makes it a little less exciting!

It is here that an Android application comes to your rescue. With Google Play Store installed on your Chromebook, you are provided with millions of work and game applications.

With the mobile apps development industry at its pinnacle, it is difficult to single out a collection of apps for your Chromebook from a sea of mobile-specific utilities.

To help you join the fun and get started with Android apps, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide with all the details.

How to identify if your Chromebook can run Android apps?

There is a never-ending list of Chromebooks that are capable of running Android applications. But it isn’t that hard to identify whether yours is one of them or not.

Simply follow these steps:

  • Go to your Chromebooks’ Settings.
  • On the left-hand side, you’ll see the ‘Menu’ option, click on it and then on the ‘Applications’ link.
  • Search for ‘Google Play Store’ at the top of the main window.
  • If you can see the Play Store and it lets you install games and apps on your Chromebook, then you’re good to go.

At times, your Chromebook might be able to run Android applications. But it might require you to enable the feature. For that, follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Again go to Chromebooks’ Settings, click on Apps and then on Google Play Store (if you’re on the main window).
  • At the top right corner of Google Play Store, you’ll see a label named “Turn On’; simply click on it.
  • Before you can proceed ahead, the usual ‘Terms of Service’ document will pop up. Scroll through it and click the checkbox. If you want, you can even read it before giving your approval.

There we have it!

Now that you have enabled the Google Play Store, search for its logo in the Chromebooks’ launcher. You can do this by either using the button above the left-side Shift key or by clicking the Launcher icon on the screen’s bottom-left corner.

  • Note: When you open the Play Store for the first time, it will ask you to finish the ‘Account Set-up’. Here it might ask you for a payment method. But it’s up to you whether you want to add it or not. If you don’t, simply skip that part.

Now you know how to enable Google Play Store on your Chromebook. Let’s understand how to install the required apps.

How to install an Android application on Chromebook?

Follow these simple steps to install apps easily:

  • From your app drawer or dock, go to Google Play Store.
  • Click on the Categories or Search bar to browse the preferred app.
  • Entre a specific category or the application’s name in the search bar.
  • Select the app you want to install from the search result or category.
  • Hit install!

Similar to Android applications on your mobile, you have to grant app permission for it to open and function on Chromebook too. Older applications might already have permission to open, but those would be very few.

  • Note: The installed apps can store game data and downloaded videos on the SD card. But the apps must be in Chromebook’s internal memory. The apps, therefore, cannot be moved to the SD card like it can be done on phones.

How to allow Android applications to use microSD or SD cards?

Granting apps’ permission is a no-brainer! Here’s what you have to do:

  • Go to Chromebook’s Settings.
  • Click on Device and then on Storage Management.
  • Go to external storage preference.
  • Hit the button next to the microSD or SD card.

This has to be done for every external storage device and flash drive you connect with the Chromebook for applications to communicate with it.

There are still a few apps that won’t support SD storage as they do on phones. For instance, on your Chromebook, you cannot move videos from the Disney+ application to your SD card. It is, however, possible on your mobile phone.

What are the Android applications to get started with?

There is a pool of amazing applications that can be used on your Chromebook. But if you are still confused, here are some of the apps that we’d recommend you to install and use.

  • Disney+

Have you always wanted to use this magical streaming application? Now you can get a free trial period of three months on your Chromebook.

If you’ve already signed up for Disney+, then you’re in for a treat! Chromebook is one of the best laptops to use this app since it is the only one that lets you download and watch videos offline.

  • Google Keep

This website works fine on Chromebooks. But its application lets you sync videos for offline viewing and has better design when compared to its website. 

Google Keep is the best application when you want to prepare a grocery list or note down important pointers.

  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection

The Microsoft Solitaire Collection was initially available only on a Windows laptop/desktop. But now that an application has been developed for this suite, you can easily download it on your Chromebook.

Since the majority of Chromebooks are equipped with a touchscreen feature, you can now tap your cards rather than clicking them with a mouse!

How to update apps on Chromebooks?

Installing and using applications – it doesn’t stop here!

With Android app development moving at a faster pace, you must keep updating the apps regularly. This will ensure that they function smoothly.

Most of the applications on your Chromebook have the ‘auto-update’ option enabled. Since data is sometimes scarce, you must open the Google Play Store and ensure the apps are updated.

Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  • Go to Google Play Store through the app drawer or dock.
  • On the screen’s top-left corner you’ll see a three-dot menu icon; click on it.
  • Click on ‘My applications and games’.
  • Now click on ‘Update All’.

That’s it!

Final Thoughts

Remember, the Android application experience differs from device-to-device. Since a Chromebook has limited hardware, your applications might not function as smoothly and fast as they do on mobile phones.

Chrome OS, however, has developed a lot over the past few years. And it is no longer only a ‘Glorified Browser.

Author Bio: Freya Jacob is a content specialist, worked formally for She is also an adept content strategist with expertise in curating meaningful content. In addition, she is also an avid reader who loves to binge a variety of books and informative articles. She can amazingly convert boring content into something engaging.

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