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How to Run Android Apps and Games on Linux?



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Do you want to run android apps and games on Linux? But Android isn't natively supported on Linux. However, they both share the same kernel. In case you were not aware, most of our Smartphones run on ARM64 based Linux Kernel. However, if we try to run APK files on Linux, it isn't possible in a straightforward way. Android APKs are not simple executables like .exe files on Windows or .dmg files on Mac. They're basically installer packages like ZIP files that extract files to specified places. When run, the extracted files use the Android operating system's features to access the file system, hardware, and other resources. Some Linux distros have some sort of Android App compatibility. But you have to use Android emulators or choose an OS that supports Android apps. There are many alternatives available, but Anbox is the most effective. This program allows you to run android apps on Linux without an emulator. Let's have a look at how to use Anbox to run android apps and games on Linux.

How to Run Android Apps and Games on Linux


Anbox is a free and open-source program to run android apps and games on Linux without an emulator. It's based on the Android Open Source Project's (AOSP) most recent version and provides a windowed Android environment. It has no restrictions, meaning you can run any software of Android on Linux.

The steps for using Anbox on your Linux System:

  • Install snapd service and Anbox.
  • Launch Anbox
  • Download APK files
  • Wait for the APK file to finish installing.
  • Click to android apps and games on Linux

Anbox comes as a snap package. So, unless your Linux OS can unpack and install snaps, you won't be able to use Anbox.

From Ubuntu 14.04 onwards, snapd is pre-installed. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and later have official support for Anbox. For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, however, only a beta version is available, which causes additional procedures.

Use this terminal command to install snapd:

sudo apt install snapd

Anbox on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS

The following are on how to install Anbox on your Linux PC after installing the snapd service.

  1. Use this command:
snap install --classic anbox-installer && anbox-installer

2. Then enter your password to download the snap package.

3. Now there will be options:

  • Install Anbox
  • Remove Anbox

Credit: MakeUseOf

4. Choose option 1.

5. After that, you'll get a summary of the installation's functions.

6. Wait for Anbox to install after typing I AGREE. Before continuing, follow the instructions to reboot.

Anbox on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Anbox installation is different because there is only a beta version available. 

To install the Anbox beta version:

sudo snap install --devmode --beta anbox

Wait for this to finish installing before restarting your computer.

How to Install APK Files on Linux

After restarting, there will be Anbox in your desktop menu. Click it to start, and the Anbox window will appear shortly.

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Credit: MakeUseOf

It will show you a list of fundamental Android apps like Calendar and Email. To access these icons, just left-click them. They'll appear in the new window. The WebView Shell is provided if you need a browser.

Download Android Apps from Google Play and Other Sources

To use android apps and games on Linux, just download the APK files. It will install just like any other Android app.

On Anbox, you have two choices for installing apps:

  • Sideload
  • Google Play Store

Sideloading is a straightforward process. You'll need to allow installation from unknown sources if you want to sideload APKs:

  1. From the apps screen, go to the Settings menu.
  2. Select Security
  3. Opt-in for unknown sources
  4. To accept, click OK

Anbox Playstore Installer, a GitHub project, allows installing applications in Anbox as simple as on your mobile or tab.

In Android, make sure you have the right permissions.

  • Select the Settings
  • Go to Apps and tap Google Play Services
  • Allow all access in the Permissions section
  • Carry on with this procedure for Google Play.

From Google Play, you can now install Android apps in Anbox directly.

Alternatives to Run Android Apps on Linux

Anbox is a solid choice to run android apps and games on Linux, but it isn't the only one. You may also use:

  • Genymotion
  • Android Studio
  • Archon

There is also two Android-based OS that can be installed on x86 PCs. They allow you to use Android apps:

  • Android-x86 
  • BlissOS

That's all for today. For more hacks follow TechBurner!

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