Windows 11 will run Android apps via Amazon’s App Store (which will live inside the Windows Store). But it’ll also let you side-load APK files too…
In the wake of the Windows 11 launch, there were plenty of things to talk and think about.
With the new operating system from Microsoft, we have support for Android apps on Windows for the first time as well as big, sweeping design changes to the look and feel of Window’s UX.
Android apps on Windows 11 will be handled by Intel’s Bridge technology, curated by Amazon, at least to begin with, and then we could see more “application stores” added – Bridge is not limited to Android apps.
How To Download APK Files on Windows 11
Getting access to Android apps via the Amazon App Store is one thing, but a Microsoft exec has now confirmed that Windows 11 users will be able to side-load APK files in Windows 11 too.
This is a pretty big deal too, although there are some things users need to be aware of.
The benefit of side-loading APK files is that you can potentially download cracked versions of Android apps and install them on your PC. Or applications that are banned from Google Play and/or Amazon’s App Store.
With APK files, you can also download apps onto Windows 11 that are not currently hosted by Amazon’s App Store.
Amazon’s App Store and Google Play are curated app repositories which means all the content on them has to match up with Google and Amazon’s guidelines.
If the app breaks the rules or is considered “unsavoury” for whatever reason by Amazon and Google, it can and will be removed from either companies respective app store.
If this does happen, users can still download the app and run it on there phones by leveraging an APK file of it online – you can download these from loads of places.
Are APK Files Safe?
APK files live outside Google and Amazon’s app stores. They’re not regulated or tested, so they could – and occasionally do – contain things like malware which can really mess up your phone and/or PC.
APK files are completely legal (spoiler: all Android apps are APK files) but APK files from outside the Play Store or Amazon App Store, again, are not vetted for safety, so it is always advisable to proceed with caution.
One of the main reasons people download APK files to access premium or paid-for apps for free. If an app or game costs $5 inside the Play Store, chances are there will be a cracked version of it online that you can download as an APK file for free.
This is not legal, however – it’s the same as downloading pirated movies or TV shows via places like PirateBay or other P2P sites.
Windows 11, APK Files & Safety…
Once you have Windows 11 downloaded and installed on your PC, you will be able to side-load APK files.
But in order to do this safely, you will A) want to have some seriously robust security software up and running on your PC, and B) make sure you download them from a legit source.
You should also probably avoid illegal, cracked applications and anything that looks too good to be true – most of the time they are.
If you can do all of the above, having the ability to download and install APK files on Windows 11 is a very useful feature. It will let you install apps not featured inside the Amazon App Store, opening up loads more potential for working, gaming, and media inside Windows 11.
And be sure to check out How To Run Windows On M1 Macs!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.