Microsoft delays Android app support on Windows 11 into 2022

Windows 11 Android App Store
Windows 11 Android App Store (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Android app support on Windows 11 will not ship this year.
  • A preview for Insiders will begin rolling out in the coming months.
  • Microsoft says it's working closely with Intel and Amazon.

One of Windows 11's most anticipated features is the Android app support that was first announced during the Windows 11 event back in June. Unfortunately, those interested in this feature are going to have to wait, as Microsoft has today confirmed that Android app support will not be shipping as part of Windows 11 this fall, which begins rolling out on October 5.

Android app support will allow users to find, install, and run Android apps via the Microsoft Store on Windows 11. In partnership with the Amazon AppStore, Android apps on Windows 11 are powered by a new Windows Subsystem for Android, which Microsoft says will go into preview with Insiders in the coming months.

This means that Android app support won't ship officially until sometime in 2022 at the earliest. We don't know if Microsoft plans to deliver this feature in an update to Windows 11 version 21H2, or if Microsoft will wait until the next big Windows 11 feature update, version 22H2, currently scheduled for release in fall 2022.

Microsoft has been working closely with Amazon and Intel to bring Android app support to Windows 11. Amazon's own App Store will be where Android apps are hosted and downloaded, and Intel is working on a bridge technology that allows ARM compiled Android apps to run on x86 platforms.

Are you interested in trying out Android app support on Windows 11? What apps do you see yourself using on your PC? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • As we all know Microsoft, I tend to believe Android apps will never come to windows 11.
  • It was a good joke
  • Agreed, delayed more likely means cancelled
  • What do you mean? Project Astoria will launch any day now!
  • We are testing 'sets' that will come to Windows 10 in 2018
  • I see nothing that backs up your statement.
  • Though for me its remain to be seen how much Android support will be useful for me, it is still shame this won't get with the release date on October considering this has been already announced with Windows 11 introduction. So it means that either Android support is technically far from ready (bugs, performance issues, important integration not working?) or some other factors like some issues with Amazon?
  • The Amazon thing doesn't make sense. MS has said you'd be able to install apks. Don't need Amazon for that.
  • The number of APKs that you can get legally and that would work without Google Play Services on the device is close to 0. So I don't expect that Microsoft would ever launch something like that.
  • You don't know what you're talking about. They've already announced that you can install apks.
  • I quite know what I talk about, but I am not sure what's your problem. Reading or comprehension or just patience to do any of those? But to clear things up, I relate to what you say, APK support only without Amazon.
  • Well you can, but still having Amazon apps be available on the store is crucial. I don't think Microsoft will openly market you can install APK on Windows 11. That may be a legal issue if they do that. Not to mention the inherit risks using APK on random parts of the internet. APK may not directly infect Windows 11 machines, but the risks are the user's data here if they somehow used malicious APKs.
  • They already have said they would allow it not to mention that if the tech was working it could be included in Insider's builds. Android apps are almost certainly running sandboxed. You're talking nonsense.
  • No not talking nonsense. It makes total sense sideloading APKs is a feature that won't be heavily marketed, for the very reasons they said.
  • No but why release half a feature? It makes sense to release Android support as a whole.
  • Very Frustrating , waiting this feature but need to wait
  • Didn't they do exactly this with Astoria? And then cancelled it cause it was too much work... I'll believe it when I see it.
  • "And then cancelled it cause it was too much work..."
    I love how the internet twists a story into something else. Now Astoria was canceled because "too much work."🤦‍♂️ No, Astoria was canned because it was a bad strategy that undermined Microsoft's push for UWP at the time, which was already struggling, and due to heavy pushback from developers, who hated the idea. It also did nothing to help BlackBerry when it tried it. It wasn't because Microsoft was tired that day
  • Why was Astoria a bad strategy and Islandwood not?
  • Because one let a dev recompile a native windows app that would have native notification, etc, whereas the other ran an unchanged android app.
  • I don't think that's true to what the situation was at the time, or what ended up happening. I think most people supported Astoria because it was already VERY apparent that UWP was never going to get to a place good enough to support the platform. Astoria was with the W10M reboot, right? They'd already had WP7 and WP8 to get developers' attention and failed. As much as we WANTED UWP to work, Astoria was seen as a more realistic solution to a problem that wasn't getting a lick better over time. No one's suggesting that "Microsoft was tired that day," rather that Microsoft's willingness to commit to a project long-term was, and sometimes still is, not the best. That's a big part of why their mobile platforms failed--they get hard resetting their user base with big changes because they never made their decisions with forward-thinking plans. They didn't put multi-core CPU support in WP7, as one of the issues along the way. Both of their big shifts left their existing customers behind (like how they didn't officially support the Lumia 920 with W10M, even though you could beta test it through Insider before it released). Astoria had the potential to clean up some of the commitment issues from third-party devs and MS itself. From the perspective of "it was going to disrupt UWP), it's not like the platform showed any significant improvement without Astoria, UWP or otherwise, so that was basically gambling on what had already failed multiple times.
  • "I don't think that's true to what the situation was at the time, or what ended up happening."
    Keith, it is what happened. Developers of Windows apps were up in arms at the decision and it was a very unpopular proposition both internally and outside of MS. I'm not talking about the "fans" of Windows Phone, I'm talking about the dev community and even people within the company who thought it was a bad idea.
    "No one's suggesting that "Microsoft was tired that day,"
    That's how I interpreted "And then cancelled it cause it was too much work..." It wasn't too much work, it was already working! And what MS learned from Astoria went right into WSL and now ASL for Windows 11.
    "Astoria had the potential to clean up some of the commitment issues from third-party devs and MS itself. "
    Sure, that's what BlackBerry thought too. Android app emulation has, to my knowledge, never saved a platform with an app-gap problem. Never, unless you can name me one. There's not even a single instance of where app-emulation is preferred or successful. PWA has a much better future.
  • You mean PWA that, like Edge, doesn't even use native OS touch text selection UI/UX and instead uses Chromiums buggy and unreliable one?
  • To be fair, that issue is more to do with Edge and Windows team not having synergy to coordinate about using native controls, more on Edge team not using what Windows already have. This more of a a seperate problem that the PWA itself. Edge team is doing a great job with its browser, they improve alot and did many right directions. But one of their biggest flaws at the moment is how they often deviate from Windows direction from the UI design to certain OS integrations and features missing. Though this may be to do with how much they haven't changed with Chromium yet.
  • Microsoft's modus operandi - overpromise and underdeliver. Then hope no one notices the feature never ends up shipping.
  • It doesn't matter at this point. They need to focus on core Windows 11 things before they switch to Android focus. However, I agree with the comments of MS just ditching this later and hoping no one notices. I would not at all be surprised if this happened.
  • Exactly what are the core Windows 11 things? Corners more rounder? Icons more centered?
  • Windows snap-layouts will be very useful on large monitors.
    And the TPM requirements will enable better security.
    The media focuses on eyecandy but new Windows full versions come with deep changes under the covers. They don't always work out but they're never skin deep.
  • TPM requirement is not a feature. If you have TPM now then you have the security already. What are these deep changes under the covers? Name them. I asked what are the core Windows 11 things? So what are they?
  • No, REAL tablet features... like unified touchscreen navigation, intuitive multitasking layout, rich app panels, fully customizable and intuitive animations, things like that. And ironing out all the constant lags and stutters that comes from Service Host executables and System Interrupts, the minor errors that occur the longer you have your computer on. Just basic stuff you see on iPad, Android and ChromeOS devices. Shortcuts don't tend to work when it comes to usability. You need to change everything from the ground up.
  • Microsoft Authenticator with its password manager is something I really miss on the desktop
  • Authenticator has no plans to come to the desktop due to security concerns. It was, last I heard, only a mobile app as that is the paradigm Microsoft wants for it.
  • Yeah, plus... if you out authenticator on the desktop, the same thing you're trying to log into, it's no longer 2FA. Kind of defeats the purpose in my view
  • also log into services on your phone. Not sure I get your point.
  • Of course having the 2FA on the same device is not as secure as having it on a separate one, but as x64eyes already mentioned, the same is true for your phone. Anyway, you can already run the app through Your Phone with selected devices... 2FA is only one factor though.
    The bigger advantage would be the password manager. Yes it is synchronized with Edge, but the Edge password manager can only auto-fill in Edge.
    Authenticator would have the advantage to also be able to auto-fill in other Apps.
    Moreover, managing passwords in there would be more convenient than having to go through Edge Settings
  • Aren't they all stored in Edge? I believe that's where the Auth app got them, at least for me.
  • Good. Focus should be on making the base of windows 11 solid.
  • The base of Windows 11 is Windows 10. Base aint changing.
  • Announced Android support when W11 was announced, now it has possibly a 12-18 month delay. Delayed will likely become cancelled by that time
  • "now it has possibly a 12-18 month delay"
    It could also be just 6 weeks since we're just making up numbers and ETAs now, right?
  • Android support is pretty big update. I don't think they'll release it as a cumulative update. So, it's more likely will be 12 months, or more.
  • Well October 5 is just 5 weeks away so it's unlikely we'll see this in 6 weeks, let alone 6 months. It's not even in Dev channel Insider yet
  • As if anybody should be surprised by guess is the soon to be announced Surface devices (whatever they may be) need Windows 11, so in the immortal words of Adm. Farragut - "D the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
  • Here we go again. The year was 2015, and Windows Phone fans were beginning to lose hope. And then, Project Astoria was announced. Suddenly, there was talk of millions of Android apps becoming available to Windows 10 (and W10 Mobile). These were exciting times. Through Project Astoria, developers could port their Android apps to Windows with the minimum of fuss. Windows 10 was going to run millions and millions of apps. Windows 10 Mobile was going to have app parity with the best Android phones on the market. By 2016, the "app gap" was going to be a thing of the past. Terry Myerson was a goddam hero and a genius who was going to single handedly save Windows Phone. Even the crappy build quality of the Lumia 950 couldn't dampen our spirits. Hooray! Eight years of sticking with the mostly downward projecting roller coaster that had been Windows Phone was about to take a serious upward turn. And then, it wasn't... Project Astoria, and the iOS app bridge, were killed off, along with Windows Phone. Why do I mention all this? It's my own rambling thoughts, but it's my belief that the only reason Microsoft have any interest in Android apps running on Windows is so they can push a Windows 11 mobile device...the Duo. Let's be honest, how many people are going to waste their lives playing on tik tok on a laptop? It's a mobile app in its entirety. And that takes me full circle to where it all began. Windows Phone needed access to a vast mobile app store to survive. For whatever reason, they couldn't pull it off. If/when Microsoft put Windows 11 onto the Duo and turn it into an actual Surface device, they're going to need access to those millions and millions of Android apps to give it half a chance of success...or even survival. But when I hear about app bridge delays, 2016 comes rushing back. Lots of promising, very little delivering.
  • “If/when Microsoft put Windows 11 onto the Duo and turn it into an actual Surface device, “ Why would MS put Windows 11 on a phone? Windows 11 is NOT a mobile OS. It is a desktop OS. It would be unusable on such a small screen. “they're going to need access to those millions and millions of Android apps to give it half a chance of success...or even survival.” The Duo already runs Android. Therefore it ALREADY has access to “millions and millions of Android apps” and ALREADY has half a chance of success. Why would you want to run Desktop Windows on a phone, just to run Android apps? Why not just run Android? Running Android apps in desktop Windows via emulation Is NOT a better solution than running Android apps natively in Android. Of course, whether or not the Duo actually succeeds is another discussion. It also has nothing to do with putting “Windows 11 onto the Duo and turn it into an actual Surface device”.
  • Time to install Bluestacks in the interim. I just need the Android version of Kindle since neither the Windows or Web version support copy/paste.
  • I tried Bluestacks.
    It ran but not usably so.
    I hope for better from W11 given the Intel and Amazon (Lab126, really) involvement.
    The value here is in lightweight widget-class apps: combined with the right snap-layouts there is significant productivity value to be found.
  • I knew it. Classic Microsoft over promised things they cannot deliver. They haven't changed after all.
  • What about 64-Bit support on Windows on ARM? This has gone quiet too.