For business purposes, you would need to test some applications for Android; however you do not have a smartphone or tablet equipped with this operating system and you do not know how to proceed. Or maybe you would like to try some apps for Android that you are not 100% convinced of and you don’t want to “flood” your smartphone unnecessarily. Do not worry. Whatever your need in this regard, I have the answer for you: the virtualization of Android.
Well yes! There are several programs, both for Windows and for macOS, that allow you to virtualize or emulate Android on your computer in a surprisingly easy way. Furthermore, if this may interest you, some of these can also be used via browser, thus allowing you to use the “green robot” operating system without having to install anything locally. Interesting, right?
I bet that after this preamble you are even more interested in finding out how to virtualize android. Well … then let’s ban the chatter and go straight to the heart of the article. Come on: make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs and, above all, implement the “tips” that I will give you. There is nothing left for me to do, except wish you good reading and have fun!
How to virtualize Android on Windows and Mac
If you agree, let’s see right away how to virtualize android on windows and mac using some programs useful for the purpose. Find them listed below.
BlueStacks (Windows / macOS)
BlueStacks is a basic free program that allows you to emulate Android on Windows and macOS in a surprisingly easy way, allowing access and use of a wide range of applications and games.
The first step you need to take to get it is to connect to its official website and click on the button Download BlueStacks. Once you have downloaded the BlueStacks installation package, if you are using Windowsopen the .exe file that you have just obtained, click on the button first Yup and then on the buttons Go on And Install now, to install the program. During the setup some files will be downloaded from the Internet, so the procedure could take up to several minutes.
If you use macOSInstead, open the .dmg file that you downloaded from the BlueStacks website, double-click the icon BlueStacks Installer contained inside and click on the buttons You open And Install Now. Next, provide the password administration of your Mac in the box that appeared on the screen, click on the button Install assistant and wait for the installation procedure to complete (also in this case, be aware that it could take several minutes).
Next, click on the button Open Security preferencesclick on the button Allow in the window of System Preferences that has opened, click on the closed padlock at the bottom left, type the admin password macOS and click on the button Unlock in the opened box.
Once BlueStacks is installed and started, regardless of the operating system used, click the button Start that you should see in the main window of the program and log in to a valid Google account (if for privacy reasons or other reasons you want to avoid using your personal account, you can create an ad hoc one) and accept the terms and conditions of use of the service clicking the buttons Forward And I accept. Finally, press the button Get started with BlueStacks.
At this point you should find yourself in the main screen of BlueStacks and you will be able to virtualize android by installing and launching apps available on Google’s mobile operating system. If you are offered a tutorial about using BlueStacks, click on the button Got it to “bypass” this step.
To browse the Android applications available on BlueStacksclick on one of the buttons at the top of the screen concerning each category of app (eg. News, Games and so on) or, if you prefer, search “manually” the ones you are interested in by clicking on the symbol magnifying glass (top right) and search for them “manually”.
To install one, just click on app name and wait for its download to complete (which you can monitor from the appropriate window). To see the Android apps installed, just click on the button instead My apps located at the top left and select app name to start and use directly on your computer. Easy, right?
BlueStacks X (Web)
You want to virtualize android online, specifically for playing Android games on PC? In that case you can take advantage BlueStack X, the BlueStacks cloud gaming service that allows you to play numerous titles available on Android on all major browsers. Before explaining how to use it, however, I want to tell you that at the time of writing the service is still on the menu beta version, so there may be some malfunction here and there. Understood?
To use BlueStacks X, go to its main page and click, if necessary, on the icon speech bubble (on the left). Now you have to find the title you want to play in the cloud: to do this, search for it via the search field Find games (top left) or scroll through the titles that are proposed in the foreground, if you want to start from those.
As soon as you find the game you are interested in, hover the mouse pointer over it, click on the blue button Play On Cloudthen sign in with a Google account (Log in with Google), with a Facebook account (Sign in with Facebook) or with a Discord account (Log in with Discord).
At this point the most is done. You just have to follow the instructions given to you on the screen by the game that you have decided to try interacting with the elements visible on the screen via mouse and keyboard.
NoxPlayer (Windows / macOS)
NoxPlayer is another solution that I invite you to consider. It is a free Android emulator, available for both Windows and macOS, which is also quite simple to use. It allows you to install games from both Play Store and APK files and also get root permissions.
To install it, go to its main page, click on the button Download Version xxxx [gg/mm/aaa] placed in the center and, after installation, open the file obtained.
Now if you are using Windowsopen the .exe file you got, click the buttons Yup And Install and, after waiting for the installation to complete (which may take several minutes) and refusing any requests to install additional software, click on the button Start.
On Macinstead, start the .dmg file that you got from the NoxPlayer site, double click on the icon NoxPlayerInstaller contained within it, click on the button You open in the opened window and press the buttons Install And Start. When asked, provide the password of your macOS user account and press the button OK.
Now, when you first start NoxPlayer, you should see the main Play Store screen (if not, you can call it from the folder Tools): click on the buttons Register And Log in and, when requested, provide the credentials of a Google account in the appropriate text fields to log in (if you do not want to use your Google account or do not have one, you can create a new one at the moment) and click on the button Accept to accept the conditions of use of the service. Then define the settings for backup and click the button again Accept.
Now you just have to install the virtualized games with Android by downloading them from the Play Store using the procedure to download Android apps from the Google store or, in the case of APK files, by clicking on the square with the words “APK” located in the sidebar of the program and, using the window visible on the screen, selecting the file to install.
Other useful solutions to virtualize Android
I conclude the article by listing you other useful solutions to virtualize Android. See if these alternatives are to your liking and try them out.
- Android-x86 (Windows / macOS) – this is a sort of version of Android “adapted” for use in the desktop environment, which is available for installation directly on the computer or for emulation with a program to emulate operating systems (eg. VirtualBox).
- LDPlayer (Windows) – is a free Android emulator that allows you to play many videogame titles for the “green robot” operating system on your PC.
- GameLoop (Windows) – is the official emulator dedicated to the titles of the software house Tencent, including Call of Duty: Mobile, but is also compatible with video games made by third-party developers. More info here.
Salvatore Aranzulla is the most widely read blogger and IT popularizer in Italy. He is known for discovering vulnerabilities on Google and Microsoft sites. He collaborates with computer magazines and edited the technological column of the newspaper Il Messaggero. He is the founder of Aranzulla.it, one of the thirty most visited sites in Italy, in which he responds with simplicity to thousands of computer-related doubts. He has published for Mondadori and Mondadori Informatica.