If you’ve ever wanted to run your favorite Android apps or games on your iMac, Mac Mini or MacBook, we’ve got good news: you can do it, it’s easy, and it won’t cost you a penny. Here’s how to run Android apps on your Mac.
How to run Android apps on your Mac: what you need
There are several ways to run Android apps on your Mac. You can install the ARC Welder app in Google Chrome and run apps inside the browser, although you can only run one app at a time. You can install the free Bluestacks app, which emulates an Android phablet and enables you to run most Android apps inside its window.
Or you could try Andy The Android Emulator, which enables you to use your phone as a joystick (via an additional app) while the Android emulator app runs on your desktop. That’s the option we’re going to show you here.
Why would you want to run Android apps on your Mac anyway?
The bigger screen’s a big plus, of course, but running apps on an emulator also solves one of the little problems of mobile devices: they often come with fairly limited storage. That isn’t usually an issue on a computer, so you can install many more apps. You might want to use an emulator to try out an app without risking your everyday device, or you might just want access to an Android app that isn’t available for your Mac.
How to run Android apps on your Mac: installing Andy the Android Emulator
Installing Andy couldn’t be simpler. Pop along to andyroid.net on your Mac and download the package. When it’s finished downloading you’ll find the Andy .dmg file in your Downloads folder. Double-click on that to open it. You should now see a window with the Andy package file (.pkg): double-click that to launch the installer.
It’s a standard Mac installer so it’s just a matter of clicking through the screens, agreeing to the license agreement and then letting the installer do its thing. Once it’s finished you can launch Andy by going into your Applications folder and double-clicking on Andy.
How to run Android apps on your Mac: using Andy the Android Emulator
When you first run Andy you’ll need to enter your Google Account details. If you’ve enabled multi-factor authentication (which you really should: it keeps your account safe) you’ll need to enter the verification code Google sends you before you can continue. You’ll also be asked for your account details again so Andy can sync your settings between the emulator and your other devices via the 1ClickSync app.
Once you’ve done all that, Android will boot into the home screen. Andy emulates a Galaxy Tab 3 running Android 4.2.2, and as you’ll discover it runs very quickly. To install apps, it’s just a matter of going into the Google Play store and installing them from there: apps then run exactly as they would on a Galaxy.
You’ll also see additional buttons at the bottom of the screen: these enable you to switch from landscape to portrait mode or to enter full screen mode, which is pretty impressive on a 27-inch iMac and really useful for strategy games or anything else where bigger is better. The Andy window is scalable too, so you can make it any size you like and everything resizes to fit the new dimensions.
You can also use the buttons to allow or block use of your Mac’s microphone and camera.
If you’ve used OS emulators before you might be wondering about performance: does running Andy slow the rest of your Mac to a crawl? The happy answer is no: a quick check in Activity Monitor shows that Andy (and its VirtualBox engine) running Clash of Clans takes up just under 2.5 GB of system memory and about 40 percent of CPU; idling, it takes up about 6 percent of CPU and the same amount of RAM. We did encounter the odd crash and freeze, but nothing that a quick Force Quit of the Andy app couldn’t solve.
Do you use Andy, or are you more of a Bluestacks fan? Let us know in the comments.