Running an APK (Android Application Package) file on Windows requires the usage of an Android emulator. Below we'll go over the various solutions that exist for running Android apps on Windows 10 and 11.
Running APKs with WSA (Windows Subsystem for Android)
This solution requires Windows 11 or higher. Although WSA is usually used to load APKs from Amazon, you can sideload APKs from any source.
You can download and install 'APK Installer'. Once installed, you can sideload any APK and interact with the Android app from Windows 11. Make sure you have enabled "Developer Mode" on the device and set the Subsystem Resources to "Continuous".
Android Emulator on Windows
Download and install an Android emulator on your Windows machine. Popular choices include emulators such as BlueStacks, NoxPlayer and of course the official Android Emulator.
Once you've configured and started an emulator, you can drag and drop an APK file onto the emulator window. This will install the app on the virtual Android device.
You can now interact with the virtual device by swiping, tapping and using your keyboard.
Android Studio on Windows
Android Studio is the most popular IDE designed to create Android apps. This IDE comes with an emulator and also allows you to connect your physical Android device.
You can drag and drop the APK on the emulator, or use ADB:
adb install /path/to/apk.
Cloud-based Android Devices
You can also connect to a cloud-based Android emulator or physical device. TestingBot provides access to real Android devices and Android emulators.
This means you do not have to worry about setting up and maintaining your own matrix of Android emulators and devices.
Simply connect to a remote Android device from your browser and interact with the device remotely with your mouse and keyboard.