Branching Out With Google Play

Do you remember how I said that Android is really just a Linux distro in my article What is Linux? Well, due to that, Linux has some pretty cool abilities that are just waiting to be tapped into by someone. Shall we?

What if I told  you that you could install your favorite apps from Google Play onto your Linux computer? Well, now you can. Sort of. The first thing to know is that there are a few caveats. One is that only smaller apps work, (80 MB and below) another is that the app cannot use Google services, and the last one is that to do this, you must be using Google Chrome as your web browser. With that out of the way, let’s get started!

  1. Install Arc Welder from the Chrome Web Store using Google Chrome.arc welder1
  2. Make a folder to store all of your Android apps. It can be located anywhere you like.
  3. Open up Arc Welder. The first screen will ask you to choose a location for your apps. You will want to pick the folder you just created.
  4. Arc Welder will proceed to then ask to Test Your Apk. Before we do so however, we need to download an app to test!arc welder2
  5. If you head over to the Google Play Store and try to install an app directly, you will notice that it will fail. To get around that, just head on over to one of these sites: APK Downloader or APK Mirror. Depending which one you choose to use, there are slightly different instructions.
  6. For APK Downloader:
    1. Find your app on the Google Play Store and copy and paste it’s link into the Google Play URL box at APK Downloader.apk downloader
    2. Now select Generate Download Link. Once it does so, just click Click here to downloadapk downloader2
    3. Once it completes it’s download, you are good to go!
  7. For APK Mirror:
    1. Find the Search Box and search for your app.apk mirror1
    2. Several results will often come up. When that happens, just try to pick out the most recent one.apk mirror2
    3. Lastly, simply scroll down and click Download APK.apk mirror3
  8. And now we are all ready to proceed to the next step with Arc Welder! Just click Test your APK and locate the one you downloaded.arc welder3
  9. Once that  is done, all that is left to do is click Test at the bottom of the screen and your app will launch!arc welder4Congratulations! You have just installed your first Android app! Here are some quick tips for you as you proceed:
    1. After installing one app, the next one you test will show a notice reading: Confirm Removal. Just click Cancel and you can continue on your merry way.arc welder5
    2. In order to delete an app, just open Google Chrome and click the Apps shortcut in the Bookmarks bar.chrome1Now, simply right click on the desired app and press Remove From Chromechrome2
    3. Most weather apps, calendar apps and some games work with Arc Welder. For instance, Candy Crush, Leps World (a free knock-off of Mario Bros) and  Pac-man all work. In addition, if you are looking for a good calendar, SolCalendar works great. Evernote even works flawlessly! Lastly, most social media apps are also functioning correctly. With Arc Welder, your options have expanded!
    4. NOTE: If you are looking for Google Play Music, there is already a free version of it for Linux. Check out this article on Music Players for Linux.

Good luck!

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