While Android apps are not natively supported in macOS, running Android apps on Mac is not a difficult task. Just downloading the apps won’t be enough. Before you can start running them on your Mac, you’ll need to choose and install an Android emulator. This is a piece of software that effectively simulates the Android operating system on your Mac, allowing you to run the apps. We show you hear how to choose and install an emulator to run Android apps on Mac.
Choosing an Android Emulator
When it comes to emulators, you have a few different choices. If you’re particularly tech-savvy or just interested in the variety available, you may want an option that gives you more control over how it runs. If you’re using your Mac to develop Android apps, you may need better development functionality.
We show you next how to set up our favorite general-purpose Android emulator, BlueStacks. BlueStacks is one of the oldest and easiest-to-use Android emulators for Mac that’s still being updated. It’s also easy to set up, which makes it great for just about anyone – regardless of their technical ability or familiarity with Mac or Android.
BlueStacks is also very well-documented, so if you run into any troubles with setup or a specific app, someone out there has probably tackled the problem you’re dealing with.
Installing and Running Apps with BlueStacks
To run BlueStacks, you will need macOS Sierra or above. While macOS Big Sur wasn’t originally supported, BlueStacks has now added support for it. You’ll also need 4 gigabytes of RAM and 4 gigabytes of free disk space. If your Mac is particularly old (2014 or earlier), your graphics card may not be powerful enough to run Android apps. You can view the full requirements to ensure you’re all set.
Also, BlueStacks downloads Android app files by pulling them from the Google Play store. If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to set one up before you can run apps with BlueStacks.
Currently, BlueStacks 4 is the most current version available for macOS. However, BlueStacks 5 has been released and should be compatible soon. Keep checking to see when the newest version will be available.
If your system meets all those requirements, then follow the steps below to install BlueStacks:
- First, navigate to the emulator’s download page, then double-click on the downloaded setup file with the .dmg extension.
- When the application opens, double-click on the BlueStacks logo to proceed.
- Click the “Install Now” button that appears at the bottom of the app window.
- If you get a “System Extension Blocked” pop-up, click on the “Open Security & Privacy” button.
- This should open a system privacy settings menu. At the bottom, click the “Allow” button.
After that, the installation should proceed by itself. If you’re having trouble following these steps, you can try following along with BlueStack’s video of the installation process.
Once BlueStacks is installed, running Android apps will be pretty simple. When BlueStacks is open, you’ll be able to navigate to the Google Play store from the main app page. From there, you can start downloading your apps. Once downloaded, you can launch these apps by clicking on their icons on the main page.
Other Emulator Options
There are other emulators available to help you run Android apps on Mac. BlueStacks is usually the most user-friendly, though. Some, such as Android Studio, are more development and testing environments than a tool to download and use apps.
The Nox App Player is a popular alternative that works similarly to BlueStacks. Once you get everything set up, you also get the added benefit of adding multiple user accounts. This is handy if you want to play multiple characters or accounts in the same game.
Andy is another option. It’s designed to offer a seamless experience between Android and Windows or macOS. While it does offer the ability to use your phone as a controller, it’s not the most up-to-date emulator. Currently, OS X Mountain Lion is the most current macOS version, and there’s no support for Windows. It may not be compatible with newer versions of macOS. However, for older versions, it could be a great BlueStacks alternative.
Genymotion is ideal if you’re a developer and want to test your apps. It’s not a free emulator, and it charges by the hour or year for desktop use. If you just want to play your favorite Android games on Mac, this one isn’t right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I install Android apps directly on Mac?
No. Android apps are developed specifically for Android devices. These use different hardware. Plus, Android and Mac are two drastically different operating systems, meaning the coding for an Android app wouldn’t be compatible with Mac and vice versa.
2. Is BlueStacks compatible with Big Sur?
Yes. If you google this question, you’ll see many users complain that BlueStacks doesn’t work on macOS Big Sur, but BlueStacks has added support since then. Typically, it takes several months for emulators to make the necessary changes to support new major OS releases.
3. Will all Android apps work on Mac?
This depends on the type of app. As a general rule, most Android apps should work on Mac when using an emulator. However, apps that rely specifically on certain Android hardware or mobile carrier features may not work correctly. Some apps are also designed not to work with emulators.
Running Android Apps on Mac
Apple doesn’t make it easy to run Android apps on Mac, but with the help of an Android emulator, you can get your favorite apps up and running.
You have a few different options when it comes to emulators. BlueStacks, one of the oldest and easiest-to-use Android emulators, is a good bet. Once it’s installed, running Android apps is as simple as downloading them from the Google Play store and clicking launch. If you prefer a different OS, check out the best Android emulators for Linux and the best Android emulators for Windows.
Image credit: BlueStacks.com