A virtual machine is an emulation of a computer system. I always run a virtual machine when I need to test a software or features that are only available on another OS. For example, on my Linux laptop, I run a Windows virtual machine and use it to test all Windows software and functionality. It is pretty easy to set up a virtual machine on desktop, too.
But what about running a virtual machine on your Android phone? Is that even possible? In this review we test VMOS, a virtual machine for Android, see how it performs and whether it is really useful to run a virtual machine on your phone.
Note:This is a sponsored article and was made possible by VMOS. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
VMOS allows you to run a virtual Android OS on your Android phone. As a virtual machine requires plenty of system resources, this will only work well on an Android phone with great specs. If your phone has less than 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, you won’t be able to run VMOS (I haven’t tried it with those specs, but your phone might crash).
There are a few benefits of running a virtual machine on your phone:
1. Run two instances of an app simultaneously
That is, if you have the needs to run several instances of an app. You might have two Facebook accounts – one for family and another for work – and want to access them at the same time. Or you probably have two instances of the same game running with different accounts. The best is to have access to two Google Play Stores so you can install different sets of apps for different Google accounts.
2. Run Google Play Store on Android phone that doesn’t support Google Play Store
It is easy to associate Google Play store with Android phone, but there are plenty of Android phones that don’t come with support for it. This could be your Amazon phone or even the latest Huawei Mate 30 that is banned by the US government. By running VMOS as a virtual machine on your phone, you can have access to Google Play Store to install your apps.
3. Run Root apps without rooting your phone
VMOS comes with root access by default (the root access only affects the virtual machine. It doesn’t affect the native phone system), so you can run custom apps that require root access without really rooting your phone. For example, if you want to have a total ad-free experience, you can install the popular Adaway app and surf the Web in the virtual machine with all ads blocked out.
4. App running in background
VMOS is always running in the background. If you have apps that you want to constantly run, VMOS is useful for that.
5. Run apps in Floating Window
If you love to multitask, you can run VMOS in Floating Window mode (like watching video), and check your messages at the same time.
1. To get started, download and install the VMOS apk app from its website. Your phone needs to have at least 3GB ram and 32GB of free storage space for it to work.
2. Launch the VMOS app. On the first run, it will download and install the ROM to your phone. This will take a while.
On subsequent launches, it will just boot up the virtual machine, just like when you reboot your Android phone .
3. Once the VM finishes booting, it will launch as a full screen app with a home launcher. The interface is the same as any Android home screen.
4. You can swipe up the screen to access the app drawer. It is pretty barebones with only a few pre-installed apps.
5. You can also access the Settings of VMOS by selecting the Settings app.
The resolution setting allows you to configure the VM’s screen resolution. The default is 1080×2340 (this is properly tied to the screen size of your phone), but you can add a new resolution for it to run on.
The Floating Window setting allows you to configure if it should run in a floating window mode. The default is “On,” but you can easily toggle it off.
The “Virtual Button” setting is where you can turn off the floating button that is at the side of the screen. This is “On” by default.
And this is what the virtual button looks like. It functions as the VM navigation button, allowing you to “Go Back,” “Go Home” and see “Recent Apps.” You can also change the resolution or minimize the VM with a tap.
Going into the System Settings, you can easily see that this VM is based on Android 5.1.1. According to the developer, they are working on a VM based on Android 9 that should roll out soon.
6. To install apps in VMOS, you need to add an account in the Play Store in the VM. Once you install apps from the Play Store, you can use it just like the usual apps on your Android phone. Below is a screenshot showing two instances of Sudoku running: one in the VM and the other in the native Android system.
7. If you need to install apps that require root access, you have to enable it first. In the System Settings, tap seven times on the Build number to activate “Developer Options.” Then in the “Developer Options,” enable the “ROOT” option. You will need to restart VMOS after enabling root.
Some issues I found with VMOS
1. On my phone that has 6GB of RAM, there are times when apps in VMOS are still running slow. Some of the apps took a few seconds to load and run.
2. The Internet access is spotty. It can work from the start, but the connection drops after a while. I need to turn off the Wi-Fi, and turn on again for the network to reconnect.
Personally, I have not found a use case for VMOS. In my years of using a smartphone, I have not had an instance where I needed to run a second instance of an app simultaneously. But that could be me and the way I am using my phone. It could be different for you. I do feel that on a tablet, or a phone with a large screen, VMOS can be a useful addition for you to multitask and access two different apps simultaneously.