Last week Google released the ARC Welder extension for Chrome, offering an easier way to run Android apps in the Chrome browser on Windows, Mac, Linux or Chrome OS. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install the ARC Welder, grab some APK files, then run your Android apps within Chrome!
1. Install ARC Welder
Installing ARC Welder is extremely simple – just visit this Chrome extension page and click Add to Chrome. The ~110MB file will download and be installed. To run it, visit the Chrome Apps page and click on the ARC Welder icon.
You’ll be asked to choose a working directory for the ARC Welder to get started. I chose to make a new folder called ARC Welder in my Documents folder, but you can put it pretty much anywhere. After this, you’re into the main area of the program, where you’ll be asked to add your APK file.
2. Getting an APK file
APK files are used to install Android apps. You can find many APK files just by Googling for them, but it’s a bit safer to rely on APK files from one or two trusted sources. I recommend Android Police‘s APK Mirror site and the Google Play Store itself. APK Mirror offers simple APK downloads, but for the Play Store you’ll need to rely on a Chrome extension or a site like evozi’s APK Downloader. Another great alternative is your own phone, by using an Android app called ARChon Packager.
3. Run your Android app
Once you’ve got your APK file, it’s time to try installing it in Chrome. Open up the ARC Welder, and select the APK file you downloaded. Wait a few seconds, and you’ll be shown the app’s name and given some options. I recommend choosing Portrait and Phone for most of these, but you’re free to choose again as you wish.
Click Launch App, and the app will attempt to launch in Chrome. If you’re lucky, the app will load up and work correctly.
However, some machines and some apps won’t work at all, immediately crashing with a puzzle piece symbol or throwing up errors related to Google Play Services. For this reason, you can Download APK for PC. Remember, this is still a very early release so some bugs and missing features are to be expected… but enough works that it’s worth trying!