During its Windows 11 unveiling last week, Microsoft spoke about its tie-up with Amazon to let Android apps work on PC. The Redmond giant had not clarified right after if sideloading Android apps would be possible or if everyone would be stuck to Amazon’s collection of apps on its App Store.
Noted developer Miguel de Icaza has now tweeted (first spotted by Android Police) saying “Yes!” when asked by a random user (@ajonoguy) if sideloading APK files would be possible on Windows 11. De Icaza is an engineer of repute at Microsoft and is actively part of Microsoft’s project to make Android apps available on Windows machines.
Hey, regardless of the Amazon/google App Store stuff, surely you’ll also just be able to load APKs from windows right?
— Jonjo (@ajonoguy) June 25, 2021
The ability to sideload APKs — the default Android package extension — means you won’t be limited to the apps approved through Amazon’s App Store. This is big news for developers and just casual Android users. You’ll be able to download apps through sites like APK Mirror or even open source app repositories.
Microsoft’s yet to offer clarity here, though. We still don’t know if users will be able to double-click to install an APK as you do for regular software or if you’ll have to run a command to have it installed.
Sideloading permissions also don’t mean access to Google’s suite of Android apps on Windows 11, and you’ll still need Google services and its APIs to install certain Google apps. A report by XDA Developers also notes that some certain apps like Twitter might not work either since they rely on device-specific permissions.
All APKs found on the Web are not safe. Depending on Microsoft’s and Amazon’s implementation, the ability to sideload apps could potentially pose security risks for both Windows and Android systems running on the same machine. But if it’s a capability baked into Windows 11, it’s unlikely Microsoft will be able to discourage people from sideloading APKs.