How to Install and Run Android Apps on Linux without an Emulator
Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world and this can be attributed to its open-source status. Over the years, mobile applications have become key and running them on a computer has become a choice every user would prefer to make.
Well, like any other desktop computer operating system, you can run Android Apps on Linux through multiple methods with the easiest of them all being the use of an emulator. But since Linux and Android share the same DNA as open-source products, it’s now possible to install and run Android Apps on Linux without an emulator.
This is possible through a tool dubbed Waydroid that allows users to run Android Apps on Linux with better performance and optimizations like they would on a Smartphone. The tool runs as a container and gives you a feeling of android apps natively running on your Linux Machine.
However, since Linux is not like Windows 11 where you simply jump-start your journey to the store, Waydroid requires preset dependencies and system updates in order to run on Linux. To do this, you simply have to enter the tool’s secure packages and get started to install and run Android Apps on Linux.
Install and Run Android Apps on Linux with Waydroid
First, you need access to your Linux computer’s Terminal, accessible via Ctrl, Alt, T on your keyboard, or through the applications menu depending on your Linux distro. Also, you need to login as a local user and not a guest to conveniently install Waydroid through the following commands.
Depending on your Linux Distribution, Install Curl (If not pre-installed already)
$ sudo apt install curl
Once Installed, describe your Linux system’s distro name. For instance, for Ubuntu, use focal, Debian use bullseye, Linux Mint use Tessa and so on. If not declared, you may accounter “Permission denied” prompts during the Waydroid installation process.
$ sudo export DISTRO=”focal”
Once executed, you now need to download the Waydroid GPG Key – a secure file used to decrypt a file generated using the GNU privacy Guard (GnuPG) program. Using the curl command, you must download it to your computer and move it to the keyrings directory for easy access.
$ sudo curl https://repo.waydro.id/waydroid.gpg > /usr/share/keyrings/waydroid.gpg
The above command downloads the waydroid gpg file and stores it (using >) in the /usr/share/keyrings directory. You must run the command with root rights in order to write to the directory. To switch to root, simply type sudo su, then enter your computer password.
Now, with the waydroid secure key installed, you need to add the waydroid repository to your system sources list. To do this, you can echo the key location and repository link for entry in your sources list with the command.
echo “deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/waydroid.gpg] https://repo.waydro.id/ $DISTRO main” > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/waydroid.list
It’s time to update your system dependencies for Linux to know where to download waydroid from. To do this, simply run the apt update command in your Linux Terminal.
$ sudo apt update
If convenient, you can also upgrade all dependencies with apt upgrade.
$ sudo apt upgrade
Finally, it’s time to Install waydroid. Your Linux machine knows where to locate waydroid on your dependencies list and now, you need to download the application to your computer. To do this, you can use the command apt install waydroid
$ sudo apt install waydroid
Once installed, you then need to download an Android Image for Waydroid to use, with an estimated size of about 600MB, you can download the image using the command waydroid init to initiate an Android Image from the application’s sources.
$ sudo waydroid init
DONE: All you have to do now is start the waydroid container, and also start a session to get started with installing your first Android App on Linux with the commands below.
$ sudo systemctl start waydroid-container && waydroid session start
Finally, use the show-full-ui command to open up a waydroid window on your Linux screen to start running Android Apps.
$ Waydroid show-full-ui
Enjoy Installing and running Android Apps on Linux than ever before.
Editor’s Note: For now, Waydroid runs on Debian-based Linux distros only, with time, other Linux releases may be supported with information from the developers team.