Android apps arrive on Windows 11 in a new update

Taskbar improvements and major app upgrades are also in tow in Windows 11's first major update.

If you’ve been excited about the possibility of running Android apps on your Windows 11 PC, today’s your lucky day. Microsoft has begun rolling out its first major update for Windows 11 which carries the Android subsystem, enabling the ability to download and install Android applications on your computer. The feature ships alongside other upgrades to areas like the task bar, stock apps, and more.

Microsoft’s “new experiences” for Windows 11

  • A new update is beginning to roll out to all users of Windows 11 with the ability to run Android apps through the Amazon Appstore. It comes after months of beta tests.
  • The update also includes various upgrades for the task bar such as a mute/unmute button for video calls, easier access to window sharing, weather information, and a clock when you’re connected to a second monitor.
  • You’ll also find redesigned versions of Media Player and Notepad in the update.

Running Android apps on Windows

The way Microsoft implements Android apps on Windows is a bit funky. It partnered with Amazon to integrate the Amazon Appstore which includes a vast library of different applications, all without any sort of Google services. Microsoft notes that apps like Kindle, Subway Surfers, Lords Mobile, and Khan Academy are available on Windows 11 with this update, in addition to “over 1,000 more apps and games.” Notably, the integration remains in “preview” stages, so you might not have a perfectly stable experience at launch.

If you want to use apps that rely on Google services to work, there are some documented work-arounds you can follow, but there’s no official way to achieve it.

Microsoft says Android apps will take full advantage of the same windowing features as native apps in Windows 11, including Snap layouts and alternative input methods like pens.

Taskbar, Media Player, and Notepad

Other new features included in this release is an upgraded taskbar which can now display the time and date across multiple monitors, not just your primary display. You’ll also be able to view weather information in the bottom right corner like you could on Windows 10. Microsoft is also making it easier to control your microphone in Teams video calls by adding a mute/unmute button. Finally, the company is adding a new “Share this window” button when you hover over an app’s icon to make sharing its content a simpler process.

Media Player and Notepad both got substantial redesigns with this release of Windows 11, with Media Player taking over the aging Groove Music app. The UI is a lot cleaner and easier to navigate, and all of your multimedia folders will automatically sync over. Meanwhile, Notepad gets a number of design improvements while remaining pretty barebones, and they both come with dark mode.

Future Windows 11 updates

Panos Panay notes in Microsoft’s blog post about today’s update that moving forward, the company will focus on regularly introducing new features in between major annual updates to Windows. “Over time, you’ll see us release new features into Windows 11 for end users more frequently in addition to our annual update,” Panos said. “We will leverage the variety of update mechanisms we have in place including servicing and Microsoft Store updates. Our goal is to deliver continuous innovation, providing you with the best experiences year-round.”

If you want to grab the update now, you might not be able to. Not all Windows 11 PCs can pull it from Windows Update just yet, but that’ll likely change in the coming weeks.