Did you know that you can easily use almost any android mobile app; as well as mobile games; also on your desktop computer?
This includes your Windows PC / Laptop and macOS (Macbook, iMac, Mac Pro etc).
There is some setup & software required, but it's very easy to do even if you consider yourself to be "low-tech".
Let's get started!
Table Of Contents
Because desktop computers are not made with mobile apps in mind, and also because they are running a completely different OS (Operating System) than mobile devices it is not possible to simply install a mobile app on your desktop computer, like you would install any other software.
For this to work, we will need an extra piece of software called an Emulator, but commonly referred to as "App Player".
This is a software, just like any other software you know from installing on your computer, that is specifically made to "emulate" the mobile operating system you'd like to install apps for.
So, once you have installed an emulator, you can then enjoy apps & games on your desktop computer.
Now, before we dive into how to install & set everything up, let us have a look at what our emulator options are.
In this section we will have a look at what various options are out there to emulate a mobile operating system, on your desktop computer or laptop.
Let's begin with what's available to emulate Android.
1. BlueStacks Player (Ad Supported)
The BlueStacks player is probably the best known player of this list, not at last because this player is on the market for a long time already.
Personally, I'm a mac user and must say that the BlueStacks Player does not fare so well on macOS. It easily becomes sluggish, some apps don't load and simply crash.
That doesn't mean that the BlueStacks player is a bad choice, on Windows it performs much better and makes good on it's promise to be "one of the fastest App players".
Playing Android mobile games on BlueStacks Windows, is a joy and honestly could even be viewed as competitive advantage in some games as you have much more processing power at your disposal than when playing with a mobile device.
Download BlueStacks 4 right here: Download BlueStacks
2. Nox Player (Ad-Free) (Editor's Recommendation)
The Nox player is my personal favorite, as it is completely free of any sponsored ads. It also comes with features that are especially important for gamers.
You can use your keyboard to play a game, or a game controller which makes Nox almost a small gaming console.
Nox was optimized for performance and runs smoothly also on my macbook.
Another great feature of Nox is, that it allows you to run multiple instances of the player at the same time, that way you can use several apps at the same time.
This comes in very handy if you for example wait in queue in one game, just jump into the other instance and play there so you don't have to wait so long.
You can download Nox right here: Download Nox
Other Android Emulators
There are quite a few more Android emulators, but I wanted to introduce you to the two I feel are the best and most stable.
But for completeness sake, here are links to the rest:
Now sadly I have to play the bearer of bad news, although there are plenty of options when it comes to Android emulators, iOS is a much more closed system and has no real options available.
There are some "iOS simulators", but these types of software really only simulate the IOS environment in terms of it's look & feel, this means that on those simulators you can not install apps from the iTunes store.
So, this means that for iOS it is not possible, at this time, to install iTunes apps made for iOS directly on your computer, sorry!
I've included this section nonetheless, so that at least I can explain why it is not possible and that simulator does not equal emulator. Hope this all makes sense now.
But at least we are able to install & play any Android app, and in terms of mobile games that are available on iOS, those are mostly also available on Android.
Once you decided on which Emulator you want to use, you should proceed to install it from the links given in the above section.
I recommend the BlueStacks Player, as it seems to be the fastest option for Windows.
1. Open the BlueStacks installer & accept
2. Start the installation
3. Wait for it to complete & sign into your Google Play account
In case you're wondering why you have to sign into your Google Play account, this needs to be done so that you can
access the app download. So exactly the same as if you were downloading an app on your mobile device.
4. You're ready to install apps & games
That was it already, pretty easy right? This is also the reason I've recommended BlueStacks & Nox as the other options
are often much harder to install, and are targeted more at developers than users.
The process for macOS is pretty similar, although for macOS I'd recommend using the Nox player.
As mentioned in the beginning of this tutorial, BlueStacks is sluggish and apps often crash on mac.
Let's begin by downloading Nox from the link given in the section above.
1. Open the Nox installer & Click "Agree"
2. Wait for it to finish & drag Nox icon into Applications folder icon
Close this window after Nox was copied into your "Applications" folder.
3. Open spotlight & type "Nox". Then doubleclick Nox icon
Alternatively, you can just browse to your "Applications" folder like usual, and look for the Nox icon there.
4. Click "open" in the warning that appears
5. Wait for Nox setup to complete
6. You're almost there
7. Click Google Play app & sign into your Google Play Account
After you've signed in, you can install any app or game from Google Play and use it just like on a mobile device.