Run Android APK locally on OSX

17th December 2015

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Running Android apps in Google’s Chrome browser is now possible, even on a Mac running OS X.

It’s not as efficient for pre-launch testing as having an actual Android device (or three) at your disposal, but is a great way to quickly run a new APK and make sure that nothing has imploded. All it takes is just a few minutes’ work.

Set-up – install ARChon Runtime

First things first, you’re going to need to install ARChon Runtime for Chrome.

Check which version of Chrome you have (Chrome > About Google Chrome) and download the relevant .zip file. I’d suggest sticking to the stable releases, unless you’re feeling fancy. Go to chrome://extensions and activate Developer Mode, and then load the runtime (from the unzipped folder) via the Load unpacked extension link. You may get an error message in a pink box, but this is fairly normal and can be ignored.

If you’d like to test it then download this sample game and install the same was as ARChon. Click Launch after loading (Load unpacked extension again) and the game should run.

Get the Twerk Chrome app

To convert your APK to run with ARChon, you’ll need to download Twerk. Once you have it, run Twerk from the Chrome App Launcher (or the Apps link on your Bookmarks Bar in Chrome). Drag your APK into Twerk and tinker with the options you need. Click the pink Android button to build the app and save it where you like.

Running your app

Jump back into Chrome, go back in to the extensions (chrome://extensions) and select Load unpacked extension again. Click Launch and you’re away!

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About the author

Rik Kendell is a developer, designer and writer in Leeds, UK. Originally from Bradford but always from Yorkshire, he specialises in front-end, responsive websites and WordPress builds. Having worked in software houses, the radio industry and design, marketing and digital agencies Rik has almost 10 years commercial experience and has worked with clients ranging from the NHS, Sky and Skipton Building Society to McDonalds, Lamb’s Rum and Crabbies Ginger Beer.

Rik is also a keen writer, covering digital/tech news, gaming, food and short fiction. His blog posts, reviews and Tweets have been published by the BBC, the Evening Standard, a number of agencies and industry websites and Rik is a key contributor on a foodie website.