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This App Makes It Even Easier to Install Android Apps in Chrome

If you’ve been itching to play with the (unsupported) hack that enables virtually any Android app to run in Chrome and Chrome OS, but were put off by the list of instructions you need to follow, get ready to scratch.

A new, free Android tool has been released that automates the off-putting part of the process, the hassle out of the hack.

android  chrome apk maker icon

It’s called ARChon Packager and, as the name might explain, its purpose is to convert an Android APK for use on Chrome though the ARChon plugin. 

Created by XDA Developers forum user bpear96, the app is available install from the Play Store and does not require root access.

Underlining the convenience, the store description explains that the app:  “…generate[s] chrome packages from either APKs on your phones storage, or from apps installed on your phone (It will pull APK)”

Just install, follow the guided walkthrough to select an app, choose how it should run (tablet, landscape, mobile, portrait) and the app will do the rest. Everything is zipped together neatly, ready to be moved over to your PC for installation in Chrome.

How to Use the ARChon Packager App

First, download the free app from Google Play on to your Android phone or tablet.

ARChon Packager on Google Play

chrome apk packager list

You can choose from your installed apps

On first launch you’ll see an overview of what the application intends to do. Tap next and you’ll be presented with two options:

  • Select an installed app
  • Select an APK you have downloaded

Not downloaded something to try? No worries; select the first option in the list, tap ‘Next’, and choose something from the list of apps already installed on your device.

The utility will ‘pull’ the package it needs from what is already on your phone.

apk maker

Set your preferences

On to the next screen where you can set device and orientation mode for the app as it will be on Chrome. Think about how you use the app and how you would prefer to use it on the desktop.

While ‘tablet’ and ‘landscape’ modes will be the optimum experience for most, choose what suits your needs.

After packaging is complete you need to transfer the resulting zip archive(s) from your phone or tablet (in the ‘Chrome APKs’ folder) to your PC or Chromebook.

How you go about this is up to you, but for small files you could use Google Drive, Dropbox or a similar cloud syncing service.

Once you have the archive(s) ready on your desktop, laptop or Chromebook you will need extract them and move the resulting folder(s) somewhere safe.

To install them open Google Chrome and head to the ‘extensions’ page. Check the ‘Developer Mode’ box near the top of the page to reveal the ‘Load Unpacked Extension’ button. Click this, select the extracted folder from the previous step and the app will install.

chromeos-apk-extensions

Finally, launch it to see if it runs!

Remember: you do need to have the ARChon plugin — now on version 1.1 — installed in Chrome for apps to run.

Important Notice

As useful as ARChon is, it is both unsupported and not endorsed by either Google or Chromium. It is a third-party plugin and provided without warranty or guarantee. Also be aware that the repackaging and re-distribution of Android Apps is a copyright grey area. Be warned.

Thanks Martin W! 

Post has been updated to address name change of app

  • Jake Langford

    If this get’s better compatibility, I think I might actually be able to move back fully to Chrome OS instead of dualbooting.

    I tried to get this app packaged for chrome to do it all on the chromebook without the need of my phone but no luck. If only, eh.

    • Google should make it possible to install Android apps from Google Play directly into Chrome OS. :D

  • Aaron Bell

    would this allow Chromebooks to use Skype? anyone tried it yet?

    • The ARchon method works with Skype :)

      • Boothy

        Indeed, Skype is great, I’ve tried a number of apps with this, and seems to work for most things that don’t require Google Play Services in any way.
        I’ve been impressed actually with the touchpad integration. Left to right swipes, two finger up-swipe to re-fresh etc. All seems to integrate really well.

  • Ike

    Did anyone get instagram to work?

  • fookoffdisqus

    OK I’m being dense but I cannot find the ARchon plugin? Only getting Minecraft stuff.

    • fookoffdisqus

      Doesn’t matter, found a much better article then this one explaining how to do it.

      • Danny McVey

        Care to share?

      • Phil Oakley

        There is a non-direct link to the GitHub page in this article. You have to go through another article, but it’s there.

    • Christopher Woodhouse

      Just Google ‘ARchon plugin’ it’s on Github

  • Please can everyone give me names of working Android apps in chrome.

  • David Myers

    Looks great but can’t get anything to work, apps just hang on logo screen

    • Mitchell

      I had the same problem as well. Finally got it to work today. Once you unzip the apk in your files, drag and drop the unzipped file to your downloads. Go to load unpacked extensions (in developer mode) and click on the one you just dropped unzipped in your downloads. Launch and enjoy!!! If it goes to your files, just click on the unzipped file in your downloads again.

      • cloud

        still does not work

  • joe amir

    it doesn’t work for me it showed a blank page with the app logo inside and didn’t work

    also i have this message in extentions tab

    There were warnings when trying to install this extension:

    ‘minimum_chrome_version’ is only allowed for extensions, hosted apps, legacy packaged apps, and packaged apps, but this is a shared module.

    Unrecognized manifest key ‘arc_build_tag

    i don’t know why as my chrome is the stable version # 37.0.2062.124 m

    • Boothy

      Ignore the errors, they are known errors, doesn’t affect the functionality.
      Check the apps you are trying against:
      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iIbxaftAu_ho5rv9fUlXSLTzwU6MbKOldsWXyrYiyo8/edit?usp=docslist_api

      And skip anything that requires Google Play Service at the moment.

      • joe amir

        it doesn’t work it just open a blank page with the app logo on it

        • Ryan Oh’Shaughnessy

          having the same issue. has anyone figured out why this is happening?

        • kepilif

          me too

      • Gábor Witterle

        I Ignore the errors, and yes, they don’t affect the functionality.

        They simply not working…

        I have the exact same problem, any app i try shows a blank page with the app logo inside.

        When i restart my acer c720 the ARChon extension disappears like I never had installed, the same goes for any app.

        I even changed to beta channel after trying everything without success. In my latest attempt I used this version of the ARChon

        https://bitbucket.org/vladikoff/archon/get/v1.1-x86_64.zip
        ARChon 1.1 – Intel x86 Chrome 64-bit / Chrome OS 64-bit (OSX: Use this in Chrome Canary) MD5:d409801cac97cdff9ea6aad468ddc927

      • Abdulaziz Alwatban

        i faced same problem whats aap , path , dots and instagram show a blank page with the app logo inside.
        recording to you document “instagram” in green area that mean it must run perfectly or with out major issues.

    • Mitchell

      I had the same problem as well. Finally got it to work today. Once you unzip the apk in your files, drag and drop the unzipped file to your downloads. Go to load unpacked extensions (in developer mode) and click on the one you just dropped unzipped in your downloads. Launch and enjoy!! If it goes to your files, just click on the unzipped file in your downloads again.

  • Kenny Strawn

    Used this to test Audio Evolution (failure), the Google Now Launcher (partial success), Instagram (partial success), and… drumroll please… the Chrome App Developer Tool for Mobile (partial success).

    An ARC version (or two: one in tablet mode and one in phone mode) of the Chrome App Dev Tool would easily turn a Chromebook into the ultimate developer’s powerhouse…

  • TekBoi

    Google has since removed the app from the Play store.

  • Christopher King

    It’s back on the official play store.

  • Alexey Rubinchyk

    WOW! Cool!

  • Jeff Kitchen

    To be clear…will this work on chromebooks??

    • Chromed

      Yep, but I recommend the extension called “twerk” to use for installing Android applications. Much easier, all you need to do is download the .apk file of the app you need to install, run the app. Drag and drop process.

      • Mukul shah

        did not work.. stuck at the start up.. ONLY icon.

  • Jeff Kitchen

    I see this does work on chromebooks but the catch for me is that I don’t have an android device to download ARC to first. Other options for running android apps on CBs??

    • alex rembisz

      search twerk on chrome webstore

  • Alexandra

    All I get is a blank page with the app icon does anyone know why does this happen, what am i doing wrong, or how can i fix it i followed all the steps btw i also tried the twerk app method on the chromebook and got the same results. Just in case that information was useful for you guys to help me.

    • Mitchell

      I had the same problem as well. Finally got it to work today. Once you unzip the apk in your files, drag and drop the unzipped file to your downloads. Go to load unpacked extensions (in developer mode) and click on the one you just dropped unzipped in your downloads. Launch and enjoy! If it goes to your files, just click on the unzipped file in your downloads again.

      • juan

        How do you unzip the ,zip file?

        • Mitchell

          If you click on the zip file it will open with the name of the file under the word “downloads” it should show your file without the zipper icon on it. Drag and drop that file to downloads so it can copy to your Chromebook unzipped.

          • Mitch

            Did this and it is still not loading properly.

  • Myuran

    Thanks man! Works just like a charm on my chromebook. Just one question. How can I make the window full screen or bigger?

  • Very Informative Post. Thank admin for sharing such an amazing post.

    —>>How to Run Android Apps on any Windows PC

    • ihuoma

      bluestacks

  • Cameron Fink

    Help! I have the .zip file but how do I load it? Dumb it down please.

  • Andy T

    I ran some of my android apps and worked great on my PC. I notice you’re not able to use Google Apps yet on Pc? I only noticed that the hangout dialer app shows up that is Google Android. When I unpacked the extension on Chrome it opened up but will not work unless hangouts app is working with it. Which is understandable but none the less I got excited lol.. Any update on when we will be able to use Google Android Apps on Chrome PC?

  • Josh

    I’m not sure if anyone is watching this anymore, but after selecting the :load unpack extentions” button, I get the pop up and open up my unzipped file. all the files are greyed out, but I can open the folders under it, again the individual files are greyed out.

    I wanted to see if anyone else was having this issue. Thanks.

    • arcaneEnthusiast

      I think you select that whole unzipped file, don’t go into it :/

  • arcaneEnthusiast

    I’m trying this method for Kik messenger. I’m able to ge the file loaded, the application starts up and opens to the sign in screen, but when i try to sign in, i get a time-out error. Anyone know how to fix this?

  • cloud

    cant find the ARC welder in chromestore

  • princess kaycee

    I tried twerk and i followed all the instructions but I keep getting this message:

    Failed to load extension from: ~/Downloads/com.supercell.clashofclans_twerk

    ‘import’ extension is not installed.

    Please help me what do i do? :'(

  • IluvFefeDobson4Eva!✨

    Then what should i do to avoid infringing copy rights and how do i know if i did?

  • IluvFefeDobson4Eva!✨

    If any of u guys know the answer,leave a reply to my previous post!