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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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