WayDroid: Running Android apps on a computer

Android apps on computer
Photo: Noah Erickson, Pexels.

It is possible to run Android apps on a computer with WayDroid. Android is by far the largest and most popular smartphone platform in the world with over 2.5 billion active users (1). This popularity brings a large number of high-quality applications. Applications that you might use on the smartphone. And would like to use on the computer as well. Whereas before this was a difficult task.

There is a solution: WayDroid. It is compatible with a Linux computer. For more information about using Android apps on a Windows computer, read our post on how to install Android apps on Windows.

My Linux computer actually runs Android apps?

WayDroid supports most common architectures (ARM, ARM64, x86 & x86_64 CPUs). If provided virtualization support, is present. 

Installing Android apps on Fedora Workstation

We are using Fedora Workstation in this example. You could also install it on Arch Linux, Debian or Ubuntu. That is beyond the scope of this article.

  • Enable Virtualization support in the computer BIOS/UEFI. 
    This is very specific per computer. Please refer to the manual for the possibilities.
  • Update your Fedora Linux computer in the terminal: sudo dnf update --refresh
  • Install WayDroid: sudo dnf install waydroid
  • Enable the service: sudo systemctl enable --now waydroid-container
  • Start WayDroid and update the sources:
    System OTA: https://ota.waydro.id/system
    And Vendor OTA: https://ota.waydro.id/vendor
  • There are two flavors: VANILLA, without Google apps and Google Play Services. And GAPPS. This is a Google Play services compatible distribution with MicroG: A re-implementation of Google's own Android user space apps and libraries. 
  • Download your type as preferred. 
  • Start the WayDroid service: sudo service waydroid-container start
  • Download individual apps via the Android Package (APK) format and download websites as for example: APKpure or Aptoide. Or install a store like Aurora or F-Droid.
  • Install Android apps with the terminal. For example: sudo waydroid app install IKEA-home-smart.apk And/or install, remove and update apps through, an alternative App Store.
  • Start your Android app via the Fedora start menu.
  • You could use: sudo waydroid show-full-ui to get the full smartphone GUI experience.

Common behavior is that the service stops right after it is started: WayDroid session is stopped. Make sure that hardware virtualization is supported and turned on.

Android app compatibility on Fedora Linux

Not all Android apps run smoothly on Linux. Apps that are made around Google Play dependencies will not or not always work well on the VANILLA edition. The GAPPS version offers a compatible Google Play Services, service but even this does not offer a compatibility guarantee.

For example Sygic GPS Navigation. In which the GPS navigation does not work properly. In our test, the app has no Voice instructions & Sounds. Additionally, no GPS registration and therefore cannot navigate properly. Probably because it depends on: Google Play Services for Location and Activity Recognition. A feature that is essential when you use it as navigation, though. Test apps more than once, before using it as daily use.

(1): Android Statistics (2023)