Android apps coming to Chromebooks might very well be the defining moment for Google’s Chrome OS platform. In our usage of Android apps on Chromebook, we have found Chromebook’s functionality to have multiplied innumerably. However, there’s one catch, that is, many apps on the Play Store aren’t compatible with the Chromebook. For instance, apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Uber, Inbox by Gmail, Chromecast, PayPal and more are incompatible because of various reasons like the fact that Play Store treats the Chromebook as an Android 6.0 tablet, the lack of GPS on Chromebooks etc.

Apps incompatible Play Store Chromebook

Thankfully, you can always sideload Android apps through APK files but Chromebook natively does not support these files. The good news is, there’s a way to install APK files on Chromebook and that’s what we are about to tell you. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it, shall we?

APK files incompatible with Chromebook

Note: To install APKs, you will have to enable “Unknown Sources” and the option is only available on Chromebooks with developer mode enabled. To do it, check out our detailed post on how to enable developer mode on Chromebook.

The Play Store is available on the Chrome OS 53 update through the developer channel and it’s only available for Chromebook Flip, as of now. So, before you try to install any APK files, check out our post on how to get Play Store. If you have the aforementioned Chrome OS build, here are the steps to install APK files on Chromebook:

1. Firstly, you will need a file manager Android app from the Play Store. So, open up Play Store and install the file manager you want. We used Solid Explorer in our test.

2. Then, download the APK files of apps you want to install from Meanwhile, go to Chrome OS Settings and click on “App Settings” in the Android Apps section.

Chrome OS Android App Settings

3. The Android like Settings page should open up. Here, go to Security and turn on “Unknown sources”.

Chromebook allow unknown sources for android apps

4. Once the APK file is downloaded, open the file manager app and go to the Downloads folder. Here, open the APK file and you should see the usual app installation interface from Android. Press “Install“.

Install APK on Chromebook

5. The app installation might take a little longer than usual but the good news is, all the APKs we tried to install, did install without any fuss. Once the app is installed, tap “Open” to start using the app.

Android app installed through APK on Chromebook

Note: While most of the apps install via the APK files route, not all of them work. For instance, Instagram works fine but apps like Uber, which require location services don’t work. 

Instagram on Chromebook

SEE ALSO: How to Install Android Apps Not Available in Your Country

Use Android Apps that are incompatible on the Play Store

Well, that was pretty easy, right? So, basically, you can now easily install apps that are incompatible with the Chromebook on the Play Store. So, install your favorite Android apps on your Chromebook with ease and do let us know your experience. Sound off in the comments section below and stay tuned for more articles related to Android apps on Chromebook, as we discover more about it.


  1. hey how do i get to chromeOS settings?? there is normal settings on my chromebook, but it shows none of what you talk about

  2. Doesn’t work on my HP 2 in 1 Chromebook as I still get the message to “turn on Chrome developer mode….”. I still have to go the Linux route, figures–leave it to HP.

  3. I had tried this process on my Acer chromebook 15 and works out nicely! So happy, now that I can run not only regular google play apps but APK app files as well!

  4. Where in ChromeOS settings is there a section for “App settings”?

    Utter bollocks. If you can’t write instructions properly, don’t bother.

    Shit instructions. A “Geek”? My arse

  5. “Unknown Sources” is greyed out on my new Asus Flip C302CA with latest Chrome OS and with Android Beta Channel enabled. Because it is greyed out, I cannot turn it on.

    Did you set your Chromebook to developer mode through a powerwash?

  6. um hi im trying to do this on my school chromebook and i downloaded the apk file but i don’t have where it says manage apps can you give me a step by step guide on how to do the rest. Thank you if you reply.