Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Run Android apps on Mac OS X desktop


Wouldn’t it be great to run mobile apps on your Mac OS X desktop, like a regular application? Let’s face it, there are many cool and handy apps on Android that would be great to have on our MacBooks and other Mac computers. In this article I’ll show you how. It’s easy.

First up, ironically there is not an easy way to run iOS apps on Mac OS X. Since they both come from the same developer, I would have thought it would make sense for Apple to build an iOS platform right into OS X. It can be done (although I am not yet sure just how well) with the iOS emulator from Apple’s Xcode developer tools.


Thank fully there are a growing number of excellent Android apps, and these can easily be run on Mac. Here’s how:

1) Download and install Bluestack.

2) Enable the App Store on the Bluestack app player. This will require a Google account. If you don’t have one, set one up. It’s free, and gives you many great Google applications (such as Gmail, shareable calendars, Google Drive and Documents, etc.) You can create a Google account from within Bluestack, if needed.

3) Set up 1-Click Sync. This will link Bluestack to your Android syncing. Bluestack, in effect, is like a new smartphone device, as far as Google is concerned. So you can have your data sync between your existing Android device (if you have one) and Bluestack.

Steps 2 and 3 happen automatically when you first try to install an app on Bluestack. So the exact steps are self-explanatory.

4) Install and run the apps you wish to use

Cross-platform messaging


The app that got me looking for this solution is Whatsapp. It’s an excellent tool for sending SMS like messages to people on their smartphones (iPhone included). I guess it’s comparable to Apple’s Messages / Messenger / iMessage / F app. It could also be likened to the chat messaging system built into Skype. The ridiculous thing with Apples Messages (as far as I am aware, and correct me if I am mistaken) is that it works on the Apple platform only. I feel this is all part of Apple’s mindset of being exclusive and like a closed club. I don’t use Apple Messages / iMessage because it seems inefficient to me to have an app I can only use for chatting with other Apple users. Whatsapp answers that problem

XMS eBuddy

By the way, XMS eBuddy is another cross-platform option. Google Voice also works cross-platform, although as a chat client it’s generally only useful for people in the United States.

After thoughts

It’s possible Apple will eventually merge the OS X and iOS platforms. This article on CNet discusses this and is worth reading if that’s of interest to you. Even if they do merge the platforms, if they keep up the closed club mentality we’ll have to turn to apps like Whatapps to have truly cross-platform instant messaging.

Issues with Google Sync

At the time I am writing this (22/03/2013) Bluestack for Mac is in beta stage. It does have some issues. Perhaps the biggest one is that it does not sync with the users Google account. The account is loaded in there, but contacts and calendar data (for instance) does not and will not sync to Bluestack. I have no idea why, and it may be a limitation that have intentionally imposed during their alpha/beta development.

To get your contacts into Whatsapp, please view my post on that. It is possible, without too much effort.


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  1. Is it really required to set up the 1-click sync? I don’t have an android device so I can’t do this. What should I do? Because of this, I can’t download any apps.

    • As far as I know, that step is necessary. I do have an Android device and I have already gone through the process, so I am not in a position to test out another method for you… one that doesn’t require a Android device. It was my understanding (perhaps just as assumption) that you could run Bluestack without an existing Android device. Actually, come to think of it, I set up Bluestack on my friend’s computer and she does NOT have any android devices. From memory, all you need is a Gmail account. What exactly prevented you from doing the 1-sync step?

  2. I can’t seem to ‘Enable App Store’ I have a google account already which I have signed up with, but It still hasnt enabled. Every time I try to install an app, ‘1-click sync’ is clicked but not the ‘Enable app store’ which is extremely frustrating. I have an apple iphone5. All I want is to be able to use instagram and whatsapp on my mac.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    • You might need to work with the BlueStack developers and/or their forums to resolve that.
      I am not sure what you mean by “everything I try to install an app”. Install from where? From an apk file?

      In the meant time… Have you tried installing an alternative app store? Such as the Amazon App store, or another? Here’s a good list of the main alternatives:

  3. i cant seem to sync my iphone 3 with bluestacks – it just doesnt pick up my iphone as a device….
    any advice please?

    • Hi Marti, Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately I have no experience with syncing an iPhone 3 with Bluestacks. All I can recommend is you searching online and see what you can discover that way.
      All the best…

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