The Play Store is available for a whopping total of 6 Chromebooks.
That’s 3 that have been already released, and 3 that are still only accessible by switching over to the Canary Channel.
Chances are, yours isn’t one of them.
In this tutorial, we’ll go over how to get Android apps on your Chromebook before the update even rolls out.
Are you ready to unlock the potential and flood your Chromebook with Android apps galore?
Let’s get updated.
Last updated: 7/27/17.
How to get Play Store apps on your Chromebook
As of now, you can get easily get access to the Play Store (albeit, in “beta” only), on pretty much any Chromebook that’s currently scheduled to receive the Android update.
If your Chromebook is in the queue and you don’t feel like waiting, you can snag the update ahead of schedule with some basic hacking and tweaking now.
Like, right now.
This method only works on Chromebooks that will support the Android update at some point, which means it only works if your Chromebook is on the list of supported models.
Even then, it’s not absolutely guaranteed to work. You’re basically forcing an update down your laptop’s throat and it may not take it well. Bugs, glitches, and errors are bound to ensue. And don’t forget that the Play Store update is still in beta testing so that only adds even more issues.
Anyway, let’s get on with the actual steps.
Force the Android update
Thanks to both of them for all their findings.
And one last time, this is not going to be smooth.
I can’t emphasize that enough. But if you want the Android updates early, you’ll have to go for it.
Your Chromebook may freeze, slow down, lag, or otherwise get corrupted. Proceed with caution. Do this at your own risk.
We resume no responsibility nor any liability for what you choose to do with your Chromebook.
Note: You should backup your personal data saved on your laptop. Doing this will automatically perform a Powerwash, which will delete all your saved files, images, videos, and other media on your hard drive.
Here we go:
Step 1: Enable DeveloperModee on your Chromebook.
I wrote a detailed guide on how to enable it, which you should refer to if you’ve never used developer mode before. (Seriously, read it if you don’t know what you’re doing.)
If you’ve done this before, just go ahead and press “Esc + Refresh + Power” and your screen will shut off temporarily. Then, a warning window will pop up. Follow the on-screen dialog and proceed.
Step 2: Read the warnings and then press “Ctrl + D” which will then start booting your Chromebook into Developer Mode.
This can take a while, so be patient. Some models can take up to 25 minutes. Go eat breakfast and have a cup of hot cocoa.
After it’s been activated, you’ll have to press “Ctrl + D” again when your Chromebook reboots to skip the verification window.
Step 3: Next, we’ll switch to the Canary Channel.
This is where you can access the “try new features” before they’re released to the public in the Stable Channel.
This is where all the bugs and glitches come into play. The Canary channel is not secure and very unstable. You may end up freezing or crashing your Chromebook after you switch Channels, but it’s okay.
To get the Android update, you’ll have to enable it.
By the way, it’s not something you need to worry about because you can easily reset your Chromebook to factory settings if something breaks.
Note: The following lines of code need to be typed exactly as shown without the quotations. If you get an error, double-check your spelling.
To switch to the Canary Channel, press “Ctrl + Alt + T” to open a command prompt window.
Type “shell” and press “Enter.”
Then type “sudo su” and press “Enter.”
This will grant you root access (basically administrator access, to keep it simple).
And type “update_engine_client –channel=canary-channel –update” which will actually update your Channel settings for your Chromebook.
Step 4: Congrats, you’re officially opted-in to the Canary Channel.
Next, we’ll download the Play Store by forcing the update.
Open another command prompt by pressing “Ctrl + Alt +T” just like before.
Type “shell” in the new window and press “Enter.”
Type “sudo sh -” and press “Enter.”
Type “echo ‘–enable-arc’ > /usr/local/chrome_dev.conf”
And finally type “mount -o bind /usr/local/chrome_dev.conf /etc/chrome_dev.conf”
Step 5: Now punch in “Ctrl + Shift + Q” twice and you’ll sign out.
Step 6: Sign back in with your login credentials.
Congrats. You’ll now have the Play Store update on your Chromebook.
It should pop up and launch automatically as soon as you log in and you can now explore and install whatever Android apps you’ve dreamed about using on your Chromebook. If you don’t see any Play Store option, check your Chrome settings menu for an option to enable it.
Play around and try out some apps. Report any bugs and feedback to Google and help out the developers. Or just show off your Chromebook running Minecraft Pocket Edition to your friends.
How to switch back to the Stable Channel from the Canary Channel
Had enough fun? Enough Android apps for today?
Here’s how to switch back to the Stable Channel:
Step 1: Open a command prompt by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T.”
Step 2: Type “shell” and press “Enter.”
Step 3: Type “sudo su” and press “Enter.”
Step 4: Type “update_engine_client –channel=stable-channel -update” and your laptop will revert back to the default Stable Channel.
Step 5: Your laptop will reboot. Press the spacebar to re-enable Chrome OS verification at the verification screen.
You just tried out the Play Store before it was released
And…there you have it.
So now that you tried it out, what do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.
Now you can switch between them whenever you want. Just be sure to backup your stuff.
The apps are pretty fun to play with on a big screen and they respond pretty well for the most part. It’s impressive how Google managed to make the transition for thousands of Android apps over to Chromebooks.
Update: Chrome OS and the Play Store are very interconnected platforms. That’s probably why the Andromeda rumors went around tying the two together. It’s just something you’d expect.
Getting to experience your favorite Android apps on a Chromebook means convenience, accessibility, and a whole new way to play around with them.
Although the whole update is still in beta testing, it looks very promising so far. Even though flagship laptops like the Samsung Plus had trouble running them, you can tell that they’ve definitely improved since this article was written. And we’ll continue to see them improve.
I’ll keep you updated when a milestone breaks through. Feel free to subscribe for email updates (if you wish).