How to download and install ARC Welder crx

ARC Welder is a Chrome app to help you test and publish your Android Apps to Chrome OS using the App Runtime for Chrome. It could create a Chrome extension for the Android apk file. After you get the extension file, you can run the Android app directly on the Google Chrome.

The latest ARC Welder can only run x86-64 and arm platforms. This post will show you how to use the offline crx file to install ARC Welder, and run a Android app on 64-bit Google Chrome. Please follow the steps below carefully.

1. Prepare Google Chrome to run an Android app

  • Enable Native Client > This will support Native Client for all web applications, even those that were not installed from the Chrome Web Store. Open the chrome://flags page, and click the 'Enable' link in the Native Client section.

    Enable Google Chrome Native Client

  • Check WebGL status > Open the chrome://gpu page in Google Chrome to check the WebGL status. You should find such information: WebGL: Hardware accelerated.

    Enable Google Chrome WebGL Hardware Acceleration

    If the status of WebGL is unavailable, you must enable WebGL acceleration by checking on the 'Use hardware acceleration when available' in the chrome://settings/ page:

    Enable Google Chrome WebGL Hardware Acceleration

  • Enable Developer mode of extension > Open the chrome://extensions page and check on the 'Developer mode':

    Enable Google Chrome Developer mode

If you have done these settings, restart your Google Chrome.

2. Download and install App Runtime for Chrome (Beta)

You need the crx file of App Runtime for Chrome, because ARC Welder requires it. Now download the App Runtime for Chrome crx file from Crx4Chrome.

After you get the offline crx file of App Runtime for Chrome (app-runtime-for-chrome.crx), drag-and-drop the crx file to Chrome's extensions page to install it:

Install App Runtime for Chrome

And you'll find App Runtime for Chrome is installed successfully:

App Runtime for Chrome Installed

3. Download ARC Welder crx file

Now let's get the offline crx file of the ARC Welder app. You could download the offline ARC Welder crx file from Crx4Chrome.

4. Install ARC Welder crx file to Google Chrome

It's not allowed to install ARC Welder directly by drag-and-drop crx file to the extension page (You'll get such a notice: This can only be added from the Chrome Web Store), we need to install it as unpacked extension.

Rename the .crx file of ARC Welder to .zip file:

ARC Welder crx file

Rename ARC Welder crx file to zip file

Unzip the renamed zip file to a path and you will find the source files of ARC Welder, please rename or delelte the _metadata folder.

Delete ARC Welder _metadata folder

Now go to Chrome extension page chrome://extensions, click on the Load unpacked extension button, and browse to the previous unzip path of the ARC Welder source files. Then click on the 'OK' button and then you'll find ARC Welder is loaded by Google Chrome as an extension.

Enable Google Chrome Developer mode

5. Get an apk file of Android app

If you do not have an apk file, you could go to APK4Fun to download apk file of an Android app. Let us test the AIDA64 apk file as an example.

6. Use ARC Welder to convert the apk to a Chrome extension

Launch ARC Welder by clicking on the Launch link to open it:

Lanuch ARC Welder

Choose a directory that ARC Welder can read and write:

ARC Welder Working Directory

Now add the apk file by clicking on the Add your APK button and wait for a while for ARC Welder to parse the apk file:

Add APK to ARC Welder

After the apk file is loaded successfully, click on the DOWNLOAD ZIP button, this will start the apk to chrome extension conversation and finally a zip file is generated:

Add APK to ARC Welder

This zip file is the chrome extension edition of the Android app. Save the zip file to a path and unzip it also:

Unzip the zip file of the Android app

7. Load the newly created extension into Chrome

Back into the chrome extension page (chrome://extensions), click on the Load unpacked extension button, and browse to the path of the newly unzip path of the app to load it into Google Chrome:

Load Android App to Google Chrome

And now click on the 'Launch' link of the new extension to test it:

Launch Android App in Google Chrome

Now we successfully run the Android app AIDA64 in Google Chrome with the help of ARC Welder:

Run AIDA64 App in Google Chrome

Other important notes

  1. Many Android apps or games may be NOT compitable with ARC Welder, you may just get a blank page.
  2. Check ARC Welder on Chrome Web Store
  3. Developer guide: Getting Started with ARC
  4. Chrome will be removing support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux: From Chrome Apps to the Web
  5. Google Chromebooks now support the Google Play Store and Android apps: An updated version of ARC