Microsoft Overhauls Windows 11 Android Subsystem For Android 12L With Great Updates

android hero bloom
When Windows 11 started its roll out, Microsoft announced that it would incorporate the ability to run Android mobile apps in a future update. It did not take long for Redmond to roll out the feature to Windows Insiders, though, and the Android Subsystem for Windows was born.

Well, the next major update is almost here. As with previous new releases of Android Subsystem for Windows, it still requires Insider Preview on Windows 11 set to the Dev channel. The update comes with a feature-packed changelog, with the biggest change being that it is now on Android 12.1, also known as 12L.

Of course, this is still a beta in the test phase, so the optional telemetry collection is turned on by default. You need Windows 11 telemetry turned on to get Insider Preview builds anyway, so that probably not that big of a deal for anyone looking to experiment with the Android Subsystem for Windows. There is also improvements to networking capabilities.

android subsystem for windows
Amazon App Store overtop Microsoft Store

Those networking capabilities now allow for Android on Windows to interact with other devices on the network, including smart speakers, security cameras and even home security devices. This is a great addition, since many home security devices only have a mobile app for configuration.

Speaking of cameras, if you have a web cam that was being detected by Android Subsystem, you may have noticed that the orientation of it was wrong. This has been fixed.

Other changes include better integration with Windows, such as a clearer indication as to what apps are taking advantage of what peripherals in Android. This will show in the system tray of Windows now. Additionally, titles will better reflect the name of the Android app running.

The full changelog is quite extensive, some of the more honorable mentions are as follows:
  • Simpleperf CPU Profiler now works
  • Reduced flicker when apps are restored from minimized state
  • New video hardware decoding (VP8 and VP9)
  • Windows Subsystem for Android updated with Chromium WebView 100
  • Added support for Android NetworkLocationProvider in addition to GpsLocationProvider
subway surfers
Subway Surfers running in Windows 11 via Android Subsystem for Windows

It is worth it to point out though, that the Android Subsystem for Windows, by default, still only supports the Amazon App Store. There are some options to try to get the Google Play Store working, but you definitely need to be wary of some. You can read the full changelog from the Windows Insider Blog