Wine 3.0 lets you run Windows programs on Android

Wine (also known as Wine Is Not an Emulator) is a popular piece of software that allows people to run Windows programs on other operating systems, particularly Linux and macOS, and it is now available for Android as well.

CodeWeavers, the company behind Wine, released a commercial version of Wine for Android, named CrossOver in 2016.

However, it remained in an early alpha testing stage, and was never fully released.

However, Wine 3.0, is now available, and it can be installed via an APK file onto Android systems, with the app running a full-screen Windows display – including the Start menu – when the app is opened.

Remember, it’s not an emulator

The APK file, which can be downloaded from the Wine HQ website, needs to be installed as an unknown source, rather than getting it from the Google Play Store. Check out our guide on how to install APK files for more information on how to do that.

At the moment the app supports audio and basic graphics, but not Direct3D, which many programs, especially games, need to use. However, Direct3D 10 and 11 support will hopefully be coming later this year.

So, Wine on Android is a bit limited at the moment, but it’s early days. As the name is keen to remind you, Wine is not an emulator, just a compatibility layer, so for the best results you’ll want to use an Android device with an x86 Intel processor (such as a tablet or Chromebook).

If your Android device uses an ARM processor (pretty much all smartphones do), then Wine uses the open source emulator QEMU. 

This adds a layer of complexity, but for now it’s an impressive feat to get Windows programs running on Android devices, and users can look forward to future versions that add new features and iron out the kinks.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.