WhatsApp Android Mac OS X

ARC, or App Runtime for Chrome, is a tool that allows you to run many Android apps right on a desktop machine. For the most part, the apps look and function like they do on an Android phone or tablet.

Why is this so cool? Well, it means that you can now have access to whole variety of new apps. Some apps, like WhatsApp, have no native desktop counterpart, so it’s especially nice for apps like these.

While it isn’t a perfect 1:1 solution, and some apps outright don’t work, it’s worth trying if there’s an app that you want that isn’t otherwise available on the desktop. In this post and video, we’ll walk you through the steps of configuring Google’s ARC Welder tool, and show you how to run multiple applications as well.

Note: You’ll need to perform these steps in Google Chrome if you’re running OS X.

Step 1: Add the ARC Welder app to Google Chrome

Step 2: Download an Android app APK

Step 3: Run ARC Welder, and select a local directory

Step 4: Click the Add your APK button, and point to the APK you downloaded in Step 2

Step 5: Click Download ZIP and click Save to save it to the directory you established in Step 3

Step 6: Open the directory from Step 3 and extract the package ZIP file

Step 7: In Google Chrome click Window → Extensions and check the Developer mode check box

Step 8: Click Load unpacked extension and point to the directory you extracted in Step 6 and click Select

Step 9: Open Launchpad and click on the app icon to launch the app

Again, not every app will work, so you’ll have to play around with it to see if your desired app is supported. I was able to personally test WhatsApp and Instagram, and both worked fairly well. Obviously, things like Camera support aren’t there, and then there’s the whole issue of Google Play Services.

ARC is in beta, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen in this early stage. What do you think?

  • Caleb Jiang


  • How about windows?

    • Works there as well.

      • It’s crashes 🙁 well nvm gonna use my OS 10 then 🙂

      • It crashes as well, indeed

      • Saint

        Can you explain exactly how you verified the number for whatsapp? It isn’t working.

  • Questions

    What’s the background music?
    What’s the wallpaper?
    Whats the second app below calendar in your dock?
    Wouldn’t WhatsApp get disabled on your iPhone if you used the same number here?
    Do you get WhatsApp notifications on your mac?
    Do you have to leave WhatsApp open or can you close it and still get notifications?

    • What’s the background music? There are like 5 different songs 😛
      What’s the wallpaper? stock OS X wallpaper
      Whats the second app below calendar in your dock? Slack
      Wouldn’t WhatsApp get disabled on your iPhone if you used the same number here? Probably, I didn’t verify
      Do you get WhatsApp notifications on your mac? Yes
      Do you have to leave WhatsApp open or can you close it and still get notifications? Not sure… I don’t use WhatsApp enough to find out.

  • Joey

    stopped reading at Android apps…

  • Roy Chang

    Flipboard runs pretty good too!

  • john diaz

    Brilliant Jeff thank you. I was looking for something like this for some time now. Finally.

  • coLin

    ‘super simple, super easy’ 🙂

    • LOL. Been saying that for 4+ years now…It’s my trademark.

      • coLin

        ARC Welder does not work on the Chrome beta!!! I just installed the regular Chrome 64 for mac and it works!

  • Guest

    totally useless if you have an iPhone 5S or iPhone 5, since almost everyone unlock using the touch ID, more than slice to unlock, also looks awful if you have a unlock code, since many of the effects leaves a black areas

    • Norbi Whitney

      Pretty sure this article isn’t about Transition

  • Jairo Duque

    Does apps from Google like Hangouts or Google Play music apply for this?

    • I dont think so, they need google play services to work.

  • Kurt

    This is very cool. I wonder if Kingdom Rush will work on this.

  • Jacque Miller

    This looks awesome I’m gonna have to give this a try. It would be awesome if someone could figure out how to do this with iOS apps!

  • You guys should review kenu stance for iPhone. An extremely well done iPhone mount.

  • Rogério Toledo Jr.

    AWESOME !!!

  • Rogério Toledo Jr.

    WhatsApp doesn’t find my contacts. What can I do ?

    • Rogério Toledo Jr.

      @JeffBenjam:disqus How do you access your contacts ??

  • aytac

    How can i add contacts in whatsapp ?

    • Rogério Toledo Jr.

      I want to know too..

  • minyooncheah

    Looks like it doesn’t work on Maverick.

  • Iuri Dos Santos Cunha

    It says that I need Chrome OS to download the extension as it’s not compatible? :/ what do I do now?

    EDIT: nevermind. I found a workaround

  • lemonhead

    so bluestacks for chrome?

    bluestacks is probably still a lot more stable as far as i can tell…

  • Declan .

    Hey, I’m getting this sad extension face when I open APKs. Could u help me please? ;-;

    • it happened to me in windows but fixed in OS X

    • Jo

      Hi Declan, I’m having the problem as you. Did u manage to find a solution?

  • Andrei Constantin

    Thanks for this
    I’m trying to use an app which is pretty resource demanding on the phone/tablet (working very slow), but on the phone/tablet I had to copy an .obb file to the OBB folder, it contains graphics. How do I do it here, the app doesn’t work without it.

  • Waldemar Sinicki


  • Abdl

    There is something called ‘Smartphone” though….

  • Arjun

    whatsapp not working

  • Leonardo Pires

    This is really cool for other android apps but for whatsapp it makes no sense as you can only have one device verified to your account, either you have it on your desktop (which makes no sense at all) or on your phone. Switching back and forth will get your account locked for a period of time.

  • Rafael Lau

    It’s weird that I try to use Google+, it requires Google Play Service installed. Is there any method that can makes I can use Google+ without play service?

  • Yaniv

    Whatsapp works well except the fact that once you verify this app on the mac, it disconnects you from using the app on the phone (at least when you use it on your iPhone) – it detects it as a change of device and only one can be active.
    Then you need to wait 25 minutes before you can reactivate the iPhone app. 🙁

    • Adam

      I found that after this happened I could no longer recieve messages from android users on my iphone. Did this happen to you?

      • Marcos Pena

        Yes. This is my big problem now. My friends using Android can only send me images and voice messages but not written messages. I want to fix this but no way to do it.

      • Adam

        Same. I have contacted support, tried reinstalling, but I think its an issue now associated with the phone number. So apart from deleting the account and re-signing up im not sure its solveable. If I hear back from support I will let you know. Let me know if you get any where solving this!

      • Marcos Pena

        Of course. I sent an email to support too. Question: Do you know if I delete the account I will loose the lifetime license with whatsapp? Any news, we are in contact. Thanks,

      • Adam

        Im not 100% sure, but for 69p a year I would pay that to have whatsapp working again, its very frustrating!

      • Marcos Pena

        Hi, I have tried the following:
        – Get an android mobil (without whatsapp account or remove the one that is in use)
        – Put your SIM card and install whatsapp or just remove the data of whatsapp in android settings
        – After this, I received all the messages from the last 2 days (Good news!!!).
        – Make a backup
        – Delete the data (you do not need to uninstall the app)
        – Put back your SIM to your iPhone
        – Uninstall whatsapp and install again
        – After introduce your mobil number it will request a verification code and…a pop up saying that you have to wait an “X” time for it (in my case 6 hours)

        So, I have to wait for this but it looks well because I got the messages (this would not happen before)

        Try and let me know…

      • Marcos Pena

        It worked. I power off the iPhone and power on back. Then, open whatsapp and I could get the verification code by call and put it and….problem fixed. Finally!!!!

      • Yaniv

        Thanks for sharing, I tried using the same flow, with little differences since I don’t have an android phone to work with.

        For me, what helped at the end, is the following:
        1. On the iPhone whasapp app, I used the change number option, and set it to a phone number of an android phone (not sure if it has to be an android phone). I used a number of a family member that doesn’t have whatsapp installed anymore.
        2. He sent to me the verification code text message and I used it on my phone
        3. When this was approved, I changed the number again to my number. This was done without a verification code even and then I got all the missed messages from the android users and everything works well now

      • Roi

        I had the same problem, and this is what I did:

        1) Backup iPhone using iTunes.
        2) Delete WhatsApp profile (Settings -> Account…)
        3) Create new WhatsApp profile with the same number.
        4) Restore from iPhone backup.

        All my conversation history and photos were restored but I was removed from all groups (although I can see group’s history).

      • Leonardo Pires

        I can confirm the method from Roi works! Remember to backup using itunes. The iCloud chat backup will also be erase if you erase your whatsapp profile (this is how I lost all my chats).
        I think the origin of this problem is the fact that conversations between whatsapp clients on android are encrypted and group chats and android -> iphone conversations aren’t. By doing this trick with the android simulator in chrome, whatsapp apparently thinks your iphone is an android and tries to send encrypted msgs to it, which can’t be decoded and therefore shown.

      • An0nym1tY

        So any confirmed working solutions?? This is really mind boggling…

    • Saint

      But how do you verify in the first place, it does not send SMS or call the phone number. Unless you bypassed this somehow.

  • The Dark Dragon

    Clash of clans not loading for anyone??

  • Marcos Pena

    I am new in this place, so sorry please if I am not doing the things right. I am totally desesperated with my problem. It is as follows: This Wednesday I was testing the Chrome extension “Arc Welder” and installed Whatapp in my Mac but, ignorant of me, I activated with the same mobil number that I already have in my iPhone. The result now is that from any Android device I can’t receive messages but I can receive images and voice messages from them. From iPhones there is no problem at all. I have deleted the WhatsApp extension in Chrome but the problem has not been fixed. Also, I have uninstalled and reinstalled Whatsapp in my iPhone and the same. Today I have deleted my iCloud backups and, the same problem. The only one solution that I have in mind now is delete my whatsapp account but this is the last one option. Can you help me to solve this problem? Thanks in advance,

  • aizathisyam

    Can I run whatsapp using the same phone number on my iphone at the same time with the whatsapp android app on chrome ??

  • 1080pete

    Do you have to log in every time you load an app?

  • Saint

    Whatsapp will not work with this method as you cannot verify a phone number.

    • Saint

      I get this message when I try to call to verify.

      • sau

        got any udates?

      • Saint

        No. It would not work so I gave up.

  • cizzastrizza

    hey, someone can help? I’ve a iphone with ios8, and I can’t receive the sms or the phone call for whatsapp code activation on arc welder.

  • I keep getting this message. what should I do?

    • Joel Mizrahi

      so i guess no one has found a solution to this problem yet?

  • Adithya Pachipala

    what to do?…help me please

  • Vardaan Bhat

    This isn’t working for instagram, I just get this error image. Thoughts?