Android apps on Windows now work better when you use a VPN

Apps using Windows Subsystem for Android can connect to other network devices

The Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) has a firm place in the heart of Android lovers because it allows us to run mobile apps on the desktop operating system as though they were native programs. The experience isn’t comparable to stock Android yet, but we are getting there slowly with Microsoft’s updates, growing geographic availability, and support for more apps. Microsoft’s latest update for WSA adds a few noteworthy new features, greatly aiding interoperability with Windows programs and other devices on your network.

Version 2305 of WSA released in June made it much easier for apps to access Windows files using a shared directory. According to the changelog available on the WSA GitHub page, the latest update (version 2306) makes it easier for WSA apps to interact with other Windows devices on your network, be it a NAS or another computer, all while respecting Windows Firewall restrictions and your VPN settings. This is a great step forward if some apps you often use are geo-restricted, or if you often use WSA on a secondary computer while all your files are stored on another one. Corresponding settings are tucked away under Advanced settingsExperimental features, which replaces the Advanced networking option.

Version 2306 also brings support for the familiar F11 shortcut to toggle full screen mode on and off. When WSA apps are running in full screen, the taskbar will stay hidden unless you hover your cursor along the lower edge of your display. This change makes for a more immersive visual experience, with both touch and physical input. Microsoft’s engineers have also improved the Picture-in-Picture mode with additional buttons giving you more control. The drag and drop functionality for files also supports more formats now — an issue raised by the WSA user and beta tester community.

Besides the usual kernel version update, Android 13 security patches, and ongoing stability improvements on ARM-based computers, WSA now allows better camera compatibility as well, making life a little easier if you use WSA apps for video conferencing. Together these improvements are making WSA easier to operate, especially because it’s now simpler to move files to and from WSA over a network and even in the same computer.