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How to opt-in and use Android Instant Apps, currently rolling out to select devices


Back at Google I/O last summer, we got our first look at Android Instant Apps. Instead of taking the time to download and install a full application, Instant Apps allows users to quickly test out applications straight from the web.

Last month, Google started a limited test of the service and opened up the experience to third-party developers. Based on a Reddit post and our own findings, Instant Apps appears to be now rolling out to Pixel and Nexus users…

From what Google has published about on the subject, we know that there are around four different Instant Apps currently live for users to test. These are Wish, Viki, Buzzfeed, and Periscope. Before you can try out the Instant Apps feature, though, you have to turn it on.

Unfortunately, it’s not explicitly clear as to who has access to Instant Apps nor what phone(s) will be able to test it out. We’ve managed to get it to work on two Google Pixels running Android 7.1.2 and a Nexus 6P running 7.1.1. Additionally, we’ve checked and we do not believe that a specific version of Play Services has anything to do with your device being able to run Instant Apps or not.

You can follow the steps below to check and see if your phone has access to Instant Apps. While we have found that it appears to be rolling out to Pixel and Nexus devices, this isn’t a guarantee. If you don’t have access today, try again tomorrow as Google seems to be rolling it out server-side in waves.

How to opt into Instant apps:

  1. Go to your phone’s settings menu
  2. Scroll down and tap on Google under the Personal category
  3. Under the Services subheading, select Instant Apps
  4. Tap on the toggle to turn it on. Read through and agree to the terms of service that will pop up by selecting Yes, I’m in

Now that you’ve activated Instant Apps, it is time to find one and run it. As mentioned, the list of Instant Apps includes Wish, Viki, Buzzfeed, and Periscope. I’ve only been able to load Wish successfully but others have gotten Viki to also work. This appears to also be a server-side rollout so you might find more or less Instant Apps online.

How to find and use Instant Apps:

  1. Open up Chrome
  2. Search for an application. The list of known applications can be found above
  3. Scroll down and look for the search result that includes Instant in its subheading and select it
  4. Tap on Open App
  5. The Instant App will now load. You can use this just like any application that you have installed on your phone. If you would like to download the full application, you can select the Install button found in the Instant App’s menu

Again, this rollout appears to be taking place sporadicly, so keep checking if you’re not seeing Instant Apps just yet. If you are, let us know in the comments.

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Avatar for Justin Duino Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at Tips are always welcome.