BlueStacks: in-depth guide to the complete Android emulator for PC
BlueStacks is one of the most popular Android emulators for PC , if not the most. It is something like having a virtual mobile or tablet on the PC, so you can play mobile games from the PC, using the keyboard and mouse .
BlueStacks specializes in games, including several added perks like the ability to open multiple games at once , as well as a complete set of controls. Here we will see how you can start using and getting the most out of this Android emulator for Windows and Mac.
The easiest and safest way to download BlueStacks is from its official website . There is prominently displayed a green Download BlueStacks button , which without intermediate steps or stories begins downloading the appropriate file for your operating system.
The BlueStacks minimum requirements are not high . In Windows it requires Windows 7 or higher, 4 GB of RAM and 5 GB of hard disk. On Mac it requires Mac OS Sierra (10.12) or higher, 4 GB of RAM and 4 GB of hard disk. Obviously, the more powerful your PC is, the better, because you will get better performance in games and, therefore, a smoother experience in them.
From the BlueStacks website you will get the installer, which you can start just like any other application: with a double click. The installer is very simple and does not have a trap or cardboard. Click Install Now and the download, about 500 MB, will start first to continue the installation.
A great advantage of BlueStacks is that it comes with Google Play out of the box , so you can download games and applications directly from the Google store. To use it you need to log in with a Google account. This step is optional, since there are other ways to install applications, as we will see below.
Install apps and games
The factory BlueStacks comes empty except for the browser, the application to see the files and little else. There is no game installed, but you can fix that quickly. Basically there are three ways to install apps and games on BlueStacks.
The traditional one is the same as on an Android mobile: from Google Play . For this you need to be signed in with your Google account, but otherwise it is as easy as ever: you look for an application and install it. This mode has the advantage that Google Play will only show you compatible applications and, a priori, they should work well in the emulator.
BlueStacks also includes its own Application Center , which is something like a directory, list and top-ten of the applications and games in BlueStacks. Accessible from the Home tab (at the bottom), it is another way to find and install applications and games, although keep in mind that in some cases the download will take you to Google Play. That is, you will also need to log in with a Google account.
Finally, you can also install applications from APK files . In fact, after installing BlueStacks on PC, APK files will automatically associate with BlueStacks. This means that starting the installation is as easy as double clicking on one of these files.
Keep in mind, however, that the APK files must be compatible with the emulator . They need to have x86 architecture and be compatible with the background Android version used in BlueStacks. BlueStacks 4.0 is based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat.
Adjust the controls
After installing games and applications, opening them is as simple as clicking their corresponding icons, on the Home tab. The main problem of playing mobile games on the PC is that, normally, you cannot use the touch controls like on the mobile. The good news is that BlueStacks ships preconfigured controls for many popular games out of the box.
If you plan to play PUBG or any other minimally popular game on BlueStacks, it’s more than likely that its controls are already preconfigured. You will know it because the light bulb icon is clickable and when you press it, a window will appear that summarizes the controls .
Preset controls are usually more than enough, but you’re always free to customize or adjust them. Also, you may come across games that are not preconfigured. Then you will have to create the configuration .
Setting up the game controls isn’t terribly difficult , though it will take quite a bit of trial and error. Basically, BlueStacks gives you ten controls that you can place on the screen so that they touch or do different actions with the press of a key (or with the mouse).
That is, if in a game it is necessary to press a specific part of the screen to shoot, you drag the Touch point control to that place and assign a keyboard key or mouse click. BlueStacks is also compatible with remotes connected to the PC.
Open multiple games at once
One of the advantages of BlueStacks is the possibility of creating multiple instances, thus being able to open several games at the same time. To do this you must use the Multiple Instance Manager button and create “another BlueStacks”. By having several BlueStacks, you can open different games and applications in each one.
Creating a new instance is pretty easy. You can create it from scratch or cloning an instance that already exists (that is, with the same games and data inside it). You can assign a specified number of cores and memory to each of these instances.
Translate texts in games
If you are fond of games in languages you don’t know, this interests you. BlueStacks includes a text translator for games. To use it you have to press Control + Shift + L to open a screenshot of the current game.
This screenshot includes the translated texts superimposed on the originals, trying to imitate their format. The result is not perfect, but it can help you get an idea of what is happening in the game.
Record your games
As it could not be otherwise, it is possible to record your gaming sessions directly with BlueStacks. It is done at the push of a button on the toolbar, although the recorder does not come pre-installed with BlueStacks. That is, the first time you press the button, you must install the function (although it installs in seconds).
BlueStacks works perfectly as it is installed, but you are always free to go to the options to configure some additional aspects. For example, if you have a particularly powerful PC you can go to the Engine section to increase the FPS or allocate more cores and memory to the emulator.
BlueStacks uses a heavily modified – and cropped – version of Android, but it’s still Android. As such, it has the Android settings menu for the entire vine , which you can access from the Home tab, clicking on More applications and then on the Settings icon.
From the Android settings you can review the installed applications, accounts and languages or modify the system date and time, among other settings. It is not the complete list of settings that you would find in a current mobile or tablet, but something is something.