A couple of months back, the Android version of Mojang’s wildly popular Minecraft blocked from being used on Chromebooks. At that time, it wasn’t clear as to why the sandbox video game was no longer compatible with Chrome OS. However, the reason became very clear with Microsoft’s recent announcement of Minecraft: Education Edition. This version, available only to eligible EDU users, can be installed on Chromebooks via the Google Play Store but you’re school has to have a license and you must have an Office 365 Education account to play the full version.
Smart play by Microsoft but what about the countless people that own the $6.99 Play Store version and simply want to install it on a Chromebook. There’s always the side loading option but thanks to Crostini, there is now another way and it works like a champ. For Chromebooks that support Crostini, a.k.a. Linux apps, users can install Linux apps known as flatpaks. These applications are all-in-one packages that contain all the necessary bits an pieces to run directly from the flatpak itself. For more on that, check out this Command Line article on how to get up and running with flatpaks on Chrome OS. I’ve used flatpaks to install Minecraft from the Flathub storefront and it runs perfectly but it is the PC “Java” version not the Bedrock build designed for mobile. Lucky for us, someone else decided that there should be a way to run the Android version on Linux and thus, this flatpak was born.
Minecraft Bedrock Launcher
Before we go any further, yes, you need to own the Android Play Store version of Minecraft. Once you install the flatpak, you’ll be prompted to connect your Google account that is attached to the Play Store and it will check to make sure you have the license. Don’t try to cheat the system. If you’re serious about having Minecraft on your Chromebook, fork over the $7 like a good gamer. If you have purchased Minecraft, you can now move on to the next steps. First, you’ll need to make sure you Chromebook is setup and ready to run Linux apps. Check out this article on getting started with Linux before you move on to the next steps.
The Minecraft Bedrock Launcher is a third-party flatpak that acts as a middle-man for Linux and the apk for Minecraft. Similar to Wine, this package creates a compatibility layer for Minecraft to run properly with little to no loss of game quality. From the project Discord:
The project runs the native libraries from the Android version directly on your computer. This is accomplished by fixing the incompatibilities between the libc used on Android and the one used on desktop Linux or OS X (Android – Bionic; Linux – glibc). This is a simple compatibility layer which doesn’t impact performance in any significant way; it’s similar to Wine, but much more lightweight and simple. Aditionally, all Android-specific code has been rewritten to run on Linux (AppPlatform, Store, Xbox Live, etc.).Discord
If you’re all set up with Linux, we can now install the flatpak repo and the Minecraft Bedrock Launcher. To get started with flatpaks, open your Linux terminal and paste the following command. Hit “y” and enter if prompted to complete the installation.
sudo apt install flatpak
Next, we will install the Flathub repository. This tells Linux where to look when you attempt to install a flatpak from the storefront. Add the repo by pasting the following command into the Linux terminal. You won’t get any output or installation dialogue. When it is finished, the terminal will return to the command prompt.
sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
Last but not least, it’s time to install the Minecraft Bedrock Launcher. To do this, paste the installation command into the Linux terminal and hit enter. Again, select “y” and enter if prompted to finish the process. Once it is done, you should have the Minecraft Bedrock Launcher in your Chrome OS app drawer. The icon will be the default Linux Penguin.
sudo flatpak install flathub io.mrarm.mcpelauncher
Now you’re all set. Click on the launcher and when prompted, sign in with your Google account. As long as you have a valid license, you should be good to go. You will then sign into your Microsoft Live account and you’re on your way. I’ve tinkered around for a few minutes and the game seems to run as smoothly as any other platform I’ve tried it on. The only tweaks I had to make was to turn down my mouse sensitivity a tad. Keep in mind, this is an unofficial method for getting Minecraft Bedrock on your Chromebook. The project may not be around forever but if you own the Android app, you should be good to go while this “hack” is available.
Big shout out to M.P. for digging up this awesome find.