Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of Threads by now. Meta’s latest social media app is unapologetically a Twitter (or X) competitor, and it's deeply interconnected with Instagram to create an amalgamation of the two. However, access to Threads was only possible through its official iOS and Android apps when it launched. There was no proper web interface at the beginning, although you could directly go to a user's profile.
The initial lack of an official web interface indirectly affected desktop users quite a lot. Besides the fact that Meta has yet to come up with official clients for Windows/Linux/macOS, you couldn't even spawn an unofficial desktop app wrapping over the web version. Thankfully, there are still ways you can experience the thrill of using Threads on your PC or Mac right now! If you don't want to miss out, keep reading.
How to use Threads on your web browser
Threads users have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for a full-fledged web app to go live. The company finally listened to their prayers and unveiled a much more functional version of the web interface at the end of August 2023. The rollout was gradual at the start, but it is now available for everyone.
Now that the web version is somewhat functional, PC users (irrespective of the OS) can easily access it from their favorite browsers. Here's what you need to do:
- Open your preferred browser and visit threads.net.
- You'll be prompted to log in using your Instagram credentials.
- The page still shows a QR code to download the mobile app, but you should ignore it.
- Once you log in successfully, you can see the revised layout of the web version. It does remain similar to what we see in the app, except the tabs at the bottom of the screen on the app have been repositioned to the top of the website.
When it comes to features, not only can you make posts, but you’ll also be able to look at your feed and interact with other posts. With that said, you still can’t do things like edit your profile or send a post to Instagram DMs right from the web interface. The current UI remains basic for now, but Meta is expected to roll out multiple updates for the web client in the near future.
How to install Threads on your Windows PC
It's been more than a year since Microsoft added support for Android apps on Windows 11 through Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA). This means as long as your laptop or desktop can run Windows 11, you should be able to install the Android version of Threads and use it right from your PC without messing with any third-party software or emulator.
Follow the steps mentioned below to install Threads via Windows Subsystem for Android:
- You need to get your hands on the Android package (commonly known as the APK) of the Threads app. The official app name is "Threads, an Instagram app" and the package name is
- Always opt for reputable APK hosting resources like APK Mirror to download the APK.
- If you have already installed Threads in your Android phone, you can back up the APK using ADB and reuse it.
- For compatibility reasons, it's better to grab the x86_64 APK for regular Intel/AMD-powered PCs. If you have a Windows on Arm device, then pick the arm64-v8a variant instead for optimal performance.
- Make sure that Windows Subsystem for Android is installed and configured properly.
- Turn on Developer mode in WSA and sideload the Threads APK.
- It's possible to use third-party wrappers such as WSATools to minimize command line usage.
- If everything goes right, then you should be able to locate a shortcut to the Threads app in the Windows 11's Start Menu.
In case you modded the WSA instance with Google apps, you can directly install the Threads app from the Play Store. That way, you don't need to bother about updating the app manually, as the Play Store will take care of it.
As mentioned earlier, while it is possible to run the Threads APK on Windows via third-party Android emulators, we suggest choosing WSA over them for a myriad of reasons. Unlike Microsoft, very few vendors regularly update the Android layer of their solutions. Moreover, the lack of seamless integration with Windows and questionable user data harvesting policies of various Android emulators make WSA a far better choice when it comes to running Android apps under Windows.
How to install Threads on your PC running Linux
While you can use various emulators on Linux to run Android apps, there is no way to avoid sluggishness and slowdowns due to computational overhead. The Waydroid project, on the other hand, tackles it differently, as it uses a container-based approach to boot a full Android system by utilizing most of the host device's native hardware. Here's how to run Threads via Waydroid on Linux:
- Install and configure Waydroid for your Linux distribution.
- Alternatively, you can download a custom distribution named Waydroid-Linux, which comes with pre-configured Waydroid tools and scripts.
- Download the Threads APK from APK Mirror. As mentioned earlier, choose the x86_64 APK for regular Intel/AMD-powered PCs.
- Open a Terminal window and run the following command to install the Threads app:
waydroid app install com.instagram.barcelona.apk
com.instagram.barcelona.apkwith the actual name and full path of the downloaded Threads APK.
- Optionally, turn on multi-window support:
waydroid prop set persist.waydroid.multi_windows true
- Also, apply the rotation fix for traditional PCs:
sudo waydroid shell wm set-fix-to-user-rotation enabled
- The Threads app shortcut should pop up automatically in your app drawer. You can directly invoke it from the Terminal as well.
waydroid app launch com.instagram.barcelona
How to install Threads on your Mac
Owners of Apple silicon-powered Macs can run iPhone apps and iPad apps from the Mac App Store without any modification, assuming the developers don't block it. Though, considering Meta hasn't enabled the relevant toggle, modern Mac owners will have to follow the same steps as those on Intel and rely on emulation.
- Download the Threads APK from APK Mirror on the target Mac.
- If you're using an Apple Silicon-powered Mac, opt for the arm64-v8a variant of the APK. Legacy Intel Mac users should grab the x86_64 variant instead.
- Install and configure Google's Android Studio so that you can utilize its Virtual Device Manager.
- Once everything's good to go, drag the Threads APK to the emulator window.
- An installation dialogue will pop up, and the app will be installed.
- You can then launch Threads right from the emulator's home screen or the app drawer.
How to install Threads on your Chromebook
The common misconception about Chromebooks or ChromeOS tablets is that the devices are powered by a lightweight operating system with very minimal app support. This is certainly not true, as current-gen Chromebooks can run Android apps out of the box. Installing Android apps on ChromeOS is very similar to the process for Android's Play Store. Here's how:
- Open the app drawer, find the Google Play Store app, and open it.
- Search or browse for the Threads app. You can also find it by clicking on the app box below.
- Click on Install.
- Wait for the app to install, and it will appear in your app drawer shortly after.
Bonus: Run Threads on your PC/Mac via screen mirroring
There are a plethora of phone-PC linking solutions through which you can pair your iPhone or Android device to your Windows PC/Mac and perform tasks like transferring content, sharing clipboards, as well as running certain mobile apps on your desktop. The scrcpy (short for “screen copy“) project is undoubtedly a gem in this domain, as this open-source tool allows you to mirror your Android device’s screen to a PC or a Mac. One can exploit the software to run Threads on Windows, Linux, or macOS directly from their phone without installing anything related to Meta's app on the computer itself.
- Set up ADB access on your computer and make sure the target Android device is discoverable by ADB.
- Download the latest scrcpy release for your host OS and extract it.
- Open up a terminal window inside the previously extracted folder, and run the scrcpy executable.
- For Windows, the command should be:
- For Linux and macOS, the command should be:
- For Windows, the command should be:
- That's it. Now locate the Threads app from the home screen or the app drawer.
Advanced: Reverse engineer Threads API for making unofficial desktop clients
While this is not intended for regular users, several developers are working hard to decipher the internal functionalities and communication protocols of Threads. That way, you could come up with your own unofficial client and interact with the API to log in, read and publish posts, view who liked a post, retrieve user profile information, and much more.
Those well-versed in Node.js/TypeScript should check out the Threads API project from GitHub user junhoyeo. A similar Python client has also been developed by GitHub user Danie1. Keep in mind that these are merely libraries, which means you need to code the desktop client on top of it.
As a matter of interest, Meta is actively cracking down on such developments for unknown reasons, so your mileage may vary. Moreover, since they are adding new features to Threads at a steady pace and the company has yet to offer official API documentation for the service, it's rather hard to keep up with the development. This is the reason you might find unexpected glitches or random features broken in the reverse-engineered API, which is just inevitable at the moment.
For all it is worth, you'll miss out on a couple of features if you run Threads one of these ways. While liking, replying, or posting your own threads is possible, you can't get proper full-screen scaling or OS-native notifications. The web version has finally received some love, but it's still in a very nascent stage. At the end of the day, if a missing first-party app has kept you from trying out Threads on your PC/Mac, don't hesitate to give this tutorial a spin.