Amazon AppStream 2.0
Developer Guide

What Is Amazon AppStream 2.0?

Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a fully managed, secure, application streaming service that allows you to stream desktop applications from AWS to any device running a web browser, without rewriting them. AppStream 2.0 provides users instant-on access to the applications they need, and a responsive, fluid user experience on the device of their choice.

With AppStream 2.0, you can easily add your existing desktop applications to AWS and instantly start streaming them to an HTML5 compatible browser. You can maintain a single version of each of your apps, which makes application management easier. Your users always access the latest versions of their applications. Your applications run on AWS compute resources, and data is never stored on users’ devices, which means they always get a high performance, secure experience.

Unlike traditional on-premises solutions for desktop application streaming, AppStream 2.0 offers pay-as-you-go pricing, with no upfront investment and no infrastructure to maintain. You can scale instantly and globally, ensuring that your users always have the best possible experience.

For more information, see the AppStream 2.0 detail page, AppStream 2.0 Pricing or Amazon AppStream 2.0 FAQs.

The AppStream 2.0 API provides programmatic control over all streaming actions as an alternative to using the AWS Management Console. For more information, see Amazon AppStream 2.0 API Reference.


Using Amazon AppStream 2.0 leverages the following advantages:

Run desktop applications on any device

With AppStream 2.0, your desktop applications can run securely in an HTML5 web browser on Windows and Linux PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks. You can add your applications without rewriting them, maintain a single version for all your users, and provide easy access to your users from anywhere.

Instant-on access

AppStream 2.0 provides users instant-on access to their desktop applications in a browser on the desktop device of their choice. There are no delays, no large files to download, and no time-consuming installations. Users get a responsive, fluid experience that is indistinguishable from natively installed apps.

Secure applications and data

With AppStream 2.0, applications and data remain on AWS — only encrypted pixels are streamed to end users. Applications run on an AppStream 2.0 instance dedicated to each user so that compute resources are not shared. Applications can run inside your own VPC, and you can use Amazon VPC security features to control access. This allows you to isolate your applications and deliver them in a secure way.

Easily integrate with your IT environment

AppStream 2.0 can integrate with your existing AWS services, and your on-premises environments. By running applications inside your VPCs, your users can access data and other resources that you’re running on AWS, reducing the movement of data between AWS and your location and providing a faster user experience. AppStream 2.0 supports identity federation, which allows your users to access their applications using their corporate credentials. You can also allow authenticated access to your IT resources from applications running on AppStream 2.0.

Fully managed service

With AppStream 2.0, you don’t need to plan, deploy, manage, or upgrade any application streaming infrastructure. AppStream 2.0 manages the AWS resources required to host and run your applications, scales automatically, and provides access to your end users on demand.

Consistent, scalable performance

AppStream 2.0 runs on AWS with access to compute capabilities not available on local devices, which means that your applications run with consistently high performance. You can instantly scale locally and globally, and ensure that your users always get a low-latency experience. Unlike on-premises solutions, you can quickly deploy your applications to a new AWS region that is closest to your users, and start streaming with no incremental capital investment.

Key Concepts

To get the most out of AppStream 2.0, be familiar with the following concepts:


Set up an AppStream 2.0 stack to start streaming apps to user browsers. An AppStream 2.0 stack consists of a fleet of streaming instances, user access policies, and storage configurations.


The fleet in an AppStream 2.0 stack consists of streaming instances that can scale automatically based on demand. You can set the desired number of streaming instances in a fleet. The fleet runs the image that you specify.


An AppStream 2.0 image contains applications to be streamed to users accessing an AppStream 2.0 stack. The image is used to launch streaming instances that are part of an AppStream 2.0 fleet. Use an image builder to create or modify an image.

image builder

Install your apps and create an image by using an AppStream 2.0 image builder. You can launch and connect to an AppStream 2.0 image builder from the AWS Management Console. After you are connected to an image builder, you can install, add, and test your apps, and then use the image builder to publish an AppStream 2.0 image.

user pool

Manage users and their assigned stacks using the AppStream 2.0 user pool. The user pool offers a simplified way to manage access to applications for your end users through a persistent portal.

How to Get Started

If you are using AppStream 2.0 for the first time, follow the Getting Started with Amazon AppStream 2.0 tutorial in the console. When you go through the getting started experience for the first time, AppStream 2.0 creates an IAM role to create and manage AppStream 2.0 resources on your behalf.

To use the Try It Now feature

You can go directly to Try it now or follow these steps.

  1. Open the AppStream 2.0 console at

  2. Choose Try it now.

  3. Sign in using your AWS account credentials, if requested.

  4. Read the terms and conditions and choose Agree and Continue.

  5. From the list of applications shown, select one to try.

To run the interactive tutorial

  1. Open the AppStream 2.0 console at

  2. Choose Get Started.

  3. Select the option to learn more about AppStream 2.0 resources.

AppStream 2.0 is used in conjunction with the following AWS service:

AWS Identity and Access Management

IAM is a web service that helps you securely control access to AWS resources for your users. The AppStream 2.0 service uses IAM service roles to create and manage AppStream 2.0 resources on your behalf. You can use IAM to control who can use your AWS resources (authentication) and what resources they can use in which ways (authorization). For more information, see Using Identity Based Policies.

Accessing AppStream 2.0

You can work with AppStream 2.0 in any of the following ways:

AWS Management Console

The console is a browser-based interface to manage AppStream 2.0 resources. For more information about using the console, see Getting Started with Amazon AppStream 2.0.

AWS command line tools

AWS provides two sets of command line tools: the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) and the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell. For more information, see the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide and AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell User Guide.

You can use the AWS command line tools to issue commands at your system's command line to perform AppStream 2.0 and AWS tasks. To use the AWS CLI to run AppStream 2.0 commands, see Amazon AppStream 2.0 Command Line Reference.


You can access AppStream 2.0 from a variety of programming languages. The SDKs automatically take care of tasks such as the following:

  • Setting up an AppStream 2.0 stack or fleet

  • Getting an application streaming URL to your stack

  • Describing your resources

For more information about available SDKs, see Tools for Amazon Web Services.