How to Enable Unknown Sources on the Kindle Fire
Amazon’s Fire tablets are an interesting bunch. Amazon doesn’t aim to make money off the hardware itself, but rather the services and content you can buy to make the most of your device. In this respect, they’ve somewhat followed in Apple’s footsteps and created their own closed ecosystem of apps and services.
Despite their customized operating system being based on Google’s Android, Fire OS doesn’t come with any Google services or even the Google Play Store. This means that you’re more-or-less stuck going through Amazon. However, it’s still possible to add other app stores by enabling unknown sources on your tablet. In this article, we’ll go over how it’s done, so you can really get the best from your Fire tablet.
Enabling Unknown Sources on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
Fortunately, unlike Apple’s very closed off approach, it’s possible to allow apps from sources other than Amazon’s preinstalled app store. That said, because they don’t come from Amazon themselves, your device will treat even apps from reputable sources like Google Play Store as coming from an “unknown source”.
Here are the steps that you’ll need to take in order to allow these terribly risky and dangerous apps onto your Fire tablet:
- Power on or wake your tablet, and go to the home screen.
- Drag the quick action panel down from the top of the screen.
- Tap on the cog shaped Settings button.
- Tap on Security & Privacy.
- Tap on the toggle to the right of Apps from Unknown Sources, so that the toggle is set to the right (the on position). This means the setting is enabled.
You should now be able to install apps from other sources than Amazon’s app store to your Amazon Fire tablet. However, being able to actually download and use another app store like Google Play Store is a little more complex. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to get Play Store on your device.
How to Install Google Play Store on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
Now that you’ve allowed apps from unknown sources, you’ll need to download a few application packages (APKs) to have the necessary framework for Google’s apps to work on your tablet. Keep in mind that this does rely on your tablet running Fire OS 188.8.131.52 (released in August 2016), so if you have an older device, you’ll need to root it first.
Open up your tablet’s browser, and download the following four APKs by tapping on the links, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and tapping on Download APK:
- Google Account Manager APK
- Google Services Framework APK
- Google Play Services APK OR if you have a 7th generation Fire HD 8 from 2017 Google Play Services APK
- Google Play Store APK
Don’t worry about any security alerts popping up. Once you’ve got them downloaded, go to your Docs app from your Fire tablet’s home screen. Tap on Local Storage, then tap on Downloads.
Tap on each APK in the order shown above to install them on your tablet. Make certain that you follow the order above, otherwise, the installation won’t complete properly and you won’t be able to use Google Play Store on your device.
Once you’ve installed the final APK, you should see a new Google Play Store icon on your tablet’s home screen. Tap on this, sign in to your Google Account, and let it perform any necessary updates to the apps and services on your phone. Once the updates are all completed, you should be able to download and use the apps available on Google’s app store.
Welcome to the Jungle
Now that you’ve got access to the whole gamut of Android compatible apps, you should be able to truly use your Amazon Fire tablet to the best of its abilities. This flexibility, combined with the cheapness of their devices, is likely to drive Amazon’s growth in the tablet market. If you have any other app store tips, ways in which to install them on Amazon Fire, why not share them with us in the comments section below?