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How To Install an APK on Amazon Fire TV

Posted by Jamie on June 7, 2018

Sideloading apps onto devices is something we have done for years. When a device is based on a version of Android like the Fire TV, the job is easier than you might think. Even though Amazon created something of a walled garden for its product, where there is a will, there is a way. If you want to sideload an app or install an APK on Amazon Fire TV, this tutorial shows you how.

Fire OS that runs the Fire TV is based on Android even though the UI and certain elements look completely different. It is similar enough that the Fire TV can run some Android apps. The challenge comes when you want to use a TV remote. Most vanilla Android apps are for phones or tablets and have no need to use a TV remote. The Fire TV obviously does so you have to be selective as to what apps you use.

Some apps that work with Amazon Fire TV include Kodi, Firefox, the IMDb app, VPN apps like Private Internet Access or IPVanish, Microsoft Outlook, Terrarium TV, FreeFlix HQ, Showbox, Area 51, YouTube and Google Play. There are likely a bunch of others too.

Sideloading apps onto Amazon Fire TV

There are a couple ways to sideload apps onto Amazon Fire TV. You can use an Android phone, download directly from the internet or use cloud storage. I tend to go with that last method. I find it much easier to use my PC to find what I want to load and uploading to Google Drive or OneDrive takes a second. You can then access the files from your Fire TV and install directly.

First we need to enable files from unknown sources.

  1. Start your Fire TV and go to the Home page.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Device and Developer Options.
  4. Toggle ‘Apps from Unknown Sources’ to on.

This setting allows you to install unofficial apps that aren’t on the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store.

Sideload apps onto Fire TV using cloud storage

Then we need to find apps. Use your search engine of choice or download an app to your Android device and copy the APK file to your cloud storage. The APK file should be a standalone file that contains everything necessary to install the app. I’ll leave the what and how of APK files to you.

  1. Start your Fire TV and go to the Home page.
  2. Download and install ES File Explorer onto your Fire TV using the Search feature.
  3. Select the Cloud option in ES File Explorer and select your cloud service.
  4. Log into your cloud storage using ES File Explorer.
  5. Navigate to the APK file, select it, download and install.

I find this the easiest way to install apps onto Fire TV as I am much more comfortable using the web on a PC with keyboard and mouse. If you would prefer a more direct method, we can install directly onto Fire TV.

Sideload apps directly onto Fire TV

This method installs a downloader app and then searches for apps directly. I find typing fiddly using the remote but you might have more luck than I.

  1. Start your Fire TV and go to the Home page.
  2. Use Search to locate the Downloader app. This allows you to install APK files directly onto Fire TV.
  3. Download and install Downloader.
  4. Open Downloader from the Apps menu and acknowledge the ‘Update Notes for Downloader’ popup if you see it.
  5. Select Settings within Downloader and check the box next to Enable JavaScript. This is to ensure the websites you visit using the app work properly.
  6. Select Home in the left menu to return to the main Downloader screen.
  7. Press Select to highlight the URL box in the center of the screen.
  8. Type the URL of the app repository in the URL box and select Go.
  9. Select Install when Downloader finds the file and allow the installer to complete.
  10. Rinse and repeat for every app you want to install.

Finding apps to sideload onto your Fire TV

Finding apps that you can use on your Fire TV is the next thing I’ll tackle. Usually you get all your apps from the Google Play Store. You still can if you load the store onto your Fire TV but it is often easier to go direct to the developers website. This is why I prefer using my PC to download the file and then use the cloud.

  1. Go to the Google Play Store on your PC.
  2. Find an app you want to try in the store.
  3. Scroll to the bottom where it says Developer’s Website and select the link.
  4. On the developer’s website, find the Android download link and download the APK file to your PC.
  5. Upload that file to your cloud account and repeat the steps above to sideload onto your Fire TV stick.

Not all apps will work with the Fire TV remote but many will. You can also search for Fire TV-compatible apps if you prefer.

3 thoughts on “How To Install an APK on Amazon Fire TV”

[email protected] Fire Tv Stick Troubleshoot says:
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PureVPN Review says:
I have it running with Kodi right now, but everyone says the APK (dedicated app) is way better. However it won’t download from their site whenever I try to download it.
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Patrick J. Burt says:
I get as far as open in browser and then I get a white screen with a blue circle…how can I get back to being opened correctly…please help it’s driving me nuts!!! I badly need to download a decent VPN. What do you say about PureVPN? as i am thinking to get it as it is giving out anniversary deal nowadays.
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This Guide Last Updated: June 7, 2018

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