How To Unlock an Amazon Fire TV Stick

Posted by Jamie on November 26, 2018

The Amazon Fire TV Stick should need no introduction. The little device can turn your TV into a streaming machine capable of keeping you entertained for hours, days or even weeks. But what happens when the standard content available on the Stick isn’t enough? What if you live somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of approved content? Then it pays to know how to unlock an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Unlocking an Amazon Fire TV Stick is just like unlocking your phone. You perform a couple of software tweaks so enable the device to access whatever content you like, wherever you like.

Is unlocking an Amazon Fire TV Stick legal?

It is not illegal to unlock, or ‘jailbreak’ an Amazon Fire TV Stick. Unlike some jailbreaking, you don’t need to overlay elements of the operating system with code or circumvent any content blocks. All we do is install a different media server onto your Stick. We will use Kodi as it is popular and also legal. A more accurate term would be ‘sideloading’ rather than jailbreaking.

To set your mind at ease, I found a book listed on Amazon’s site selling a book that tells you how to do this very thing. So it must be okay.

While unlocking your Amazon Fire TV Stick may be legal, using it to access copyrighted content is not. Adding Kodi onto your Stick is fine right up until you use it to watch illegal content. If you stick to freely available media, you’re golden. If you decide to go further, on your own head be it. TechJunkie doesn’t condone piracy in any form. You have been warned!

Unlock your Amazon Fire TV Stick

The term unlocking is a little misleading in this context but it is the term everyone searches for or asks about. In fact, all you’re doing is installing the Kodi media center alongside Fire OS. You’re not breaking anything, or modifying the Fire Stick much at all.

To make this work, you will need your Amazon Fire TV Stick connected to your TV and home network.

  1. Select Settings from the Fire TV Home screen.
  2. Navigate to Settings, Device and Developer Options.
  3. Turn Allow apps from unknown sources On.
  4. Navigate back to the Fire TV Home screen.
  5. Use Search to find Downloader and select to Install it.
  6. Open Downloader and allow it to access your photos, media and files.
  7. Downloader will prompt you for a URL, add ‘http://kodi.tv/download’ and select Go.
  8. Select the ARMV7A (32 BIT) of Kodi and then Install.
  9. Navigate back to the Fire TV Home screen.
  10. Select Your Apps & Games and find the Kodi app.
  11. Open it to popular the various content categories.

Optional steps if you think you will use Kodi frequently:

  1. Before you select to open Kodi, hover over the app icon.
  2. Select Menu on your Amazon remote.
  3. Select Move to Front to add it to your Home screen.

That way you don’t have to keep going to Apps & Games to open Kodi.

The ARMV7A (32 BIT) version of Kodi is the current version used on most devices. Depending on when you read this, that version may have been superseded by another. Use the latest version of the software as appropriate.

Some people I know who have installed Kodi on their Fire TV Stick have said you need to enable ADB Debugging alongside unknown sources in Developer Options. I have never done that but if you find these steps don’t work for you, go to Step 2 above and select ADB Debugging and turn it on. Then retry the other steps to see if that works for you.

Final notes on installing Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick

Once installed and open, you should be able to use Kodi on your Amazon Fire TV Stick as you would on any other device. The main limitation is speed and storage. The Amazon Fire TV Stick is limited in both and while it can play HD movies all day long, don’t expect to be able to play any Kodi games. The same for storage. If you plan to download dozens of apps, keep an eye on available storage on your Fire Stick.

Finally, consider using a VPN for Kodi streaming. That is especially true if you are trying to circumvent geo-blocking and extra especially true if you’re accessing copyrighted content. Kodi streams are throttled by some ISPs and tracked by all of them. Even if you’re not accessing illegal content, it is well-known that some ISPs will throttle traffic it knows flows to Kodi. A VPN can work around that.

Have you tried using Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick? Got it working? Got any other ways to install it? Tell us about your experiences below!

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This Guide Last Updated: November 26, 2018

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