How to Install YouTube Kids on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
One of the biggest limitations of Amazon’s tablets come in the lack of app support from Google. While the Fire tablets do run Android as their operating system, it’s actually a forked version of Android custom-made by Amazon for their Fire tablets and streaming devices.
So, since there’s no official support from Google for the OS, Google’s apps can’t be found inside the Amazon App Store. This includes YouTube, and more importantly for parents, YouTube Kids. Designed for younger audiences, YouTube Kids is an app from the YouTube team that helps children watch shows and other videos online while keeping content age-appropriate.
Still, it is possible to install YouTube Kids on your Fire tablet, though it isn’t as easy as just installing an app, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience sideloading apps in Android
Let’s take a look at how to get YouTube Kids running on your Fire or Fire HD tablet.
What You’ll Need
- What You’ll Need
- Enabling Apps from Unknown Sources
- Downloading and Installing the APKs
- Rebooting and Logging into Google Play
- Installing YouTube Kids on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
- Using FreeTime (Child Profiles)
- Troubleshooting and Tips
To get started, all you’ll need is some rudimentary knowledge on how Android installs apps outside of the standard app store, and some patience as your tablet downloads and installs all four required packages to run the Google Play Store properly on your device.
So, here’s what we’ll be using below:
- Four separate APK files from APKMirror (linked below).
- A Google account for the Play Store.
- An updated Fire tablet running Fire OS 5.X (for devices running 126.96.36.199, see Troubleshooting and Tips).
- A file manager from the App Store (optional, see Troubleshooting and Tips); we recommend File Commander.
This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s good to know which Fire Tablet you have before jumping into this guide. Depending on the age of your tablet, you may need to download different apps than a device running older software.
Head into the settings menu and select Device Options, then look for Device Model at the bottom of this guide. This guide uses the launch years of each tablet to help guide you towards the correct APK, so if you need help identifying what year your tablet came out, use Amazon’s Tablet Device Specs page. Knowing which generation your device belongs to will help a lot throughout this guide.
Enabling Apps from Unknown Sources
The first thing you need to do is dive into the settings menu on your Fire tablet.
Both Amazon and Android refer to third-party apps as “unknown sources,” and are blocked by default. Unlike a device running iOS, however, Android allows users to install any app on their device so long as you’ve enabled the ability to do so.
To open settings on your device, slide down from the top of your device to open the notifications tray and quick actions, then tap on the Settings icon.
Scroll to the bottom of your settings page and tap on the option that reads Security & Privacy, which you’ll find under the Personal category.
There aren’t a ton of options in the Security section, but under Advanced, you’ll see a toggle reading Apps from Unknown Sources, along with the following explanation: “Allow installation of applications that are not from Appstore.”
Toggle this setting on, then exit the settings menu.
Downloading and Installing the APKs
On a standard Android tablet, installing YouTube Kids outside of the Play Store would be as easy as installing the standard APK.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy on an Amazon Fire tablet. Because Google Play isn’t installed on your device, YouTube Kids won’t run.
This means you’ll have to install the entire Google Play Store onto your device, which amounts to four different applications: three utilities and the Play Store itself.
The site we’ll be using to download these APKs is called APKMirror. It’s a trusted source for free APKs from developers and Google Play and acts as a utility for any Android user looking to manually download or install apps.
APKMirror is a sister site to Android Police, a well-known source for Android news and reviews, and doesn’t allow pirated content on their site. Every app held on APKMirror is free from the developer, without modifications or changes before being uploaded.
Google Account Manager
The first app we need to download is Google Account Manager. Here are the two guides you’ll need to download this app:
- For devices running Android 6.0 or above, you’ll want to use version 7.2 of the application. if a newer version exists, be sure to download that version instead.
- If you’re running an older tablet that is still using Android 5.0, you’ll need version 5.1-1743759. You can find that linked here.
Don’t worry too much about downloaded the wrong version for your tablet. If you’re unsure about which version is right for you, download the older version linked above. You can always update the app after you’ve finished installing the Play Store.
Download it to your device through your browser by tapping on the green “Download APK” button. A download prompt will appear at the bottom of your display, and you can accept the prompt to begin the download.
Once the download is complete, you’ll see a notification in your tray when you slide down from the top of your screen. For now, don’t open the file. Leave the notification in your tray for easy access in the next step.
Google Services Framework
The next app is Google Services Framework. Just as with Account Manager, the version you need will depend on the device you’re running.
However, because of how Google’s framework app targets various versions of Android, we advise everyone to download version 5.1-1743759 from here.
This version is designed to run on all devices with Android 5.0 or higher, which means any Fire OS tablet should run it. If you’re prompted to update the app after installation, follow the prompts on your display to update the app to your correct version.
Google Play Services
Next up, we have Google Play Services. This is the app that will allow YouTube Kids to be authenticated and used on your device. Installing this app is a bit more complicated than installing the other apps on this list as there are two separate versions of the app for different tablets.
If you just bought your Fire 7, Fire HD 8, or Fire HD 10, you’re using a device with a 64-bit processor, so you’ll want to download this APK here. Anyone who owns a Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 10 from 2016 or later can also download this version.
If you own a Fire 7 tablet purchased prior to June 2019—in other words, an 8th generation device or older—you should download this version here. That’s the APK meant for 32-bit processors, which your tablet is running. Amazon switched the Fire 7 to 64-bit processors with the ninth generation model, but older devices will still need to download the correct version of the APK.
If you aren’t sure which version of the app to download, 32-bit versions are marked with a “020300” in the file name while 64-bit versions are marked with a “020400.” Both of these iterations of Google Play Services are identical in every way except for which type of processor they’re created for. If you download the wrong one, don’t stress too much. We’ll cover what to do below.
Google Play Store
The final of the four apps is the Google Play Store itself. This is the easiest of the four downloads, as all file versions work on Android 4.1 and above, and there aren’t separate types for different bit processors. Download the most recent version here.
For both Google Play Services and the Google Play Store, you should try to use the newest version of the app available. APKMirror will alert you when there is a newer version of the app available, which will be listed on the webpage below the information.
For Google Play Services, you should avoid the beta versions of the app by looking for the most recent stable version on the list (beta versions are marked as such).
For the Play Store itself, just download the most recent version. If you don’t feel comfortable figuring out which version listed on APKMirror is the correct version for your tablet, just download the linked versions and Google Play will update the apps for you following a full install.
Installing the APK Files
Once you’ve downloaded the four files listed above onto your Fire tablet, swipe down from the top of the screen to open your notifications. You should see a full list of the APKs you downloaded in the last step, each with its own notification, sorted by time.
If you followed the steps above and downloaded each in the proper order, the fourth download should be on the top of the list, and the first download on the bottom, so that the order appears as such:
- Google Play Store
- Google Play Services
- Google Services Framework
- Google Account Manager
How you install these apps is very important, so start by tapping the Google Account Manager at the bottom of that list. The installation process will begin. Hit Next on the bottom of the screen, or scroll to the bottom to hit Install.
Account Manager will begin to install on your device. If anything goes wrong during the installation, you’ll be alerted to the failure. Make sure you’ve downloaded the correct Android 5.0 version of Account Manager, and the file should install. Newer versions will not install on the device.
Repeat this process for all three remaining apps in order, beginning with Google Services Framework, followed by Google Play Services, and Google Play Store.
When each app finishes downloading, a display will appear citing the installation is complete. On both the Google Play Services and Google Play Store listings, there will be an option to open the app. Do not open these apps. Instead, hit Done, and continue following through on all four applications.
If your version of Google Play Services fails to properly install, you may have downloaded the wrong version for your processor. Try downloading the other version before continuing with the guide.
Rebooting and Logging into Google Play
Once all four applications have been downloaded onto your tablet, complete the process by restarting your Fire tablet. Press and hold the power button on your device until a prompt appears asking if you wish to turn off your tablet. After your device is powered off, reboot it by pressing and holding the power button again. When the tablet has booted back to your lock screen, we’re ready to finish the process by setting up Google Play.
Head into your list of apps and select the Google Play Store from the list (do not select Google Play Services). Instead of opening up the store, it will open Google Account Manager in order to gain your Google account credentials. You’ll see a display showing the tablet being set up for use, and then Google will ask for your Gmail address and password. Finally, the device will ask if you wish to back up your account’s apps and data to Google Drive. Whether you wish to do so it up to you, but it’s not necessary for this step. All told, Google Play should take about two minutes total to finish installing. Once you’ve logged in and its completed the setup process, you’ll be dropped into the Google Play Store, the same app that is used on most Android devices.
Installing YouTube Kids on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
Now that Google Play is installed on your tablet, it works just as it would for any other Android device.
So, to install YouTube Kids, all you have to do is open up the Play Store, search for YouTube Kids in the search bar along the top of the display, then select Install.
When you’ve finished downloading and installing the app on your tablet, it’ll work like any other app on your Fire. The app can be launched from your app drawer and will show up in your list of recent apps on the home screen, making it easy to access. On our test device, the app experience was identical to any other Android device.
Remember, YouTube Kids isn’t the only application that can be installed using this method. Any app that hasn’t been uploaded to Amazon’s own Appstore can be downloaded from your newly installed Play Store, just as on any other Android device.
Using FreeTime (Child Profiles)
In recent builds of Fire OS, it seems that it is impossible to get the YouTube Kids app working on a child profile (known as FreeTime in the Amazon ecosystem). This is because you cannot allow apps from outside sources on these profiles.
Without the ability to enable this feature, moving the APK from one account to another will result in a warning stating the app isn’t installed, and it will be impossible to properly run the YouTube Kids app on your device.
Until we find a concrete way to install YouTube Kids onto the Child profile on your device, we recommend creating a separate Adult profile for them, complete with a PIN, for use with YouTube Kids. This might sound annoying, but since you’ll already have the Play Store installed on your device, you can use the full suite of parental control applications available on the Play Store on your device.
Here are some of the best apps for the job:
- Norton App Lock: This one comes highly recommended from the Play Store community, with the ability to prevent access to specific applications without a passcode. This app works with both applications downloaded from the Appstore and the Play Store, making it ideal for users who want to lock down specific apps to share a profile with their child.
- Google Family Link: With Family Link, you can monitor what’s happening on Android devices without having to be in control 24/7. You can approve app downloads, lock the device after a certain amount of time, and see how long users have been using each app and device.
- Parental Control – Screen Time & Location Tracker: This app allows you to set and control screen time remotely from your own device by syncing the two accounts on each device. Available with both free and paid plans, Screen Time makes it easy to ensure your child is only using the device within an allotted amount of time.
These three apps won’t replace the ease and simplicity of simply using the Child profile tool included on every Fire tablet, but it’s a good start overall.
Troubleshooting and Tips
For most users, the above steps should be good enough for getting the Play Store on your brand-new Fire Tablet.
That said, some users may experience issues, especially on older devices or devices running older software. If that sounds like you, check out these optional guides for getting the Play Store working on your tablet.
Installing a File Browser from the Amazon App Store
This should be an optional step for most users, but certain Amazon devices have had trouble installing the necessary APKs onto their devices without installing a file manager first.
If you’re having an issue getting the files above to install on your device, we recommend installing File Commander, a free app that makes it easy to view the files stored on your tablet.
Alternatively, you can also use the Docs application on your device, which comes pre-installed and includes the ability to browse local files, instead of using an application like File Commander. Docs will allow you to browse your Downloads folder and select the app installation files one at a time if you accidentally swiped them away from your notification tray or if you’re having difficulties installing the apps on Fire OS 188.8.131.52.
Installation Problems on Fire OS 184.108.40.206
If you’re still on Fire OS 220.127.116.11, the following instructions apply to you. However, since newer versions of Fire OS do not have this issue, we recommend making sure your software is up to date rather than dealing with these issues. If you cannot upgrade your operating system for any reason, look through the guide below for assistance.
The problem with Fire OS 18.104.22.168 is that Amazon has disabled the installation button on their devices. This means that no matter where you click on the screen, you won’t be able to install the app, forcing you to cancel the installation and return to your locked-down Amazon ecosystem.
All four apps listed above seem to have this issue. Thankfully, there’s an easy workaround to this: once you’re on the installation screen with the grayed out icon, simply turn your device’s screen off, then back on and unlock your device.
Scroll to the bottom of the app installation page again, and you’ll see that the “Install” button is once again working on your device. An alternate workaround involves tapping on the multitasking/recent apps icon once, then re-selecting the app installation page from your recent apps list, and you should see the “Install” button lit up in orange.
As a final note, we tested installing all four APK files on Fire OS 22.214.171.124 and above. Any newer versions contain no issues installing, and the Install icon was never greyed-out. If you’re looking to install these four applications and you are still running Fire OS 126.96.36.199, try updating your Fire OS software to 188.8.131.52, then to 184.108.40.206.