Thanks to the app compatibility and affordable price tags, Amazon’s Fire TV family of streaming devices is sold in large numbers worldwide. From streaming apps to utilities to games, the Appstore has hundreds of thousands of different apps to offer.
Amazon also makes it possible for app developers and regular users to sideload apps on their Fire TV devices. If you didn’t know, Fire OS is just a heavily forked version of Android, meaning it universally supports all Android apps (subject to the Fire OS version).
If you wish to install an app that’s not officially available on the Appstore, definitely check out this guide to sideloading apps on Fire TV devices.
Before we get to the sideloading process, there are a few things you need to do first. Simply go through the following steps to enable ADB debugging on your Fire TV device:
- First, power on your Fire TV device and wait for it to boot up.
- Next, go to the Settings tab from above the Home screen.
- In Settings, scroll over to the Device or My Fire TV option and click it.
- On the next screen, select and click Developer options, followed by ADB debugging. Make sure it’s turned ON.
- In the same menu, click the Apps from Unknown Sources option, then turn it ON as well.
Once you have enabled ADB debugging and allowed unknown apps sideloading on your Fire TV, go back to the main Settings page and follow the steps below to check the device’s IP address.
- Start with visiting the Device or My Fire TV menu once again.
- Click About in the first row, then scroll down and select Network on the next page.
- Note down the IP Address shown on the right side of the screen.
Assuming you have gone through the instructions above, you are ready to sideload apps on your Fire TV device.
Easiest way to sideload apps on Amazon Fire TV
The simplest method to sideload apps on an Amazon Fire TV device is to use the Apps2Fire Android app. It lets you upload APK files from your phone to your Fire TV and sideload it. The app is available on the Google Play Store. Here’s how to get it:
- From the app drawer, launch the Play Store app.
- Tap the Search bar above and search for the “Apps2Fire” app. You can then select it from the results.
- Now tap Install on the download page and wait for the installation to finish up.
Once you have the app installed, tap Open. You can then continue following the instructions below.
- Select the overflow (⋮) icon on the top-right corner of the Apps2Fire window and tap Setup in the drop-down menu.
- Now enter your Fire TV’s IP Address in the following field and tap Save. The Apps2Fire app will now start establishing a connection to your Fire TV device.
If everything goes correctly, you should see the Allow USB Debugging prompt on your TV.
- Check the box for the “Always allow for this computer” option and click OK to proceed.
If you see the “Successful: Connected” message in the Apps2Fire app, it means you can now send ADB requests to your Fire TV from your phone. It’s worth mentioning that both devices need to be connected to the same home network for the app to work.
Sideloading apps on Fire TV with Apps2Fire
Now that you have Apps2Fire set up and connected, it’s time to sideload apps from your phone to the Fire TV device you use.
- Click the upload icon in Apps2Fire’s top menu bar, then navigate to your preferred folder and select the APK file you wish to install on your Fire TV.
- Now click Install. Apps2Fire will first upload the app to your Fire TV and proceed to install it afterward.
- Once you get the “Installation successful” message, tap OK.
You should find the newly sideloaded app under the second row of the Fire TV Home screen, which is titled “Your Apps & Channels.” You will be able to launch it like a regular app and uninstall it whenever you want.
Sideload apps on Amazon Fire TV using your computer
You can also use your computer to sideload apps on Amazon Fire TV. However, the process is a bit convoluted as it involves commands. You will be required to use either Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (macOS), as well as install the Android SDK Platform Tools to push ADB commands to your Fire TV.
The folks over at XDA Developers has a great guide to installing ADB on Windows, macOS, and Linux devices. Follow it to get Platform Tools set up on your computer, then open a Command Prompt or Terminal window and follow the steps below to sideload apps on your Fire TV device.
- First, type in “adb connect 192.x.x.x (your Fire TV’s IP address)” in the command window without the quotation marks.
On macOS and Linux, you need to type “./” (without the quotes) when entering the commands.
- You should see the Allow USB debugging prompt on your Fire TV. Check the box next to “Always Allow from this computer” and click OK.
- Now type in the same ADB command again to check if your computer is connected to the Fire TV. Make sure that both devices are on the same network.
- After that, enter the “adb install” command, then drag the APK file you wish to sideload and drop it in the command window. You can also manually enter the path to the APK file.
Upon pressing the Enter key, your computer will upload the APK file to your Fire TV device and install it automatically. When you see the “Success” message in the command window, you can visit the apps list on your Fire TV device and launch the sideloaded app.
In case you see just a grayed-out app icon, restart your Fire TV device to fix the problem.