Your Kindle Fire has some tricks up its sleeve that you didn’t know about.
Amazon has locked down its Fire OS rather tightly, but some standard Android tricks still work. With a few simple tweaks, you can get even more out of your Kindle Fire. Plus, none of the tips and tricks in this article require you to root your Kindle Fire.
1. Access Quick Settings
The quickest way to change settings on your Kindle Fire is through Quick Settings. The menu is hard to miss, but easily overlooked. Let us remind you of its usefulness.
Go to your homescreen and swipe down from the top. Here you can quickly adjust the Screen Brightness, enable Blue Shade for reading sessions after dawn, set the device to Do Not Disturb, or open the full Settings menu, among other options.
Remember Quick Settings whenever we ask you to go to Settings.
2. Take a Screenshot
To capture the screen of your Android device, you need to know the hardware key combination that, when pressed, triggers a screenshot. On your Kindle Fire, the key combination is the Power + Volume down. Simultaneously press those two buttons for 2-3 seconds and you should hear and see the screen being captured.
3. Install the Google Play Store
Your Kindle Fire only comes with the Amazon App Store pre-installed. It has a great selection, but it’s still missing many essential ones, particularly Google’s own apps, like Gmail.
To install the Google Play Store on your Amazon Fire 5th generation you don’t have to root your device. All you need is RootJunky’s SuperTool. We have previously covered how to install the Google Play store and remove ads without rooting your Amazon Fire tablet .
Briefly, enable Developer Options on your Kindle Fire, then go into Debugging and Enable ADB. Next, install the SuperTool version corresponding to your Kindle Fire, turn off Windows driver signature enforcement, and connect the tablet to your computer.
Now launch the SuperTool batch file and install the ADB USB driver on your computer; the tool features step-by-step instructions. When that’s done, you can proceed with the second step to install the Google Play Store and remove lockscreen ads.
Sadly, removing the special offers from the lockscreen won’t work for everyone.
4. Sideload Apps
You don’t have to use the Google Play Store to install apps — it’s just more convenient. You can sideload apps from sources like AppsApk.com, meaning you can download the APK file directly to your Kindle (or transfer from your computer) and install it manually. This method also allows you to install apps from any other app store.
It’s as easy as it sounds, but you have to prepare one thing. Go to Settings and under Personal open Security. Under Advanced, allow the installation of Apps from Unknown Sources.
With this setting enabled, you will be able to install APK files from any source. You can even install an alternative app store, such as F-Droid, GetJar, or SlideME. Just keep in mind that it’s on you to ensure that the files you install are safe!
5. Quickly Free Up Space
Is your device running out of storage space? You can use a third party application like DiskUsage to nix the files and folders that consume the most space. Or you can use 1-Tap Archive, a built-in feature of your Kindle Fire.
Open Settings and under the Device header select Storage. If you have items that have not been used during the past 30 days, you can now archive them, meaning they will be removed from your device, but they will remain accessible from the cloud.
Choose View Contents to review the items your Kindle considers inactive and uncheck those you wish to keep on your device. Here you can also see how much space you will clear up. When you’re done, tap Archive Now.
6. Share Your Account
Amazon has enabled extensive sharing features for families. You can add up to one adult and four children to your device and create an Amazon Household. This allows your family members to manage their own profiles on a shared device and adults can “collectively manage content and services” for the household.
If you are a Prime member, you can even share free shipping, video streaming, early access, and access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, where you can borrow one book per month for free using a Kindle device. Of course you can also add friends to share a device in the same household.
To share your account, head to Settings > Profiles & Family Library and either tap Add a second adult profile or Add a child profile.
If you’re adding an adult, you’ll first have to enter your password to proceed. Then you’ll be asked to pass the device to the person you’d like to add, so that they can enter their login details.
If you’re adding a child, you’ll set up a new profile. Since profiles can be opened from the lockscreen, you will have to create a lockscreen PIN to prevent unauthorized access. Consequently, setting the PIN is the next step, before you continue setting up an Amazon FreeTime account.
Once you have set up your Amazon Household, you can share individual purchased books or your entire library. Note that the second adult added to your account also has access to your payment options.
7. Change the Wallpaper
Your Kindle Fire comes with a default option to change your wallpaper. Open Settings > Display > Wallpaper, choose a wallpaper from the default set, or pick your own image.
If you desire a few more options or would like to rotate through a set of wallpapers, we recommend Rotating Wallpaper [No longer available] because it will actually work on your Kindle Fire. With this app you can create sets of wallpapers and let them rotate at custom intervals. You can manually switch to the next image by selecting Rotate Now inside the app.
Under Settings you can enable your Active Wallpaper Set, determine the Rotate Interval, and control many other settings.
Other apps we tested lost the wallpaper when the device was locked and unlocked or they never set a wallpaper to start with.
Power Up Your Kindle Fire
We hope learning a little more about your Kindle Fire rekindled your appreciation for this little entertainment device. Have you had a chance to add free unlimited content yet?
Do you know of any other neat tweaks? What would you like to do that you haven’t been able to yet? We appreciate your hints in the comments!