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So, you’ve got a new Amazon Fire Stick. It’s ready for you to enjoy Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Netflix, and more. But what if you want to install other apps on it? To do that, you’ll need to know how to jailbreak a Fire Stick to unlock its full potential.
Why Jailbreak Your Amazon Fire Stick?
The popular Amazon Fire Stick (and its 4K alternatives, the Fire TV, and Fire TV Cube) comes with content preinstalled. Quite a lot of content, in fact; and then there’s the stuff that you can install later.
Think YouTube, Hulu, ESPN, Disney+, Netflix, even HBO. And don’t forget regional TV apps and streaming services either. CNN Go, CBS All Action, and BBC iPlayer are also available, depending upon where you live.
In short, the choice available is huge, so why hack an Amazon Fire Stick? Apps available by default on Fire TV devices are from the curated library of software in the Amazon App Store.
Jailbreaking the Amazon Fire Stick means removing the device from the Amazon ecosystem. With an unlocked Fire Stick you can install additional software that isn’t officially available for the device. This might mean, for example, Kodi; but it might also mean other apps, such as Android games and media streaming software.
Why Android? Simple, the Amazon Fire Stick’s operating system is based on Android.
A simple Amazon Fire Stick hack lets you install any Android software, if you have the APK installer file.
Is It Legal to Jailbreak a Fire Stick?
If you own an Amazon Fire Stick, and you want to jailbreak it, you might be concerned about the legality of doing so. After all, it might be illegal, right?
However, in this regard, you do not need to be concerned. How you use the Fire Stick is entirely up to you. This includes jailbreaking (or unlocking or hacking) the device. The simple act of jailbreaking the Fire Stick is entirely legal.
What is illegal, however, are some of the ways you might use the Fire Stick after unlocking. We’ve already considered that you might install Kodi, for example. While Kodi is not illegal, some uses of the software certainly are.
Many third-party add-ons for Kodi have been built with the intention of streaming copyrighted video, for examples. Using these tools is illegal, so if you unlock your Fire Stick to install Kodi and install such add-ons you’re on the wrong side of the law.
However, you don’t have to be limited by this. The basic Fire Stick jailbreak is legal, as is Kodi. So as long as you don’t use it to watch copyrighted content, you’re fine.
What Is a Jailbroken Fire Stick?
If you’re looking online to buy an Amazon Fire Stick, you may have seen mention of jailbreaking. The listing might read “Jailbroken Fire Stick”—but what does this mean? What is a jailbroken Fire Stick?
As you might have guessed, it’s a Fire Stick (or Fire TV or Fire Cube) that has already been unlocked, hacked, or… jailbroken. It’s then put up for sale, often with various apps preinstalled.
But these aren’t the type of apps you can consider legitimate. They’re almost always Kodi add-ons, or dedicated apps for streaming copyrighted content. Such material ranges from TV shows and movies to live sporting events.
A jailbroken Amazon Fire Stick might seem a good idea; the price certainly represents a good deal. But as explained above, streaming copyrighted material without permission is illegal. Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu etc. all offer legal streams, which is why you pay for them.
Streaming illegal content via your Fire Stick could result in your internet access being restricted by your ISP. Or worse. So it’s best to avoid doing this.
How to Jailbreak a Fire Stick
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t jailbreak your Amazon Fire Stick. Remember, there are plenty of apps that you might want to install that aren’t available on the Amazon App Store. Installing apps manually on an Amazon Fire Stick TV means following a three-step process:
- Unlocking your Amazon Fire Stick
- Downloading the APK installer file for an app
- Installing that app
To jailbreak your Fire Stick, grab the remote and go to Settings.
Here, select My Fire TV (or Device) then Developer Options.
Select Apps from Unknown Sources and click Turn On, then confirm when prompted.
You should also browse to Settings > Preferences > Privacy Settings and disable these settings:
- Device Usage Data
- Collect App Usage Data
Exit the settings screen. The Amazon Fire Stick is now jailbroken, (or unlocked or hacked, depending on your choice of terminology). You’re now ready to download an APK file to your Amazon Fire Stick.
For more details on this, see our guide explaining how to sideload apps on an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Remember to Lock Your Amazon Fire Stick
Although your Fire Stick is now jailbroken, this isn’t a state that you should rely on long-term. Instead, once the apps you want to sideload have been installed, it is smart to disable the option to install apps from Unknown Sources.
With the device unlocked, any app can be installed, potentially without your knowledge. This is a potential security risk, which is why once you’ve installed your APK, you should undo the steps above.
What this means is revisiting Settings > My Fire TV > Developer Options and disabling Apps from Unknown Sources.
This will ensure that no apps can be installed on your Amazon Fire TV Stick without your knowledge.
What Should You Install on a Jailbroken Fire Stick?
As noted, Android apps can be installed on a hacked Amazon Fire Stick. However, not all are suitable.
It’s not easy to determine which will work. However, those that rely on Google Play Services won’t work well, if at all. Meanwhile, most high-end games will be too much for the Amazon Fire Stick hardware to handle.
Whatever you’re watching or playing with your Amazon Fire Stick, it’s a smart idea to keep your activity private. Here’s how to set up a VPN on the Amazon Fire Stick.
Never Buy a Jailbroken Fire Stick
By now it should be obvious: jailbreaking an Amazon Fire TV Stick is easy.
As such, you don’t need to buy a jailbroken, hacked, or unlocked Fire Stick. All it takes is for you to browse to an accessible menu item and flick a virtual switch. Once this is done, you’re free to install APK files of your choice.
Just remember to undo the process (relocking the Fire Stick) afterwards to retain the device’s built-in security.
If you’re planning on using your Amazon Fire Stick regularly, make sure you have the best Amazon Fire TV remote next to you.