The Amazon Kindle Fire (now know as Amazon Fire) remains an incredible deal. Paired with an Amazon Prime subscription, it’s the perfect companion for streaming movies and TV shows while on the go. What speaks against the Kindle Fire, however, is the lack of apps and aggressive Amazon ads on the lock screen.
But we’ll show you how to install Google Play and remove ads from your Kindle Fire without rooting the device—and with no computer needed, either!
This guide demonstrates how to install the Google Play Store on a 5th generation Kindle Fire 7″ (Fire OS version 188.8.131.52, from November 2018) and remove the lock screen ads, all without rooting. You also won’t need a Windows PC.
If these methods didn’t work for you, check the comments for help with other Kindle Fire or Fire OS versions.
To Root or Not to Root?
While Amazon preps the Fire with its own Appstore, several Google apps (including Gmail) are not available on Amazon’s market. For some, that’s a deal breaker and a reason to prefer Google Play over the Appstore.
While rooting the Amazon Fire tablet allows you to install a standard Android version and thus the Google Play Store, doing so loses the interface optimized for consuming Amazon Prime content. More importantly, rooting can void your warranty and—in the worst case—brick your device.
Fire OS, the operating system running on the Amazon Fire, is a custom version of Android. Thus, it only takes a few tweaks to install the Google Play Store and remove lock screen ads—no root access required.
When you’re done, your lock screen will resemble the screenshot below; this looks so much better than a screen covered in Amazon ads!
How to Install Google Play on Amazon Kindle Fire
We’ll first show you how to get Google Play onto your Kindle Fire with no Windows computer needed. If for any reason that doesn’t work, scroll down for an alternative method.
Have you added an SD card to your Fire tablet? Before you start, disable app installations to your SD card under Settings > Storage > SD Card. While this wasn’t a problem on my unit (the apps didn’t install onto the SD card, even though the option was enabled), it’s a known reason for the installation process to fail.
1. Download APK Files
Before you download the files, be sure to permit the installation of third-party apps. Go to Settings > Security and enable Apps from Unknown Sources.
Now download the following APKs on your Kindle Fire:
- Google Account Manager (April 11, 2016)
- Google Services Framework (April 4, 2016)
- Google Play Services (February 7, 2019)
- Google Play Store (February 21, 2019)
Note: These APKs will work for Android 5.1+. They should be upward compatible. You can check the Android version on your Kindle Fire under Settings > Device Options > System Updates. If you’re running Android 6 or 7, you can scroll through the more recent versions of the respective APK and download the latest one for your Fire OS.
To download the APK files, open each link, scroll down, and tap the Download APK button. Before the download starts, a popup will warn you that the file can harm your device. Press OK to confirm that you want to download it anyway.
2. Install the Google Play Store APK Files
Once the downloads have completed, head to your home screen. Then open Docs > Local Storage > Download.
Here, tap to install each file in the following order (identical to the download order above):
You’ll have to scroll through the privacy and device access notes to turn the Next option in the bottom-right to Install.
3. Set Up the Google Play Store
With the installation of all four files completed, you should see the Google Play Store app on your home screen. Tap it to start the setup process. You may see a spinning circle for a few minutes while the apps run updates in the background.
Next, you should see a “checking info” screen. When the app finally lets you sign in with your Google account, you’re almost set.
Once you’ve logged in successfully, you can download apps to your heart’s desire, including other Google apps like Chrome and Gmail.
How to Remove Ads From Amazon Kindle Fire
We’ll cover three different methods. Try them in the order listed.
1. Remove Ads From Your Kindle Fire for Free With a Tool
This is the most elegant method, but it requires a Windows PC and some fiddling. You’ll also have to enable developer mode and ADB on your Kindle. Scroll down to the “How to Install Google Play on Your Kindle Fire From a PC” section and complete the first step to enable ADB and (if needed) step two to install Google ADB drivers.
Once you’ve enabled ADB and your Amazon Fire shows up under My PC when connected (if not, install Google ADB drivers as below), download RootJunkie’s Amazon Ad Remover Tool. Unpack the ZIP archive, run the Run Me To Remove Ads.bat, and follow the onscreen instructions.
When I tried this method, the tool claimed it had successfully removed ads. When I rebooted, however, ads were still there. Running the tool and rebooting again didn’t change that. So I tried the next method.
2. Ask Amazon to Remove Ads From Your Kindle (for Free)
Before you use this method, check whether or not you see the Special Offers option, as described under the third point below, for your Fire. If not, you’re basically forced to contact customer service. As a result, they might be more willing to help you.
Find your local Amazon Fire support form or hotline. For the U.S., it’s (206) 922-0880, but they will also call you back if you’re in the US and use this support form. Log into your account, switch to Devices, choose your Fire, and under Tell us more, select General question about the device/accessory > Special Offers/Ads as a screensaver on device.
This will bring up instructions to remove them yourself. You can check it out, but skip to talking to a real person. You can choose phone or chat; I went with a phone call. The agent asked for my email address and mailing address to confirm this was my account.
Here are some talking points, some of which worked for me:
- When the agent mentioned the price to remove the lock screen ads ($15) I said that was a steep price, considering the device was five years old.
- When she replied that she didn’t have another option, I argued that I had seen reports online where Amazon customer service had removed ads for free as a courtesy.
- When she said they used to remove the ads for free, but were not allowed to anymore, I repeated that this was disappointing, given the age of the device.
- If you can’t use the age of your device as an argument, but are a current Amazon Prime subscriber (and maybe have been for years), I’d use that as an argument instead.
- You could also mention that you don’t see the Special Offers option and were forced to call them.
In my case, she excused herself, saying she wanted to check something. When she came back, she had good news. She was able to remove the ads, but repeated several times that it was just this one time only, as a courtesy.
Note: I don’t know whether this actually made a difference, but when asked whether I would permit recording of the call for quality assurance, I chose not to. So in theory, there was no record of my conversation with the customer service agent, meaning they might have been slightly more willing to go off protocol and help me out.
3. Pay Amazon to Remove Ads From Kindle
I hope you’re not that desperate to remove the annoying lock screen ads from your Amazon Fire, but this is your final option. Log into your Amazon account, then open the Account & Lists menu and click Your Content and Devices.
Switch to the Devices tab and expand the Actions menu for your Kindle Fire. Here you might see an option called Special Offers. Click Edit next to this option and proceed to pay to remove the ads. This requires that you have set up 1-click payment.
How to Install Google Play on Amazon Fire From PC
If the first method for installing Google Play on your Amazon Fire tablet didn’t work, you can try this alternative. We’ll use a tool from RootJunkie that also lets you remove the lock screen ads from your Kindle Fire.
1. Enable Developer Options and ADB
Before we start, you have to enable developer options on your Fire. Go to Settings > Device Options and scroll down to Serial Number. Then tap the serial number entry seven to 10 times, until Developer Options shows up underneath.
Now open Developer Options and under Debugging turn on Enable ADB.
2. Install ADB USB Driver (optional)
On Windows 10, you should be able to connect your Kindle Fire and see it pop up under This PC. Windows should automatically recognize the device and install the required drivers.
If the device doesn’t show up, you’ll need to manually install the Google USB driver so you can perform ADB (Android Debug Bridge) debugging on Windows. You can download the drivers manually, or you can use RootJunky’s Amazon Fire 5th Gen SuperTool.
Before you proceed:
- Disable driver signature enforcement on Windows 8 and 10 (instructions below).
- Completely turn off (check Task Manager!) any emulators running on your system, such as the BlueStacks Android app player.
How to Turn Off Driver Signature Enforcement in Windows 10 and 8
To successfully follow the instructions above, Windows 8 and Windows 10 users will need to turn off the enforced driver signature.
Windows 8: Press the keyboard shortcut Windows key + C to open the Charms menu, then go to Settings > More PC Settings > General. After this, the steps are identical to Windows 10.
Windows 10: Press the keyboard shortcut Windows key + I to open the Settings menu, then go to Update and Security > Recovery.
Under Advanced Startup, click Restart Now.
On the reboot screen, choose Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
You’ll find yourself on the Startup Settings screen. Here, choose option seven: Disabled driver signature enforcement.
After your computer reboots, you’ll be able to install drivers that weren’t signed digitally. Once you restart again, the driver signature enforcement will enable once more.
Steps to Install the ADB USB Driver
Meanwhile, you should have downloaded and unzipped RootJunky’s SuperTool. Now it’s time to connect your Fire to your computer. At this point, you might see a popup regarding ADB debugging mode. Confirm it and proceed, then make sure the Fire shows up under This PC.
Next, launch the first batch file in the SuperTool folder: 1-Amazon-Fire-5h-gen.bat
If everything works, you should see the following screen on your desktop.
To install the ADB driver, press 1 and hit Enter. You will see a second screen with two options:
Again, press 1 and hit Enter. Another screen will remind you which the conditions you must meet before you can proceed.
Press any key to continue and follow the instructions on screen. At this point, you’ll have to do a few steps manually.
The Windows Device Manager will open automatically. Find the Fire under Universal Serial Bus devices, then right-click it and select Update Driver Software. From here, choose Browse my computer for driver software > Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer > Have Disk and browse to the usb_drivers folder that came with the SuperTool. Select the android_winusb.inf file and click Open, followed by OK.
If you encounter an error message at this point, chances are you didn’t disable the driver signature enforcement in Windows 8 or 10 (see above).
You might also see the following error:
“The folder you specified doesn’t contain a compatible software driver for your device. If the folder contains a driver, make sure it is designed to work with Windows for x64-based systems.”
Once you succeed, return to SuperTool and press any key to continue, followed by Enter to return to the initial SuperTool menu. Now you’re ready to tweak Fire OS.
All the steps we’ve just gone over are demonstrated in the video below, in case you need more guidance.
3. Install the Google Play Store and Remove Lock Screen Ads
If you don’t already have it open, launch the 1-Amazon-Fire-5h-gen.bat SuperTool. To install the Google Play Store and remove lock screen ads, press 2 and hit Enter, followed by any key to confirm the conditions. If all goes well, SuperTool will go through four installation stages.
If you run into an emulator-related error at this point, open the Windows Task Manager and make sure all emulators (hint: BlueStacks) are completely turned off.
More Tips to Get More Out of an Amazon Fire Tablet
The Amazon Fire isn’t the lightest, thinnest, or otherwise best device on the market, but it offers great bang for your buck. Once you’ve successfully followed this guide, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a user interface optimized for Amazon Prime and all your favorite Android apps from the Google Play Store.
Next, you should check out great tips for getting more out of your Amazon Fire tablet.