How to Sideload Apps on an Amazon Fire TV Stick
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Fire TV Stick apps that aren’t available on Amazon need to be sideloaded or installed from a third-party source.

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The Fire Stick runs Android, so in theory you can sideload almost any Android app, just as you can on your phone or tablet.

This means you can run Kodi, a web browser, a podcast player, or a VPN on your Fire Stick. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best ways to add apps to your Fire Stick.

Set Up Your Fire TV Stick for Sideloading Apps

First things first: before you start, make sure you’ve read our introduction to the Amazon Fire Stick. Then, you’ll need to change a couple of settings on your Fire TV Stick.

Power on your Stick and navigate your way to Settings > My Fire TV > Developer options. Set the options for ADB debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources to ON.

amazon fire dev options

Press the Back button on your remote and select Device > About > Network. You’ll see the IP Address of your Fire Stick listed in the right-hand column. Make a note of this for later.

amazon fire ip address

Sideload Apps Using an Android Phone

The quickest way to install apps onto a Fire Stick is with an Android phone or tablet. Apps2Fire, a free app from the Play Store, simplifies the process down to just a few taps.

Crucially, it also enables you to install apps from the Play Store itself, instead of having to track down APK files from the obscure corners of the web.

Download: Apps2Fire (Free)

Install Apps via Apps2Fire

Install Apps2Fire on your phone. While you’re at it, install all the apps you want to transfer to your Fire Stick, if you don’t already have them on your phone.

In Apps2Fire, go to the Setup tab and enter the IP address you noted from your Fire Stick, then tap Save. The app will now connect to the Stick. You might be prompted to accept an incoming connection on your Fire Stick. If so, tap OK.

apps2fire connect to fire stick

Swipe across to Local Apps. What you’ll see here is a list of all the apps installed on your phone. You can copy any of these across. Find the app you want to put on your Fire Stick, tap on it, then select Install.

The app will begin uploading wirelessly. It may take a few minutes, especially if it’s a large app. Keep your phone awake until it’s done.

Once the upload reaches 100 percent, there will be a delay of another few seconds while the app automatically installs. When it’s finished, you’ll be alerted both on your phone and your TV.

amazon fire installed

Back on your Fire Stick, hold the Home button and select Apps. You should now see your newly-installed app listed here. Just click it to launch.

Sideload Apps Without an Android Phone

If you don’t have an Android phone on hand, you can still sideload apps to your Fire Stick using the ADB sideload command through the Android software development kit. The process is still wireless, but it’s more difficult. Fortunately, you don’t need to root your Fire Stick to do it.

It requires use of the command line, and you also have to source the APK files (the Android apps) from somewhere other than the Play Store.

Download the SDK Platform Tools from the Android developer website. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and includes the all-important ADB tool. Check out our full guide to setting up and using ADB How to Use ADB and Fastboot on Android (and Why You Should) How to Use ADB and Fastboot on Android (and Why You Should) Learning to master ADB and Fastboot can make your Android experience a whole lot better. Read More for an introduction.

Once you’ve downloaded it, launch the Command Prompt on Windows, or Terminal on a Mac or Linux machine. You need to change the root directory to point to the folder where the ADB tool is stored.

Do this by typing cd [path to platform-tools folder].

Now type adb connect [IP address], where the IP address is the one you noted from the your Fire Stick.

On macOS and Linux, the commands need to be preceded by “./” without the quotation marks. For example, you would type “./adb connect 192.68.0.36” without the quotation marks. You should now see a message confirming that it is connected.

amazon fire connect adb

To install an app, type adb install [path to android app.apk]. You should see a message saying the app is being uploaded, followed by a message of success. You can now launch the app on your Fire Stick.

amazon fire installed via adb

How to Uninstall Sideloaded Apps

There are two ways to delete apps on your Fire Stick.

If you’ve used the Apps2Fire method, then you can manage your installed apps there. Just tap on one and select Uninstall from the dialog box that opens.

Alternatively, you can uninstall apps on the Fire TV Stick itself. Hold down the Home button to see the Apps icon, then select it to view all your installed apps. Highlight the one you want to remove, hit the Menu button on your remote, then select Uninstall.

amazon fire uninstall apps

Fire Stick Apps You Need to Install

So now you know how to sideload Fire Stick apps. But which apps are worth installing?

Not every app works. Those that rely on Google’s Play Services framework won’t, and more advanced games will hit the hardware limits of the Fire Stick. Also, apps designed to run exclusively in portrait mode don’t look so good on a TV.

amazon fire apps for fire stick

Often it’s a case of trial and error to find what works and what doesn’t. Some apps require a mouse to be properly usable. In this case, the paid app Mouse Toggle for Fire TV can add the feature to your remote.

For starters, we recommend:

Want even more? We’ve picked out some essential apps to install on your Fire Stick The 12 Best Apps to Install on a New Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick The 12 Best Apps to Install on a New Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick We pick only the best Fire TV apps. These Amazon Fire TV Stick apps are the only ones you need for your new Fire TV device. Read More . From VLC and Kodi, to news and radio, there’s something here for everyone.

Explore more about: Amazon Fire TV, Android Apps, Android TV Stick, Sideloading.

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  1. Stephen M Nestor
    September 29, 2018 at 12:38 am

    The new Fire TV gen 3 will not allow you to use apps to fire. But they do allow firedl it's in their App Store again.

  2. Leila Tech
    December 7, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    I'm getting a "not able to connect to IP address". would this have anything to do with the fact that the new fire tvs use Nougat now?

  3. Hannah
    December 6, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Just loaded terranuim tv and mx player free streaming site works well

  4. Cathy
    October 31, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I just tried to sideload my first app - Amazon Prime Video. That may sound stupid to many of u, but I'm a Prime member. When browsing with my Firestick through the Amazon content, I can't tell if the movie/TV show is Free (Included with Prime). My Android app - Amazon Prime Video, has items grouped by:
    All Videos. Your Videos. Included with Prime. Channels. Rent or Buy
    Then the app has sections that are ALL Included with Prime. Soooo much easier to browse and find my free items to watch. I did a screenshot and wish I could include it here.
    Anyway when I did the install, it uploaded ok but install gave an error about "Conflict with owner" or something. I checked with ES Explorer and the apk file is there with the logo. I tried clicking on it again to install and this time it just said Done. But I looked in installed apps and it's not there. Maybe one of u knows how to get Alexa to show only Included with Prime.
    I have more apps to sideload… just wanted to get some thoughts on this issue.
    Thanks for the great article Andy.

  5. RW
    September 13, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Sideloaded hbo go to work with Charter, but can't figure out how to resize the super tiny display.

  6. Pimp Smiley
    August 19, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    "Downloader" from Amazons apps store is by far the easiest way to sideload a FireTV device.

  7. likefunbutnot
    August 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Adblink. I use it to install or remove
    software on any Android device, not just a Fire TV.