How to launch Kodi, XBMC, SPMC and other sideloaded apps from the Fire TV homescreen

kodi-sideload-fire-tv-homescreen-launch-header
Sideloaded apps like Kodi, XBMC, and SPMC are inconvenient to launch since they don’t show up on the Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick’s “Home” and “Apps” section. Instead you have to dig deep into the settings menu, requiring over 20 remote button presses, to launch a sideloaded app. I’ve been putting off writing this guide in hopes of finding a universal way to make all sideloaded apps equal citizens to official apps from the Amazon Appstore. That hasn’t happened, so this is a comprehensive guide of all the different ways to launch sideloaded apps faster. Each method is presented with its pros and cons for you to decide the best option for your needs. The guides concentrate specifically on Kodi, XBMC, and SPMC, but will work for any sideloaded app, unless otherwise noted. None of the methods require rooting.

Update

4/7/2016 Starting with software version 5.0.5.1 for the Fire TV 1, Fire TV 2, and Fire TV Stick, sideloaded apps are now fully suported and will automatically appear on the Home screen. If you are not seeing Kodi on your Home screen, see this post for instructions on how to make Kodi show up in your Recent list.

 

Method 1: Smartphone app in the Amazon Appstore

kodi-homescreen-1-section-bannerThis method works by taking advantage of how the Fire TV decides which installed apps show up in the “Recent” section of the “Home” screen. A sideloaded app will be displayed in the “Recent” list if Amazon has a record of you purchasing the app. Since both Kodi and SPMC are listed in the Amazon Appstore for smartphones, you can “purchase” the smartphone version and the Fire TV will see the sideloaded app as “official” enough to display it in the “Recent” apps list. Other apps that are available in the Amazon Appstore for smartphones but not available for the Fire TV can also use this method. Note that installing a Fire TV software update will cause this method to temporarily stop working. Follow this guide to restore the apps to the Fire TV’s recent list.

Note

This method no longer works for Kodi because it is no longer available in the Amazon Appstore.

Pros
  • Easy and quick to setup. (Fastest of all methods.)
  • Does not require any additional apps on your Fire TV.
Cons
  • Sideloaded app will not show up in the "Apps" section. Only in the "Recent" section of the "Home" screen.
  • Might stop working with a future Fire TV update.
  • Only works for apps available in the Amazon Appstore for smartphones, like Kodi and SPMC.

Show Method 1 Guide

Method 2: Llama Redirect

kodi-homescreen-2-section-bannerLlama is a powerful Android app that can perform tasks based on certain criteria. In this method, you install a sacrificial app that you wont use, and use Llama to launch the sideloaded app anytime the sacrificial app is accessed. This essentially turns the sacrificial app into a shortcut for the sideloaded app and will work for any sideloaded app, not just Kodi, XBMC, and SPMC. Alternately, you can use this method to more easily open a launcher like FiredTV or AGK Launcher, which will give you quick access to all of your sideloaded apps.

Update

This method no longer works on software version 5.0.0 or newer.

Pros
  • Only method that launches sideloaded app from both the "Recent" apps list and the "Apps" section.
  • Works for any sideloaded app.
Cons
  • Slightly more complex to setup than other methods.

Show Method 2 Guide

Method 3: Sideload the Amazon Appstore smartphone APK

kodi-homescreen-3-section-bannerWhen you access the “Apps” section of the Fire TV, you are actually launching a customized version of the Amazon Appstore APK. If you sideload the Amazon Appstore APK meant for smartphones onto your Fire TV, it replaces the Fire TV’s “Apps” section and displays a grid of all of your apps, including ones that you sideloaded, in its place.

Pros
  • Easy and quick to setup
  • Provides quick access to any/all sideloaded apps, not just Kodi, XBMC, or SPMC
Cons
  • Sideloaded apps accessible from "Apps" section only, not from the "Recent" area of the "Home" section.
  • Removes the "Games" section of the Fire TV, and breaks other native behavior. (Can be easily reverted to default behavior.)

Show Method 3 Guide

Method 4: Application Organizer Pro

kodi-homescreen-4-section-bannerApplication Organizer Pro is the only app that I know of in the Amazon Fire TV Appstore that is capable of launching sideloaded apps. It will not allow you to launch sideloaded apps from the Fire TV’s “Home” or “Apps” section like the other methods, but it gives you a way to launch sideloaded apps that is faster than digging into the Fire TV’s settings menu, so I thought it was worth mentioning. If you use many sideloaded apps, this app can potentially make things easier for you. The app is a bit clunky, but has been slowly improving over time.

Pros
  • Easy and quick to setup
  • Provides quick access to any/all sideloaded apps, not just Kodi, XBMC, or SPMC
Cons
  • Does not place icon to sideloaded app in "Home" or "Apps" section.
  • Costs money. Requires the purchase of the paid app Application Organizer Pro

Show Method 4 Guide

Method 5: Double pressing HOME button via FireStarter

kodi-homescreen-5-section-bannerFireStarter is an alternate launcher for the Fire TV with great HOME button detection. It can even detect double pressing the HOME button and works on either the Fire TV or Fire TV Sick without needing root. Even if you don’t want to use FireStarters launcher functionality, you can set it to launch any app you want when you double press the HOME button on your remote.

Pros
  • Easy and quick to setup
  • Works from anywhere in the Fire TV interface
Cons
  • Only works for one app. (But can be used to open alternate launchers like FiredTV or FireStarter.)

Show Method 5 Guide

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39 comments
  1. Caron says:

    Nice articel. I have a couple of questions. Can I still do method 2 even though Kodi is sideloaded with Llama already. Also, which version of Llama?

    Llama.1.2014.07.11.0909.engb.callphone.apk
    or
    Llama.1.2014.07.11.0909.engb.apk

  2. Mate3 says:

    there are two different links where you can download, second one that says “here” goes to this link http://apps.evozi.com/apk-downloader/?id=com.kebab.Llama works flawlessly

  3. carpe.noctem says:

    Badly i was not able to buy the Kodi app. I changed the Amazon Location to an Adress in the US, also used an VPN, but the only message i get is that the App has a local description. Anyone know how to buy the App? With SPMC it worked fine for me, but now sadly not.

  4. David says:

    Fantastic article! Keep up the good work.

  5. RgnKjnVA says:

    Dang! Method 1 not working for TVMC which has an available free mobile app in the Amazon Appstore. Instructions are pretty cut and dry so not sure what I could be doing wrong. I have TVMC running on my phone now so that’s cool but no launcher in Recent, Apps or anywhere. Any ideas?

    • Ujn Hunter says:

      Just to be clear, you’ve sideloaded TVMC onto your FireTV already correct? It needs to be sideloaded onto the FireTV as well as purchased from Amazon App store for your phone to work.

      • RgnKjnVA says:

        Yeah, I had it sideloaded on my FTV for some time now. Saw this trick and was surprised to find there was an app for TVMC in the Amazon Appstore but alas, no launcher. So I’m thinking it has to be the same version purchased in the appstore or something? So I just uninstalled my previous TVMC install on Fire TV and sideloaded the phone version using AGK Fire but still don’t see a launcher for TVMC.

  6. Markj says:

    I’m trying method 3 to side load the smartphone version of the app store but it just says failure install already exists. Does anyone have any idea what step i’m missing?

  7. Kramar111 says:

    root@android:/ # pm disable com.amazon.venezia
    pm disable com.amazon.venezia
    Package com.amazon.venezia new state: disable

    Work like Method 3
    But for correct working Appstore it need “pm enable com.amazon.venezia” command and reboot. Found somewhere on xda.

  8. JRH says:

    You can use the Wukong Remote available for free in the Google Play Store to launch sideloaded apps on the FireTV and FireTV stick using your tablet or phone. Works perfectly!

  9. Andy says:

    What other native behavior is broken by Method 3?

  10. It’s very easy to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this
    piece of writing at this website.

  11. Derek says:

    I use firedTV as an alternate launcher https://github.com/Redth/FiredTVLauncher

    On my stick that is not rooted, I had to use Llama to do initial launch after startup. I sacrificed the app “Classic TV” to launch it.
    I am able to click the classic TV app to launch the loader from recent or app menu, then after using plex, kodi, netflix, etc the home button returns me to the firedTV launcher.

  12. Jack says:

    I’m also using FiredTV for my launcher on my Fire TV stick. Displays and launches all sideloaded apps. Works perfectly.

  13. Damian says:

    wow, the AppStore method seemed like a good option but it breaks so many things that you start to question if it is actually worth it.

    It breaks: game folder, cloud installs, official app installs, home recent launching.

    is there more it breaks?

  14. rcrh says:

    Do you have any help for changing the icon on the sacrificial app under method 2?

  15. RgnKjnVA says:

    Switched from TVMC to Kodi and Method 1 worked like a champ. w00t!

  16. Jack says:

    There’s another app called AFTV Launcher Helper. It allows you to use any app as a launcher.
    Also, for method #1, if for some reason synching doesn’t work, try de-activating and then re-activating your FireTV device.

  17. AGK Launcher works with the Method 1. No Llama event needed.

  18. TheCodingDutchman says:

    I’m setting up my AFTV with Flirc and a Harmony Remote. I’m thinking I can create a custom key-sequence on the Harmony remote and then set up Llama to recognize that command and launch the appropriate app… time to read up on Llama! – http://kebabapps.blogspot.com/p/llama-handling-guide-instructions.html

  19. Brian says:

    Has the llama option stopped working with the new update? Just got a new fire tv today and tried this. Can’t get it to work. Keeps opening the classic tv app. I got it to work fine previously on fire tv stick.

  20. Richard says:

    Method 1 doesn’t seem to work with the latest version of SPMC (14.2.0).

  21. Bob says:

    Method 1 works great with my Fire TV but it does not work with my Fire TV Stick :(

  22. Joestac says:

    Another great article. I do have an issue though, method 1 does not seem to work across two Fire TVs.

    I set the one in the living room up, works great. Went to do the same in the bedroom and Kodi wouldn’t appear in the recent.

    So I did the method of uninstalling and syncing content like in the new article. Showed up on the bedroom, but now gone from the living room.

    Went to method two in the living room for the time being, unless anyone has another idea.

  23. LLoyd says:

    how bypass normal home screen & launch XBMC by default?

  24. holo says:

    Method 1 is not working anymore with latest kodi latest amazon firmware.

  25. Zablalbaz says:

    Great article. After reading the comments left by others, I opted for the Llama method (method #2). I also used the Classic TV app as my sacrificial app. Works like a charm. Now I can get to all my apps – even the side loaded apps in one place.

    Thanks!

  26. Jezter says:

    Method #2 is not working any longer for me. I just recently tried installing Kodi and LLAMA on a friends AFTV and after putting the correct condition and actions IKono TV keeps running. For some reason llama wont kill the application and run Kodi instead. Was there an update to the app that wont allow this?

  27. AJ says:

    If you have the New Fire TV box you are screwed, none of these work. You have to launch Kodi through “manage applications” route.

    http://www.aftvnews.com/sideloading-and-kodi-work-on-new-2nd-gen-amazon-fire-tv/

  28. Chris says:

    Just to verify what others have said already. The llama instructions no longer work on the new FireTV sets. I purchased a new FireTV for myself on Black Friday 2015 to replace my FireTV Stick and just learned that the Llama redirect method does not work on it. However, there is a much nicer looking tool available that does work called “FireStarter.”

    http://www.aftvnews.com/firestarter-is-a-non-root-launcher-replacement-with-fantastic-home-button-detection/

    Just sideload it, and follow the instructions to set it up. I configured it to use the single click on home to bring up the FireTV home, and a double click brings up the FireStarter menu so I can launch Kodi.

    Hope this helps!

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