How to Sideload apps onto the Fire TV with just a USB Drive — ADB & PC Utility Unnecessary

fire-tv-usb-drive-800
The addition of the free file browser, Total Commander, to the official Fire TV appstore now makes it possible to sideload apps like Kodi onto the Fire TV without the need to use ADB and a PC. As long as you can load a USB drive with an APK file, you can sideload it onto the Fire TV without any outside connection or utility. Here’s how to do it.

Video Guide

Written Guide

  1. Transfer the APK you want to sideload onto a USB drive. The USB drive must be using the FAT32 file system. If you are installing Kodi, download the Android ARM version from here.
  2. Plug the USB drive into the USB port on the back of the Fire TV.
    fire-tv-usb-drive-back
  3. Wait for the Fire TV to mount the drive.
  4. If you haven’t done so before, enable “Apps from Unknown Sources” on your Fire TV by following this guide.
    amazon-underground-app-header
  5. Install Total Commander for free from the Amazon Appstore. You can either search for it using the Fire TV’s search, or select to send it to your Fire TV using Amazon’s website.
    total-commander-app-screen
  6. Launch Total Commander once it’s installed and select the USB option in the list of directories.
    total-commander-usb
  7. Select the APK file you want to sideload from the list of files on your USB drive.
    total-commander-apk
  8. Select “Install”.
    total-commander-install
  9. Select “Install” again.
    total-commander-install-again
  10. Wait for the APK to install.
    total-commander-wait
  11. The app is now installed. Select Done to finish or Open to open the app.
    total-commander-done
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27 comments
  1. Greg says:

    Nice I suppose. But the time it would take to load the APK on the drive and go through the steps with Commander, it would already be long done with adbfire.

  2. Grinder says:

    Or even easier, use Apps2fire from your Android phone.

  3. u2pop says:

    THE BEST!!!

  4. xnamkcor says:

    Now I can install Total Commander so I can install ES File Explorer without ADB so I can have a good file manager.

  5. C Pentland says:

    I use ‘Sideloader for Fire TV’ from the ios app store….very quick!

  6. hdmkv says:

    Just make sure ‘USB debugging’ is NOT enabled, otherwise FTV won’t mount the USB drive. Drove me nuts until I figured this out as I also couldn’t use USB as external storage for apps until I disabled.

    • Monica says:

      OH MY GOODNESS…I could kiss you for this tip. Have been trying to install Kodi for 2 days and running into sooooooo many issues here and there. When I proposed the idea of putting Kodi on my USB and trying to install it that way, hubby said he doubted it would work. But I’m from the school of “Let’s try it” so I did it while he was asleep. HA!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  7. Brian says:

    Does anyone know if there is any app for say NBC Sports or any other live channel apps for the fire tv in apk format?

  8. shwru980r says:

    I use a browser on the fire tv, download the apk directly to the fire tv and then install with a file manager.

  9. John says:

    Great video tutorial. Does this method mean that the app is installed on the Fire TV box or the USB Drive on you hit install on via the Total Commander app?

    Thanks

  10. jesse says:

    can somebody please confirm is the amazon fire tv box WONT recognize usb drives anymore ?
    my box is at version 51.1.42 514015320

    • jesse says:

      sorry wrong thread…

    • Mike says:

      Turn off debugging in developer features.

    • Marc says:

      It has to be a fat32 file compatible USB flash drive no no bigger than 128gb I think is the size max. I am connected to the Fire Tv box via ethernet cable, had to disconnect that and connect wirelessly. Plugged in the USB again and it popped up. After that first time, I can now plug it in when I am ethernet connected and it recognises it everytime.

  11. Mike says:

    Worked perfectly for me. Took 10 minutes.

  12. Rich says:

    Does this still work ?

  13. newsongspk says:

    make sure ‘USB debugging’ NOT enabled, otherwise FTV won’t mount the USB drive. Drove me nuts until I figured this out as I also couldn’t use USB as external storage for apps until disabled.

  14. Tubidy says:

    what is the maximum site of USB drive I can use ?

  15. Marc says:

    I had to do this with my Express VPN app, did it via the USB, installed via E File Manager first, but couldn’t do anything with other than open it from ES FM each time to launch it. Installed it via Total Comd this time and installed it like the tutorial but again, I cannot get the app to my Fire TV home page. It shows up in the Managed Installed Applications (Application Icon) in settings but still cannot move it to the home page.

  16. JP says:

    What’s the difference doing it like this versus installing with a USB drive and ES File explorer? ADB via USB is much faster.

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