How to Sideload Apps to your Amazon Fire TV using a Windows PC

sideload-apps-windowsSideloading allows you to install apps to your Fire TV that are not available in the Amazon Appstore. There are numerous apps in the Google Play store that may work on the Fire TV that have not been officially ported over. You can download these apps using online APK downloaders. There are also apps like XBMC, which we will be using in this guide, which are not available on any appstore and can only be installed by sideloading.

Update

This guide is out of date. Please see the new Ultimate Sideloading Guide.

You will only have to do Steps 1-3 the first time you sideload an app. Once you’ve sideloaded your first app, skip to step 4 for each subsequent app.

Step 1 – Enable ADB Debugging
In order for the Fire TV to accept sideloaded apps, you must enable ADB Debugging. You may turn it back off once you’re done sideloading apps.

  1. From the home screen, scroll down to “Settings”
    sideload-1-1
  2. Scroll right to “SYSTEM”
    sideload-1-2
  3. Scroll down to “Developer Options”
    sideload-1-3
  4. Change “ADB debugging” to “ON”
    sideload-1-4

Step 2 – Obtain your Fire TV’s IP Address
You will need your Fire TV’s IP address for step 4. Here is how to find it.

  1. From the home screen, scroll down to “Settings”
    sideload-1-1
  2. Scroll right to “SYSTEM”
    sideload-1-2
  3. Select “About”
    sideload-2-3
  4. Scroll down to “Network”
    sideload-2-4
  5. Write down the numbers next to “IP Address”
    sideload-2-5

Step 3 – Setup ADB
ADB is a tool used to communicate with your Fire TV from you PC. You will only have to set it up once.

  1. Download the Android SDK .zip file from here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/
  2. Unzip the file you downloaded by double clicking it
  3. Open the unzipped folder, then open the “sdk” folder, then open the “platform-tools” folder

Step 4 – Sideload an APK file
Now that everything is setup, you can sideload an app.

  1. Shift + Right-Click on an empty area of the “platform-tools” folder and select “Open command window here”
    Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 4.34.11 PM
  2. In the black window that opened, type: adb connect 192.168.1.131 and press enter.
    (*be sure to replace 192.168.1.131 with your Fire TV’s IP address that you wrote down from step 2.)
  3. Type: adb install C:\xbmc-13.0-armeabi-v7a.apk and press enter.
    (*be sure to replace C:\xbmc-13.0-armeabi-v7a.apk with the path to your app file.)
  4. Your app is now installed on your Fire TV. To launch it, go to “Settings” > “SYSTEM” > “APPLICATIONS”, select the app, and select “Launch application”.
    sideload-4-4 sdieload-4-4-2

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49 comments
  1. sheldon says:

    What’s the difference between adbfire and other in downloading ? Is adbfire the reasiestvway to sideload or at both programs needed.

  2. m says:

    I suggest adding “or use the fire TV utility found at xda”. :)

    • AFTVnews says:

      I’m planning to re-write this article very soon ;-)

      • Phillip says:

        When you do rewrite, don’t oversimplify it with the FireTV Utility please :) Add that in there, but some of us are NOT Windows users, and having as much verbosity and as many options as possible makes it easier for those of us running Linux and OSX to do the same thing without dependence on applications written by other people.

        As the guide is presently, I know exactly how to sideload an app from my Linux computer, which already has the android SDK installed on it as I routinely am working on my other android devices. Thanks a lot for all the information you’ve published on the subject already :)

        • AFTVnews says:

          Thanks for the kind words. I’ll definitely not oversimplify. The new article will only be adding additional methods and not removing any information for those who prefer a command line.

  3. jackie says:

    You say in step 3 to be sure and replace C:\xbmc 13.0-armeabi-avi-v7.apk, with your own path where do I find my own path?

    • Phillip says:

      Jackie – Your own path is wherever on your computer that you saved the APK file.

    • goatmale says:

      Jackie, If you right click on the file while holding shift you can select the option to copy as path. This will put the file path in your clipboard for you to paste. You can also go right click and go to the file properties find / copy the file location and then add on the file name on the end.

      • goran says:

        Hi
        When in SDK manager I see all is installed but can’t find files especially the one ending in .apk
        What am I doing wrong? Sdk manager does not allow right click or to get file path so it can be and installed …. Pls help…goat male are you there

  4. Amarnadh says:

    I am trying to install spark app (as chromecast) by following above steps. But could you please guide me from where can i download spark apk file to install on my fire tv stick. It seems http://www.sparkup.tv/ is no more active

  5. Barry says:

    I want to sideload xbmc on to my Amazon fire tv stick but I have a conflict with my computer and fire tv stick. They both have the same IP address. How can I change the IP address on the fire tv stick?

    • AFTVnews says:

      It’s not possible for them to have the same IP address. Your network would not function correctly if they did. That said, when you enter the network password on the Fire TV Stick, there is an “Advanced” button at the bottom of the on screen keyboard. There you can select an IP address for your Fire TV Stick to use. You may need to have the Fire TV Stick forget the network and then re-connect to it first.

  6. Lukihnio says:

    Hi,

    After Fire Tv’s recent update, I cannot connect my macbook pro with ADB. Before the update, I had no problem connecting to AFTV and installing XBMC. Every method I’ve tried, including ADBFire and through Terminal, I get the same message: Unable to connect. I’ve checked multiple times the IP address and made sure that ADB debugging is on. Any suggestion or thoughts are highly appreciated.

    • goatmale says:

      Try using ADB connect IP 5555 to specify the port. Try disabling and re-enabling ADB over wireless and rebooting the fire TV. I would also make sure that a firewall is not blocking port 5555.

  7. anthony says:

    I have the same issue as the above user. I cannot connect. Any help is appreciated.

  8. Jimmy says:

    I am trying to load some nes roms to the tv stick. I was able to get a couple emulators on the stick but the roms are an nes file type. I have tried,putting a.apk at the end with no luck. I also tried typing adb push (the file path and name)/sdcard but found no roms when I launched the emulators, any help?

  9. Dan says:

    In step 3 (Setup ADB), when I go to http://developer.android.com/sdk/, it asks me to download/install Android Studio, which is huge. Where is the Android SDK .zip? I also tried downloading SDK Tools only for Windows (android-sdk_r24.0.2-windows.zip, installer_r24.0.2-windows.exe). But in android-sdk_r24.0.2-windows.zip, there is no platform-tools folder and no adb program. And trying to run installer_r24.0.2-windows.exe requires me to install Java, which I prefer not doing.

    Seems this step 3 needs to be updated as the instructions are outdated.

    • Sripathi says:

      I have faced the same issue, but i went ahead and downloaded android-sdk_r24.0.2-windows.zip and unzipped it. I couldn’t find platform-tools folder in it. But when I ran AVD Manager.exe, it shows all the updates additional components that can be downloaded. From there I have selected abd and the tool downloaded all the files into platform-tools folder.

  10. goatmale says:

    Hi, for users that are having trouble getting ADB setup, you may want to Google “minimal adb installer” the first result should be a file from XDA developers that installs adb and also a nice start menu shortcut to access it.

    • drtylimRick says:

      I found this helpful so thanks Broseph!

    • goran says:

      Hi
      When in SDK manager I see all is installed but can’t find files especially the one ending in .apk
      What am I doing wrong? Sdk manager does not allow right click or to get file path so it can be and installed …. Pls help…goat male are you there

  11. nixar says:

    My amazon fire tv now using version 51.1.4.2_user_514015320 . Can someone tell me how I can root and install XBMC ?

  12. Pdirty says:

    So I did this and now I can’t get into settings as it keeps asking for my pin. Every time I enter my pin, up comes “An unspecified error. Please try again later.”

    It’s running the 51.1.4.2. Any suggestions?? Thx.

  13. ernie says:

    hey i just installed kodi on fire tv stick, how do i install repository onto fire tv stick? i have the repository on my desktop, but i am not sure how to get it to work on kodi. can anyone help?

  14. frank says:

    so i just bought a fire stick and am stuck pretty much at the beginning…..i cant get my computer to recognize the files when i use the terminal and try to get adb running. it says it cant find the files. before i go into more detail can you tell me if im screwed because i have old software? i have mac 10.6 and most thing want me to have newer software. Im not about to change my whole system up..i was able to get a version of the ADS on my comp…don’t know it that will help me at all…anyone have any advice? besides get a new comp…thanks!

  15. Sara says:

    So wouldnt just clicking on the apps from unknown sources in developer options solve this issue w/out xbmc?

  16. Pete says:

    This maybe a dumb question, what is the root mainly for? I was able to add XBMC to the most recent update.

  17. Ovi75 says:

    Will i lose the sideloaded apps when a new update comes without root???

  18. DickyD says:

    I was recently given a Firestick (mod W87CUN) (s/n 7094160944972358) which, when I received it, was able to access many current movies/feeds via Pheonix, Genesis, Kodi, etc. I have since cleared the cache, & data for apparently all of the aforementioned services – no longer able to access any current movies/feeds. I was able to sideload Kodi & a few other APKs, but still cannot access any current movies. To make matters worse (I think), I did a factory reset. Is there any way to get the unit to access current movies again ?, or am I just out of luck ? BTW, I was unable (my lack of experience ?) to sideload, or add, Liama – Is Liama needed to get actual current content via Showbox or Kodi ?

    Many Thanks,
    DickyD

    • TROJAN4EVR says:

      You need to uninstall XBMC/Kodi from the stick and re-install it along with all addons again. Deleting Data is why you have your problem. YouTube videos are your best friend…Good luck…

  19. goran says:

    Hi
    When in SDK manager I see all is installed but can’t find files especially the one ending in .apk
    What am I doing wrong? Sdk manager does not allow right click or to get file path so it can be and installed …. Pls help…goat male are you there

  20. Christopher says:

    Thank you for this awesome guide AFTVnews!

  21. Julia Sutton says:

    Help!!!! Why isn’t this working??? When I’ve tried with the adb fire programs it doesn’t go at all it fails (trust me I’ve went over and over steps and redone 1000 times). Now using this way I keep getting error messages. It initially said unable to install status read a bunch of times the. When I’ve redone it subsequent times it tells me install failed already exists. But no kodi. I use windows 8.1 on my computer and regular fire TV is there something that I’m not doing that maybe everyone just assumes is done?? I’m so frustrated.

  22. Kap says:

    Ok, i recently bought a amazon fire tv which is running version 51.1.5.0. Each time i try to install xbmc kodi via command prompt on my windows 7 pc i get the following error message “EOCD not found, not zip file ‘C:\kodi.apk’ is not a valid zip file rm failed for /data/local/tmp/kodi.apk, No such file or directory”. Please help

    • David says:

      Not sure if you ever got your answer, but this is caused by a corrupt apk. Try to re-download the file. You should be able to open and apk with a zip manager. If you can’t then you know the file is corrupt

  23. Mark says:

    Hey guys, done all the shizzle but cant get the BT sport App to type in my Log in detials for bt sport. How do i get it so i can type it in? spamming the remote doesnt get me anywhere. How did others do it? or can i access the files on the stick to manually enter the details into the files.

  24. Justin says:

    Can someone please answer me this? I tried looking everywhere and cant find anything out there. There are tutorials showing how to add things to your library. Ex: using the Genesis add-on you can add a movie to you movie folder of your library by right-clicking on the movie and adding it. The Fire TV remote doesn’t have a right button obviously. Is there a work around for this?

  25. James says:

    I have installed xmbc on my first stick and want to do a second..

    While in command prompt I follow the steps properly, then when attempting to install kodi (adb install *program*) it just sits there, yes I’m pushing enter . Flashing dash for ten minutes before I give up.. I am installing kodi-15.1.1-isengard-armeabi-v7a2.apk

  26. Kieth Swaney says:

    I just got my Firestick about a week ago, and initially, I did the ADB side load method similar to described above, under Lubuntu.

    But searching the Google Market on my Android phone, I found an app that does the job much easier. To avoid spamming, I’ll say this app has an ad banner – I didn’t write it, and hate ads, but this does work well.

    Apps2Fire installs on an Android device (e.g. phone), and allows installing apps that are on the phone, onto the Firestick.

    To work, the Firestick needs ADB enabled (as above), and the Android phone must be less than Android 6.0 (something about a change to ADB). And, both the Firestick and the phone must be on the same wifi access point.

    Install the app, pick the Firestick (must lookup is IP, same as above), then pick and transfer the app’s you want.

    Note, apps transfer a bit slow on my setup. I found it takes about 4 seconds per MB. So if the app is 10 MB, it’s about 40 seconds, etc.

    Not trying to hijack the thread, just gives visitors an alternative that worked for me.

  27. Bruce says:

    how do i put LLama on my fire stick i have a Iphone so what app do i need

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