Ultimate Sideloading Guide for Amazon Fire TV & Fire TV Stick

fire-tv-and-stick-sideload-apk

This guide will show you the easiest ways to install, a.k.a. “sideload,” 3rd-party apps on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

This page was last updated February 26, 2017.

1: Sideload using Downloader app
(Recommended Method)

This method uses an app called Downloader (free on the Fire TV Appstore) to download and install APKs directly onto a 1st-gen Fire TV, 2nd-gen Fire TV, 1st-gen Fire TV Stick, or 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick. You do not need to use a computer at all and can sideload apps with just your remote controller. This is the easiest method on the page as long as the APK you want to install is downloadable somewhere online. If you’re wondering, yes, this method works to install Kodi, as do all the methods on this page.

Pros
  • Simplest and easiest method.
  • No external device necessary. Can all be done with just the Fire TV remote.
  • Video guide available.
  • Works for all Fire TV & Fire TV Stick models.
Cons
  • None

View Guide

2: Sideload using ES File Explorer

This method uses an app called ES File Explorer (installable directly from the Fire TV Appstore) to download and install APKs directly onto a 1st-gen Fire TV, 1st-gen Fire TV Stick, or 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick. You do not need to use a computer at all and can sideload apps with just your remote controller. The only caveat is, the APK file must be easily downloadable through a website.

Pros
  • No external device necessary. Can all be done with just the Fire TV remote.
  • Video guide available.
  • Works for all Fire TV & Fire TV Stick models.
Cons
  • Slow if sideloading many APKs at once.
  • Tedious to navigate some websites with Fire TV remote.

View Guide

3: Sideload with a USB Drive

This method uses an app called Total Commander (installable directly from the Fire TV Appstore) to install APK files stored on a USB drive. This method works for the 1st-gen and 2nd-gen Fire TV, but does not work for the Fire TV Stick because it does not have a standard USB port. You only need a computer to transfer the APK files you want installed onto the USB drive. Then you can do everything else directly on the Fire TV without the need of a computer or ADB. This method is ideal if you want to install many APKs at once or very large APKs since you don’t have to wait for each one to be transferred to the Fire TV.

Pros
  • Fastest way to install many APKs at once.
  • Fastest way to install very large APKs.
  • ADB connection unnecessary.
  • Video guide available.
Cons
  • Requires a USB drive.
  • Only works for 1st and 2nd-gen Fire TV. Does not work for Fire TV Stick.

View Guide

4: Sideload with ADB on a Windows PC

This is the classic method that uses the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). ADB is a small utility used to remotely perform tasks on Android devices. ADB is very handy and is used in nearly all guides on this site. While this is not the easiest or fastest way to sideload APKs onto a 1st-gen Fire TV, 2nd-gen Fire TV, or Fire TV Stick, it is the recommended method since it prepares you and your computer for all other guides and mods.

Pros
  • No need to interact with Fire TV after initial setup.
  • Installs APKs remotely from a computer.
  • Prepares you for other guides by having you install and become familiar with ADB.
  • Works for all Fire TV models: 1st-gen, 2nd-gen, and Stick.
Cons
  • First install takes longer due to ADB setup.
  • Transferring APK to Fire TV is slow.
  • Command-line interface may be intimidating.

View Guide

5: Sideload with adbFire on a Windows PC

This method uses adbFire, which is a user-friendly computer utility made specifically for the Fire TV. Functionally, adbFire is identical to using the ADB command-line. One downside to adbFire is that if you encounter a problem, there’s sometimes no way to know what went wrong because adbFire hides the command-line messages in order to present a simpler interface.

Pros
  • No need to interact with Fire TV after initial setup.
  • Installs APKs remotely from a computer.
  • Replaces ADB command-line interface with user-friendly GUI
  • adbFire can perform many other tasks.
  • Works for all Fire TV models: 1st-gen, 2nd-gen, and Stick.
Cons
  • Sometimes no indication of errors if something fails.
  • Transferring APK to Fire TV is slow.

View Guide

6: Sideload with ADB on a Mac

This is the classic method that uses the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). ADB is a small utility used to remotely perform tasks on Android devices. ADB is very handy and is used in nearly all guides on this site. While this is not the easiest or fastest way to sideload APKs onto a 1st-gen Fire TV, 2nd-gen Fire TV, or Fire TV Stick, it is the recommended method since it prepares you and your computer for all other guides and mods.

Pros
  • No need to interact with Fire TV after initial setup.
  • Installs APKs remotely from a computer.
  • Prepares you for other guides by having you install and become familiar with ADB.
  • Works for all Fire TV models: 1st-gen, 2nd-gen, and Stick.
Cons
  • First install takes longer due to ADB setup.
  • Transferring APK to Fire TV is slow.
  • Command-line interface may be intimidating.

View Guide

7: Sideload with adbFire on a Mac

This method uses adbFire, which is a user-friendly computer utility made specifically for the Fire TV. Functionally, adbFire is identical to using the ADB command-line. One downside to adbFire is that if you encounter a problem, there’s sometimes no way to know what went wrong because adbFire hides the command-line messages in order to present a simpler interface.

Pros
  • No need to interact with Fire TV after initial setup.
  • Installs APKs remotely from a computer.
  • Replaces ADB command-line interface with user-friendly GUI
  • adbFire can perform many other tasks.
  • Works for all Fire TV models: 1st-gen, 2nd-gen, and Stick.
Cons
  • Sometimes no indication of errors if something fails.
  • Transferring APK to Fire TV is slow.

View Guide

8: Sideload with AGK Fire on Android

If you have an Android phone or tablet, you can use an app called AGK Fire to sideload apps onto a Fire TV. The big advantage of AGK Fire is it can transfer any app installed on your Android device to the Fire TV. This means that you can easily install many apps in the Google Play store to your Fire TV.

Pros
  • Lets you install many Google Play apps.
  • Installs APKs remotely from an Android device.
  • Works for all Fire TV models: 1st-gen, 2nd-gen, and Stick.
Cons
  • Transferring APK to Fire TV is slow.
  • Requires having an Android phone or tablet

View Guide

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49 comments
  1. Neogeo71 says:

    Great overview, and very timely! My New FireTV will arrive today. Thanks for all the hard work you do!

  2. xnamkcor says:

    Step 1: Don’t sideload
    Step: 2: Get ES File Explorer
    Step 3: Get a NAS or use Windows File Sharing/SMB
    Step 4: Install programs from local storage.

    • Junior nj says:

      I only have
      MacBook
      USB pend drive
      Amazon fire tv 4k
      Kodi fully
      How do you back up kodi to the pen drive I have try everything and there is no way I can backup to the pen drive

      • Masterblaster says:

        Install then launch from programs the “Backup” addon. Configure with USB inserted into the firetv then backup.

  3. Viktor says:

    Side loading via EZExplorer and a network folder, dropbox or similar share.

  4. Steve K says:

    AGK Fire is an android app I use from time to time. It sends apps from your phone straight to the fire tv. Works just like adbfire on the pc. Figured I’d share the app with the Fire tv 2 arriving today. It’s on the amazon appstore. Love your website btw, always keeps me up to date!

  5. Mike says:

    anyway to sideload games with added data or obb files? Want to try games like Real boxing etc.

    • xnamkcor says:

      No idea about sideloading, but I know you can install an APK from local stoage from ES File Explorer and manually copy the files over(also with ES File Explorer). Usually goes in /Android/OBB and /Android/Data.

  6. djairo says:

    thanks for the guide. right now we need a guide on how to open the battery cover door. it’s even worse than the stick

  7. Me says:

    Where is the AGK Fire method?

  8. Razor says:

    FYI,

    Tried many ways to avoid the initial update, but no go. It does not let you proceed to registration without doing update first. Had to update, and block domains on router again after update.

    • jim says:

      So updating to latest os is ok with “side loading” we are not rooting so is it ok? If not what should I do first since I have a brand new ftv2.

      Thanks

  9. Puppinoo says:

    I use this to sideload from my phone directly to my AFVT / stick.
    it works fine (stuff has to be installed on the phone though but not a big deal for me).

    • Steven says:

      and after it uploads to your AFTV if you no longer want it on your phone just simply delete the app. Great Super Easy app to use.
      Thanks Puppinoo

  10. Razor says:

    After forced update OS build is 5.0.2.1 (6320)

  11. Jasson says:

    Is there a way to ‘sideload something in the other direction’ like a Fire TV App on an other android device?
    Becouse i really like the youtub app for (Fire)TV wich you can use with a Remote.

    I tryed the youtube/tv website from chrome but when watching a video it has a bug and resizes from fullscreen to only 1/4 small video in the left screen side.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Yup, check out this guide. It’s tailored towards moving FIre TV apps to the Fire TV Stick, but will work for any receiving device.

      http://www.aftvnews.com/how-to-transfer-amazon-fire-tv-apps-to-a-fire-tv-stick/

    • xnamkcor says:

      APK Extractor will allow you to turn installed programs into APKs for installing on other android devices. Be careful of 2.x, 4.x, and 5.x Android version of applications of incompatibility.

      • Jasson says:

        Thanks for trying to help.
        The thing is i dont have an fire device (i have some other box).
        But yea i guess i will use the normal yt app with mouse, becouse after days of trying to make the youtube/tv webbapp to work fullscreen in chrome i give up.
        I think somebody is realy trying to make me wanna buy a new box just for the sake of yt for tv app (but i dont have a free HDMI:-)
        P.S
        Is the apk extractor packaging the apps like original? OR how does that work?

  12. Juan Goodfellow says:

    To be an ultimate guide to downloading, you might want to first explain what sideloading is, why you’d need to do it, what an apk file is, and where apk files might come from. Not being an Android user, I was very confused on these fundamental topics when I first looked to install Kodi on the Fire TV.

    Thanks…

    • xnamkcor says:

      “Sideloading”, as mentioned on this site refers to installing a program, not from the Amazon store. So, for the sake of using this guide, “Sideloading means installing with an APK(Like an EXE installer on Windows, or a CAB file for Windows Mobile(Did I just date myself?)).

    • jim says:

      I agree with you, since I am totally new to “side loading” or even “rooting” I have no clue on where/how to even start so there should be a guide that should CLEARLY be LABELED for first time ftv2 installers.

      Also, all the terms needs a clear explanation before a newbie like myself get started to side load kodi, etc…

      So I have a brand new ftv2 sitting next to me as I skim through every ftv2 article in this site just to piece everything together before I start side loading.

      So here is what I am planning to do for side loading:
      1. plug in ftv2 and if it forces me to update then so be it since I am not rooting (whatever that means).

      2. use this link:
      http://www.aftvnews.com/how-to-sideload-apps-like-kodi-onto-the-fire-tv-using-nothing-but-the-fire-tv/
      to side load kodi.

      3. use
      http://www.aftvnews.com/how-to-launch-kodi-or-any-app-by-double-pressing-the-home-button/#comment-175321
      to easily access kodi with 2 home clicks.

      4. Then…. What?
      What do I do with kodi now? From my readings on comments some people said it is empty and you would need to “add-on” or something like that.
      So…… Where/how do I start?

      5…
      6…
      etc…?

      Thanks to anyone who can help me.

      • xnamkcor says:

        1) If you had to choose one program to sideload, make is ES file Explorer, but that’s already on the official store, so that’s not an issue anymore.

        2) You can just find the Kodi APK and install it by copying it from a shared location on your network to your onboard or USB storage via ES File Explorer. Or put your AFTV USB stick in your computer and copy the file that way, just be sure to shut down your AFTV first, if you can.

        3) Now you can either copy files from other sources(Network locations, NASs) using ES File Explorer to local storage(Onboard AFTV or USB). Now you select “Videos” from the Kodi menu and select “Files”. Then scroll down to “Add videos…”. Press right and select “Browse”. You should see a list of local and network locations(the part earlier about copying things via ES file explorer was not entirely true, you can leave them on the shared locations on the network and just stream them directly via Kodi by scrolling down and choosing “Add network location”). Select the base folder for the video or videos you wish to watch. For things like Bluray and DVD rips, choose the folder that contains the “BDMV” or the folder that contains “VIDEO_TS”(Usually named in all caps and the “name” of the DVD).

        4) Press down and Select “OK”

        5) Select “none for “This directory contains”, Scroll down and select “OK”

        6) Scroll up and select the new entry named what the name of the folder was(unless you changed it).

        Bonus: If you’re using a Bluray rip with file structure(BDMV) open “BDMV”, then select “index.bdmv”. There should pop up a menu with choices, choose “Show Blu-ray menu”. This will have Kodi treat the folders as a Bluray disc.

  13. Juan Goodfellow says:

    Sorry, I meant sideloading, not downloading, in the first sentence.

  14. Cid says:

    I side load most everything from my phone using an app called ‘apps2fire’ from the Play Store. Just make sure the app is setup to your Fire TV IP address, flip through the apps on your phone and it uploads the app and installs for you with one click. Easiest method for me.

  15. Sokos says:

    Can we sideload the POPCORN time APK and how?

  16. androidtouchdev says:

    Great guides as always Elias! I would suggest adding instructions to each of the guides to ‘disconnect’ as the last step though as it will prevent many potential issues.

    Example:
    AdbFire: Click the ‘Disconnect’ button.
    ADB command line: adb disconnect 192.168.0.10:5555
    Note: Replace ‘192.168.0.10’ in the above example with the IP address of your Fire TV.

    Thanks!

  17. Rademaar says:

    Hi all,

    This is how I sideload apps like kodi.
    Only for android phone and Tablet.
    Install ES File explorer on your phone or tablet.
    ADB must be set on your Fire tv.
    Open ES file explorer and go to network in the options menu and select android tv.
    Select the scan icon.
    After a few seconds it wil find your Fire tv and push ES file explorer over to your Fire tv.
    Select the found Fire tv and you wil see 2 directory’s.
    Aplication and disks.
    Under aplication you can start remotely apps installed on your Fire tv.
    from the menu you can install apk files to the Fire tv.
    in the the diretory Disks you can acces all files and also copy files to it.
    This is how I install Kodi.
    After a succesful setup of Kodi copy all the kodi files in the diretory Android / data to a zip file.
    Now you have a backup of your Kodi installation.
    When you set up a new Fire tv you only have to copy the zip file to is in the Android directory.
    Never find this way to set up your Fire tv.

    Another tip:

    Install the Amazon FireTV Utility App on your PC.
    Search and install in your chrome browser the Vysor extension
    If you setup the Amazon FireTV Utility App, Vysor is opening on starting it.
    I can now see wireless the screen of the Fire tv and also use the mouse.
    It is handy for Android apps you can not control with your remote control.
    With F2 on your PC keybord you can take screenshots.

    Rademaar.

    • I do not have a PC, only a Nexus 7 2013. I had loaded Kodi on a FireTV Stick, using Apps2Fire app, but since Android updated to 6.0 the app is no longer compatible with the Stick. I uninstalled Isengard 15.2 because it kept crashing, tried to upload it with AGK Fire app, but it won’t sideload anything for me now.
      Therefore, I used ES Explorer. Marvelously easy. I was wondering if it’s possible, using ES Expporer, to sideload Kodi wddons like Genesis and Dexter to the Fire Stick.
      I tried with Kodisrael. It did download but will not install.
      I would love to be able to sidestep Kodi, sideload addons to ky FireTV Stick. Kodi crashes annoyingly often.

  18. I am not certain the place you are getting your information,
    but good topic. I needs to spend a while studying much more or figuring out
    more. Thank you for fantastic info I was searching for this information for my mission.

  19. jim says:

    Hi, I am very new to this so called sideloading apps to the ftv2.

    I still have the ftv2 brand new in box and what is the very first thing I should do before doing STEP 1 (side loading without a pc, usb, etc..) above? I heard updating is a no no for rooted ftv’s but what about just side loading?

    Also, what is the difference of rooting and just side loading apps to my ftv2?

    Thanks people!

  20. chris says:

    Brand new AFTV. Tried using ES Explorer but on the Kodi site the download does not recognize the AFTV as an adroid device.

    Help!!!!

  21. darryl says:

    Everything appears to work fine..it finds the IP addresses by itself..but when I go to install on the fire, it immediately says “Installed/pushed” but appears to do nothing.

  22. TJ says:

    I sideloadeded settings using adb in windows onto my unloacked firestick from the guide from ‘sideloadfiretv.com’ and the ‘settings’ do not work. When clicking on bluetooth, it disappears and reverts back to ‘Launch Applications’. Does anyone have an idea as to why it is not working?
    Thanks

  23. Chad says:

    I deregistered my firestick today without knowing that Es explorer was no longer available. What are other ways I can side load kodi on my firestick?

  24. ej says:

    My question is can I take a file from my fire stick I want to save it to my computer if possible thanks.

  25. Bruce P says:

    I have tried side-loading apps with various methods and they all result in the app being installed on my Fire TV but it can’t be launched due to the error “this app is not associated with your amazon account”.

    I have tried de-registering and re-registering the device, I have tried rebooting the device, I have tried deleted the App Store data, and nothing solves this problem.

    Am I the only one that has run into this problem? I am trying to get the Xfinity TV app on my Amazon Fire TV but this error prevents me from using the app. Anyone have any recommendations? I really would like to have access to this Xfinity TV app on all my Fire TV boxes so that I can reduce the fees on my Comcast bill.

    How do you get rid of this error – “this app is not associated with your amazon account”?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Take care…
    Bruce

  26. PLS27 says:

    Does anyone have a URL for the latest Xfinity TV App apk file to be used with Downloader to install it on a Fire TV?

  27. Marty says:

    Was Downloader removed from the amazon app store? I can no longer find it there.

  28. Freemz says:

    ESfile Explorer has updated, the send option has gone, how do I send my Kodi setup from one device to another now? any ideas? it has a share option but it can’t handle sending that many files.

  29. Tenderfoot56 says:

    I just discovered the hard way that Playstation VUE WEB View DOES NOT work on my 64 bit Linux Lite 2.8 systems which are based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Operating System. I have tried it on both Google Chrome 64bit and Firefox and keep getting the message to update my browsers. Very Disappointing !!! Playstation Vue Tech Support doesn’t have an answer either, but I have seen others mentioning this problem in posts, but not in any public articles.

  30. Jim says:

    Anyone know how I can use the downloader to install the google play store on my ftv2?

    I know you will need a reliable source to access the apk files but where can i find a safe source? Thanks

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