Amazon seems to have a love-hate relationship with sideloading apps on its Fire TV devices. On one hand, sideloading is a necessary feature of any Android-based device to attract developers and the flexibility sideloading provides consumers is certainly attractive to advanced buyers that like to tinker with their devices. On the other hand, sideloading likely accounts for some unwanted percentage of customer service calls and it gives consumers more ways out of Amazon’s walled garden. While nothing has, thankfully, been changed to the functionality of sideloading on Fire TV devices, a recent update has changed the on-device messaging about the act to be far more severe.
In a recent Fire TV software update, Amazon has updated the descriptive text and warnings present when trying to enable installing apps from unknown sources. On the most recent Fire TV models running Fire OS 7, the description presented alongside the setting option used to be:
“Allow specific applications to install other applications that are not from Appstore.”
On older Fire TV models running Fire OS 6 or Fire OS 5, which use a slightly different menu format for enabling apps from unknown sources, the description used to be:
“Allow installation of applications that are not from Appstore. Turn this option ON only if you install apps from reliable sources as a developer.”
Both newer and older Fire TV models now list a more ominous message that reads:
“Turning on this setting enables you to install apps from unknown sources on your device. Be aware that installing or using apps from unknown sources may make your device and personal data more vulnerable to security risks or damage.”
Additionally, when enabling the “Apps from Unknown Sources” option on older devices, a popup message would appear giving the user one last chance to cancel the action. Amazon has now added “WARNING:” in all capital letters to the front of the popup message text.
While these updated messages are inconsequential and will likely go mostly unnoticed by the vast majority of Fire TV users that want to enable the ability to install apps from unknown sources on their device, it does show that Amazon is thinking about app sideloading and wants to deter it with warnings. One would have hoped that Amazon could secure its devices to the point where installing any app, whether it was sideloaded or not, couldn’t possibly “make your device and personal data more vulnerable to security risks or damage,” but these new warnings seem to indicate otherwise.
How can a person sideload an app from an ‘unknown source’ ?
If they don’t know the source, how do they acquire the app?
You might know where you downloaded the APK from, but that’s almost never the actual source of the file. That’s what they’re talking about.
It’s Amazon’s euphemism for “any app we don’t care to add to the Appstore.”
1 small step closer to permanently disabling 3rd party apps… Don’t let them get away with it.
They already have…there is no more “developer options” on the menu. You can make it appear by clicking “about” 7 times to gain developer access & then it will appear on the menu. I had to do some research & look this up, at first I thought I wasn’t gonna be able to add my app.
It’s quite common that developer options is hidden on devices.
That’s always been the case
You can turn on developer options by going to my fire tv in options and go to about and press center button 6 times and it will turn developer options back on
Turn it in in options to download unknown sources
Are you kidding Mike? Is that a joke…
Say that you want to install a apk iptv file, that requires being sideloaded.
There are so many it’s crazy, websites full of them. Type in Amazon firestick APK
Google, it tells you exactly how to do it mate get a vpn to so they can’t find you
Unknown source top the firestick. I.e not the app store.
They are just crying about Kodi well truth is no one would buy the stick if they couldn’t upload the Kodi and they would lose 80 percent of the business selling firesticks because no one really watches the apps that firesticks offer
Nonsense, I think you’ve got that backwards. There’s always a small, vocal, and rabid community of tinkerers. But the basic user just wants to watch TV, and doesn’t even know what sideloading is, nor do they care about such things in the least. Hell, most of them have never even looked at the settings menu.
Every person I know who uses a firestick it is for sideloading
Only reason I have one.hell I have a Roku tv but if the cable company and having to have a paid subscription when I find say 5 different shows but each one is on a different network making watching anything cost a fortune and I am a seriously hard working yet poor as dirt person then yes I will sideload until I cannot.
That’s the main advantage over ROKU.
Wow, someone is really overly impressed with Kodi. I doubt 5% of Fire Stick owners even know what it is, and less than that use it.
But yeah, I don’t use Channels DVR on my Fire Cube, or the PBS app, or Netflix, or Hulu, or Apple+, etc. /sarc
Add em up!
Although I still love kodi there are 100s of FREE APKs
Amazon is just pissed bc we don’t by 10-15 apps they’re making millions off.
Amazon will lose 50-60% of their buyers bc there are 100s of Android streaming devices out there!
Guess I’m not savvy enough. I can never figure Kodi out so I have up on it
Kodiak is not necessary anymore. Plenty of apps that do the same thing. This is what Amazon wants to stop or make difficult
I can walk u through it
just download unlinked. there are limitless streaming apps and about anything you could want for free. kodis dumb.
I won hundred percent agree with you on that. Cork cutters is a good 80% to 85% of their business. Period lol
“I won hundred percent agree with you”
Won hundred and cork cutters…..what a great paragraph
It hurt my brain!
I think that number is inflated, but even if it were true that would make Amazon want to dissuade people from sideloading more because they don’t make very much, if any, money on firesticks. They make their money selling the services being offered on the firesticks. So obviously anything that steers people away from buying their services, Amazon would see as a threat to their business.
Spot on. The devices are loss leaders. A way to rent/sell content. Consumers who need to run apps not available directly from Amazon should consider using devices more amenable their installation.
The Fire devices can download all the major streaming services and sideload others. As long as the service has an Android app it should work on a Fire device. Not sure what you see as the problem.
Not sure why you’re commenting.
Because it’s easy to sideload on an Amazon device. I don’t know why you claim it isn’t.
Who uses Kodi anymore? That’s so outdated these days. There’s way more better and easier apk than the tired out kodi
Are you joking? Outdated? Do not be funny. Just list you super duper apps.
Do not be funny.
Sounds like you touched a nerve with a few old timers you’re 100% right though, Kodi was never good in the first place imo, always found it absolutely dire. The newer generation of aid are a hundred times better.
You hit the nail on the head otherwise people would be buy Roku’s, not fire sticks.
Just buy android tv or box fire sticks ok but you have to keep erasein. Apps to make room
Not if you add storage to the firestick.
Most people using Kodi avoid Fire like the plague because of its limited resources.
Right the apks are not an entire platform like Kodi where you could probably watch some small unknown countries local news or anything else you can imagine.but Yes the anyone’s APK are user friendly.
Yeah all kodi is it’s the old xbmc you got that on the 1st xbox out
People actually still use kodi and kodi addons?
I haven’t for years now, the dedicated apk’s are so much easier and easier to install and maintain, kodi has always been a convoluted mess.
Go ahead, Amazon. Lock your precious devices. I’m close to moving to a non-Amazon streamer anyway. I’d rather pay more and be able to customize MY device how I see fit.
The only threat is from the author of this article. Amazon is just warning users what can happen.
Google Chrome warns me each time I try to connect to an unsecured website. That doesn’t mean Google is threatening me.
Right on! Pick up a Roku and try sideloading an app onto it. And please tell us how that works out.
Why would anyone buy a Roku to begin with?
Nvidia shield is the way to go!
No one is telling me what I can and cannot watch or download.
Really? They may not be saying it, but … why don’t you read the article above.
Well, Google TV devices already do that on a more scary level even, they actually don’t let us install it by default and we have to activate 2 settings instead of one…Sometimes the setting is buried deep on developer settings!!!
I imagine this is more due to user complaints that turn out the result of a sideloaded app than any attempt to deter sideloading. If there were to take a policy against sideloading, stopping the install of the Google Playstore on Fire Tablets would likely be the first step.
This seems more like them being able to say “I told you so” after something bad happens.
Exactly. So some idiots who install Google Play Store then an app from it that turns out to have spyware/virus and their bank account gets drained or their identity stolen or such can’t turn around and complain, threaten, sue Amazon. It makes total sense, and to another persons comment about losing 80 percent of their customers as a 3rd commentor pointed 9ut, that’s nonsense. Most people use it to stream Amazon Prime Video as do I, and I use a couple free apps they have available. It’s great. I have more TV and movies than anyone can possibly have time for.
This seems like a more accurate and user friendly description to me. Very few people who enable unknown sources are actually developers. They are more likely to be sideloading someone else’s app. The new message more accurately addresses the most common use case for the desire. And since it’s an entirely unverified app, yes, there are security risks. If you are loading a Kodi distro preloaded with a bunch of piracy plugins, guess what? Not going to be as safe as a verified app. The risk is on you. Nice of Amazon to let us take that risk, though, unlike Apple.
No, this is totally about Amazon locking down their Fire TV to increase profits. If they could they most definitely would have blocked sideloading apps to make you stick to Prime for watching content. Look at their past history.
1. Bricking devices that were rooted.
2. Disabling 3rd party home screen launchers to force users to watch their ads.
3. Disabling deep linking on apps like Plex. This forces users back to their ad-riddled home screen instead of the app opening directly from within another app.
They want to discourage sideloaded apps that offer free TV so you buy their content. Plain and simple. Avoid any tech products with Amazon’s branding on. There are much better alternatives out there.
What makes you think they couldn’t block sideloading?
Because there are forums teaching how to install a custom firmware on Fire Sticks and it works. And if not you have a nice brick anyways…
You realize there’s a on/off for sideloading, right? That you can turn it on/off means Amazon could just set it for off without a choice.
Locked bootloaders and such are an entirely different topic.
Lol, and will they lock adb also? Errr, you know that you can install any app by adb even with sideloading disabled right?
Can they lock adb? Don’t think so. They have several developer tools and stuff…
They can make it harder for the majority of people but…
I disagree with many of Amazon’s decisions on FireOS, but adding warnings to sideloading apps makes sense. Everything is sandboxed, but the apps could do *anything*, they could mine bitcoin or whatever.
Does this mean I’ve wasted money on Amazon Fire Cubes and I should have bought Nvidia Shield instead?
You’re fine. This article is a nothing sandwich. Basically amazon now warns people that sketchy apk files might not be safe and you should be careful about where you get your apps from.
Just a mere warning in hopes of scaring some people… just like any other warning about “modifying” cars, bikes, helmets, clothing etc, that may render them dangerous and the “creator” is not responsible for anything that happens if you do so. Some will freak out and not enjoy all that sideloading can do for them, and others will just keep going status quo. It’s all lawyer speak IMO. Otherwise, just go back to the Google Chromecast with TV… works just as good, maybe even better for adding external memory as well.
I literally tossed my Fire Tv Stick in the toilet and flushed. For the last year you never knew if the stock remote was gonna work or not and
over the last month apps would crash so often that it just wasn’t worth the headache…
I literally don’t believe that you literally did that.
They have so much of their Amazon crap pre loaded on the fire stick that it runs out memory quick. Amazon music etc.. watching the boobtube not wanting games or music on my tube.
Who uses Kodi anymore? That’s so outdated these days. There’s way more better and easier apk than the tired out kodi
Just use a Nvidia Shield…..
They would be shooting themselves in the foot as these devices are bought for sideloading… Smart TVs these days have most or all the apps anyway. Can always fall back to regular android TV boxes.
They aren’t at all saying it’s a serious offence, they’ve simply updated it with a message that tells the truth.
Hahaha, so they are doing this . Why the f are they putting it in their software
looking free trail ,my excuse is that you get the whole deal but still have pay for movie.
In the US streaming is legal regardless if you have this party apps or not because it’s not considered illegal downloading
I have fire TV and my cable service is wifi based and I have to turn on to allow unknown sites so this says I may not have cable when I upgrade
Every smart TV is ready to accept apps, like Kodi & Cinema HD, just like Firestick. The advantage that a Firestick has is that sideloading these apps has been easier and once programmed the Firestick is portable. You can take it from room to room and on vacation, as a plug and play device. If you reduce or eliminate the functionality, you’re just going to shoot yourself in the foot. Why would I want a Firestick if it has the same, or less functionality, compared to my smart TV?
Kodi is a platform, not a source or provider, it will enable you to do more with your 4K Movies and sideloaded mini builds! A must for any serious users!
This is just another was of “clamping down” and trying to make sure users do it their way. It wrong and not fair. Users should be given more freedom like in the old days were the Internet wasn’t governed by greed and greedy companies. Society is totally Fubar now and is run by the “my way or the highway” mentality. Its disgusting and wrong all based on greed and the want to control users. Bring back the old days when the Internet was truly free for all.
It’s not just Amazon, I heard heard that google will be blocking sideloading on Android come Android 14.
I heard that ADB over USB will now be the only way to sideload apps come Android 14.
They are already blocking old apps on 13 and not providing any back compatibility.
I just got the pixel 7 pro and there a few apps that will not install
32 from what I was told is not possible to install by any method on android 13.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was prompted by Google since they are using their OS.
To be honest, is this the worst offence in the UK at the minute, kids stabbing each other , grooming gangs getting bigger and bigger , the police are struggling to cope now !
Does anyone know how to prevent the install unknown apps from shutting off as soon as you leave the screen?
There is no way that Amazon will block sideloaded apps. This is the way developers test their apps before official release, and Amazon would lose so many users, including developers if that were the case. If you want to use sideloaded apps then just run a good well known and respected VPN.