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Prerequisites to Install Unofficial Apps on Fire TV

Amazon makes it very difficult to install unofficial apps on Fire TV and Stick. Understandably, this is mainly to protect their business. It also protects consumers from malicious content. But when carefully done, sideloading unofficial apps or installing them from unknown sources can greatly enhance your AFTV experience. Few weeks back, I compiled my list of best apps on Amazon Fire TV. The most notable one is Kodi for Fire TV. Installing unofficial apps on Amazon Fire TV requires some settings changes. Since many of our Fire TV Guides require these prerequisite steps, I decide to write a separate guide on getting your Fire TV and stick ready for installing unofficial apps from unknown sources or sideloading them. [Read: Beginner Blueprint: Complete Amazon Fire TV Kodi Guide]

Install Unofficial Apps on Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV Homescreen

1. Go to System Settings

First, from Amazon Fire TV homescreen go to Settings->System, as shown in the picture below.

Fire TV System Settings
Fire TV System Settings

2. Go to Developer Options

Under System, scroll down, find and click “Developer Options”.

Amazon Fire TV Developer Options
Amazon Fire TV Developer Options

Under “Developer Options” you will see two options: ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources. Both of these options are OFF by default.

3. Enable ADB Debugging on Fire TV

ADB Debugging is used to connect to Fire TV using ADB. Enabling ADB Debugging allows you to use apps such adbFire to manage your Fire TV remotely, including sideloading apps, install Kodi, backup/restore Kodi, install FireStarter, and more. Whether you plan to install unofficial apps on Fire TV through sideloading or not, I recommend turning on ADB Debugging.

Enable ADB Debugging Amazon Fire TV
Enable ADB Debugging Amazon Fire TV

Once you turn on ADB Debugging on AFTV device, a new option, “USB Debugging” will become available. You can leave this OFF. [Read: 20 Best Kodi Addons for 2016: Updated, working list]

4. Enable Apps from Unknown Sources

Next, scroll down and enable Apps from Unknown Sources. This will allow you to download APK files on to Fire TV or Stick and install them directly. For installing apps such Kodi, FireStarter / FireStopper, and SPMC, this is much easier than sideloading through ADB because all you need is internet connection and AFTV device (a wireless Keyboard or Mouse helps). [Read: Install SPMC on Amazon Fire TV using only AFTV device]

Best Wireless HTPC and Android TV Box Keyboards in 2016RatingPrice
Logitech K410 Living-Room Wireless Keyboard with Built-In Touchpad editors pick
$37.75
Logitech Illuminated K830 HTPC Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad
$69.99
iPazzPort KP-810-10AS Wireless Mini Keyboard Remote with Touch
$15.99
Aerb 2.4G Mini Wireless Keyboard Mouse IR Learning Gyro Remote
$16.99
LYNEC C120 6-Axis Portable Mini Wireless Gyro Remote Keyboard Mouse
$15.98
Amazon FireTV - Enable Install from Unknown Sources
Amazon FireTV – Enable Install from Unknown Sources

Apps from Unknown Sources is the same as what is found on many Android Phones under Developer Options. When you enable it, you will be presented with a warning message as shown below.

AFTV - Unknown Sources Warning
AFTV – Unknown Sources Warning

Installing malicious APK files can ruin your device. Therefore, ensure that you are only installing APK files known to be safe. Click “OK” to the warning message to enable installing apps from unknown sources on Fire TV and Stick. [Read: 5 Must try Kodi skins for Amazon Fire TV]

Ready to Install Unofficial Apps on Fire TV

If all goes well, your “Developer Options” screen should look like what is shown in the picture below.

Amazon Fire TV Ready for Installing Unofficial Apps
Amazon Fire TV Ready for Installing Unofficial Apps

That is it. You are all set for installing unofficial apps on Amazon Fire TV. Now, check out our list of best Fire TV Apps and install them.

About the author

Anand

Anand is a self-learned computer enthusiast, a part-time blogger, and a Food Scientist by career. He has been blogging since 2010 on Linux, Ubuntu, Home/Media/File Servers, XBMC, and related HOW-TOs (read more).

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