How to Sideload Apps on Fire TV
Below are some of our favorite methods of sideloading apps on Fire TV. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you don’t have to use them all. Try one out, and if it seems confusing or simply won’t work, try another one!
Method 1 – Downloader App
The simplest way to sideload software onto your Fire TV is to use Downloader. This app is completely free and can be found on the Amazon appstore in your Fire TV. All it does is provide an empty URL bar for you to enter download links for apks, the files Android devices use to install apps. Type in the link and Downloader will grab the apk and installation will begin shortly.
Requirements: Fire TV, a connection to the internet, about 30 seconds of free time.
- Open the Amazon appstore on your Fire TV.
- Search for Downloader and install the program.
- While that installs, go to another device and locate the direct URL for the apk you want to install. Make sure it ends with .apk, otherwise it won’t work.
- Open Downloader and type in the URL. You can also use the built-in browser to navigate the web, but it’s much easier to use a PC.
- Download the file through Downloader. Once complete, you can install it by selecting “Files” within the interface.
- Sideloaded apps will appear on your Fire Stick’s main page along with the rest of your software.
Method 2 – adbLink
adbLink is a free third party program for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It connects directly to your Fire TV over Wi-Fi and can be used to manage installed programs, add new content, or remove apps you no longer need. It’s extremely easy to use, especially since you’ll have a full PC keyboard and mouse to work with. The setup can be a little more confusing for some people, though, since you need to find IP address information before beginning. Work your way through the early steps and you’ll find adbLink is by far the best way to sideload apps on your Fire TV.
Requirements: A PC or laptop connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Fire TV.
- On your Fire TV Stick go to Settings > About – Network and write down your device’s IP address.
- On your PC visit the adbLink website and download the program for your operating system.
- Run and install adbLink.
- In adbLink click “new” next to the devices box and add your Fire TV Stick.
- In the next window, type a unique description and the IP address of your Fire TV Stick.
- On your PC, download the apk files you want to add to your Fire Stick.
- In adbLink, click the “Install APK” button.
- Navigate to the file you downloaded and click “ok”
- adbLink will automatically install the app to your Fire TV device.
Method 3 – apps2fire
Got an extra Android device laying around? An old phone or tablet will do just fine, it doesn’t need to be powerful or up-to-date. With an additional piece of hardware you can install apps2fire, a straightforward app that lets you “push” content from one Android device to your Fire TV. It’s entirely free to use, all you have to do is download it, download the app you want, then send it to your Fire TV.
Requirements: A separate Android device connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Fire TV.
- On a separate Android device, install apps2fire from Google Play. Make sure it’s the one developed by Koni, as there are some copycats.
- On the same device, search for the app you want to install on your Fire TV. Install it as normal.
- Run apps2fire and let it create a list of your local installs.
- When the scan is complete, slide the menu left and tap Setup.
- On your Fire TV, go to Settings > About – Network and write down the IP address on the right.
- In apps2fire, enter your Fire TV’s IP address from the above step, then tap “Save”. You may also need to tap “Search Fire TVs” just below that.
- Go to the Local Apps tab and scroll down to the app you want to install on Fire TV.
- Tap the app, then select “Install” when the window opens.
- After a moment, the app will upload to your Fire TV and automatically install. This can take a few minutes depending on the app’s size and the speed of your internet connection.
- Run the app on Fire TV.
Method 4 – ES File Explorer
ES File Explorer is an incredibly useful multi-purpose utility. It lets you navigate your Fire TV’s file structure, look for downloaded content, and even manage some functions remotely. It’s also great for sideloading apps, though some users may find its interface more confusing than useful. Either way, ES File Explorer is free, and it makes it easy to install third party apps on your Fire device without running separate programs.
Requirements: Fire TV, a PC with FTP software, and a few minutes of your time.
- On your PC, find the app you want to sideload onto your Fire TV.
- Download the apk file and save it somewhere easy to access.
- On your Fire TV, go to the appstore, search for and install ES File Explorer.
- Run the explorer, then go to Network > Remote Manager from the menu on the left.
- Click the Turn On button at the bottom. An FTP address should show up.
- On your PC, run an FTP program like Filezilla and type the FTP address as it appears.
- Your FTP program will now have direct access to your Android TV’s file structure.
- Navigate to the Download folder in your FTP program.
- Copy the app’s apk you downloaded into this folder.
- When the transfer completes, go back to your Android TV.
- Click the Turn Off button to terminate the FTP connection.
- Navigate the left menu in ES File Explorer and choose the Download folder.
- The new apk will load on the right. Select it to install it to your device.
- Accept any permissions requests and you’re ready to go!