Read this in-depth guide to learn the best ways to sideload apps on Firestick!
Downloading the apps on your Firestick/Fire TV is as simple as installing apps on mobile.
You can install popular applications for your device from the Amazon Store to make your streaming experience better.
What if the app you want is not available on the Amazon Store?
That’s when sideloading comes. It is a way to install apps unavailable on the official store.
Cord-cutters also call it ‘jailbreaking.’
Don’t worry! It is not illegal or unsafe. You need to get a third-party app to install your favorite app.
By jailbreaking your Firestick, you can access unlimited entertainment, be it movies, TV channels, sports, games, live TV, and whatnot!
And what’s the best part? You can enjoy all these for FREE!
Isn’t it amazing?
I tried and tested different ways to sideload apps on Firestick just for you!
So let’s get started!
Best Ways To Sideload Apps On Firestick
I’m going to explain four different methods that will help you sideload apps on your Fire device. Here they are:
- Android Device
- ES File Explorer
Since we’re sideloading the apps, first, we need to change the setting on the device.
Let’s see how to do it!
Enable Unknown Sources
- Start the Fire TV and hover over the settings option found at the top of the main menu.
- Go to the right side and pick Device.
- Select Developer Options.
- If the Apps from Unknown Sources option is OFF, turn it ON.
- Choose the Accept tab when you see the warning message about installing external apps.
And that’s it! Our device is now ready to sideload apps.
How To Sideload Apps Using Downloader
Downloader is a popular application among Firestick users to install third-party apps.
As the name says, you can download any file using Downloader. But it’s more popular to sideload APK files for the third-party apps you don’t see on the official store.
After you download the file, Downloader automatically installs the app on your device.
You don’t need to connect a keyboard or mouse to access the app, as it lets you operate and navigate the interface using a Firestick remote.
Before we head towards installing apps using Downloader, let’s see how to install Downloader on Firestick!
Note – If you already have this app, you can skip to the next segment.
How To Install Downloader
From the main screen of your Firestick, go to the search bar and start typing Downloader.
Select the Downloader icon from the search results.
Choose the Download tab.
Wait till the system installs the app. Select Open or Launch Now.
Choose Allow when you see this screen.
Then, click OK.
Sideloading Apps Using Downloader
Finally, we have reached the step to use Downloader to install/sideload APK files on your device.
There are two ways you can use Downloader to install third-party apps:
- Sideload app with direct URL
- Install directly from the website
We’ll learn both ways here. Let’s see the first one:
Sideload APK Files with Direct URL
1. Run Downloader and select the Home tab from the left menu.
2. You will see a box with a URL bar on the right side. Press the Select key on your remote to highlight the bar. You’ll see a virtual keyboard appear on the screen. (If there’s already a link written, clear it.)
3. Insert the URL of the file you want to install and Select the Go tab below the box. (The URL you enter must redirect towards the file saved on a server, not the website.)
4. The system will start the download process. Once it’s over, select Install when you see this pop-up.
5. It will initiate the installation process. You will get an app-installed notification once the process is over.
6. Select the Done tab if you want to open the app later. Choose the Open tab to explore the app right away.
If you’ve selected Done in the above step, you will see a notification message on the Downloader interface. Choose the Delete option here. Once again, you’ll get a confirmation pop-up.
Click on Delete again to clear the APK file from the system.
This will delete the APK file from your device and make space for other apps.
To confirm that the file has been removed, Go to Files from the menu on the left. You won’t see the files you deleted. Instead, you’ll see this written on the screen ‘No files found in the download folder.’
Download/Install APK Files from Websites
If you don’t have a direct URL to the file you want to download, no problem!
The Downloader app has its own browser where you can hit the websites and download from the web pages.
Follow the below-mentioned steps to install APKs on your device using Downloader:
1 – Run Downloader and Choose the Browser option from the main menu on the left.
2 – Select the Search box and insert the website address connected with the application you want to install. For instance, you can download the Aptoide TV app from tv.aptoide.com.
3 – Let the download process complete.
4 – Choose the Install tab when you see the following screen.
5 – Wait till the installation process is over.
You’ve successfully installed this application on your Firestick!
Like Downloader, you can use Aptoide TV to install apps unavailable on the Amazon Store.
It features a wide variety of applications to access unlimited entertainment.
What If I Cannot Find a Downloader On The Amazon Store?
You might wonder why you aren’t able to find Downloader in your Amazon Store.
Don’t worry, it happens!
Many states and regions have restricted the use of the Downloader app. You can still download this app by unregistering your current Amazon account and signing in with a universal Amazon.com account on your Firestick.
Here’s how you do it!
Deregister Your Current Amazon Account and Sign in With a New One
To register with a new account, you cannot use the one you used for the existing account. You need to use a new email ID and register at Amazon.com.
One of the most important things to remember is to select the USA under the location setting.
If you have been using Firestick for a while, I do not recommend this method as it will clear all your saved data, existing apps, and even watch history. But, as a beginner, you won’t lose much.
So the choice is yours!
Here are the steps to register or remove the current Amazon account:
Start the Firestick and select the Settings option from the home screen. Then, choose Account & Profiles Settings, and you will see one of the following two:
- If you have not signed in with your Amazon account, select the Register tab and sign in with your credentials with Amazon.com.
- If you are a registered user, you will see a list of associated devices. Click on the account name and select the Deregister option. This way, you will be signed out (and all your data will be gone!). You can now register with a new email address.
If you don’t want to use Downloader and get rid of accessing everything from the remote, the next session will surely surprise you!
Do you know you can use your phone to install APKs on your Firestick?
Yes, you read it right!
Here are some quick steps to download apps using your Android device!
How To Sideload Apps On Firestick Using Android Device
Using your Android phone to install apps on your Firestick/FireTV is one of the easiest ways to get things done.
App2Fire is a great application that lets you transfer any application you install on your Android phone to the set-top box.
Want to hear the best part?
It is FREE!
All you need to do is download App2Fire, get the app you want to transfer to TV, send it to your set-top box.
No! It’s not that simple for beginners. So here are the steps to sideload apps on Firestick:
Remember: You need to connect the Android phone to the same Wi-Fi as your Firestick.
- Install the Apps2Fire app from the Google Play Store on your Android device. Don’t go for a similar name. Select the one that’s developed by Koni.
- On the same Android device, look up the application you wish to install on your Firestick/FireTV. Install it as usual.
- Start Apps2Fire and let it generate a list of your installed apps.
- When the search gets over, drive the menu left and select the Setup option.
- Now go to your Firestick, select Settings > About > Network, and note down the IP address you see on the right side. (Before that, you should allow “ADB Debugging” by going to the “Settings > Device > Developer Options” on the Firestick.)
- Return to your Android device, and in Apps2Fire, insert the IP address you wrote from the TV, then click Save. Now, Select the Search Fire TVs option on the same screen.
- Select the Local Apps option and move down to the application you want to install on your Fire device.
- Click the app icon, and choose ‘Install’ when you see a notification for permission.
- After a while, the app will be uploaded to the Firestick, and the system will automatically install it. You might have to wait for a few moments, depending on the app’s size and your internet connection speed.
- Open the app on Firestick, and enjoy!
Warning: This process only works if the application you wish to sideload is compatible with Fire devices. If you attempt to install an incompatible app, you will see a notification of error.
Can I Sideload Apps On Firestick from PC?
Yes, you can. Just like you read in the previous section where I’ve explained how to download Apps2Fire on an Android device and install a third-party app on Firestick, you can sideload apps using your computer via ADBLink.
Let’s see how!
Since you’re sideloading the app, you must enable ADB debugging on your Firestick/FireTV.
Follow the given steps to enable the ADB debugging:
- Start Firestick and select the Settings option from the home screen.
- Choose the Device/My Fire TV option.
- Upon the next screen, click on Developer Options. You will see a setting called ADB debugging. Turn it ON if it’s not.
- There will be another option named Apps from Unknown Sources; turn it ON as well.
It will let you install APKs from third-party apps.
Let’s start with the process now!
Locate Fire TV IP Address On Firestick
- Return to the home screen of your device and select the Device/My FireTV option.
- On the next screen, select About.
- Scroll down and find the option called ‘Network.’ You will see an IP Address written on the right side of the screen. It will look like this:
Note this address somewhere because this is the code that will connect the PC and TV.
After this, press the Home button on the Firestick remote. Now let’s move towards the computer you’re using. (this method works on Mac, Windows, and Linux as well.)
Download, Install and Set up adbLink
First of all, you have to get an Android App that is not available on the Amazon App Store. Save the APK file on your PC.
Psst – Don’t forget where you saved it. You’ll need this later.
First, you need to install the app on Fire TV using a program called adbLink.
Download ADBLink on your computer using the following links:
After downloading the right version for your PC, install this app to your device and open it.
Now we’ll set up the Firestick.
Click on the New tab to create a new FireTV profile.
Name the device as per your preference. You can use any name like Bedroom TV, Living Room FireTV, or Office Fire TV. You can set up multiple devices with this system to connect different devices to the same network.
In the box, enter the IP address you noted from your Fire TV. Make sure it is the same IP address as the device you want to connect to.
After inserting all necessary details, click on Save to finish the setup process.
Hit the Connect tab, and you will see a new FireTV profile under Connected Devices, along with the name and IP address you inserted.
Install APK Files to Firestick from the Computer
Finally, you are ready to install Apps on Firestick from your PC.
- Since you’re connected now, let’s see how to install the APK file.
- Select the Install tab.
- Then, move to the location where you’ve downloaded the Android app.
- Click on the Open button and press Confirm to install apk file on Fire TV.
- You can check the progress on the Running Jobs screen. While you see this, you’ll get a notification of successful installation.
- Install the apk file to Fire TV adbLink.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed the process on the computer. Let’s return to the Fire TV and check if the app was installed correctly.
Navigate to the Apps & Games using your Firestick remote. Here, you will see the applications you downloaded.
How To Install Apps Using ES File Explorer
In the previous methods, we used the Internet and Android devices. What if you already have an apk file you want to sideload on your USB drive or laptop?
ES File Explorer is a popular platform for its multi-purpose utility. With ES File Explorer, you can access the Fire TV interface, download media files, and control some features.
- Find an app you want to install on your Fire TV.
- Download the apk file and save it.
- Return to Fire TV and navigate to the app store. Search and install ES File Explorer.
- Run the ES File Explorer, go to the Network option, and select Remote Manager from the menu on the left side.
- When you click the Turn On tab, An FTP address will pop up.
- Run an FTP program on your computer and enter the FTP address.
- The FTP program will now have direct access to the TV’s interface.
- Go to the Downloader folder in the FTP.
- Copy the app’s APK you installed into this folder.
- When the transfer process gets over, return to the Android TV.
- Select the Turn Off tab to disconnect the FTP connection.
- Go to the left menu bar in ES File Explorer and select the Download option.
- You will see the new apk on the right side. Select it to sideload it on your device.
- Accept the permission request you see on the screen, and you’re ready!
And we have reached the end!
You can choose any method to sideload apps on your Firestick.
I’ve tried to mention the steps as clearly as possible. You’ll also find a screenshot if you face any issue with the step.
Don’t forget to use a VPN before streaming with your favorite app on your device.
Let me know in the comment box if you find this guide helpful.