Amazon’s Fire TV is one of the best streaming devices you can use. The interface is very simple, and you can get straight to your favorite TV shows and movies. However, you’ve probably felt like there was something missing at one point or another. The Fire TV app catalog is pretty limited, so you’ll likely find a streaming service or two that aren’t available.
Fortunately, you can get around this by sideloading missing apps, which allows you to add unofficial apps that aren’t natively available on Fire TV. Because Fire TV runs on a modified Android operating system, you can actually install any Android app with a little tinkering. There are a few different ways to sideload apps on Fire TV, but we’re going to use the Downloader method since it’s free and doesn’t require a computer or Android device. All that you need is the Fire TV and about 10 minutes of your time.
How to enable developer mode on Fire TV
Before you do anything, you’ll have to enable developer mode, which unlocks several restrictions on the TV that prevent you from installing applications outside the Amazon Appstore. This will allow you to sideload unlicensed apps on the Fire TV.
- On the Fire TV homescreen, go to Settings > Device & Software > About > [device name].
- Click the device name repeatedly until you see the message, “No need, you are already a developer.“
- Hit the back button on the Fire TV remote to return to the previous menu.
- Select the newly added Developer Options selection from the Device & Software menu.
- Finally, click on ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources and switch the settings to On.
How to install the Downloader app on Fire TV
Now that your Fire TV can install unlicensed apps, it’s time to add the Downloader app from the Appstore. This is where you’ll get all the APK files for sideloading, which are basically app files for installation.
- Go to the Amazon Appstore.
- Search for Downloader.
- Click the Get button to add the Downloader app to your Fire TV.
How to sideload an app on Fire TV with Downloader
Now, it’s finally time to start sideloading apps on Fire TV. We will do this from the Downloader app by searching for apps to install. Note that you’ll have to search for APK files on the internet for installation, and we suggest APK Mirror.
- Open Downloader and allow it to access photos, media, and files when requested.
- Search for an Android app by typing in an app name in the search bar.
- Carefully look through the search results for a site that has APK files. If you don’t have any luck, then try searching again and add APK behind the app you want to download.
- Once you find a site with the app, click on the Download button.
- After downloading, a new window will open. Simply click the Install button to finish adding the app.
- When the installation finishes, you can exit out of Downloader. The newly installed app will show up in the Fire TV app menu.
Adding apps to Amazon Fire TV
Amazon’s Fire TV is one of the most popular ways to stream content, but most people don’t realize how much content they can access. With sideloading enabled, you can add any Android app to your Fire TV in just a few clicks. While you can install almost any Android app on Fire TV, it is important to remember that some apps will not work properly. This is especially true for games, which may not even fit on a Fire TV. To learn more about sideloading Android apps, be sure to check out our guide for Android TV and Chromebook.