Fire TV Stick is the best Android TV box under $40Technically speaking, Amazon Fire TV devices do run Android, although they carry a unique user interface. Unlike most Android TV units that are created by virtually unknown brands, the backing of a billion-dollar company does make Fire TV as an easy choice for many. From playing games that are well-suited for the big screen to viewing TV shows, movies, and even listening to music, the tiny Fire TV Stick can do it all. What makes this the best alternative to a Chromecast is not just the built-in support for Alexa, but the thousands of available apps. All of this comes built right into the device and its wireless remote, so you won’t need an Android device to enjoy some entertaining content on the big screen. Even so, some of you may find that just like the Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV does not support all of your favorite apps. For instance, if you want to hook up your TV to Kodi, you’ll need to do some work on your Fire TV Stick to do it. You may have heard people talk about jailbreaking the Fire TV Stick to get Kodi on it, but the reality is you don’t have to go that deep into the technical side. Since Fire TV runs a version of Android, it can also be rooted or jailbroken. But you don’t really need to do either to your Fire TV Stick to unlock the full potential of what it can do.
How to enable sideloadingNow that we’ve convinced you that you enable sideloading on your Fire TV Stick without getting into any trouble, let’s get started. There are multiple methods that you can use to sideload apps to Fire TV, but we’ll be exercising the simplest one. From using a VPN service like Private Internet Access to watching presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint, there will be almost nothing you can’t do once with Fire TV once you follow these steps.
Step 1: Enable 'Unknown Sources' on Fire TVBefore you can go ahead and install your favorite non-supported apps to the Fire TV, you’ll need to configure it. Just as you would need to enable the downloading of apps from 'Unknown Sources' on your Android mobile device, you’ll need to do the same on your Amazon Fire TV. The option is disabled by default, so you will need to navigate through the settings to activate it.
- Turn on your Amazon Fire TV and use the navigation keys on your Remote to scroll to Settings.
- On the Settings screen, use the right-arrow key to scroll to and select the Device option.
- Then find the Developer options.
- Select Apps from Unknown Sources from the following options.
- Choose Turn on when the option pops up, and you're done.
Step 2: Get the Apps2Fire appSince apps like Silk Browser and Firefox for Fire TV already support downloading, you can get started right away. However, there’s a really useful Android app that helps you sideload apps to Fire TV with minimal effort. You can skip the troubling process of manually installing apps and use Apps2Fire to get the best of the Google Play Store on the big screen. You’ll need an Android device to continue the sideloading process using Apps2Fire, which you can download from the link below.
Step 3: Connecting Fire TV to Apps2FireApps2Fire allows you to move and install apps on your Fire TV Stick from your Android device. Once you've downloaded the app, you need to connect it to the Fire TV device. Follow the steps below.
- Make sure that your Android device is connected to the same wireless network as your Fire TV Stick.
- Launch the app and use the scroll menu at the top of the screen to find the Setup.
- On the next screen, use Search Fire TV’s or the Network button to scan for your Fire TV device.
- When you see your Fire TV pop up on the display, tap on it to connect it to the Apps2Fire app.
Step 4: Install apps on Fire TVUsing Apps2Fire, you’ll be able to port apps to the Fire TV that you have already installed on the Android device. The process is outlined below.
- Select the Local Apps tab where you will be able to view the entire list of apps installed on your Android device.
- Navigate your way through the app list to find the one you want to install and then tap on it.
- Press the Install button to begin the process.
- Once the installation completes, you’ll see a “Ready to launch!” message pop up on your Amazon Fire TV screen.
Step 5: Uninstalling sideloaded apps from Fire TVUnfortunately, not all sideloaded apps will work perfectly. Since most Android apps are developed for phones or tablets and aren't intended for use on large TV screens, the UI can sometimes be a bit wonky. While apps like Kodi will work just fine, you might want to uninstall certain apps that don't offer the same experience. Thankfully, you can do this directly from the Amazon Fire TV menu screen effortlessly, by following these steps.
- Press and hold down the Home button on your Fire TV Remote to see the Apps icon and select it.
- Use the navigation keys to move the cursor and highlight the app that you wish to uninstall from your Fire TV.
- Press the Menu button to make additional options pop up on the right side of the screen.
- Select the Uninstall option to remove the app from your Fire TV device.
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