Fire Stick is based on Android but is a completely different experience altogether. You get native Alexa support out of the box, it blends well with your other Alexa devices, offers a better UI, and runs Android apps just like an Android TV would. If you’ve been confused about how to install apps on Fire Stick, don’t worry. I have made a list of all the ways to install an app on Fire TV Stick. Let’s begin.
How to Sideload apps on Firestick
1. Ask Alexa
The easiest way to install apps on your Fire Stick is to ask Alexa, nicely. Sure, you can manually install apps with the help of on-screen keyboard as well, by selecting the magnifying glass (at the far left end of the menu) and typing in an app’s name you want to install.
But talking to Alexa is so much easier. Just press and hold the Alexa button on your Firestick remote to speak. For example, you can say “Alexa, search for the [app name] app” and then Alexa will show you bunch of results, click on the Get button next to the search result to install the app. The only caveat with this method is that Alexa only gives you results from the Amazon App Store which includes popular apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Spotify, etc.
Related: How to connect AirPods with Fire Stick and Adjust its Volume
2. Amazon App Store
Using Alexa is fine but if you want more control and options, you can visit the App Store on your Fire Stick.
Go to the home screen of your Fire TV device and press right on your remote until you reach the Apps section. You will see a grid of all the apps available on your Firestick and Fire TV. Scroll down and use the left and right arrow key on the remote to navigate between the app. Select the Apps you want to install by pressing the center button on the remote and click on Get selected, press the button in the center of the directional pad.
Read: How to Mirror Mac Screen on Fire TV Stick
3. Using the Amazon Website
Another way to install apps on your Firestick is from a computer.
Just make sure you are logged in to the same Amazon account on your computer that you are signed in the Firestick. Next, using your computer, go to the Amazon Apps Store. This link will automatically redirect you to your country’s catalog.
and purchase the apps directly from your Amazon account. Your Fire Stick will automatically install those apps in a few minutes. Once the page loads, scroll down or use the search to find the app you want to install and click it. Click the down-down box located right under Deliver to, select your firestick and click on Get to install it. Wait for a few seconds and the app will be downloaded in the Apps section of your Firestick.
4. Easy Fire Tools
An easy way to install Android apps from your phone to your Amazon firestick is by using an app called Easy Fire Tools. As long as both your Firestick and Android smartphone are connected to the same WiFi network, you can easily push apps from your phone to your Firestick over Wifi with this app.
Although, do keep in mind, since most Android apps are not optimized for the bigger screen, not every app will scale well from the portrait orientation of your phone to the landscape orientation of your TV. Here’s how it works.
To get started, go to Developer Options in Fire TV Stick settings, and enable ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources.
Next, Install Easy Fire Tools app on your Android and open it. It will show you a list of all the apps install on your phone. Next tap the discover button on the top as shown in the image below. It will automatically detect all the Fire Stick devices on the network, tap to select the Fire Stick of your choice.
Establish the connection by tapping the ‘Plug’ button on the top right. You would get an ‘ADB Debugging‘ prompt on the TV. Accept it to turn it on and your Fire Stick will be ready to receive apps from the smartphone.
Once connected you can either transfer apps which are already installed on your phone or the ones that you have downloaded as APK files. Tap on the file name or APK name and tap ‘yes‘ to the prompt and you will see that the app is transferred as well as installed on your Fire Stick.
5. Cetus Play
Easy Fire Tools works fine but setting it up is a bit of task and if you are looking for something that’s plug and play then I recommend CetusPlay. It not only lets you sideload apps to your Fire TV Stick like Easy Fire Tools, but it also gives you tons of extra features like broadcast images, videos, movies, etc with almost no lag. You can also transfer long URLs to the Fire Stick using the app.
To get this working, simply install CetusPlay on your Android phone from the Play Store. And just like easy Firetools, you need to enable ‘ADB Debugging’ and ‘Apps from Unknown Sources’ by going to Developer Options in Fire TV Stick settings. Now head back to your phone and open the CetusPlay app you just installed. It will automatically pick up all the Firestick (or even Android tv or smart TV) on your network. Tap on your Firestick name and you’ll get a pop-up on your Firestick to confirm the connection, click Allow and enter the code you see on your TV, and you are all set. Now, you will be able to control your firestick with your remote built in the CetusPlay app. Swiping right on the app will bring extra options to sent files, photos, URLs and of course Apps from your phone to Firestick, directly.
Also Read: How to mirror the iPhone screen on Fire Stick
6. Aptoide TV
The problem with sideloading apps is that there is no way to automatically updates apps on the Fire Stick. Enter Aptoide TV, the Play Store replacement for your Fire TV, it lets you install all the apps that aren’t available on the Amazon App Store and keep them updated.
Even though Aptoide TV app is fully optimized for Fire TV Stick/ 4K, you can’t find it on the Play Store or the Amazon Apps Store. You would have to use Easy Fire Tools to install it on the Fire Stick.
To do so, go to the Aptoide TV website and download the APK file on your smartphone. After that use Easy Fire Tools to install the app on Fire Stick. Now, you can use the Aptoide TV app to install any other app.
Read: Lost your Fire Stick remote? Here are your options
7. USB drive
If nothing else works, you can still sideload apps on the Fire Stick using a USB drive. Fire TV Stick supports USB input, the only requirement to unlock this feature is this $7 2-in-1 Micro USB CableOTG from Amazon which lets you insert a USB drive in your Fire TV Stick.
Plug the USB drive to the USB host cable and browse the drive using a file Explorer. Tap the APK to install it on your Fire Stick. Simple, enough?
8. Using Google Drive
The previous method was bit inconvenient as it requires both USB OTG adapter as well as a flash drive. In case you don’t have access to those, you can also use cloud-based services like Google Drive to transfer APKs from your Phone or PC to your Fire Stick or Fire TV.
Start by downloading the APK from APKmirror on your phone or PC. The reason we recommend APKmirror is because it’s from the reputable Android police and free of any malware. Though, finding the right download is still a bit confusing.
Once you download the APK on your Android, for instance, I want the Instagram app on my Fire Stick.
Once you have downloaded the APK, upload it to your google drive account and head to your streaming device. Open File Commander or any other file explorer with cloud support. Now, log in with the same Google account which has the APKs.
You should see the APK file and then download it. Once the download finish, install them.
And there you have it, a stretch out version of Instagram on Andriod TV. Although this may sound easy, in my opinion, it’s just too much work, especially when you have easier methods as shown above.
Install Google Drive
These were a few methods which you can use to install Apps on your Fire Stick. Some of the methods such as Easy Fire Tools and Aptoide TV require another smartphone to install the apps while other methods like Alexa and Amazon App Store are pretty straightforward. The bottom line is that Fire Stick is more than just a streaming device and you should be able to take full advantage of what you paid for. What do you think of these methods? Let me know in the comments below if you have a better way to install apps on Fire Stick.