There seems to be a lot of confusion with regards to sideloading Apps onto the Fire TV, Fire Stick, Fire tablet, etc. For me, the easiest way is using ADB (Android Debug) Tools.
In this demonstration we’re going to sideload, or install, the Android OpenVPN Connect app onto the Fire TV, Fire Stick, Fire Tablet, etc. I travel frequently and when I do I like to take my Amazon Fire Stick with me however many hotels block various streaming services, this way I can easily get around any blocks without the need for a VPN router.
- To start with, enable ADB debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources on your Fire TV, Fire Stick, Fire Tablet, etc. This can be done by going Settings → Device → Developer Options, shown in the below screenshot.
- Next, make a note of the Fire TV IP address, you will need this to push the Apps to the device. You can find this out by navigating to Settings → Device → About → Network
- Download the Android Developer tools for your operating system, link below, we’re using Windows 10 here.
- Locate the downloaded Zip file, usually in your Downloads folder, and then extract the zip file so you are left with a ‘platform-tools‘ folder. To keep things simple, we’re going to move this to our C:\ directory.
- Drag and Drop the ‘platform-tools‘ folder, from your Downloads directory, to your C:\ directory. You’ll then end up with something like the below.
- In the search or run box, usually at the bottom of your screen on Windows 10, search for ‘cmd‘ and start the ‘Command Prompt‘ app/programme that search finds
- A window similar to the below will pop up, now change directory to your C:\ by typing:
- From the C:\ directory, we can now enter the ‘platform-tools’ folder that we placed there earlier by typing:
- Now, all we need are 4 commands to reset/start/connect ADB, then push the Android APK file/app you want to side load. You will need substitute your Fire TV IP address (that you made a note of in Step 2) in the ‘adb connect’ command.
adb kill-server adb start-server adb connect fire-tv-ip-address-from-step-2 adb install location-of-the-apk-you-want-install.apk
In the above example I already have my Android APK file, i.e the App, in the C:\platform-tools directory, this makes things easy, I suggest you move any APK files you want to push/install to the platform-tools directory. Change the ‘adb install’ command as necessary to point to the APK file/location you’re using.
If you need to download the Android APK app file, there are a few options, the easiest is to Google for ‘APK Downloader‘, however doing so may have security implications. For this demonstration I used APKPure.com.
If you’re also in need of a VPN provider, I personally use StreamVia – they provide configuration files that can be pushed to your Amazon FireTV to use with OpenVPN Connect. They also include a SmartStream DNS service that I use successfully on my Sky HD+ box to unlock the On Demand content abroad, NowTV box, Samsung SmartTV, FireTV and all the usual computers/tablets/etc. I’ve been using them for over 6 months and have zero complaints.