How to Load Android Apps Not Sold by Amazon Onto a Kindle Fire

Apps must be compatible with your Fire's Android version.
... Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

By default, you can only install apps purchased from the Amazon Appstore on your Kindle Fire. Unfortunately, installing Google Play requires you to root the tablet, which voids any existing warranty. To keep the warranty and install apps that are not listed in Amazon's store, you must install them using APK files. Installing apps using APK files only requires you to use a file manager application, so you don't need root access to the device. Note that installing apps from unreliable sources can sometimes be dangerous. Android apps can contain malicious code that can harm your device or your data.

  • Any Android file manager app

1 Transferring the APK Files to the Kindle Fire

2 Download the apps

Download the apps you want to load on your Kindle Fire on your hard disk in APK format. You can find Android application package files on the Internet and download most of them for free.

3 Connect the Kindle Fire

Connect the Kindle Fire to your computer using its USB cable and wait until Windows installs the appropriate drivers.

4 Press

Press "Windows-X" in Windows to expand the Power User menu and then click "File Explorer" to launch the application.

5 Open the folder

Open the folder that contains the APK files, select the files and then press "Ctrl-C" to copy them to the folder. To select several files, hold "Ctrl" and click each one. You can select everything in the folder by pressing "Ctrl-A."

6 Select the Kindle drive

Select the Kindle drive, but don't open a folder. Press "Ctrl-V" to paste the APK files from the clipboard into the root of the Fire. Disconnect the Kindle from your computer after the transfer is complete.

7 Installing the Apps on the Tablet

8 Tap

Tap the gear icon if you have a first generation Kindle Fire tablet. Otherwise, swipe the notifications bar from the top of the screen towards the bottom of the screen.

9 Tap or Settings

Tap "More" or "Settings" and then tap "Device" to view all settings related to your device.

10 Tap On next

Tap "On" next to the Allow Installation of Applications option to enable your Kindle Fire to install apps from unknown sources. Tap "OK" to confirm.

11 Launch the file manager

Launch the file manager and use it to locate the APK files in the root of your tablet. Tap the APK you want to install and then tap "Install" to install it on your device. To launch the app after it is installed, tap "Open."

  • Some apps may not work on your Kindle Fire; other apps may run but crash periodically. Ensure the apps were designed to run on your Fire's Android version.
  • Apps not installed through the Amazon Appstore may not be able to receive updates.
  • You can download APK files directly on your Kindle Fire from the Internet using the Silk browser -- Silk is the tablet's default Web browser.
  • If you download the APK files directly on the tablet, you can install them without using a file manager. Tap the downloaded files in the notifications pane to install the apps.
  • You can install file manager apps from the Amazon Appstore. ES File Explorer is one of the most popular file managers.

Nick Peers has been writing technology-related articles since 2003. His articles have appeared in dozens of technical publications, including MSN UK, CNET, BBC Who Do You Think You Are, LifeHacker UK and TechRadar. He holds a Masters in information technology degree from the University of East London.