Many owners of the Kinde Fire, Fire HD and HDX tablets get disappointed when they find out that they cannot install apps directly from the Google Play appstore. Amazon has its own appstore, so it’s only natural that it won’t allow easy access to a competitor on its own devices. But don’t despair. You can still install Android apps from non-Amazon sources if you can get their APK files.
You may be wondering: What’s an APK file? An APK is a kind of archive file used to distribute Android apps. APK means an Android application package. Since the Kindle Fire tablet doesn’t have the Google Play appstore, adding APK files yourself may be the only way you can install apps from the Google store.
WARNING: Installing third-party apps may invalidate your Kindle Fire warranty and/or cause problems on your device. If you follow these steps, you agree that you understand the risks involved and that you are solely responsible for for the consequences.
Step 1: Enable third-party app installation.
By default, Kindle Fire tablets do not permit installation from unknown sources. You need to change this setting if you want to install APKs yourself.
- On your Kindle Fire HD, drag down the top navigation bar.
- Go to Settings > Applications.
- Tap On next to Apps from Unknown Sources if it isn’t already highlighted.
Step 2: Get APK file of an Android app you want.
Now that third-party app installation is enabled, you need to obtain the APK file of the Android app you want to install onto your tablet. But where do you get APK files? You can download them from various websites on the Internet – at your own risk. Files from APK websites may or may not contain malware that could harm your tablet or computer.
Another, safer option is to download an app from the Google Play appstore using an Android device that has the Googe Play app on it. Make a backup of the app want; the backup file will be in APK format. Once you save the APK, copy it to your Kindle Fire tablet.
[Warning: Just because you get an app from the Google Play store doesn’t guarantee it is free from malicious software. Always scan fies with an anti-virus and anti-malware program.]
Step 3: Copy the APK file to your tablet.
The quickest way to copy an APK file to your Kindle Fire is to send it to an email address that’s been added to that tablet. To set up an email account in the Kindle Fire HD:
- Go to Settings > Applications > Email, Contacts, Calendars.
- Tap Add Account.
- Enter email address. Tap Next.
Amazon will ask permission to access your email, contacts, calendars and profile. If you agree, tap Accept.
When setup is finished, you can go to your inbox or tap Add Another Account to register another email account.
Now go to your other computer or device and open a new message. Attach the APK file, and send to the above email address.
As an alternative, you can transfer the file from your computer to your tablet via a USB cable. You will need a removable storage device such as a USB flash drive.
- Connect the tablet to your computer with the cable. The smaller end attaches to the same slot you use to recharge the tablet.
- Locate the APK file on your computer.
- Copy the APK file to the desired folder on your tablet.
- Properly dismount the tablet from the computer.
Step 4: Install the APK file.
Now you have the APK file on your Kindle Fire tablet, it’s time to install it.
If you emailed the file to yourself:
- Open the message when it arrives.
- Tap the attached APK file to launch it.
- You will be asked if you want to install the APK file. Review the permissions and if you still want to install the app, proceed.
If you copied the APK file:
- Use a file explorer such as ES File Explorer.
- Browse to the folder where you have saved the APK file.
- Tap the file. Review the permissions and if you still want to use the app, finish the installation.
If the app is compatible with your Kindle Fire tablet (and hopefully, it is), it should now be ready to use. You will find it in your list of installed apps.
Tips and Warnings
- Turning on third-party installation may void your Kindle Fire tablet warranty! Try this at your own risk!
- Not all Android apps you can download as APKs from the Internet will be compatible with your Kindle Fire tablet. Research each app first to ensure it will work properly on your device.
- Get APKs from trustworthy sources only.
- Review permissions requests before you install an app. If you are not sure it is safe to grant a permission to an app, do not install it.
- The above instructions do NOT add the Google Play store to your Kindle Fire tablet. You will not be able to directly install apps from Google.
- You might not be able to obtain updates for the APKs you download and add this way.