There’s no shortage of ways to sideload Kodi or any other app to your Fire TV. Several free pieces of software make it easy to download and install third party apps with a minimal amount of hassle. You can also utilize PC-based programs to send content to your Fire TV over a local network!
No matter your methods, though, there’s always something satisfying and straightforward about loading content via USB stick. Fire TV set top boxes actually have a USB port on the back, making it possible to load Android-compatible content directly from a USB storage device. All you need are the right files and a few minutes of your time, then you can install Kodi on Amazon Fire TV.
Stay Safe and Secure with a VPN
Keeping your identity and online activity private is getting harder by the day. No matter what you’re watching or which devices you’re using, it’s possible someone is spying on you, or even tracking your location. Unencrypted information sent from Fire TVs and other connected hardware doesn’t provide any sort of protection, leaving you vulnerable to nefarious ISPs, government surveillance programs, and hackers looking to steal your identity.
You don’t have to sit idly by, however. With a good VPN you can lock down your information to keep it safe. VPNs create a private tunnel of encryption between your device and the internet, working to obscure both your activity and your location. With encrypted data nobody can tell what videos you’re streaming or what websites you visit. VPNs and are the perfect companions for streaming unlimited videos from your Fire TV devices, all in complete and total privacy.
IPVanish – The Best VPN for Amazon Fire TV
IPVanish has all the right ingredients for a private, safe, fast, and secure VPN, especially for Fire TV owners looking to sideload and stream through Kodi. With IPVanish you’ll enjoy lightning fast connections to over 950 servers in 60 different locations around the world, each one secured with 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. IPVanish also guarantees your privacy with a strict zero-logging policy for all traffic, ensuring nothing you do can be tracked, traced, sold, or monitored. You can even install the VPN directly from the Amazon appstore, no sideloading required!
IPVanish offers a 7-day money back guarantee which means you have a week to test it risk-free. Please note that Addictive Tips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.
Fire TV and Sideloading
Fire TV devices are made to be modified. Amazon left the ability to install third party software on both Fire Stick and Fire TV set top boxes, allowing users to access a huge variety of streaming apps and services, all for free! Below is everything you need to know before sideloading via USB or other methods.
What is Sideloading?
Fire TV was designed by Amazon to work directly with the company’s exclusive app store. Users have direct access to this software both through Fire devices themselves and Amazon’s web interface. One click is all it takes to install, and there are thousands of apps to choose from, so why would anyone want to sideload, right?
Amazon’s Fire TV appstore isn’t perfect. There are some amazing pieces of software created for Android devices that aren’t featured by Amazon for various reasons, despite being 100% compatible with Fire TV. Sideloading lets you gain access to any working app with ease. All you have to do is use the right software and you can install content in seconds. No rooting, no jailbreaking, and no hardware modifications. Just quick access to new videos.
Is Sideloading Safe?
Most users cringe at the thought of installing content to their streaming devices that wasn’t specifically designed for that platform. While it may be true that certain rooting or jailbreaking methods carry certain risks when it comes to Android or iOS hardware, sideloading with Fire TV is an entirely different story.
As long as the app you’re installing isn’t dangerous itself, sideloading to Fire TV is perfectly safe. You aren’t doing anything Amazon didn’t intend on happening, nor are you modifying your device in any shape or form. Sideloading is just like installing software on your PC, it just takes a few more steps thanks to the Fire TV’s limited interface.
What about Fire Stick?
Fire TV’s smaller, more portable sibling runs almost exactly the same software as the set top box does. The difference lies mainly in the hardware. Fire Stick is lower-powered and lacks the external interfaces found on Fire TV. You can still sideload apps onto Fire Stick, including Kodi, but you’ll need to look into some of the other sideloading methods to accomplish this, as there’s no USB port to use on Fire Stick devices.
Sideload Kodi on Fire TV with USB
All primed and ready to install. To get Kodi on your Fire TV without using a bunch of third party apps, simply follow the steps below.
Step 1 – Prepare Your Device to Sideload
The Fire TV operating system comes with an option that disables external installations, including USB installs. All you have to do is toggle it and sideloading works just fine! Make sure you follow the steps below before you try sideloading, as it simply won’t work otherwise.
- Go to your Fire TV’s settings page located at the top of the home menu.
- Scroll right and choose Device
- Move down to Developer Options
- Set Apps from Unknown Sources to ON.
- Accept the warning message about installing external apps.
Step 2 – Download a File Manager
In order to access the USB stick’s contents on your Fire device, you’ll first need to download a file management app. There are several available on the Fire appstore, but Total Commander does the job well, so we’ll use that.
Enter the apps section on your Fire device and search for Total Commander. You can also browse for it under the Utilities section, or send it to your Fire TV via the web interface. Download and install it so it will be available from the main menu, you’ll need to use it later.
Step 3 – Download Kodi
Android apps come in packages known as .apk files. Most of the time you don’t deal with them directly, but since we’re sideloading content, you’ll need to download the right apk. You can do this on any device you own, just as long as it has an open USB port.
Start by visiting Kodi’s official website at Kodi.tv. Click on the blue download button in the top right corner of the screen. If your screen is on the smaller side, you may need to open the hamburger menu and click the download button from there.
Scroll through the download screen until you see the download icons for various systems. Click the one for Android. In the small window that opens, click the button marked Android ARM (32 bit). The apk file will download to your system.
Step 4 – Loading the USB Stick
Grab your USB stick and plug it into your PC. Open it through your file explorer interface. In a separate window, find the apk file you downloaded before. Drag it to your USB stick and wait a few moments for it to transfer. When it’s done, safely remove the storage device and take it to your Fire TV.
Step 5 – Install from USB
Plug the USB stick into the back of your Fire TV. Now go to the Fire’s main menu and launch Total Commander. Once inside, you should see an option to browse the USB stick’s contents. Open it, then scroll to the Kodi apk you downloaded.
Click on the Kodi file and a new window will pop open. Choose Install from the bottom. The window will switch to a “loading…” screen. After a few moments the app will successfully install to your Fire TV. You can either open it from this menu or access it from the main screen at any time.
Step 6 – Remove the USB Stick
If you’re done sideloading apps, be sure to remove the USB stick from the back of your Fire TV. You can leave Total Commander installed, just in case you want to sideload something again in the future.
How to Update Kodi via USB
Sideloading apps to your Fire TV carries the unusual inconvenience of not being able to automatically update them when a new version is released. This isn’t too big of a deal with Kodi, however, as new versions are only released a few times a year, with major overhauls coming once every 12-14 months.
Check Your Kodi Version
Before you go through the update process, it’s a good idea to double check and make sure you are, indeed, running an old version of Kodi. This should only take a second or two!
- Launch Kodi on your Fire TV.
- Go to the home menu and click on the gear icon.
- Scroll down to System Information
- Make sure you’re on the Summary page (you should be by default).
- Look in the lower right corner of the screen. Kodi’s version number will be listed below where it says Version Info.
- Note the Kodi build number. It should be something like “Kodi 17.6”
- Now go to your PC web browser and visit Kodi.tv
- Click on the blue Download button at the top right.
- Scroll down to the download icons and choose Android.
- A small window pops open. Make sure you’re on the “Recommended” tab, not “Development Builds”.
- Check the current version listed in large print above the download links. If it’s higher than your installed version, it’s time for an upgrade.
Install the New Kodi Release
If you’re running an older version of Kodi on your Fire TV, follow the guide below to update it to the new release, V18 “Leia”.
- Follow steps one and two from the section above. You should still have the “unknown sources” option toggled correctly, and as long as you didn’t uninstall Total Commander, you’ll have access to your USB stick via file manager.
- On your PC or laptop, visit Kodi’s official website at Kodi.tv and click the blue download button.
- Scroll to the operating system icons and choose Android.
- In the window that opens, click the button marked Android ARM (32 bit). The apk file will download to your system.
- Now follow the remaining steps in the installation instructions above. You’ll simply need to install the newer version on top of the older one. Don’t worry, your settings and add-ons will be saved.
Uninstalling Kodi on Fire TV
While sideloading and updating Kodi via USB stick requires a few steps, the uninstall process is much simpler. Once an app is installed you can manage or remove it just like any app on your device. Follow the steps below to do just that, but remember you’ll have to go through the sideloading process again if you want to use Kodi in the future.
- Starting on the Fire TV main menu, choose Settings from the top menu.
- Scroll right and click Applications, followed by Manage Installed Applications.
- Move down until you see Kodi on the list.
- Select the app, then choose Uninstall from the next screen.
- After confirming the action, Fire TV will remove the app from your device.
Other Ways to Install Kodi
If you don’t have a USB stick but still want to install Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV, don’t worry, there are alternatives! Software sideloading can be a little more involved than using external storage, but once you wrap your head around the concept it’s pretty simple.
If you have an extra Android device sitting around, you can use apps2fire to quickly install Kodi on your Fire TV. The idea is simple: install Kodi on your Android phone/tablet directly from Google Play, run apps2fire, then use it to “push” any installed app to Fire TV. This method is fast, free, and easy to use. If you’ve got a spare Android device, give it a try!
Using adbLink is another great way to sideload apps. You’ll need the free software first, along with an apk file and a home network with a relatively fast connection. adbLink installs are a little more technical but surprisingly straightforward once you get the hang of it. There’s even a dedicated option to install Kodi built into the software itself! For more information about using adbLink, see our guide on how to install YouTube on Fire TV.
Downloader is one of Fire TV’s best sideloading options. It’s free, it’s incredibly easy to use, and it works right from your Fire device, no other hardware required. All you have to do is install the app from Amazon’s appstore, then type the direct URL to Kodi’s Android apk (see above). Downloader will grab the apk and install it from the app’s interface, no fuss, no hassle.
Now that you’ve caught the sideloading bug, why not install some more software on your Fire TV? Just about any Android-compatible app can run on your hardware, especially if it’s simple in design like a streaming service or video player. If you’ve got any suggestions, let us know in the comments below. Otherwise, enjoy your endless movie streams with Kodi!