Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is an incredibly popular streaming device that is easy to install and even easier to use. The Fire TV Stick has a proven track record of being an affordable device that can turn any TV with an HDMI port into a media streaming mecca. If you want to do even more, you may want to consider jailbreaking one. Follow this guide to learn how to jailbreak an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
What Is “Jailbreaking”?
The term “jailbreaking” has all sorts of connotations. It sounds vaguely illegal and definitely sounds risky – but these fears are largely unfounded. Simply put, jailbreaking refers to a process that removes the restrictions on your Fire TV Stick put in place by the manufacturer. As a result, this gives you, the end user, more options when it comes to your Fire TV Stick’s functionality.
Why Would I Want to Jailbreak My Fire TV Stick?
Jailbreaking your Fire TV Stick allows you to install third-party apps that are not available through the official Amazon App Store. There is some risk associated with this, as apps that are not listed on the Amazon App Store are not inspected and verified by Amazon.
To avoid installing any malicious apps, we suggest that you only install apps that have been vetted by the larger Fire TV Stick community. Later in this article we list some of the more popular and legal apps that people install on their Fire TV devices.
Is Jailbreaking a Fire TV Stick Illegal? Is It Safe?
Let’s put this one to bed straight away. Jailbreaking your Fire TV Stick is safe. In fact, there is virtually no risk associated with it, as it doesn’t require you to do anything other than change a few settings that can easily be changed back to their default values. Jailbreaking won’t even void the warranty. As we are not “hacking” the Fire TV Stick’s software or modifying anything that can’t be undone, there is very little risk of damaging or bricking it.
But what about the legality of jailbreaking your Fire TV Stick? The act of “jailbreaking” is completely legal. It is your device, you paid for it and you can do as you please with it. Additionally, as we mentioned above, all you’re really doing is changing a few settings which are easily accessible to the end user. It’s quite literally like flipping a switch.
Some of the additional apps jailbreaking provides allow you to access pirated content like movies, TV shows and sports. It goes without saying that accessing pirated content is illegal. It’s up to you to do the right thing and stay far away. Fortunately, you can scroll down to see our picks for the top legal apps to install once you have jailbroken your Fire TV Stick.
How to Jailbreak Your Fire TV Stick
Jailbreaking your Fire TV Stick is a simple and straightforward process. However, before you can unlock your Fire Stick’s potential by installing new apps, you’ll need to do a few things first. But rest assured, these steps are painless and super easy to execute.
1. Prep Your Fire TV Stick
The first thing you’ll need to do is navigate to the Fire TV Stick’s home page.
- Press the Home button on your Fire TV Stick’s remote.
- Open the Settings menu by highlighting and selecting the cog icon on the far right of the homepage.
- In the Settings menu, select “My Fire TV.” (On older devices, this option is simply labelled “Device.”)
- On the next page, select “Developer options.”
- Allow the installation of third-party apps by turning on the “Apps from Unknown Sources” option.
Normally, installation of apps downloaded from outside of the Amazon App Store is disabled; however, by turning this option on, you can remove this restriction and install apps from anywhere.
You can also enable ADB (Android Debug Bridge) debugging if you want. This option allows you to access your Fire TV Stick remotely from a computer, provided both devices are on the same network. With ADB debugging on, you can use your computer to enter Terminal commands and install apps. If the thought of that scares you a little, you don’t have to do it.
2. Download the Downloader App from the Amazon App Store
Now that you’ve allowed your Fire TV Stick to install apps from outside the official app store, you need to install the Downloader app. Fortunately, this app is available on the Amazon App Store, so finding and installing it is super easy.
We can use this app to find and, as the name implies, download APK files. APK stands for “Android Package,” and these files are “executables,” meaning the Android operating system will open and install them once downloaded to a device. Apps for Android devices are most commonly compiled as APKs.
- Hit the “Home” button on your Fire TV Stick remote and select the search icon. (It looks like a magnifying glass.)
- Type “downloader” or press and hold the microphone button on your remote and say “downloader.”
- On the search results page, find the app labelled “Downloader.” At the time of this writing, the bright orange app icon is hard to miss. Select it and download it to install it on your Fire TV Stick.
3. Launch the Downloader App
- With the Downloader app installed on your device, launch the app and grant the necessary permissions. Now you’re ready to use the app.
- Downloader works similarly to a web browser. Place the cursor on the address bar at the top of the screen and direct it to the URL that hosts the app you want to install.
- The app will navigate to the site and allow you to download the app to your Firestick/Fire TV. You’ll have the option to download the app to your device.
- Once it finishes, you’ll be given the option to install it on your Fire TV Stick.
Apps to Install on Your Jailbroken Fire TV Stick
You’ve done the prep work and retrieved the necessary tools. Now you’re ready to install some third-party apps to unlock the potential of your Fire TV Stick. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular, safe and legal apps to install.
There’s a high probability that you’ve heard of Kodi before. Previously known as Xbox Media Center, Kodi is a powerful media player that can organize all of your digital media under one roof. In addition, Kodi also supports third-party “add-ons.” These add-ons host a variety of material from streaming video to music to podcasts.
Poking around on the Internet will uncover a number of add-ons that offer ad-free movies, TV shows and sports. Exercise extreme caution with these. Most of the add-ons purporting to deliver content without having to open up your wallet should definitely raise some red flags. There is an official add-on repository. These add-ons are verified by the development team behind Kodi, and are safe and legal. We recommend sticking to these.
In this day and age, it’s recommended to use a VPN when doing anything online. A VPN can protect your privacy, credit card numbers, passwords, and more from prying eyes. However, there is one other useful feature of VPNs. Since a VPN basically bounces your traffic through a server in another location, you can use a VPN to get around geo-restrictions.
There are a number of providers that lock their content to a certain country or region. By launching a VPN and changing the server location to one that is in the region or country you are trying to access content from, you should be able to bypass that restriction. One of the most popular VPN apps for Android devices, including the Fire TV Stick, is Express VPN.
Cyberflix TV is a very popular app amongst folks who have a jailbroken Fire TV Stick. This app curates video streaming links of TV shows and movies. Users simply find the title of the show or movie they want to watch, and Cyberflix TV presents them with a list of links to stream the chosen content. Selecting a link streams the title in high definition with absolutely no ads. Furthermore, Cyberflix TV supports subtitles in over 250 different languages.
Another popular app for jailbroken Fire TV Sticks is Ola TV. Like Cyberflix TV, Ola TV is another application that curates streaming video links. However, there is one significant difference between the two: whereas Cyberflix TV collects links to popular movies and TV shows, Ola TV cultivates live television broadcasts from around the world.
Virtually everyone can find something to watch with access to over 12,000 Internet Protocol television channels. Available content on Ola TV runs the gamut from children’s programming to sports to news from countries all over the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will jailbreaking “brick” my device?
It is incredibly unlikely that you will brick your Amazon Fire TV Stick when you jailbreak it. As we mentioned earlier, jailbreaking doesn’t involve modifying the device in any way or changing its code. All you are doing is changing some of the device’s settings – all of which can easily be reversed.
2. Which Amazon Fire devices can be jailbroken?
All of the Amazon Fire TV devices can be jailbroken using the method outlined above. There are other ways to do it; however, the method discussed above is the easiest and doesn’t require you to spend any money on premium apps.
Jailbreaking Made Easy
It’s an easy process to jailbreak an Amazon Fire TV Stick and lift restrictions on your device. It allows users to take full control of their Fire TV Stick by allowing them to install applications that aren’t available on the Amazon App Store. If you want to explore your Fire TV Stick’s full potential, simply follow the steps above. There is very little risk to your device; however, jailbreaking does introduce potential legal issues due to the nature of some of the applications.
We recommend that you do your research and employ common sense when considering the applications that you want to install. Do note that there are a number of applications that can expand your entertainment options, literally supercharging your streaming experience!
Read on to learn which Fire TV Stick you should buy.