3 Ways You Can Side Load Apps on FireStick
In this post, we will learn How to Side Load Apps on Firestick. Amazon FireStick runs on modified Android and lets you download apps from the Amazon Store. While this device is primarily used for watching video content through a variety of services, such as Netflix, it also allows you to download and play a handful of games. You can get most apps you need from Amazon Store. But, this store doesn’t have it all. For instance, due to the recent fallout between Amazon and Google, the Amazon Store does not have YouTube and some other Google apps any more.
Amazon Store also doesn’t have Kodi, which is officially available through Google Pay Store on Android mobiles and tablets. Then there are a bunch of other Firestick Apps you will not find in the Amazon’s official repository.
Thankfully, you can sideload apps on FireStick that you can’t get from Amazon. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy some really awesome apps out there like Latest Kodi on Firestick. Since FireStick runs on Android OS, it also uses the APK files for its apps. But, the way the APKs are sideloaded on FireStick is a bit different than the Android mobile devices.
How to Side Load Apps on Firestick
You can sideloads apps on FireStick easily once you have the APK file of the app you wish to install. The APK file must be downloaded onto FireStick for it to be sideloaded. To download the file, you will need an app that lets you do that.
ES File Explorer and Downloader are the most widely used apps to sideload the third-party apps on your FireStick device. If you have one of these two apps, you don’t need any other tool. However, I recommend installing both the apps on FireStick as they can be handy in many other ways too.
To sideload apps on FireStick, you must have third-party APK installation enabled. For that, turn on the Apps from the Unknown Sources option on FireStick. Here is how you can do that:
Turn On Apps From Unknown Sources:
- Open FireStick Settings from the home-screen
- Click Device
- Open Developer Options
- Switch the Apps from Unknown Sources on
- If you are new to Fire Stick, you can read our step by step guide to turn on apps from unknown sources on Firestick
1. Side Load Apps on Firestick With ES File Explorer
There is a fair chance you may already be using or at least heard of ES File Explorer app. It is a file manager/file browser app with loads of features and can do a lot of things for you besides side loading.
ES File Explorer is available on Android mobiles, tablets, Android TVs, Android boxes, and FireStick through the official app stores. It is free to download and use.
Here, I will give you a snapshot of this app as a side-loading tool.
Download ES File Explorer from the Amazon Store:
1. From the FireStick home-screen select the Search option
2. Look up for ES File Explorer
3. Follow the onscreen instructions and install the app.
If you are facing any issues while installing the app, you can follow our tutorial to Download ES File Explorer on Fire Stick.
Once you have installed ES File Explorer, here is how you can side-load any app:
1. Open the app and click the Tools option on the left
2. Now click ‘Download Manager’
3. Click ‘+New’ on the right bottom
4. Now, all you need to do is enter the APK source URL in the Path field and the name of the app in the Name field and click ‘Download Now’
4. Simple onscreen instructions will help you download the APK file and install the desired app
2. Side Load Apps on FireStick With Downloader
While ES File Explorer is a decent side-loading tool, you can make things even simpler with the Downloader app on FireStick. This app is primarily meant for side loading purposes. Though, it has a built-in browser if you want to surf the web.
To sideload apps on FireStick with Downloader, install the app on your device:
- Open the Search option from your FireStick home screen
- Look up for Downloader app
- Install Downloader app
We also have a detailed guide on how to install and use Downloader app on FireStick. Let me introduce you the side-loading process briefly:
- Launch Downloader
- It will open with Home option on the left already selected. It will also have the URL field on the right selected by default
- Press the Select button on the remote to open the onscreen keyboard
- Type in the source URL of the APK you wish to download
- Follow the simple onscreen instructions and install the app you desire
3. Sideload apps on FireStick with Android mobile
ES File Explorer and Downloader apps make sideloading an easy task on FireStick. But, you must have the source URL of the APK you wish to install. What if you have the APK file, say on your Android, but you don’t have its URL?
Thankfully, you can sideload the APKs directly from your Android device onto FireStick. All you need is Apps2Fire app on your Android. Apps2Fire is an app dedicated to sideloading apps on FireStick from your Android device.
The Apps2Fire sideloading method is simple, but not necessarily as straightforward as using ES Explorer or Downloader. You will need to take care of a few things. Let me take you through the method step by step.
Download Apps2Fire on Android
- This is easy. Just open Google Play Store and look up for Apps2Fire. It is listed as ‘Apps2Fire (Original)’
- Go ahead and install Apps2Fire.
- It shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.
- Now, enable ADB Debugging on FireStick
You must first enable ADB Debugging on FireStick to pair it with the Android apps like Apps2Fire. Here is how you can do that:
1. Open Settings from the FireStick home screen and click Device
2. Click ‘Developer Options’
3. Click ‘ADB debugging’ to turn it ON if it is OFF
Pair Apps2Fire with FireStick
We now need to connect Apps2Fire on Android to your FireStick device. Make sure that your Android device and FireStick are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Here are the steps:
- Open Apps2Fire and select the Setup tab on the top (it is the last tab and you will need to scroll horizontally to find it)
- Enter the IP Address of your FireStick manually and tap ‘Save’ button. If you don’t know the IP address, click ‘Search Fire TV’s’ button. Apps2Fire will scan for and find the FireStick connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Android. Tap your FireStick in the search results and press the Save button
If you have multiple FireStick or Fire TV devices on the same Wi-Fi network and you can’t figure which is which, you can always check the IP address of your FireStick device manually from Settings > Device > About > Network. You will find the IP Address on the right.
You have successfully paired Apps2Fire to your FireStick. Let us now learn how to sideload apps on FireStick using this Android app.
Sideload Apps on FireStick with Apps2Fire
You should have the APK of the App you wish to sideload on your Android storage. You may download the APK file from the web or transfer it from your computer via USB. Once you have the APK, here is what you need to do:
- Open Apps2Fire on Android and click the Upload button on the top right
- Tap the APK file to be sideloaded
- Click ‘Install’ on the popup
Apps2Fire will install the APK onto FireStick in the background. This means if you are watching a movie on FireStick, you don’t need to interrupt it.
You can also install any existing app on your Android device on FireStick through the Apps2Fire app. But, the app you want to install must be supported on FireStick. Tap the ‘Local Apps’ tab on Apps2Fire where you will see the list of all the apps presently installed on Android. Tap the app you want to install on FireStick and follow the onscreen instructions.
You can sideload apps on FireStick with ES File Explorer and Downloader apps. You just need to install these apps from Amazon Store. You can also sideload apps if you have an Android phone. For that, you will need Apps2Fire app available on Play Store. Please remember that not all the Android apps for mobiles are supported on FireStick. Android apps are touch-friendly, but may not necessarily be remote friendly.