The Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are both great devices right out of the box, but there's nothing wrong with pushing the limits of their potential. So it's no surprise that it is quickly becoming popular to “jailbreak” Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks by circumventing Amazon's approved app store in order to install Kodi on Fire TV. It's easy to do, and in some senses isn't really “jailbreaking” at all – despite the many articles purporting to show you “how to jailbreak a Fire Stick” or “how to jailbreak a Firestick” [sic] (the articles that promise to show you “How to Unlock a Fire Stick” are talking about the same process, too). Though the popular terminology has changed, this is just the latest version of our old guide to sideloading Kodi to Fire TV. Below, we'll explain what jailbreaking really is and why it's worth doing, and then we'll show you how to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV.

What Does It Mean to “Jailbreak” a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV?

You're probably familiar with the idea of “jailbreaking.” The term, which rose to prominence as a description for the act of removing restrictions on iOS devices, has come to be used to refer to a wide variety of restriction-countering hacks and techniques. That's why we've bowed to use of “jailbreaking” popularized on forums and in articles with enthusiastically mis-formatted versions of the Fire TV Stick's brand – the ones we mentioned above that promise to show you “how to jailbreak a Firestick,” whatever that is.

So what exactly are articles saying when they promise to teach you “how to jailbreak a Firestick” [sic]? We wrote a whole article on this subject, but here's the short version: when we talk about how to jailbreak a Fire TV, we're not talking about changing any source code or doing any hacking. We're not talking about “jailbreaking” in the same sense as it's used with iOS devices, and we're certainly not talking about “rooting,” a more extreme step that can be done with Android devices (and, until recently, Fire TV devices as well). All we're talking about is sideloading and the Kodi app, both things we've covered extensively here on Cordcutting.com. We've decided to go with the flow and use the term “jailbreaking.” While it's used by some lazy sites (“How to jailbreak a Firestick” headlines drive us up the wall, in case you haven't noticed – it's “Fire TV Stick,” guys), it's also a popular term that many of our readers use, and we're not too stuffy to change with the times.

But whatever you call it, we know sideloading well. Sideloading is a pretty simple process, and we'll cover it in detail below as we show you how to jailbreak a Fire TV.

"How to jailbreak a Firestick?" "How to unlock a Fire Stick?" More like "How to Sideload Kodi on a Fire TV Stick" - or a regular Fire TV, which works just as well!
What are sites that promise to show you “how to unlock a fire stick” really saying? They're just showing you how to download Kodi on Fire TV devices through a process called “sideloading.”

Here's what's going to happen, in broad strokes: we're going to enable a feature on Fire TV called “developer mode,” which was designed to allow developers to test apps. Since apps in development are, of course, not yet approved and in the app store, this feature simply allows a Fire TV to run apps that aren't in the app store. So our next step will be to get Kodi's APK – that's an Android app file, which Fire TVs can run because their operating system is based on Android – onto the Fire TV. The Fire TV will run it happily, and that will be that. That's all there is to jailbreaking a Fire TV.

Let's get started.

How to Jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV

As we explained above, “jailbreaking” a Fire TV is basically a three-stage process:

  1. First, you'll enable developer mode.
  2. Then, you'll get the Kodi APK onto your Fire TV.
  3. Finally, you'll simply install Kodi on Fire TV by running that APK file.

Easy enough! The only difficulty here will be getting your hands on that APK file. With the previous generation of full-sized Fire TV models, this was quite easily done using the USB port. But when it comes to jailbreaking a Fire TV Stick or the current version of the flagship Fire TV, both of which lack USB ports, we'll just have to use a different method. As a result, that middle stage accounts for the bulk of the steps below. With that said, it's still quite easy to jailbreak a Fire TV device and install Kodi. All told, you can expect to get this done in less than 15 minutes. Here's how to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV.

Step 1: Enable Apps From Unknown Sources

Want to "jailbreak a firestick" [sic]? First things first: enable apps from unknown sources.
Looking for information on “How to Unlock a Fire Stick” [sic]? Your first step in jailbreaking a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV is to enable apps from unknown sources. This will allow us to install Kodi on Fire TV, even though Kodi is not in the Fire TV app store.
On your Fire TV device, navigate to Settings > Device > Developer Options and then toggle both Apps from Unknown Sources to ON. You'll see a pop-up window warning you that you can't always trust apps from unknown sources. This is sound advice, and while we're more than happy to show you how to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV, and approve of Kodi, we second Amazon's advice as it regards other apps not mentioned in this article.

Step 2: Download the Downloader App

Those articles titled "How to Unlock a Firestick" or "How to Unlock a Fire Stick" are just talking about downloading Kodi on Fire TV - and the best way to do that is Downloader.
Downloader, developed by the folks at AFTVNews, is currently our favorite way to download Kodi on Fire TV devices.

Remember, the current generation of Fire TV devices is devoid of USB and SD card slots, so we're going to have to somehow directly download Kodi's APK to our Fire TV device. Our last guide used ES File Explorer for this purpose, and that was easy enough to do – but things have since gotten even easier, thanks to the folks behind the Downloader app. We're going to use this app as a browser to navigate to Kodi's download page and then download the right version of the Kodi app. But we're getting ahead of ourselves: first, just download Downloader. Then meet us in the next step.

Step 3: Open Downloader and Navigate to Kodi's Download Page

How to Jailbreak a Fire TV Stick - use Downloader to get Kodi on Fire TV
To download Kodi on Fire TV, you need to head to Kodi's download page. Enter https://kodi.tv/download in the URL space.

Go ahead and open your new Downloader app. You'll be asked to give it access to your Fire TV's files – be sure to hit Allow here so that Downloader can write Kodi's file to your Fire TV. Then select Enter a URL, enter the URL https://kodi.tv/download, and hit Go.

 Step 4: Download Kodi's APK File

When you read about "how to unlock a fire stick" [sic], you ought to also read about what the heck these different versions of Kodi are!
Choose ARMV7A (32BIT) to get the right version when you download Kodi on a Fire TV device.
Downloader will load Kodi's downloads page, just like a browser on your computer or another device would. Now you just have to select the right Kodi file to download. But which is it?

We want the Android version, of course, but there are a few different options under Kodi for Android. What's going on is that these are designed for devices with different processors. Fire TV devices use ARM processors, and all Fire TVs run a 32-bit operating system (yes, even the new 64-bit Fire TV runs the same 32-bit OS, at least for now), so we want the version of Kodi that is labeled ARMV7A (32BIT).

Step 5: Install Kodi on Fire TV

It's easy to
We're reached the end of our guide on how to jailbreak Fire TV devices. Hit install and celebrate!
Downloader makes it really, really easy to install Kodi on Fire TV: select the right version, and Downloader will install it and prompt you to install it right then and there. Go ahead and hit Install. When you return to your home screen, you can find Kodi under Your Apps and Games.

If you have a decent number of apps already, you'll probably have to hit See All in order to see Kodi. If you plan to use Kodi as your main entertainment platform, you can make sure it's readily available on your home page from now on by highlighting the icon and (without opening it) hitting the Menu button (it's the one with three lines) and selecting “Move to front.”

And that's it! You're done. As you can see, knowing how to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV is not exactly the stuff of hackers and tech geniuses. It's something much better: an easy and simple thing that makes your Fire TV more functional and fun.

How to Jailbreak Your Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Responsibly

Fine upstanding citizen that you are, it's nearly certain that you are not planning to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV so that you can break the law. But, shocking as it may seem, there are nefarious characters out there who are doing just that. So let's talk about how to jailbreak your Fire TV Stick of Fire TV without, you know, breaking the law.

See, Kodi is perfectly legal, but its open-source nature and close ties to the DIY community have resulted in a long history of questionable “add-ons” – apps and plugins that are designed to improve Kodi. To some rogue developers, “improving” seems to mean “adding access to illegal streams.” Over the past few years, Kodi has made strong (if belated) efforts to combat these illegal add-ons. But the very fact that Kodi still isn't in the Fire TV app store (which is why you have to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV to access it) is a sign that Kodi still has a ways to go before it its reputation catches up with the reality of its safe and legal nature.

Kodi's illegal add-ons are not things you are likely to download accidentally. Kodi doesn't support them. These days, you have to go looking for trouble to find it when using Kodi. But it can be found. And while you can make efforts to hide your shady streaming from the feds with a VPN (you should be using one anyway, because it gives you more security and privacy online), you should know that you run a risk when you choose to illegally access streams through Kodi add-ons.

Kodi is legal. Jailbreaking a Fire TV device is widely considered to be legal, too – heck, we wouldn't have shown you how to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV if we thought it was going to get you in trouble! But it's also true that these techniques can also be a stepping stone to things that are illegal. Be careful about what you download and install using sideloading, and be careful with add-ons for Kodi. Rely on trustworthy sources and use your head – if something sounds to good to be true, then it probably is. Jailbreaking a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV does not give you free TV. If you read an article promising to show you how to jailbreak a Fire TV Stick in a way that gives you “free TV,” they're going to have you download apps and add-ons that break the law, so you may want to close that browser window. And please remember that it's “Fire TV Stick,” not “Firestick” or “Fire Stick” – when you read about “how to jailbreak a Firestick” or “how to jailbreak a Fire Stick,” you're reading the work of an amateur at best, and may – at worst – be reading an article written by someone who would like you break the law. The same goes for articles that use terms other than “jailbreaking,” such as “how to unlock a Firestick” (or “how to unlock a Fire Stick” – you get the idea).

There are a lot of ways to watch live TV on Fire TV without resorting to theft and lawbreaking. So we strongly suggest that you use Kodi as its meant to be used.

One thought on “How to “Jailbreak” a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV

  1. Andrea Williams says:

    Can you show me how to jailbreak my Fire Stick?

  2. Mitzi Dabreo says:

    I’m not very tech savvy and am in need of some help.

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