For nearly half a decade, we've been huge fans of Amazon's Fire tablet line. They are some of the cheapest options on the market, starting at just $ 49,99 for the low-end Fire 7, down to just $ 149 for the Fire HD 10. Despite their cheap prices, however, you still manage to get a great tablet for the money you spend.
In fact, they're some of the only budget options on the market today that are really worth recommending, thanks to Amazon's support for the platform. While none of the Amazon tablets are perfect, they represent fantastic value for what you spend.
Of course, with those savings over premium tablets, you have to make some trade-offs. The biggest limitation of Amazon tablets is the lack of app support from Google.
While Fire tablets run Android as an operating system, it's actually a forked version of Android that Amazon custom-made for their Fire streaming tablets and devices. For most consumers, the Fire OS works just like Android, but the core of Google's apps, including the entire Play lineup of apps, has been replaced by Amazon's versions.
Therefore, since there is no official support from Google for the operating system, Google apps cannot be found in the Amazon App Store. This includes YouTube and, most importantly, for parents, YouTube Kids.
Designed for a younger audience, YouTube Kids is an app from the YouTube team that helps kids watch shows and other videos online while keeping their age-appropriate content. Unlike other streaming platforms, it's incredibly difficult to know what your kids are watching on YouTube.
As a community-driven platform, it's easy to find shows that are perfect for kids, but limiting their exposure to content that contains violence, graphic imagery, abusive language, and other inappropriate content is a must.
Without the app available on the Amazon Appstore, you might feel out of luck. Despite Fire tablets joining Amazon's ecosystem of apps, you can get the Play Store on your tablet, along with the standard suite of Google apps on your device, including YouTube and YouTube Kids.
While it's not as easy as installing an app, especially if you don't have much experience with sideloading apps in Android, it only takes fifteen minutes for most users. Let's take a look at how to get YouTube Kids to work on your Fire or Fire HD tablet.
First, let's start by saying that the entire guide can only be done on the Amazon Fire tablet. Previous Fire models required the Play Store to be transferred to the device from a Windows computer via ADB, which is no longer needed.
Instead, all you need now is rudimentary knowledge of how Android installs apps outside of the standard app store and a little patience as the tablet downloads and installs all four packages required to run Google Play correctly. Store on your device.
So here's what we'll use below:
- A file manager from the App Store (may be optional); we recommend File Commander
- Quattro file APK separati da APKMirror
- A Google account
- An updated Fire tablet with Fire OS 5.X
INSTALLING A FILE BROWSER FROM THE AMAZON APP STORE
This may be an optional step for some users, but some older Amazon devices have had trouble installing APKs on their devices without first installing a file manager on the Fire tablet from the Amazon App Store.
We recommend installing one in the background in case you run into some issues while following our guide below, especially since our recommended version is totally free from the App Store.
We recommend installing File Commander, a free app that makes it easy to view files stored on your device. It's nothing special, but for this process we don't need who knows what to complete the Google Play setup.
To reiterate, you may not need a file explorer to complete this process, but enough users have reported difficulties installing APKs without a downloaded file manager on their device that it's generally a good idea to keep it stored on their tablet. After completing the process below, you can uninstall File Commander.
Alternatively, you can also use the Documents application on your device, which comes pre-installed and includes the ability to browse local files, instead of using an application like File Commander.
Documents will allow you to access the Downloads folder and select the app installation files one at a time if you have accidentally moved them from the notification bar or, as we will see later in this guide, if you are having difficulty installing the app on Fire OS 18.104.22.168.
ENABLING APPS FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES
Well, here's where the real driving begins. The first thing we need to do on your Amazon Fire tablet is dive into the settings menu. Despite Amazon's change to Android to create the Fire OS, the operating system is actually incredibly similar to Google's, and this includes how third-party apps are installed outside of Amazon's own app store.
Both Amazon and Android refer to third-party apps as “unknown sources” and are blocked by default. Unlike a device running iOS, however, Android allows the user to install any app on their device as long as you have enabled the ability to do so.
To open the settings on your device, swipe down from the top of the device to open the notification bar and quick actions, then tap the Settings icon. Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and tap the option that says "Security and Privacy", which you will find in the "Personal" category.
There are not many options in the Security section, but under "Advanced" you will see a toggle that reads "Apps from unknown sources", along with the following explanation: "Allow installation of applications that do not come from the Appstore". Enable this setting, then exit the settings menu.
DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL THE APK
On a standard Android tablet, installing YouTube Kids outside of the Play Store would be as easy as installing the standard APK. Unfortunately, it's not that easy on an Amazon Fire tablet.
Since Google Play is not installed on your device, YouTube Kids will not work on your device without Google Play Services installed along with it, as YouTube Kids seeks authentication via that app. This means that we will have to install the entire suite of services from the Google Play Store on your device, which is equivalent to four different applications: three utilities and the Play Store itself.
Make sure you install these apps in the order we have listed them below; we recommend that you download all four in order and then install them one at a time. All of these files can be downloaded using the Amazon Silk browser on the device.
DOWNLOAD THE APK FILES
The site we will use to download these APKs is called APKMirror. It is a reliable source of free APKs from developers and Google Play, and serves as a utility for any Android user who wants to manually download or install apps.
APKMirror is a sister site of Android Police, a well-known source of Android news and reviews, and does not allow pirated content on their site. Every app held on APKMirror is free, with no modifications or changes before being uploaded.
The first app we need to download is Google Account Manager. Unlike the other three apps on this list, we'll be using an older version of Google Account Manager on the tablet. Fire OS is still based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, and newer versions of Google Account Manager require Android 6.0 or later.
If you try to install the latest version of Account Manager on your device, you will get an error message. The version you should use is 5.1-1743759; you can find it linked here. Download it to your device via the browser by tapping the green “Download APK” button.
A download prompt appears at the bottom of the display, you must accept the prompt to begin the download. Once the download is complete, you will see a notification in the tray when you swipe down from the top of the screen. For now, don't open the file. Leave the notification in the tray for easy access in the next step.
The next app is Google Services Framework. Just like with Account Manager, we want to download the version that will work on Android Lollipop. The latest version for your device is Google Services Framework 5.1-1743759, which you can download from here. Just like before, hit the green “Download APK” button and accept the prompt at the bottom of the display.
Next, we have Google Play Services. This is the app that will allow YouTube Kids to be authenticated and used on your device. Installing this app is a little more complicated than installing the other apps on this list, as there are two separate versions of the app for different tablets.
Most Fire 7 users need to download this version. This is the 32-bit processor version, used by Fire 7 and earlier tablets. The most recent versions of the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 (the model released in October 2017) use 64-bit processors, which means you need to download this version.
32-bit versions are marked with a “230” in the filename; 64-bit versions are marked with a “240”. Both of these iterations of Google Play Services are identical, except for the type of processor they were created for. If you download the wrong one, don't worry. We will cover what to do below.
The final of the four apps is the Google Play Store itself. This is the simplest of the four downloads, as all versions of the files run on Android 4.0 and above, and there are no separate types for different bit processors. Download the latest version from here.
For both Google Play Services and Google Play Store, you should try to use the latest version of the app available. APKMirror will notify you when a newer version of the app is available, which will be listed on the webpage under the information.
For Google Play Services, you should avoid beta versions of the app by looking for the latest stable version in the list (beta versions are marked as such). For the Play Store itself, just download the latest version.
If you don't feel comfortable figuring out which version listed on APKMirror is the correct version for your tablet, download the linked versions and Google Play will update the apps for you after a full installation.
INSTALLING THE APK FILES
Once you've downloaded the four files listed above to your Fire tablet using the Silk browser, swipe down from the top of the screen to open notifications. You should see a complete list of the APKs downloaded in the last step, each with their own notification, sorted by now.
If you've followed the steps above and downloaded each in the correct order, the fourth download should be at the top of the list and the first download at the bottom, so that the order appears as such:
- Google Play Store
- Google Play Services
- Google Services Framework
- Google Account Manager
How you install these apps is very important, so start by tapping “Manage Google Account” at the bottom of the list. The installation process will begin; press "Next" at the bottom of the screen or scroll down to select "Install". Account Manager will begin installing on your device.
If anything goes wrong during the installation, you will be notified of the software failure. Make sure you have downloaded the correct version of Account Manager for Android 5.0 and that the file is installed. Newer versions will not be installed on the device.
Repeat this process for all three remaining apps in order, starting with the Google Services Framework, followed by Google Play Services and the Google Play Store. When each app has finished downloading, a display will appear indicating that the installation is complete.
For both the Google Play Services and the Google Play Store, there will be an option to open the app (on the Services Framework and Account Manager apps, this option will be disabled). Don't open these apps; instead, click "Done" and continue following all four applications.
As a final note, both Play Services and Play Store take some time to install, as they are large applications. Allow the apps to install in their spare time and don't try to cancel the installation or turn off the tablet.
INSTALLATION ISSUES ON FIRE OS 22.214.171.124
Update: If you are still on Fire OS 126.96.36.199, the following instructions are for you. However, as newer versions of Fire OS do not have this issue, it is recommended that you make sure your software is up to date rather than dealing with these issues.
Numerous readers have warned that the install buttons on these displays were repeatedly disabled during installation on Amazon's latest tablets (Fire 7, Fire HD 8 and 10th Gen Fire HD 7) and more specifically on Fire OS version 188.8.131.52.
If you installed the Play Store prior to this update, we have not encountered any issues with the apps installed above. In fact, we also encountered installation difficulties on a brand new Fire HD 10 running Fire OS 184.108.40.206, and that's how we started testing this update to look for a workaround.
There is good news and bad news on this front: firstly, there are several workarounds, both that we have seen while testing the installation process and from online readers, particularly on the XDA forums, where this original guide has found the its foundations.
The bad news is that all potential fixes don't seem to be reliable. However, we were able to get the Play Store to work on a Fire tablet that had never been installed before; it just takes a little patience and a little luck.
In general, the main problem with Fire OS 220.127.116.11 is that Amazon has disabled the install button on their devices with this new update. Apparently, this creates the problem that no matter where you click on the screen, you won't be able to install the app, forcing you to cancel the installation and go back to its frozen Amazon ecosystem.
All four of the apps listed above seem to have these issues, where clicking the install file from your device will not allow them to be installed. Thankfully, there is a simple solution to this: once you see the setup screen with the grayed out icon, simply turn off the device screen, then turn it back on and unlock the device.
Scroll to the bottom of the app installation page and you will see that the “Install” button works on your device again. A workaround is to tap the multitasking / recent apps icon once, then select the app installation page again from the recent apps list and you should see the "Install" button lit up in orange.
This is not a workaround, however. While we got it to work on our device using both of the methods described above and several users in the XDA forums reported the same solution, a minority of users reported that both the screen lock workaround and the recent button button method. app, they have not allowed to activate the installation method. Again, good users of XDA forums have found some solutions to this as well, including:
- Restart the tablet.
- Turn off and on again the “Install apps from external sources” setting.
- Make sure the Blue Tone filter in the settings is disabled.
- Using a Bluetooth keyboard to navigate to the Install button (make sure the Install key is selected, then press Enter).
Again, we had no problem installing apps on a new device using the method above to turn the display off and on again, but if you're having difficulty, try using those selection methods to get the apps to work on your device. And thanks again to the folks at XDA for figuring out how to get these methods to work again.
As a final note, we tested installing all four APK files on Fire OS 18.104.22.168 and above. Any newer version has no installation problems and the Install icon has never been disabled.
If you are trying to install these four applications and are still running Fire OS 22.214.171.124, try updating the Fire OS software to 126.96.36.199, then 188.8.131.52. Updates take a while, each taking around fifteen minutes, so make sure you have some time to update your tablet.
RESTART AND LOG IN TO GOOGLE PLAY
Once all four applications have been downloaded to your tablet, complete the process by restarting the Fire tablet. Press and hold the power button on your device until a message appears asking if you want to turn off the tablet.
After turning off the device, restart it by pressing and holding the power button again. When the tablet has returned to the lock screen, we are ready to complete the process by setting up the Google Play.
Go to your app list and select Google Play Store from the list (don't select Google Play Services). Instead of opening the store, it will open the Google Account Manager to get your Google account credentials. You'll see a display showing the tablet set up for use, then Google will ask for your Gmail address and password.
Finally, the device will ask you if you want to back up your apps and account data to Google Drive. Whether you wish to do this is up to you, but it is not necessary for this step. All in all, Google Play should take about two minutes in total to complete the installation.
Once you log in and complete the installation process, you will be taken to the Google Play Store, the same app used on most Android devices.
INSTALLING YOUTUBE KIDS
If you've used an Android device before, this is the easy part. Now that Google Play is installed on your tablet, it works exactly as it would any other Android device.
So, to install YouTube Kids, all you have to do is open the Play Store, search for YouTube Kids in the search bar at the top of the display, then select “Install” from the app list. Really, that's all, without difficult workarounds and without connecting the tablet to a computer. As for Google Play, your tablet is just another standard Android device.
Once the app is downloaded and installed on your tablet, it will work like any other app on your Fire. The app can be launched from the app drawer and will appear in the recent apps list on the home screen, making it easier for you to access.
On our test device, the app experience was identical to any other Android device, with no issues. Finally, while this shouldn't come as a surprise, YouTube Kids isn't the only application that can be installed using this method.
Any app that hasn't been loaded on Amazon's own Appstore can be downloaded from the newly installed Play Store, just like on any other Android device.
USING FREETIME (SON PROFILES)
In recent Fire OS builds, it seems impossible to get the YouTube Kids app to work on a Child profile (known as FreeTime in the Amazon ecosystem). As early as summer 2017, it was possible to enable "Install apps from external sources" in the Child profile to successfully move the APK from your primary user account to the secondary account, but according to the Amazon Fire subreddit, this feature was disabled in September 2017 .
Without the ability to enable this feature, moving the APK from one account to another will result in a warning stating that the app is not installed and it will be impossible to properly run the YouTube Kids app on your device. We know this wasn't what most of our readers were hoping for, as FreeTime is a great way to set up your tablet for use with your kids.
Until we find a concrete way to install YouTube Kids on the Child profile on your device, we recommend that you create a separate adult profile, complete with PIN, for use with YouTube Kids.
This might sound annoying, but since you already have Play Store installed on your device, you can use the entire suite of parental control apps available on Play Store on your device. Here are some of the best apps for work on your device:
- Norton App Lock: This is highly recommended by the Play Store community, with the ability to prevent access to specific applications without a passcode. This app works with both apps downloaded from the Appstore and the Play Store, making it ideal for users who want to block specific apps from sharing a profile with their children.
- Google Family Link: With Family Link you can monitor what happens on Android devices without having to be in control 24/24. You can approve app downloads, lock the device after a certain period of time and see how long time users use every app and device.
- Screen Time Parental Control: This app allows you to set and control the screen time remotely from your device by syncing the two accounts on each device. Available in both free and paid plans, Screen Time makes it easy for the child to be safe using the device within a set amount of time.
These three apps won't replace the ease and simplicity of simply using the Child Profile tool included with every Fire tablet, but overall it's a good start. This may not be what every user has in mind when installing YouTube Kids for use in conjunction with Child profiles on your Fire device, but it is a clever solution to the app installation problem created by Amazon all beginning of this year.
We want Amazon and Google to work together to successfully get the YouTube Kids app on Fire tablet devices, but as the rivalry between the two tech giants continues, the best we can do as consumers is to keep working to find ways to address the limitations imposed on the line of Fire devices by Amazon and Google.
At the end of the day, this method isn't perfect for just watching YouTube Kids. It's a great way to add a lot of new features to your tablet, either in the form of new apps not previously available on the Appstore, or by changing the way your tablet works via third-party launchers and new customization options only available through Google.
YouTube Kids is a great example of an application that changes the way you use your tablet: With YouTube Kids, you can reliably deliver your tablet to your kids without having to worry about what they watch in their free time. It's a small win for overworked families and parents everywhere, but undoubtedly one that will delight many users.
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