If you’ve just switched from Android TV or Roku to a Fire TV device, what are the essential apps that you need to install right away?
In this article, we list the best apps for your Fire TV or Fire Stick.
Preparing Your Fire TV or Fire Stick for Apps
Once you’ve spent the necessary time setting up your Fire TV or Fire Stick, it’s time to install some apps. But before we talk about the apps themselves, you need to prep your Fire TV device.
Why? Because you will need to sideload some of the apps we discuss; they are not available in the Amazon Appstore.
To make sure you can install sideloaded apps on your device, you need to change two settings.
- ADB Debugging: To enable ADB debugging, head to Settings > My Fire TV > Developer Options > ADB Debugging and select On.
- Unknown Sources: To allow apps from unknown sources to be installed on your Fire Stick, go to Settings > Device > Developer Options > Apps From Unknown Sources and select On.
Make sure you also check out our article detailing how to sideload apps on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. With the basics all sorted out, it’s time to install some apps. So here are the best Amazon Fire TV apps for your new device.
Downloader is an essential tool if you’re planning to sideload Fire TV apps onto your device.
The app lets you download APK files directly from the internet and then install them on your Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick. It means you won’t need to use a PC or network connection to transfer the file.
Download: Downloader (Free)
2. Mouse Toggle
Although you can sideload just about any app on your Fire TV or Fire Stick, many of them have not been adapted for the TV screen. They still require finger taps and other gestures to navigate them.
The solution is to install a mouse pointer. The best is Mouse Toggle. With a double-tap of your remote’s Play button, you can launch an on-screen mouse icon. You can control it using your remote’s D-pad. To install the app, enter http://tinyurl.com/firetvmouse into the aforementioned Downloader or use the Google Play app.
If you don’t want to use a mouse, you could consider using one of the best Amazon Fire TV remote apps.
Download: Mouse Toggle (Free)
Plex surely needs no introduction. Along with Kodi, it’s one of the best ways to stream your locally saved media to other screens and devices around your home. If you pay for a Plex Pass, you can even access your content remotely.
Unlike Kodi—which we will discuss next—Plex is one of the Fire TV apps available through the Amazon Appstore, thus making installation a breeze.
Download: Plex (Free)
Kodi is Plex’s biggest competitor. Both apps have pros and cons, but broadly speaking, Kodi is more customizable but requires more maintenance.
As we just mentioned, Kodi is not available in the Amazon Appstore. You will need to sideload it onto your device.
Luckily, we’ve explained how to install Kodi on an Amazon Fire Stick in a previous article.
Download: Kodi (Free)
One of the main reasons for installing the Firefox web browser on your Fire TV device used to be in order to access YouTube. This was because a spat between Google and Amazon meant the YouTube app was not available on the Fire TV platform.
Thankfully, the two companies buried their differences in 2019, meaning you can now use YouTube freely. However, a browser still has some benefits—you can use it in conjunction with a VPN to access free live TV streams from other countries.
Most long-term Fire TV users agree that there are only two browsers worth considering: Firefox and Silk. If you already use Firefox on your other machines—or you value open source software—this is the browser you should install.
Download: Firefox (Free)
The return of YouTube has been widely welcomed by Fire TV users. It’s instantly become one of the best apps for the Fire TV and Fire Stick.
The new app replicates all the features that you’ll find on YouTube for Roku and Android TV. These include browsing by interest, support for multiple accounts, voice searching, casting, and 4K video.
Download: YouTube (Free)
7. Silk Browser
Because you can sideload apps, you can install any browser you want, including Chrome. But Silk is more popular.
In case you’re not aware, Silk is Amazon’s in-house browser and has been specifically designed to work on Amazon Fire devices.
It lets you control web videos and music using your remote’s Play, Pause, and Skip buttons, and offers lots of standard browser features like a password manager and browsing history.
Download: Silk Browser (Free)
With over 100,000 hours of content and 50,000 TV shows and movies, you don’t really need to pay for anything else other than Netflix. OK, it isn’t free, but it does represent good value for money.
Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to live sports or news coverage. However there are plenty of free streaming news channels to keep cord-cutters happy.
Download: Netflix (Free)
Remember we just said that news nerds could get their fix for free? Euronews makes it possible.
Euronews is a collaboration between a group of European and North African national broadcasters, including ITN, RAI, RTE, and VGTRK. It was founded in 1993 and has since grown to offer free news in 166 countries and in 15 European and Middle Eastern languages.
Download: Euronews (Free)
10. Haystack TV
Let’s stick with the theme of news. Haystack TV is another option for you to consider.
Unlike Euronews, it does not offer live TV. Instead, it aggregates clips from hundreds of reputable online sources to deliver videos about the topics you’re interested in. The more you watch the app and rate the videos and topics it shows you, the more it learns about which sources you enjoy and which subjects you care about.
Download: Haystack TV (Free)
11. TuneIn Radio
Televisions aren’t only for watching stuff. They’re also for listening to stuff.
One of the best ways to fill your ears with music is to install TuneIn Radio. Although Spotify also offers an Amazon Fire app, you need to have a premium membership. TuneIn Radio is entirely free for all users.
TuneIn provides access to 100,000 radio stations from around the world, along with millions of on-demand programs.
Download: TuneIn Radio (Free)
Why would you need to install VLC on a Fire TV or Fire Stick? There are two primary reasons:
- Third-party apps that access video content often need a third-party video player to display their content.
- You can use VLC to watch content saved on another local device using your home network.
Download: VLC (Free)
13. IPTV Smarters
IPTV allows you to watch free and paid-for IPTV streams. Like Kodi, it is an empty shell which requires you to add content.
Specifically, you need to add an M3U file. The file contains a playlist of channels that IPTV Smarters can then read. You can also add XMLTV files so you can enjoy electronic program guides (EPGs) in conjunction with your streams.
Other popular IPTV apps for Fire TV include Tivimate and OTT Navigator. You need to sideload all three from the Google Play Store.
Download: IPTV Smarters (Free)
14. IMDb TV
The Amazon-owned IMDb offers a free television service called IMDb TV. It has licensed films and TV series from several movie studios and TV production companies, including Warner Bros., Sony, and MGM. Some of the most notable TV shows on the platform at the time of writing include Ally McBeal, Lost, and Desperate Housewives.
15. Easy Fire Tools
If you decide to sideload any of the apps we have discussed in the article, Easy Fire Tools is an essential app. It allows you to send Android apps from your phone or tablet directly to your Fire TV or Fire Stick.
Download: Easy Fire Tools (Free)
The Best Fire TV Apps Can Help You Cut the Cord
The Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick have helped turn cord cutting from a trend into a phenomenon. Fire TV devices now offer so many apps across such a broad range of categories that you’ll never be stuck for something to watch or listen to, even if you cancel your cable TV plan.
If you want even more suggestions, check out our list of the essential Amazon Fire Stick channels.
Read the full article: The 15 Best Apps to Install on Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick