How to Wirelessly Sideload Apps to a Kindle Fire Without a Computer

If you have a Kindle Fire and an Android phone, you may have noticed that some of the apps on your phone cannot be downloaded to the Kindle Fire from the Amazon App Store.  Or, if you bought apps from the Google Play Market for your phone, you might want to use them on your Kindle Fire.  Check out the video below or read on for detailed instructions.

Fortunately you can “sideload” apps by installing their apk files on your Kindle Fire. This does not requiring rooting your device. Some apps work on the Kindle Fire even though they are not officially supported, but others do not. For example, some of my favorites I was unable to download directly from the Amazon App Store to my Kindle Fire were Dropbox, Business Calendar, WeatherBug Elite, Google Voice, ADW.launcher EX, and Google Maps. I attempted to sideload all of these, but Business Calendar and WeatherBug do not work.  The others worked great!

Step 1: Let us start with your Android phone and install 2 applications:

  1. Install SugarSync Amazon cloud drive – it is free, supported on the Kindle Fire, and every time you want to add an application you can do it via wifi instead of needing to plug in your phone and kindle into a computer.
  2. Install App Backup and Restore – it is also free and very easy to use. It will create the .apk installation files that you need to install on your Kindle Fire.

Step 2: Get the .apk files you want from your Android phone:

  1. Open App Backup and Restore and select the apps you want to install on your Kindle Fire.  Then press “Backup Selected Apps” at the bottom of the screen.  This will save them to your phone’s SD card in a folder called, “App_Backup_Restore.”
  2. Automatically create .apk files for any new updates (this step is optional):
    1. Press the up arrow in the right lower corner (or the menu button on your phone) and select “settings.”
    2. Check “Auto Backup” and “Auto Backup Notify” – now the new apk files will be automatically updated on SugarSync whenever new versions are installed and you will be notified to reinstall them on your Kindle Fire.
backup and restore

Step 3 – Sync the backup folder to SugarSync and your Kindle Fire:

  1. Now open the SugarSync app on your phone.
  2. Under the “My Devices” section select your phone.
  3. Scroll down until you find the folder “App_Backup_Restore” and tap the circle with the arrow in it on the right.  Now select “Sync” and then “Yes” at the next dialog.

Step 4: Enable the Kindle Fire to install the .apk files you backed up:

  1. Set aside your phone, and grab your Kindle Fire. Tap the settings/wifi/battery icon in the upper right corner.
  2. From the drop down menu tap “More.”
  3. Scroll down and tap “Device.”
  4. Then turn “ON” the “Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources.”
Allow Installation of Applications From Unknown Sources

Step 5 – Download and install your apps

  1. Install Sugarsync Amazon cloud drive on your Kindle Fire.
  2. Open SugarSync and tap “Magic Briefcase” then “Mobile Folders” and finally “App_Backup_Restore” as shown below.
  3. Now select any of the APK files you uploaded – they will download and you will receive a prompt to install them.
  4. Install your apps and enjoy!
Install your apps

Please note that some applications will not work with the Kindle Fire as mentioned above. ADW.Launcher EX works and will create a normal Android home screen if you prefer the classic Android home screen as mentioned in my Kindle Fire review.  Other apps that I have found that work are Dropbox, Google Voice, and Google Maps (without GPS). You can try any apps you have to see if they work… if they don’t, just uninstall them by holding down on the application icon, then selecting “remove from device.”

Update 1: Check out my post, Top Kindle Fire Apps to Sideload, to learn about some apps you can sideload to really increase the functionality of your device.

Update 2: The newer Google Voice app no longer works with the Kindle Fire. Version works well and can be found here in the 2nd post at XDA developers.