As usual, Amazon is offering deep discounts on Fire tablets for the holiday shopping season. And as usual, some folks would like Amazon’s tablets better if they worked a bit more like other Android tablets.

Amazon Fire tablets run a fork of Android called Fire OS. That means they have an Amazon-designed user interface and ship with Amazon’s Appstore rather than Google Play. But it’s surprisingly easy to add the Google Play Store to all of Amazon’s current-gen tablets.

If you want to do anything more than that (like replacing Fire OS altogether with a custom ROM), you have to jump through some more hoops — and not every model supports custom ROMs yet.

Anyway, whether you’re looking to pick up an Amazon Fire tablet for as little as $30 during the holiday season… or if you’ve received one as a present, here are some of the latest up-to-date resources for hacking Fire tablets.

First up, the simplest (and probably safest) thing to do is install the Google Play Store and Google services on top of Fire OS. This won’t replace Amazon’s app store, but it will give you a reasonable safe and easy way to access millions of apps that aren’t available in the Amazon Appstore.

In a nutshell, all you need to do is go into your tablet’s settings and enable installation of apps from unknown sources. Then download and install four apps, sign in with your Google username and password, and you’re good to go.

There’s a post at the xda-developers forum with instructions and download links for the four apps you need to install.

Want an even easier method? You can try using the latest version of Datastream33’s Amazon Fire Toolbox.

Things get more complicated if you want to root your tablet, install custom ROMs, or make other system-level changes. Right now there’s no known way to do that on the 2019 version of the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet, but there are methods for rooting and unlocking the current-gen Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets.

Amazon Fire 7 tablet (2019, code name Mustang)

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018, code name Karnak)

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019, code name Maverick)

Know of any Amazon Fire tablet hacks, tips, or tricks that aren’t listed above? Let us know in the comments.

Update 7-03-2020: Amazon’s 10th-gen Fire HD 8 tablet has a faster processor and more RAM than the 8th-gen model released in 2018. You cannot unlock the bootloader or root the 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 tablet, but you can install the Google Play Store and remove most Amazon apps.

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6 Comments

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  1. Love to see a post like this, but for the Fire TV and Fire Stick devices. There’s gotta be some hack potential on those!

  2. I hate how the Amazon tablets don’t have unlockable bootloader so your stuck with whatever Android the fire os is based on. I don’t feel any need to upgrade until I find a decent tablet with LTE and a active pen. I’d love if they unlocked the fire phone bootloader since the nexus 5 has the newest Android

    1. Perhaps it’s your lack of understanding Jack? All the world doesn’t dance to your tune and as we get older this becomes rather apparent. If it hasn’t for you, just wait…for…it.

      I was actually going to pick up one of the new HD 10’s but it didn’t take me long to realize that they wanted me to pay them 15 extra for the privilege of not advertising to me. That makes about as much sense as Jack asking Jay if he is retarded…but I digress.

  3. I’d be nice if there was a 2nd hand hacker organization-warehouse that would ship you old hardware by now probably lots of amzn tabs laying around. Issue is why buy new cheap tab when better ones exist, and why collect old junk that piles up when too much clutter and packrat already (OK its a bit luxury hackunnist idea but still)

  4. I already have more devices than I need, but have finally decided to take the plunge on multiple amazon tablets to use for stationary bedroom/kitchen as clock/media devices. Which is something I would never do with $500 tablets.

    I was thinking 7 or 8″ for the bedroom nightstand & 10″ in the kitchen.