Amazon recently starting rolling out Fire OS 5.6.0 for the Amazon Fire, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 tablets. Among other things, it includes an updated notification tray that shows icons for apps that want your attention rather than just a number showing how many notifications are available.

But folks who have tried installing apps from outside the Amazon Appstore have noticed another change in Fire OS 5.6.0 — the “install box” is grayed out when you go to install an APK file.

The good news is that there’s a very simple workaround. In fact, there are two options, and both work.

Update: The even better news is that workarounds are no longer necessary. Amazon rolled out an update in early December that fixes the grayed-out install button issue

The original article continues below. 

If you have a tablet running Fire OS 5.6.0 and you want to install apps that aren’t available in Amazon’s store, the first thing you need to do is go into the device’s settings, find the Security menu, and then toggle the switch next to “apps from unknown sources.”

Next, find the APK you want to install, download it and run it. You’ll probably be greeted by an installer menu that doesn’t actually let you press the install button.

Here’s how to get around that:

  1. Press the power button.
  2. Once the screen goes off, press the power button again and unlock your screen.

You should see the same menu, but this time the install button should be orange.

That’s it. Go ahead and install your app.

If, for some reason, you don’t want to use that method, there’s another option:

  1. Hit the recents button and navigate to a different app.
  2. Come back to the installer (or open the installer again using a file browser if that’s how you initiated it the first time).

You should now be able to install your app.

If you’re looking for reliable alternatives to the Amazon Appstore, we’ve got a list of good places to look. Or you could try installing the Google Play Store. While it should take a few more clicks with Fire OS 5.6.0, the same method I used earlier this year should work.

In fact, since I already have the Play Store installed on my Fire HD 8 tablet, I’ve noticed that the easiest workaround for the unknown app problem is just to install apps through the Play Store. There are no extra hoops to jump through. The Play Store works just the same in Fire OS 5.6.0 as it did for Fire OS 5.4.

via xda-developers and /r/kindlefire


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10 replies on “Amazon Fire tablets: Installing apps from unknown sources in Fire OS 5.6.0”

  1. so before updating to 5.6 on my brand new Fire 10 tablet it was 5.4 … I could sideload apps from es file explorer …. now the last sideloaded app I want after updating will not download or install whatsoever …. very frustrated as it was a big one …

  2. I can’t get either of these methods to work. nothing I do allows me to install any apks

  3. I just gave both these methods a try, and it was very hit and miss–mainly miss. I’m not sure that turning off the screen ever worked (maybe it would work better without a password???), and going to another program only worked about 25% of the time. Fortunately it’s not something you need to do a lot.

  4. I don’t understand if someone wants google play store why not buy a tablet that’s compatible.

    1. They are more expensive. Also, it’s possible they may want to consume a lot of Amazon content, which the Fire Tablets are rather good at doing, while also having other apps on the same tablet. The selection of apps on Amazon’s store is rather limiting.

    2. Also, the 10″ version is currently only $99, which is not only cheap, but also has hands free Alexa, making it basically an Echo with a screen.

    3. Freetime is one big reason why people buy these tablets. It’s an unbelievably good deal for kids’ content, especially books and ad-free, payment-free games.

      But for the adults to use the tablet when the kids aren’t? I can see why some would like Google Services installed. I could care less personally about the Play Store (plenty of other ways to sideload apps), though I wouldn’t mind having access to my Google Docs on my Fire 6. I just don’t want it badly enough to have the entire Google framework running on my tablet.

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