Amazon’s Fire tablets ship with a modified version of Android called Fire OS. It’s tightly linked with Amazon’s apps and services including the Kindle, Prime Video, and Amazon Music apps. It also features Amazon’s Appstore instead of the Google Play Store. But folks have been installing the Play Store on Amazon’s tablets for years.
Up until recently it was pretty easy to do, but things got a bit tricky this year when Amazon started shipping tablets with Fire OS 8. For the past few months many people with 2022 Fire 7 or Fire HD 8 tablets found that they couldn’t install Google services… or if they could, some apps wouldn’t work properly. Now it looks like Google services are working again. You still need to install them yourself though.
First, a brief timeline. For the past few years Amazon has been shipping tablets with Fire OS 7, an operating system that’s based on Android 9. And it was pretty easy to install Google apps and services: either by downloading and installing a few Google apps manually, or by using an automated tool like Fire Toolbox.
And when Amazon shipped the 2022 Fire 7 tablet this summer, I was quickly able to get Google Play services up and running… but a few weeks later I started to hear from folks that they were having trouble following my guide. And eventually when I tried opening the Play Store on my tablet, it would crash.
So I updated my guide and told people that if they were planning to pick up a Fire OS 8 device specifically because they wanted to install Google Play on the tablet, they should probably opt for a different tablet instead.
Then Amazon introduced a new Fire HD 8 (2022) tablet that also shipped with Fire OS 8. And users also had trouble installing the Play Store on that model.
But a funny thing happened toward the end of November. Amazon started rolling out a Fire OS 220.127.116.11 update and suddenly users who had been unable to get the Play Store to work on tablets running Fire OS 18.104.22.168 noticed that it was working. I’ve confirmed that everything that was working on my Fire 7 tablet June is working again now.
It’s highly unlikely that Amazon intentionally added support for the Play Store. The company’s tablets are cheaper than most competing devices with similar specs because they ship with Amazon’s apps and services instead of Google’s. Amazon doesn’t expect to make much profit from its hardware. Instead, the company expects users to buy eBooks, rent or purchase movies, pay for Amazon Prime, or buy products from Amazon on the tablets.
But it’s possible that a previous operating system updated included a feature which had the side effect of breaking support for Google services… and the new update has the side effect of fixing whatever was broken.
All of which is to say that there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to continue using the Google Play Store on Amazon Fire tablets. So I’m still not sure I’d recommend buying one to use with the Play Store, if you already have one, it’s good to know you can install Google apps and services again.
Keep in mind that not all apps from the Play Store will work well on tablets running Fire OS 8. YouTube works, for example, but YouTube Kids does not. Some folks have found that installing an older version of YouTube Kids resolves the issue, but you’ll need to make sure to tell the Play Store not to automatically update the app.
Anyway, as of early December, 2022 there are again two ways to install the Google Play Store on the Amazon Fire 7 (2022) and Fire HD 10 (2022) tablets:
- Option 1: Install the Play Store manually by downloading and installing 4 Android APK files
- Option 2: Use Fire Toolbox to connect your tablet to a Windows PC and run a program that will walk you through the process.