While Fire OS continues to put an emphasis on Amazon’s apps and services, making Fire tablets most useful for customers who stream music, movies, and other content from Amazon or read Kindle eBooks, the operating system is based on Google Android. And that means that it’s surprisingly simple to install the Google Play Store on Amazon’s latest tablet. Here’s how (and why) to do that.
There are a few good reasons why you might want to install Google Play on an Amazon tablet. The first is simply that while there are tens of thousands of Android apps and games in the Amazon Appstore, there are millions in the Google Play Store.
The second is that you may already have an Android phone, tablet, or other device. And if you do, there’s a decent change you may already have some free or paid apps and games that you’d like to use on your Fire tablet. Installing Google Play will let you use those apps without purchasing them again from the Amazon Appstore (if that’s even an option), while keeping your data synchronized.
Third, some popular Google apps like the Chrome web browser, Google Maps, Gmail, or YouTube only work on devices that have Google Play Services installed. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend installing all of those apps on an Amazon tablet (Fire tablets tend to be budget devices that might slow down if you ask them to do too much), you might want to install one or two, and the guide below will help you do that.
But there are a few things to keep in mind before we get started. The first is that Fire OS doesn’t have all the features available in other Android devices, so some apps or games you download from the Google Play Store may not function properly because they rely on APIs that may not be available. And the situation on Fire OS 8 is a little different than earlier versions of Amazon’s Android fork: even after installing the Play Store, some apps including Gboard and YouTube Kids will trigger a warning message indicating Google Play Services isn’t installed (even though it is).
Another thing to remember is that once you install the Play Store, it will recognize some of the Amazon apps pre-installed on your tablet (like the Kindle or Alexa apps) and ask you if you want to install updates. It’s probably best to let the Amazon Appstore update those apps, or you’ll keep getting notifications… this is just what happens when using one device with two competing app stores.
Installing Google Play on tablets running Fire OS 8 (including the 2022 Fire 7 and Fire HD 8)
Based on Android 11, Fire OS 8 brings brings support for a system-wide dark mode, a built-in screen recorder, and privacy updates, among other things. It’s debuted with the new 12th-gen Fire 7 tablet, but also runs on the 12th-gen Amazon Fire HD 8 which was released a few months later. All the steps described below have been tested on a 2022 Fire 7 tablet.
There are at least two ways to install the Google Play Store and other Google services on your device. One is to use an utility like Fire Toolbox, which is a free tool for hacking Amazon tablets that will automatically download and install all the correct components with just a few clicks. If you want to do that, you can find instructions in our article about using Fire Toolbox to install Google Play on the 12th-gen Fire 7 tablet.
But Fire Toolbox is designed to run on a Windows PC and requires connecting your tablet to that PC with a USB cable. If you don’t have a Windows machine or just prefer to do everything on the tablet itself, you can follow the guide below to download four Android apps and install them on the tablet.
Step 1: Allow installation of unknown apps
- Open the Settings menu.
- Select the option that says Security and Privacy.
- Select the option labeled “Apps from Unknown Sources.”
- On the following screen, you should see a list of apps that have the potential to install apps. Select the Silk Browser.
- Slide the toggle so that Silk is allowed to install apps from unknown sources.
Now you’re able to download Android APK installer files from the internet and install them. If that’s all you want to do, you’re good to go.
For example, what if you want to install open source Android apps that may not be available from Amazon’s Appstore? Just visit F-Droid and search for apps or install the open source app store on your device. But if you want to install the Google Play Store, let’s keep going.
Step 2: Download and install the following 4 APK files
Open the Silk web browser and download the four APK files listed below, in the order in which they’re listed. Note that rather than giving you a link to the specific file you’ll need to use, I’m telling you how to get the latest compatible version for your device so that this guide doesn’t go out of date if new versions of the files are made available in the future.
- Google Account Manager (Use the latest version)
- Google Services Framework 10 (Do not use version 11 or later. While the tablet runs an Android 11-based operating system, the Android 11 version of this file would not install on my tablet, but the Android 10 version works perfectly)
- Google Play Services (Use a recent version compatible with arm64 and Android 11+)
- Google Play Store (Use the latest version)
Once you’ve downloaded each file, you can either tap the download notification to start the installation process, or you can open the Files app and navigate to your Downloads folder, then tap each file in order to start the installer.
Step 4: Reboot and login
After completing the steps above, you should see the Google Play Store icon on your home screen. While you could theoretically login right away, I’ve found it’s usually a good idea to reboot your tablet first. Just press and hold the power button, choose the reboot option, and wait a moment for the tablet to restart.
Then tap the Play Store icon and login with your Google account credentials to access the Play Store.
8/25/2022 Update: When the Fire 7 (2022) tablet began shipping in June, it took me just a few minutes to figure out how to get the Play Store up and running and I was able to use it to install a handful of third-party apps that were not available from the Amazon Appstore. But many other users have reported that they had trouble logging into their Google account after installing the Google Play Store and other Google Mobile services. Since then, the Play Store has stopped functioning reliably on my tablet as well. Sometimes the Play Store fails to fully load when I launch the app. While some users have indicated that deleting the memory and cache for the Play Store and Google Play Services allows it to run once, that trick alone doesn’t seem to work for me unless I reboot the tablet once or twice as well. Fortunately the apps I’d already installed from the Play Store continue to work, although it’s unclear if they’ll reliably download automatic updates. Overall it seems like the 12th-gen Fire 7 tablet with Fire OS 8 is a lot less Google Play-friendly than earlier Amazon Fire tablets. It’s unclear if this is due to steps that Amazon has taken to lock down the operating system or if it’s a side effect of the fact that the latest version of Amazon’s Android fork is based on Android 11, which would sort of make it Google’s fault.
12/7/2022 Update: In late November, Amazon began rolling out a 188.8.131.52 update for the Fire 7 (2022) and Fire HD 8 (2022) tablets and users began to notice that they were able to install Google apps and services again.
I’ve confirmed this by uninstalling and reinstalling the Play Store on my tablet, and I can now install Google apps including Google Maps and YouTube… although some apps, like YouTube Kids still don’t work properly. Some users have found that installing an older version of YouTube Kids resolves that particular issue, but if you go that route, you’ll need to tell the Play Store not to auto-update YouTube Kids if you want to continue using it.
This article was first published June 29, 2022 and most recently updated December 26, 2022.