Amazon’s Fire tablets have a well-deserved reputation for offering decent bang for the buck. They have decent displays, long battery life, and affordable price tags. But they also come with an operating system called Fire OS, which is Amazon’s custom version of Android.
That means instead of the Google Play Store, it has an Amazon Appstore. And while Amazon’s Kindle, Prime Video, and Music apps are pre-installed, if you want to use the official YouTube, Gmail, or Chrome apps, you won’t find them in the store. But it’s not difficult to install the Google Play Store on Amazon’s tablets.
Before we get started: temper your expectations
Keep in mind that installing the Google Play Store won’t suddenly change a Fire tablet into a full-fledged Android tablet. It will still be running Amazon’s Fire OS software. But you’ll be able to easily find and install millions of apps that may not be available from Amazon’s Appstore… including apps you may have already paid for if you have other Android devices. That means installing the Play Store keeps you from having to pay twice to run the same apps on an Android phone and a Fire tablet.
But some Android apps that weren’t designed for Amazon’s tablets may not work properly on a Fire device. For example, if you’re not a fan of Amazon’s home screen and app drawer, you can install a third-party Launcher app. But Amazon doesn’t make it easy to completely remove the default Launcher. Pressing the home button will take you to Amazon’s home screen and from there you can open your preferred launcher manually… although there’s a sort of workaround for that.
If you don’t want to jump through all these hoops, you may be better off buying a cheap tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, which comes with Android rather than Fire OS. But if you already have a Fire tablet or just want to run specific Android apps a really cheap tablet, then it’s handy to be able to install Google’s app store.
There are at least two ways to install the Google Play Store
In this article I’m going to show you two methods for installing the Google Play Store on an Amazon Fire tablet. One method involves changing a few settings on the tablet and then downloading and installing four files. The other method uses a free utility called Fire Toolbox and requires you to connect your tablet to a Windows computer with a USB cable.
While that may seem like it takes a few extra steps, it also opens the possibility of making other changes to Fire tablets, including changing the default home screen and app launcher, removing pre-installed apps, and more.
So let’s start with the Fire Toolbox method. For this portion of the guide, I’m using a 9th-gen Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet, but the steps should be the same for most recent Amazon Fire tablets. Fire Toolbox was recently updated to add support for the Fire Max 11 tablet.
Option 1: Install Google Play with Fire Toolbox
Fire Toolbox is a utility from a developer who goes by Datastream33 that compiles a bunch of tools for altering the behavior of most Amazon tablets.
Among other things, you can use the Toolbox to backup and restore your device, enable or disable specific Amazon apps and services, and install the Google Play Store.
While you can do these things manually, the Toolbox makes it a lot simpler… and it also offers tools for undoing any changes you’ve made in case you run into trouble, or want to restore your tablet to its original state without performing a factory reset.
Here are the steps for installing Google Play on an Amazon Fire tablet using Fire Toolbox:
- Using a Windows PC, download and install the latest version of Fire Toolbox using the link from the xda-developers forum.
- On your tablet, open the Settings app (either by tapping the Settings icon on the home screen or by pulling down the Quick Settings panel and tapping the Settings icon).
- Scroll down to Device Options and tap it.
- Tap the Serial number 7 times until you see a notice saying that you’re a developer.
- Tap the back button to return to the previous screen.
- Select the newly appeared “Developer Options.”
- Slide the toggle to enable Developer Options.
- Scroll down until you see “USB Debugging” and slide the toggle to enable that.
- Plug your tablet into your Windows PC using a USB cable (the charging cable that came with the tablet should be fine).
- Run the Fire Toolbox application on your PC.
- Tap OK on the box that appears on the tablet.
- Wait a moment and/or follow any instructions on the screen as Fire Toolbox detects your device.
- Click the box that says “Google Services (Manage).”
- Read the instructions and then click “yes.”
That’s pretty much all there is to it — and I know it looks like a long list, but steps 2 through 8 are really just about setting up developers options on your tablet.
Once you’ve installed Google Play, you can login to your Google account on your tablet and access apps that you may have previously purchased, install Google applications like YouTube, Google TV, and Google Play Books that would not otherwise be available, and access millions of other apps that aren’t in the Amazon Appstore.
You can also use Fire Toolbox to disable or hide Amazon apps you may no longer need or want to see on your tablet.
You may run into some apps that don’t behave properly due to the differences between Fire OS and stock Android software, and in the past I’ve had a bit of trouble with apps that are available both from Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, where the wrong store would try to apply updates.
But overall, I find Amazon’s tablets to be much more pleasant to use once the Play Store has been installed.
You can also use the Fire Toolbox to manage your account, remove Google Play, or make other changes such as removing Amazon apps and services – just be careful. You don’t want to remove the Amazon keyboard or app launcher, for example, until you’ve first installed third-party replacements.
Amazon recently rolled out an update that makes it impossible to completely replace the Fire OS Launcher app with a third-party Launcher. So that’s not something you can do if you’re running Fire OS 220.127.116.11 or later. But you can use Fire Toolbox to hijack the home button so that pressing it will take you to the Launcher app of your choice rather than Amazon’s.
Unfortunately that setting will be reset any time you reboot your tablet, so you may have to run Fire Toolbox again after a reboot if you want to keep using third-party app launchers.
Fire Toolbox can also help you make a complete backup of your device or restore from that backup, which can come in handy if you’re tinkering with the software that comes with the Fire HD tablet. For more information about Fire Toolbox, check out Liliputing’s article on hacking Fire tablets with Fire Toolbox or visit the xda-developers forum for the latest updates, questions, tips, and tricks about using the software.
Everything that the Fire Toolbox does can also be done manually using the Android SDK Platform Tools, which are available for Windows, Mac, or Linux computers. But you’d need to know all of the precise commands to run in order to accomplish the same things.
But you don’t even need a computer if all you want to do is install Google Play on your tablet.
Option 2: Install Google Play manually
Don’t have a Windows PC, or prefer to do everything on the tablet itself? No problem. This is fairly easy to do on all recent Fire tablets, including the Fire Max 11.
Step 1: Allow installation of unknown apps downloaded from Amazon’s Silk web browser:
- Open Settings
- Tap the option that says Security and Privacy
- Scroll down to Applications from unknown sources.
- Tap the Amazon Silk browser.
- Slide the toggle to enable Silk to install apps from unknown sources.
If you just want to install apps that aren’t in Amazon’s store and don’t care about Google Play, you can stop here and go to a trusted website like APKMirror to download the apps you’re looking for.
But if you want access to the same apps that you may be using on your phone and/or the ability to sync data between apps, download automatic updates, and access apps you’ve already purchased, then the next step is to install four applications that will bring Google Play Services and the Play Store to your tablet.
Step 2: Download four files:
Open the Silk web browser and download the following four APK files in the order listed. After each one is downloaded, you should see a pop-up alert asking if you’d like to install the app. Tap OK, and then choose Install and then Done before moving on to the next download:
- Google Account Manager (use the latest version)
- Google Services Framework (use version 10 for tablets running Fire OS 8 or version 9 for tablets running Fire OS 7)
- Google Play Services (use a recent version compatible ARM64 and Android 9+ for Fire OS 7 or Android 11+ for Fire OS 8)
- Google Play Store (use the latest version)
After all four APK files have been downloaded and installed, reboot your tablet and then open the Google Play Store app. You’ll be prompted to login using a Google username and password and then you should be able to download apps from the Play Store.
Here’s a video that shows the whole process of downloading and installing Google apps and services including the Play Store on a 10th-gen Fire HD 8 tablet:
This article was originally published November 12, 2020 and last updated June 16, 2023.