What is a jailbroken Firestick? Is it illegal? We will answer these and other questions about the Amazon Fire TV Stick in this post.
What is Firestick?
Before we get to jailbroken Firestick, let’s first discuss what a FireStick is. Firestick is a media streaming device by Amazon that enables your TV to connect to the Internet to stream video, install apps, and play music.
You can use Firestick on a compatible TV with an HDMI port. Most TVs from the last decade will work with it.
Do You Need a Fire TV Stick For A Smart TV
Fire TV Stick is typically used with non-smart TVs. If you have the latest smart TV, you will not likely need an Amazon Fire TV Stick because your TV is already capable of connecting to the Internet and installing streaming apps on its own.
However, there are some situations wherein it might be useful to use Firestick even though your TV is already smart-capable. Many smart TVs offer limited apps on their devices whereas FireStick offers thousands of apps. You may want to install an app that is not natively available on your smart TV’s official store but is offered on FireStick via the Amazon App Store. In that case, it would make sense to get a FireStick for your smart tv.
How to Use Fire TV Stick?
Here are the steps for using the Fire TV Stick.
- Plug the FireStick into the power outlet using the provided USB adapter.
- Connect the Fire TV Stick to an HDMI port on your TV.
- Turn on your TV. Find the input or source button on your TV’s remote. Select the corresponding input (where the FireStick is connected to).
- Pair the FireStick remote with your TV by selecting the home button while the TV is loading.
- Follow the set-up instructions on the screen.
- Sign in to your Amazon account.
- Follow the rest of the prompts.
- Install your streaming services apps. If you already have subscriptions to the streaming platforms, just enter your login information for each one.
Are There Different Kinds of FireSticks Available?
Amazon has four streaming sticks: Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4k, and Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
What Apps are Available on Amazon Fire TV Stick?
Fire TV Stick offers many video streaming apps including Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Peacock, STARZ, SHOWTIME, Paramount+ and music streaming apps such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio.
Is Netflix Free on Amazon Fire TV Stick?
You can download the Netflix App for free but you need a paid subscription to stream movies from Netflix.
Can You Watch Free Content on a FireStick?
Yes, you can stream free content on FireStick from certain apps such as Pluto TV, Freevee, YouTube, Tubi, Plex, and more. Other apps such as Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ and others require a paid subscription.
What is a jailbroken FireStick?
Jailbreaking is a term that generally means removing restrictions on a device to allow unapproved apps to be installed. The term is usually associated with Apple devices but it could also be applied to other devices.
Jailbreaking typically requires installing a tool or custom firmware to enable the installation of other unapproved third-party apps.
A jailbroken FireStick refers to a FireStick that can “sideload” or install third-party apps that are not available on the official Amazon App Store.
Technically speaking, a jailbroken FireStick is not really jailbroken in the strictest sense of the word. However, the term became associated with sideloading apps in FireStick and has somehow stuck.
Jailbreaking IOS devices for example requires you to download and install a tool that exploits an existing flaw of the device. Whereas in Amazon Fire TV Stick, you simply change some settings so that you can install unofficial apps.
Also, jailbreaking an iPhone or a gaming console allows access to the root of the operating system. Whereas, “jailbreaking” an Amazon Fire TV Stick won’t let you do the same.
What Can A Jailbroken Firestick Do?
A jailbroken FireStick allows the installation of third-party apps that are not approved by the official store. For example, when HBO Max first came out, it wasn’t immediately available on Amazon App Store and you can only install it on a jailbroken FireStick then.
Is A Jailbroken FireStick Legal?
As explained above, it is not really “jailbreaking” so it is perfectly legal and won’t void your warranty. That said, even real jailbreaking is not considered illegal anymore although there is a caveat about copyrighted content.
If you watch or listen to or play illegally distributed copyrighted content on an app that you sideloaded to your FireStick (and in real jailbroken devices for that matter), then that would be illegal.
Is A Jailbroken FireStick Safe?
Apps on the Amazon App Store are vetted by Amazon before they are listed to prevent potentially unsafe apps. When you sideload or jailbreak FireStick, there is a possibility that you might unwittingly install something that contains malware. You must be aware of this risk and you must only get apps from sources you trust.
Can You Watch on Netflix For Free on a Jailbroken FireStick?
No. You still need a Netflix subscription even if you are using a jailbroken Fire TV Stick. Ditto for Hulu, HBO Max, and other paid streaming services.
How To Jailbreak Amazon FireStick?
“Jailbreaking” an Amazon FireStick is quite simple. You don’t need to install tools or third-party firmware. Here’s how to “jailbreak” a FireStick.
- Click on the Home button of your FireStick TV remote to go to the Home Screen.
- Go to Settings.
- Select My Fire TV from the options.
- Loof for Developer Options. If this is not available from the options, you must perform this extra step. Select About then hover on the Fire TV Stick button and press the OK button on your remote 7 times. When you click the back button now, Developer Options should appear.
- Select the Developer Options.
- Turn on ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources.
You have now successfully prepared your Amazon Fire TV Stick for sideloading. This means that you can install any third-party app that is not listed in the official store.
But before you can do that, you need to install an app that allows you to install third-party APK files. APK stands for Android Package. It is the file format that Android uses to distribute and install apps. Fire TV Stick is Android based so APK files will work with it.
Downloader is one of the most popular downloading apps that allows you to install third-party APK files. It is natively available on Amazon App Store.
Here is how to install Downloader on your Amazon FireStick.
- Go to the Home Screen of your Fire TV Stick by clicking on the Home button of your Fire TV Stick remote.
- Go to Find and then click on the Search button.
- Search for Downloader and then select it from the list of options.
- Click Download to install the app.
- Click Open to launch the app.
- It will prompt you with the message: Allow Downloader to access photos, media and files on your device? Click Allow.
- Now you are ready to install any app that is not listed on the official store.
Will Jailbreaking Work on All Versions of the Fire Stick?
Yes. You can change the developer option settings for all versions of the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Do You Need a VPN for Your Jailbroken FireStick?
If you are concerned with your privacy, then using VPN is an option for you. It can help you disguise your IP address when you use the internet and can help protect you from external attacks.
Another advantage of using a VPN is that it allows you to access content that is not available in your location since VPN disguises your IP address.
Many sideloaded apps on Fire TV Stick might pull geo-blocked or even pirated content, so having a VPN for a jailbroken FireStick just make sense.
Even so, you don’t even need to jailbreak your Fire TV Stick to install a VPN. Express VPN, Surfshark VPN, NordVPN, and more are natively available in the Amazon App Store. You do need a subscription for most VPNs though. There are free ones, but their options may be limited and they may not be as secure as the paid VPNs.
Even if you don’t have a jailbroken FireStick, a VPN can be helpful for you. For instance, some titles are not available on Netflix in your home country but are available in another.
What Are The Best Apps for a Jailbroken FireStick?
Here are some of the apps that you can sideload on your Fire TV Stick.
Kodi is an open-source software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on various devices. It can play any media- movies/tv shows, music, photos, and even games. However, Kodi itself does not contain any content. Users must provide their own content or manually configure Kodi to access third-party online services.
To access content, you need add-ons for your Kodi. Some add-ons for video streaming include Retrospect and Popcorn TV. Add-ons for games include ROM Collection Browser, DOS Box, and Atari Jaguar.
Film Plus provides high-quality links to films and TV shows.
How to Install Apps Using the Downloader
- Open the Downloader App.
- Select the Home Tab and click the URL field on the right.
- If you know the exact URL for your APK file, type it in the field and then click Go. If not you can type in the related keyword for your app and then choose it among the search results.
- Click Install when prompted.
- You will see a notification once the application has finished installing.
Tips For Jailbroken FireSticks
Because the apps installed for a Jailbroken FireStick is not vetted by the Amazon Fire TV Official Store, it is very possible to download malware on your device. Here are some tips to keep you safe.
- Get APK files from trusted sources only. Make a thorough research before downloading anything.
- Run the APK file in Virus Total to ensure that there is no hidden malware in the file.
Do You Really Need to Jailbreak Your FireStick?
Jailbreaking or sideloading Amazon Fire TV Stick seemed to be the only solution before when some streaming apps such as Peacock and HBO Max were not immediately available on the official store. But the companies involved have finally ironed out their deals. Now, all major streaming apps are available on Amazon App Store for the Fire TV Stick.
Aside from that, Amazon App store has thousands of streaming, gaming, and productivity apps available for the Fire TV Stick. Whatever you need might already be available in the official store.
Some people turn to jailbreaking to watch free movies and shows. However, there are several official apps for Fire TV Stick that already provide free content legally.
Sideloading Amazon Fire TV Stick carries some risk. For one, some APK files that you download may also have malware that will steal your personal and even your financial information. Also, some apps pull content from illegal sources so you can unwittingly commit a crime while using a jailbroken FireStick. That said, no individual user has ever gotten into trouble with watching illegally streamed movies as companies would rather go after the distributor.
If you’re like most people, a regular Fire TV Stick will be enough. If you don’t want to spend too much on streaming services, you don’t have to stay subscribed to all of them all at the same time. You can pause your subscription and try out another and resume subscription when you want to. You can also take advantage of the free content available on some apps.
If you are a gamer, there are also tons of games available for FireStick. For retro gamers, Retroarch is now officially available and you don’t have to sideload it.
But if you still need access to apps that are not officially listed in Amazon App Store, you can jailbreak your FireStick at your own risk.
Jailbroken FireStick is not like a jailbroken iPhone or gaming console. You don’t need to install special tools or custom firmware that will exploit the vulnerability of the device. You simply need to change some settings on your FireStick device. Technically, it is allowed by Amazon Fire TV Stick because they wouldn’t put the option to change them if they wanted to restrict them.
Nevertheless, jailbreaking or sideloading apps still carries some risk and you must be aware of them before deciding to enable the installation of unapproved apps. Always take precaution when installing unapproved third-party APKs.
If you don’t jailbreak your Amazon Fire TV Stick, you can still maximize your streaming device. You can choose from thousands of apps available on the official store. There are also a lot of free content that you can watch legally.