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Install FireStarter on Amazon Fire TV: alternative launcher

Install FireStarter on Amazon Fire TV

written by Anand October 13, 2015

This post shows how to install Fire Starter on Amazon Fire TV 2014 and 2015. Amazon released the all new Fire tV 2015 with 4K video, Fire OS 5, and a bunch of problems. One of the major issues with Fire TV 2 is that it kills the ability to create a working shortcut on homescreen for Kodi. This has annoyed many users, who now have to go to Settings -> Applications -> Managed Installed Applications to start Kodi. If you have known Amazon Fire TV then you may also know that opening sideloaded apps are not easy. You can install FireStarter on Amazon Fire TV and circumvent many of these annoyances.

Update (Apr 5, 2016): If you already updated to Fire OS v5.0.5.1 then FireStarter will not work on your Fire TV, since Amazon blacklisted FireStarter. However, this version of Fire OS will add sideloaded app icons to "Recent Menu" on homescreen, making launching apps like Kodi easier.
Update (Dec 22, 2015): There is now an easier method to install FireStarter on Fire TV without adbFire, ADB, or an external computer. All you need is your Fire TV that is all.
Update (Dec 20, 2015): Amazon Fire TV software update (5.0.4) has allowed sideloaded apps to appear in the Apps menu. Although this makes launching Kodi or other sideloaded apps easier, I still recommend using FireStarter.

New to Amazon Fire TV and Kodi? Check out: Beginner Blueprint: Complete Amazon Fire TV Kodi Guide. It covers everything you need to know on Amazon Fire TV Kodi setup.

FireStarter is an alternate launcher for Fire TV. It detects home button presses and presents to you with an app drawer screen that provides easy access to all sideloaded apps and optionally system apps.

Sideloaded Apps on FireStarter

Sideloaded Apps on FireStarter

When you press the home button FireStarter automatically displays the App Drawer to open sideloaded apps, as shown above. You can also make FireStarter display System Apps such as Prime Videos, Music, Photos, etc. if you Amazon Prime User giving you an Android-like interface to access all your apps. Best of all, FireStarter works without having to root your device. All features of FireStarter can be found on its GitHub page or this XDA thread.

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On the 2014 Fire TV Gen 1, FireStarter provides easy access to sideloaded apps. On the 2015 Fire TV Gen 2, FireStarter not only provides easy access to sideloaded apps but also enables you to start Kodi easily. Sold? Let us go ahead and install FireStarter on Fire TV box and stick. [Read: Amazon Fire TV 2014 vs Fire TV 2015: Why Gen 1 is better]

Method 1. Install FireStarter on Amazon Fire TV with adbFire

Update July 10, 2016: adbFire is now known as adbLink. In this article adbFire refers to adbLink.

The easiest way to setup FireStarter on FireTV is using the adbFire App. First, ensure that you have setup your Fire TV on adbFire app. With the current device selected and connected, click FireStarter button.

Setup FireStarter on FireTV using adbFire

Setup FireStarter on FireTV using adbFire

This should install FireStarter on Fire TV in a few seconds. However, I found that the adbFire app installed an older version of FireStarter that was not compatible with Fire OS 5. This may change in future when adbFire App is updated. The new adbFire 2.0 version installs the latest FireStarter. But I still recommend following method 2 described below to install FireStarter on new Fire TV 2015 to always get the latest version.

Method 2: Sideload FireStarter on Fire TV using adbFire

Installing FireStarter on AFTV with this method will ensure that you have the latest version of FireStarter. First, visit the FireStarter download page and download the latest .apk file. At the time of writing this guide it was v3.0. Save it to a known location on your computer.

Next, open adbFire app and connect adbFire to your Fire TV.

Install APK using adbFire App

Install APK using adbFire App

Click on “Install APK” and browse and choose the FireStarter APK file downloaded previously. After successful FireStarter installation you should see a confirmation message.

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Configuring FireStarter on AFTV

After you install FireStarter on Amazon Fire TV, disconnect your FireTV from adbFire App. FireStarter cannot function properly if adbFire connected to your Fire TV through adb. Then, navigate to Settings -> Applications -> Managed Installed Applications and open FireStarter. This should be last time you have to open any sideloaded app with these many clicks.

FireStarter Configuration for Fire TV

FireStarter Configuration for Fire TV

Navigate to the FireStarter Settings and ensure that you have the above items checked. By default, single home click opens FireStarter and double home click opens Amazon Fire TV home. Optionally, you can customize this behavior. Some users make double home click open Kodi for instance. Finally, click on “Open ADB Settings”, turn off ADB Debugging and turn it back on again. Then reboot your Fire TV by pressing “Select” and “Play / Pause” buttons for 5 seconds. [Read: 5 Must try Kodi skins for Amazon Fire TV]

That is it, you have now installed and configured Fire Starter for Fire TV. This method also works for Fire TV stick. FireStarter provides quick access to Amazon Fire TV apps. With Kodi homescreen shortcut not functioning (at this point) in Fire OS 5, FireStarter is the best way to not only launch Kodi but also any other sideloaded app easily. Go ahead install FireStarter on Amazon Fire TV and enjoy the added convenience.

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63 comments

Geo October 28, 2015 - 4:30 pm

Thank you so much, It worked!

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Anand October 28, 2015 - 7:55 pm

Welcome. Thanks for confirming.

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mikey November 11, 2015 - 11:23 pm

how do i install the beast onto kodi? i got kodi installed but the movies and everything arent showing up? have you heard of this?

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Anand November 12, 2015 - 10:51 am

You have to use a different skin and personalize it.

6 Best Kodi skins in 2015 to enhance your media center

Alternative you can install the beast as you suggested.

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Tobias November 29, 2015 - 5:55 am

Thanks a lot for the article about firestarter. it works perfectly.

by default firestarter is start-app on startup of the firetv.

i defined the following settings:
– a single home-click starts the “amazon fire home”.
– a double home-click starts kodi.
now i can switch easily between amazon and kodi. great!

if i set “amazon fire-home” as start-app (to start-up like a classic firetv), and try to switch between amazon and kodi by single/double-clicking the home button (metioned above) it does not work so far.
it seems that firestarter is not loaded in background, so the defined “hot-keys” will not work.

any ideas?

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Colin The Head November 29, 2015 - 7:30 am

Will this method work with the Amazon FireStick or is this specifically for the Amazon Fire TV? I have my kodi working and installed on the firestick but the several clicks through the settings menu to launch Kodi is a bit of a pain, easy for me but always manages to confuse the wife.

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Anand November 29, 2015 - 9:15 am

Yes.

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Donnie Collins November 29, 2015 - 9:03 pm

where do i fine fire starter apk download for a mac ? thank you

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Anand November 30, 2015 - 12:41 pm

The links in the article will work for mac as well.

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Andreas November 30, 2015 - 6:47 pm

Hi,

I have downloaded the apk and I am using adbfire to install it. However, it won’t install, it just says adb running whilst the bar fills up and then returns to empty.

Any suggestions most welcome

Thanks

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Anand December 1, 2015 - 2:03 pm

please open a support request on our forum and post pictures or relevant information to help you out.

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Jason January 19, 2016 - 11:03 pm

Mine keeps doing the same thing. I abandoned the idea of installing it.

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Anand January 23, 2016 - 8:24 am Reply
Justin December 5, 2015 - 8:44 am

Their is another way to load this as well without having to use abdfire. A person could just download as es file explorer app on fire TV/stick. That my be easier for some folks to understand, and is faster as well.

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Anand December 5, 2015 - 9:59 am

Yes, in fact just this morning we published a post on it: How to install Kodi on Fire TV without adb and computer?

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Bryan December 20, 2015 - 5:28 am

Can you create a shortcut to the home screen without using a computer or adb?

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Anand December 20, 2015 - 8:04 am

Yes, check: Installing Firestarter using ES File Explorer. The process is similar to this: How to install Kodi on Fire TV without adb and computer?

EDIT (Dec 22, 2015): here is an easier method to install FireStarter: Install FireStarter on Fire TV without adb and computer

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Virg January 30, 2016 - 9:47 am

I tried installing firestarter without a computer several times and it did not work with fire tv 2nd gen. I found a video using the computer just like your instructions and it worked on my first try. Thx

Chad December 18, 2015 - 9:57 pm

Hello, I installed Kodi onto my firestick without using a pc thanks to your guide. Is there a way to install fire starter without using a pc as well? Thanks

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Anand December 20, 2015 - 8:07 am

Yes, a guide will be published this week.

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Jason Rozell December 26, 2015 - 6:38 pm

Very well written. Easy to follow directions. Thank you Anand. On my settings, I went a little further and set up a single click on the home button to open Firestarter and a double home button click to open Kodi. So much easier. Thank you again. I look forward to reading more of your tutorials.

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Deshawn December 29, 2015 - 10:04 pm

Will the firestick work in another location after you have installed the firestarter? Or does it have to be under the same IP address?

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Anand December 30, 2015 - 8:31 am

It will work anywhere. But if you are trying to connect adbFire to it then you will have to use the correct/new IP address.

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Virg January 30, 2016 - 9:52 am

Is adbfire an alternative name for firestarter? If so, where do I change the ip address? Thx.

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Anand January 30, 2016 - 10:49 am

No adbFire is not FireStarter. They are different. FireStarter just makes launching sideloaded apps easy. adbFire connects to Fire TV to sideload apps among other things.

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David January 21, 2016 - 10:14 pm

I have a special question, How can i make kodi autostart on the fire stick bypassing everything now that adbfire no longer supports llama options?

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Anand January 23, 2016 - 8:18 am

FireStarter has an option to autostart kodi or other apps.

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Staff February 24, 2016 - 6:43 pm

Just tried this to the letter and its stopped my firestick from working. Get no response from the remote. So now i can’t even get to the setting to get rid of firestarter. Tried using Adbfire to see if i could uninstall it that way. No joy as it says the Firestick is offline when i can clearly see it doing sod all on the tv. Can’t even reset it as it’s responding to the remote. DO NOT INSTALL

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Anand February 25, 2016 - 4:12 pm

never had this happen. Did you try the amazon fire tv remote app on your smartphone?

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David February 25, 2016 - 10:49 am

Any1 had any trouble downloading firestarter with GitHub?

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Anand February 25, 2016 - 1:03 pm

Don’t use GitHub. Fire TV / ES File Explorer cannot download APK Files. Check my other post: Install FireStarter on Fire TV without adb and computer

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Tom February 25, 2016 - 2:06 pm

I just got my Amazon Fire TV and side loaded Kodi. I wanted to install Firestarter with adb, but it is no longer an option apparently. There is no Firestarter button. I found it in the File menu though. After an hour of watching the progress bar go across the bottom and restart, I decided it probably needed a reboot and I had to get back from lunch. I’ll try again this evening.

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Anand February 25, 2016 - 4:09 pm Reply
Ryan March 1, 2016 - 9:37 pm

I have used ADB Fire for sometime now but i tried to connect to my fire tv today and it does not connect at all. I heard that there is an issue with the OS 5 on the fire tv that blocks any side loading. Do you know a way to get ADB Fire to work again?

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Alejandro March 6, 2016 - 12:00 am

Hello, I do not think that’s the issue. Do you get any error message or any other response from either the computer or the Amazon Fire TV? Thanks!

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Nick March 23, 2016 - 9:21 am

I cannot for the life of me get adbFire to connect to my FireTV. Did an OS upgrade break this?
I tried turning ADB on/off, restarting etc, nothing. Any ideas?

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Alejandro March 27, 2016 - 12:10 pm

Hello, does it show any sort of message when you try this? Please, if you could post your issue in our htpcBeginner Support Forums, so it can be properly troubleshooted, that would be great. Thank you!

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Onedah March 23, 2016 - 4:39 pm

I have installed firetv and configured both single and doulbe click however when I single click it goes to the Amazon Home tab and not Kodi? Is there any known issues with this method?

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Alejandro March 27, 2016 - 12:13 pm

Hello, this can be configured in the Home Button Single Click behaviour option of FireStarter. Make sure no action option is not selected. Instead, it should be a proper option, such as the app you want to start when pressing the home button. Please let us know if this solves your issue. Thanks!

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Steven Ancel March 27, 2016 - 4:51 am

Is there a way to have folders?

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Alejandro March 29, 2016 - 1:53 am

Hello, could you please reformulate your question?

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Greg Torres April 1, 2016 - 1:38 am

Could I install firestarter on a Android Box ?

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Anand April 4, 2016 - 8:34 pm

No. FireStarter is for Fire TV but you could install other launchers.

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Carlos April 6, 2016 - 10:07 pm

after update to Fire OS v5.0.5.1, I can only launch Kodi (14.2) via ES File explorer.
Kodi does not show in “Recent Menu”, can someone help?

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Alejandro April 8, 2016 - 12:32 pm

Hello, if you have used Kodi recently, it should show up on the Recent Menu of your AFTV. Not sure what could be causing it, but try using Kodi normally for some time (through ES File Explorer if there’s no other option) and see if it appears. I do not think it has been blocked by Amazon but will keep an eye on it to see if that’s not the case. Thanks for commenting.

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smooth1234 April 8, 2016 - 9:55 am

Is this still working the fireStarter will not open at all even after i downloaded the file and unzip it and hit open?

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Alejandro April 8, 2016 - 12:29 pm

Hello, a recent update to Amazon Fire TV firmware prevents FireStarter from working. Amazon blacklisted FireStarter in their 5.0.5.1 firmware version.

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WAV April 8, 2016 - 10:47 am

Kodi is also blocked by Amazon or maybe just unavailable on their store. So why block FireStarter but not Kodi?

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Anand April 8, 2016 - 11:00 am

FireStarter modifies system level behavior by interfering with ADB. Amazon has Ads on Fire TV Homescreen. Using FireStarter will mean users will not use Fire TV homescreen. So no ads and no video purchases/subscriptions.

This is quite possibly the reason FireStarter was blocked. So was the previous FiredTV.

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Manuel April 10, 2016 - 12:00 am

Hello, just wanted to know since Amazon blacklisted FireStarter, is this the reason why I can make the Home Button 1 Click do what I want but the 2 Click takes me to Your Favorite Library even if I have set it to take me to the FireStarter Page? Is this a issue since the FireStarter was blacklisted?

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Alejandro April 12, 2016 - 11:36 am

Yes, unfortunately this is a direct consequence of the 5.0.5.1 update to Amazon Fire TV firmware.

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James April 14, 2016 - 1:06 am

Just set up new Firetv. Sideloaded apps (kodi) no longer appear under the Recent menu.

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Anand April 15, 2016 - 10:17 am

It appeared for me and many others. As tedious as it sounds, try factory resetting and starting from scratch.

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Deljuan April 15, 2016 - 6:05 pm

Is there a work around to get Firestarter working on 5.0.5.1 firmware?

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Alejandro April 17, 2016 - 9:27 pm

Hello, look into a software called FireStopper. Hope it helps!

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Deljuan April 19, 2016 - 11:40 am

Thanks

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Rick May 8, 2016 - 7:24 am

Just installed Kodi 16 using adbFire on my new FireTV box
Do I need to install Firestarter ? ………..
and if so is it compatible with latest version of FireTV and Kodi 16?

(new to this so sorry for basic Q)

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Alejandro May 11, 2016 - 9:26 pm

Hello, Amazon blacklisted FireStarter in a recent update. If you’re using Kodi, you might find this article interesting: Did Amazon block Kodi? This update suggests otherwise

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Luis F Fuentes Jr May 10, 2016 - 1:20 pm

Hi! I am trying ti install fire starter in my fire stick but no success I already installed the ES File Explorer I am trying to get the Beast back on my firestick my girlfriend ruined it so I took everything back to factory settings and I’m starting from scratch I’m not a computer person but I am trying my very best I can use some help if anyone’s willing to help me I appreciate it and thank you so much

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Alejandro May 11, 2016 - 9:55 pm Reply
Dax May 16, 2016 - 9:27 am

FIRE OS 5.0.3.1

As of 5th May 2016, I installed Kodi 16.1. successfully, but it’s not appearing in “recent:” or “apps” so can’t be run – wondering if anyone has a fix for this?

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Alejandro May 16, 2016 - 10:12 am

Hello, this is indeed rare. Try reinstalling it and see if the patch Amazon introduced with that update puts it on recent apps automatically. Keep us posted!

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alan lees August 26, 2016 - 1:38 pm

how does one make it kickup a specific app, im sure this feature was in the old one..?

Reply

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