If you’ve already loaded Kodi onto your Amazon Fire TV Stick, then you already know how annoying the installation process can be.  In 2015, Amazon removed Kodi from the Amazon app store. As a result, getting Kodi installed on a Fire TV Stick device became a fairly hard thing to do.

Fortunately, a new app is out that eliminates the need to go through a complicated process when installing or updating Kodi on Fire TV Stick. The app is free and it’s called AppStarter. Read on to find out where to get AppStarter and how to use it.

Before you proceed

We highly recommend using a VPN anytime you use Kodi. Kodi streamers have been known to receive copyright infringement notices for watching movies, sports, and TV shows through various addons.  If you would like to keep your streaming habits private, our recommendation is IPVanish – a complete privacy solution for Kodi users.

kodi security



Upgrading Kodi the easy way

With the new, free ap called AppStarter, updating to the latest version of Kodi is a cinch. All you have to do is press a button, and AppStarter does the rest of the work for you.

To get AppStarter, you’ll need to get some kind of file management program.  One of the best ones out there is ES File Explorer.  ES File Explorer is also totally free and it’s available in the Amazon app store.

Once you have ES File Explorer, all you have to do is open it up and add http://fireunleashed.com/as as a favorite.  Then, you can download and install the AppStarter installation file.  After you install AppStarter, you can upgrade or install Kodi by clicking updates from AppStarter’s main menu screen.

Read on for a detailed guide that’ll walk you through every step of the AppStarter installation process.

Step 1: Adjust your system settings

Before you download AppStarter, you’ll need to tell your Fire TV Stick that it’s okay to install files from sources other than the Amazon app store.  To accomplish this, first go to your main menu.  Then, go to settings and click system.  Next, click developer options.  This should bring you to the screen depicted below.

A screenshot of Amazon Fire TV Stick's developer options menu.
A screenshot of Amazon Fire TV Stick’s developer options menu.

Enable adb debugging and install apps from unknown sources.

Note: If you’ve already installed Kodi, odds are that these two settings are already in the blue “on” position.  But if they’re off, you’ll need to turn them back on again.  

Step 2: Download ES File Explorer

If you have followed our recommended method for installing Kodi on Amazon Fire TV Stick, you should already have ES File Explorer installed on your system.  But if you installed Kodi via a different method, you’ll need to download ES File Explorer now.

ES File Explorer is similar to Windows File Explorer, or MacOS Finder.  It allows you to access files directly, instead of going through the Amazon Fire TV user interface.  ES File Explorer is free and fairly easy to use.  You can find it in the Amazon app store by searching for it from the main menu.

Searching for ES File Explorer in the Amazon app store via Amazon Fire TV Stick’s search bar.

The icon for the ES File Explorer app is a blue folder with a white cloud in front of it.

The ES File Explorer icon consists of a blue folder, a cloud and the ES logo.

Click the ES File Explorer icon, then click the yellow download button to install ES Explorer on your system.

Step 3: Add a link to the AppStarter installer

Once ES File Explorer is finished installing, open it up.  Then, open up the favorites menu and click add.  You should see a screen that looks similar to the one depicted below.

This is what ES File Explorer’s “add to favorites” menu looks like.

Type the following address into the path box: http://fireunleashed.com/as

Then, click the box labeled name and type in fire.  Finally, click add.

Note: Make sure that you type the exact address mentioned above into the path box.  If you make a typo, you won’t be able to download the AppStarter installation files.

Step 4: Download the AppStarter installer

Now that you’ve set up a link to the AppStarter installation files from within ES File Explorer, it’s time to download them.

First, go back to the ES File Explorer main page and scroll down until you see the link to your fire favorite.  You’ll see it listed in the menu on the left side of the page.

Your screen should now look like this:

The favorite you created in the previous step pulls up a webpage that contains a link to the AppStarter installer.

Use the arrow keys on your remote to move over to where it says “click here to install AppStarter.”  Scroll up a little bit and then move over to the right side of the screen once you’re near the top of the menu.

Once you click the download link, your Fire TV Stick will download the AppStarter installation file.  When the file is finished downloading, your screen will look like this:

This is a screenshot of the download success box in ES File Explorer.

Step 5: Run the AppStarter installer

After you reach the download completion box, you’ll see two options: open folder and open file.  The option you want to choose is open file.

Once you opt to open the file from within ES File Explorer, your screen should look like this:

This is what the AppStarter installation file looks like when you pull it up in ES File Explorer.

Use the arrows on your Fire TV Stick remote to move over to the AppStarter installation file.  Once you’re there, just click the AppStarter installation file and then choose install.

Step 6: Update Kodi

After you’re finished installing AppStarter, you’ll be able to use it to install Kodi.  When you open up AppStarter, your screen should look like this:

To get install or update Kodi via AppStarter, all you have to do is click the updates menu option on the left side of the screen.

Choose updates from the menu on the left.  If you have Kodi v16.1 installed, this is what you’ll see:

This is a screenshot of AppStarter’s updates menu.

Just click update to latest version to upgrade to Kodi v17.1.  That’s really all there is to it!

Note: If you don’t have Kodi yet, you’ll see a yellow box on the right menu that’s labeled install.  Click that to install the latest version of Kodi on your Fire TV Stick.

Step 7:  Install a VPN

This step is optional, but highly recommended.

If you want to be discrete when you use 3rd party Kodi video plugins, a good VPN is definitely the way to go.  Without a VPN, your internet provider can see what you’re streaming through Kodi.

Right now, the legal status of streaming could best be described as “it’s complicated.” Some streaming addons are perfectly legal, but others cross the line.  That’s why we always recommend that you turn on a VPN before you use any of the 3rd party addons that we cover here at AddonHQ.

As mentioned above, our VPN of choice is IPVanish.  IPVanish has a lot going for it, including the fact that it’s one of the fastest VPN services that we’ve encountered so far. Another thing that we like about IPVanish is that it works on pretty much any platform under the sun, including Amazon Fire TV Stick.

To install IPVanish on an Amazon Fire TV Stick, you’ll need to use ES File Explorer to download and open the IPVanish Fire TV Stick installation file.  You can do this by creating a ES File Explorer favorite that will link you to the IPVanish installation file.  Here’s the link to the page you’ll need to download IPVanish: https://www.ipvanish.com/vpn-setup/android/.

Once you open up the IPVanish webpage inside of ES File Explorer, just click the button labeled direct APK download to get the IPVanish installation file.  When the file is finished downloading, just open it up and click install.

Click direct APK download to get the installation files.

After the installation process is complete, you’ll need to sign up with IPVanish and create an account.  IPVanish isn’t free, but it’s fairly cheap.  The normal starting price for IPVanish is $6.49 a month, but you can get IPVanish for only $4.87 per month when you use your AddonHQ discount to sign up.

Why you should upgrade

To get the most out of your Kodi experience we recommend that you upgrade to Kodi 17 as soon as possible.  3rd party developers are designing their addons and builds to work with Kodi Krypton.  If you download and try out the addons we cover on this site, they may not work if you stick to Kodi 16.

Kodi 17 features an array of bug fixes, plus new skins, better mobile compatibility, a revamped settings interface and an improved music library.

Brand new skins

For 7 years, Kodi has stuck with the familiar blue and black skin known as Confluence.  But in Kodi Krypton, the Kodi developers implemented two new default skins: Estuary and Estouchy.  Here’s a few examples of what Estuary looks like:

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A screenshot of Kodi’s new skin, Estuary. Source: Kodi.tv

Looks better on mobile devices and big screens

As its name suggests, Estouchy is a mobile version of Estuary that’s specifically designed to accommodate mobile Kodi users.

In Estouchy, the Kodi logo on the top left corner of the screen takes you to the Kodi main menu when you touch it.  Clicking/toutching the name of your media automatically switches you into a fullscreen display. Additionally, there are 12 home screen shortcuts you can configure for easy access to addons.

Estouchy isn’t just for mobile devices.  It also looks pretty good on a big screen TV, making it an attractive reason to upgrade if you use a Fire TV Stick to run Kodi.

An improved settings interface

The new settings menu is a lot easier to use.  The menu options are clearer and the user interface is far more intuitive.

Kodi v17 Krypton
A screenshot of Kodi’s new skin, Estuary.  Source: Kodi.tv

 

Read more AddonHQ Amazon Fire TV Stick guides

Want to know more about how sideloading works?  Interested in getting Google Play? Having issues with AppStarter?  If the answer to any of those questions was yes, you may want to check out some of our other Amazon Fire TV guides.

Everything you need to know about sideloading

Now that you know the basics of how sideloading works with Amazon Fire TV and ES File Explorer, you can install all kinds of different apps that you can’t access via the official Amazon store.  You can get Firefox, Adobe Flash, the video game console emulator Retro Arch and lots of other apps that are unavailable on the official Amazon App Store if you sideload them onto your device.  For more information about sideloading, read our ultimate sideloading guide:

How to get Google Play

For many technical reasons, Google Play doesn’t always play nice with Fire TV Stick.  But if you want to give it a shot anyway, get the info about how to install Google Play here:

Alternative ways to install Kodi 

If for whatever reason you can’t install AppStarter on your Fire TV Stick, there are a few other ways that you can get Kodi.  Check out this guide for a detailed summary of all known Kodi sideloading methods.