So you woke up on Christmas morning to find a new Fire tablet sitting under the tree, and now you’re wondering – what do you do first? The company’s tablets run Android, down to some Amazon-branded software, making them perfect for all kinds of customization. If you don’t know where to start, here are seven things you should do with your Fire device right away.
install play store
is amazon appstore Excellent, especially when paired with web apps via the Silk browser. But let’s be honest – the Play Store is second to none, especially when you’re trying to install essential apps like Gmail and YouTube. You won’t find any of Google’s apps on the Play Store, making it a go-to for power users and Android newcomers alike.
Fortunately, setting up the Play Store on any Amazon Fire tablet is very easy, only requiring about ten minutes of your time and four downloaded APKs. We have a super-hands walkthrough that walks you through every step of the process, so be sure to check it out after you unbox your tablet. The Amazon Appstore works in a pinch, but for most of us, the Play Store is an absolute must.
Get all your favorite apps and games
Once you’ve installed the Play Store, it’s time to start downloading apps. Whether it’s your first Android device or you’re a seasoned expert, you probably have a good idea of what software you need on your tablet.
Google apps are no-brainers – YouTube, Gmail, Chrome and Google Photos are all-day downloads for us, but you can have your own list, too. If you’re using a Fire tablet for school, be sure to grab apps like Drive, Docs, and Sheets. Meanwhile, Google Meet and Calendar are essential for anyone working from home. Don’t forget to grab Google Opinion Rewards, which can earn you some free Play Store credits by filling out a few surveys.
That said, you know what’s better than some boring old productivity apps? Games – and the Play Store is full of them. We’ve got no shortage of guides rounding up the best games on Android right now, with selections like Baba Is You and Dead Cells that you’ll never find on Amazon’s Appstore. If you’re out of Play Store credits, no worries — there are plenty of incredible free-to-play games out there, including Pokémon Unite and Us Us.
switch your home screen
Amazon’s home screen doesn’t look like any other Android device — but it doesn’t have to stay that way. The Play Store is loaded with launchers, perfect for bringing back that classic look and feel to your new tablet.
If you’re looking for a “stock Android” experience as much as possible – whatever that means in 2021, anyway – Nova Launcher might be worth your time. The Lawnchair is also a fan favorite, thanks to its Pixel-inspired design. However, if you’re looking to try something new, Niagara Launcher is well worth your time. Its simplified take on the home screen works really well on a tablet-sized display.
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t let you set a default launcher in its Settings menu, which means a few extra steps are required to get it working. Using adb commands to set the default launcher on a Fire tablet isn’t too difficult, and our guide walks you through every step of the process. It uses Lawnchair to demonstrate the way you replace your home screen, but with an additional third-party app, it’s also super simple to get into services like Nova or Niagara.
Or make the most of the Amazon experience
Setting up a default launcher is a lot of work, and if you’re not comfortable using adb commands to modify your Fire tablet, it may not be worth it. Amazon’s home screen experience may not feel like classic Android, but if you take a few minutes to customize it, it really isn’t too bad — especially if you’re a Prime subscriber.
With three tabs – For You, Home and Library – Amazon’s setup for the big-screen experience is a whole lot simpler. You can get rid of any ads or suggested content at the top of the Home tab, leaving only the list of your installed apps, by tapping on, and selecting “Not Interested.” It may not be immediately obvious, but you can easily create folders by dragging apps on top of each other or by hitting an icon and uninstalling (most) unwanted software.
The Library tab is where you’ll see synced Kindle purchases, apps, and games from the Appstore, Prime Video content, and even Audible selections — and you can customize it all using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Huh. There’s also a filter to display downloaded content only if you’ve been offline for an extended period.
Provides suggested content from Amazon-owned services, along with trending videos and app suggestions for you. You will either find this page extremely useful or will never use it, with virtually no interruptions. After all, your home screen is what you make of it, and even without a third-party launcher, there’s plenty of room for customization.
Make sure you go into the Settings menu to toggle off Home screen stuff you don’t want to see. This list includes calendar events, news, photo highlights, recipes, and more. Some of it may be of interest to you, but if it isn’t, there’s no reason to have it on your home screen. And hey, while you’re in the Settings menu, it’s a great time to check out some basic adjustments like font size and the blue light filter.
Sync your smart home gadgets
You may see a small icon in the lower-left corner of your display. This toggle lets you access Amazon’s “Device Dashboard,” which is the perfect way to control all of your Alexa-compatible smart home gadgets. If you’ve already synced certain devices with Alexa, they’ll appear here, ready for you to use. Everything else can be added to the pre-installed Alexa app, whether it’s another Amazon-made device or a third-party utility from companies like TP-Link.
You can assign favorites, browse through specific categories, create routines, and even control all your lights with a single toggle. The device dashboard is an essential use for anyone obsessed with making their home a little smarter, and it only takes a few minutes to set up.
set up profile
Works great with Amazon profiles, providing a personalized experience no matter how many people share the device. You can set up profiles in your tablet’s Settings menu, adding both adult and kid-friendly accounts. The Family Library makes it easy to sync purchased content with each other, while Amazon’s handy Screen Time tool helps keep your child focused without too many distractions.
Unfortunately, the Play Store isn’t shared between profiles, though you can fix this with some free time and elbow grease. We have some easy-to-follow instructions on how to get the Play Store working on all accounts, but be careful — this process isn’t for the faint of heart.
Make it the perfect Echo Show alternative
Last but certainly not least, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 devices can double as Echo Show alternatives, making them the perfect gadgets to throw in the kitchen, living room, or just about anywhere around your home. . Simply take a stand to elevate your tablet to the surface of your choice, then swipe down from the top of the device to open the quick settings menu. Toggle on “Show Mode” and right before your eyes, your Fire tablet will turn into an Echo Show.
To use “Show Mode,” you’ll need to enable Alexa on your device. This works best when “hands-free mode” is also on – otherwise, it’s very difficult to issue voice commands. You can access show-specific settings by tapping on the gear icon in the notification panel when this mode is enabled.
If you already have an Echo Show in your home, you will feel at home with this UI. When your home screen rotates between clock, weather, news, and more, swiping right opens a control panel with quick commands. Whether you’re trying to load up Prime Originals or looking for a cookie recipe to start baking, “Show Mode” gives you everything you need to use your Fire tablet hands-free.
We’re only scratching the surface of what your Fire tablet is capable of accomplishing. As limited as this experience may seem from the start, a whole world of possibilities opens up with just a few extra steps. Who knows – you might even forget that it’s not running stock Android after a few days.
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