Amazon’s slightly-larger Fire HD 8 tablet is a bit more expensive than the entry-level Fire Tablet, but it comes with a faster processor and a higher-resolution display that’s well worth the cost. However, it still comes with the same Fire OS interface and restrictions that only give you access to the Amazon Appstore. Here’s how to install the Google Play Store on the newer Fire HD 8 and get access to a lot more apps and games.
This method doesn’t require rooting the device, nor does it require a PC to do the legwork—everything is done right on the tablet itself.
Make sure that your Fire HD 8 is on version 18.104.22.168 and not the latest 5.3.2. You can check what version you have by going into Settings > Device Options > System Updates and looking at the version number at the top of the screen. This might work on 5.3.2, but no one has tested it publicly yet, so do it at your own risk if you’re on the latest version. However, I updated my tablet to 5.3.2 after I installed the Google Play Store and it still works fine—we’re just not sure if installing it while on 5.3.2 would work. (If you try it and it works, let us know in the comments and we’ll update this article!)
Also, go into Settings > Security and enable “Apps from Unknown Sources”. This will allow you to install the necessary APK files that will give you the Google Play Store.
Next, there are four .APK files you’ll need to download, using the built-in Silk browser on your tablet. The easiest way to do this is to open up this tutorial in the Silk browser and click on the links below, which will take you to the download pages. These come from APK Mirror, an established and trustworthy source for Android APKs.
To download each APK file, click on the link, scroll down, and tap on “Download APK”.
The download will start shortly. When it does, a pop-up will appear saying that this type of file can harm your device (don’t worry—it won’t). Tap on “OK” when the pop-up appears.
After each file downloads, do the same thing for the next APK file until all four files are downloaded.
Close out of the Silk browser and open up the built-in file manager app on your Fire table called “Docs”.
Tap on “Local Storage”.
Select the “Downloads” folder.
Your APK files will appear in this folder. Simply tap on one to begin installing it. Be sure to install the APK files in the order that you downloaded them from the list above. In other words, install the Google Account Manager APK first, then the Google Services Framework APK, followed by the Google Play Services APK, and then the Google Play Store APK to finish it out.
On the next screen, confirm the installation by tapping on “Install” at the bottom. Toward the upper-left corner it will say which APK you’re installing, so again, make sure you install them in the right order.
Repeat this process for each APK file until all four are installed. Once that’s done, the Google Play Store app will appear on the home screen of your Fire HD 8 tablet. Open it up, log in with your Google account, and download some apps!
Thanks to Gilly10 on the XDA-Developers forums for providing this method. If you need troubleshooting help, head over to the XDA-Developers forum thread for more information.
Craig Lloyd is TIME Magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year, as well as a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, Marvel fanboy, and a proud introvert. He began his career as a young, naive teenager tinkering around with the family computer and has since blossomed into the beautiful geek he is today.