7 things to do with your new Amazon Fire tablet


So you woke up Christmas morning to find a brand-new Fire Tablet sitting under the tree, and now you’re wondering — what do you do first? Underneath some Amazon-branded software, the company’s slate of tablets run Android, making them perfect for all sorts of customization. If you don’t know where to start, here are the seven things you should do right away with your Fire device.

Install the Play Store

The Amazon Appstore is fine, especially when combined with web apps through the Silk browser. But let’s be honest — there’s no replacing the Play Store, especially when you’re trying to install must-have apps like Gmail and YouTube. You won’t find any of Google’s applications on the Play Store, making this an essential step for power users and Android newcomers alike.

Luckily, installing the Play Store on any of Amazon’s Fire tablets is super simple, only requiring about ten minutes of your time and four downloaded APKs. We have a super-handy walkthrough that takes you through every step of the process, so make sure to check it out after unboxing your tablet. The Amazon Appstore works in a pinch, but for most of us, the Play Store is absolutely essential.

Get all of your favorite apps and games

Once you have the Play Store installed, it’s time to start downloading apps. Whether this is your first Android device or you’re a seasoned expert, you probably have a good idea of what software you want on your tablet.

Google apps are a no-brainer — YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, and Google Photos are all day-one downloads for us, but you might have your own list too. If you’re using a Fire Tablet for school, make 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 net you some free Play Store credit just by filling out some surveys.

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That said, you know what’s better than some boring old productivity apps? Games — and the Play Store is chock full of them. We have 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 credit, no worries — there are plenty of incredible free-to-play games worth checking out as well, including Pokemon Unite and Among Us.

Switch up your home screen

Amazon’s home screen doesn’t look much like any other Android device — but it doesn’t have to stay that way. The Play Store is filled with launchers, perfect for bringing that classic look and feel back to your new tablet.

If you’re looking for as close to a “stock Android” experience as possible — whatever that means in 2021, anyway — Nova Launcher might be worth your time. 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.

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Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow you to set a default launcher within its settings menu, which means some extra steps are necessary to get this to work. Using ADB commands to set a default launcher on Fire tablets isn’t super hard, and our guide walks you through every step of the process. It uses Lawnchair to demonstrate how to replace your home screen, but with an additional third-party app, moving to services like Nova or Niagara is super simple as well.

Or make the most of Amazon’s experience

Setting a default launcher is a lot of work, and if you aren’t comfortable using ADB commands to modify your Fire Tablet, it might 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’s actually not too bad — especially if you’re a Prime subscriber.

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With three tabs — For You, Home, and Library — Amazon’s setup is perfectly simplified for a big-screen experience. You can get rid of any advertisements or suggested content on the top of the Home tab by tapping, holding, and selecting “Not Interested,” leaving just your list of installed apps. It might not be immediately apparent, but you can easily create folders by dragging apps on top of each other or uninstall unwanted (most) unwanted software by pressing and holding on an icon.

The Library tab is where you’ll spot synced Kindle purchases, apps and games from the Appstore, Prime Video content, and even Audible selections — and you can customize it all using the button at the bottom of this page. There’s also a filter to only display downloaded content, just in case you’re offline for an extended period.

For You offers suggested content from Amazon-owned services, along with trending videos and app suggestions. You’ll either find this page extremely useful or never use it, with virtually no in-between. Ultimately, 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 head into the settings menu to toggle off home screen content you might not want to see. This list includes calendar events, news, photo highlights, recipes, and more. Some of it might be of interest to you, but if it’s not, there’s no reason to keep it on your home screen. And hey, while you’re in the settings menu, it’s a great time to check off some basic adjustments, like font size and blue light filters.

Sync your smart home gadgets

You might’ve noticed a little icon showing up in the lower-left corner of your display. This toggle lets you access Amazon’s “Device Dashboard,” the perfect method for controlling all of your Alexa-compatible smart home gadgets. If you’ve already synced some devices with Alexa, they’ll show up here, ready for your use. Everything else can be added in the pre-installed Alexa app, no matter whether it’s another Amazon-made device or a third-party utility from companies like TP-Link.

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You can assign favorites, browse through specific categories, build routines, and even control all of your lights with a single toggle. Device Dashboard is a must-use for anyone obsessed with making their home a little smarter, and it only takes a couple of minutes to set up.

Set up profiles

Amazon does a great job with profiles, offering a personalized experience no matter how many people share the device. You can set up profiles in the settings menu of your tablet, adding both adult and child-friendly accounts. Family Library makes it easy to sync purchased content with one another, while Amazon’s handy screen time tools help to keep your kid focused without too many distractions.

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Unfortunately, the Play Store isn’t shared between profiles, though you can fix that with some spare time and a little bit of elbow grease. We have some easy-to-follow instructions on how to get the Play Store working on all accounts, but be warned — this process is not 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 gadget to throw in the kitchen, living room, or anywhere else around your house. Just grab a stand for your tablet to prop it up on the surface of your choosing, 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 transform into an Echo Show.

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To use “Show Mode,” you must enable Alexa on your device. It works best when “Hands-Free Mode” is also turned on — otherwise, issuing voice commands is a whole lot harder. You can access Show-specific settings by tapping on the gear icon in the notification panel while this mode is enabled.

If you already have an Echo Show in your house, you’ll feel right at home with this UI. A swipe to the right opens a control panel with quick commands while your home screen rotates between the clock, weather, news, and more. Whether you’re trying to load up a Prime Original or look for cookie recipes to start baking, “Show Mode” gives you everything you need to use your Fire Tablet hands-free.

We’re only scratching the surface on what your Fire Tablet is capable of accomplishing. As limited as this experience might seem from the start, a whole world of possibilities open up with just a couple of extra steps. Who knows — you might even forget it’s not running stock Android after just a few days.

About The Author

Will Sattelberg (770 Articles Published)

Will has been an Android enthusiast since he got his first smartphone in 2011. He loves watching movies, has a never-ending backlog of video games, and produces a comedy podcast in his spare time. He lives in Buffalo, NY and is willing to give you chicken wing recommendations at any time. Just ask.

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