So you woke up on Christmas morning to find a brand new tablet of fire sitting under the tree, and now you are wondering: what do you do first? Under some Amazon-branded software, the company’s line of tablets run Android, making them perfect for all kinds of customization. If you don’t know where to start, here are the seven things you should do with your Fire device right away.
Install the Play Store
The Amazon Appstore is fine, especially when paired with web applications through the Silk browser. But let’s be honest, there’s no substitute for 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 apps on the Appstore, making it an essential stopover for power users and newcomers to Android.
Fortunately, installing the Play Store on one of Amazon’s Fire tablets is very straightforward, requiring only ten minutes of your time and four downloaded APKs. We have a very handy walkthrough that walks you through every step of the way, 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 absolutely essential.
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 ââwhat software you want on your tablet.
Google apps are a no-brainer – YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, and Google Photos are daily downloads for us, but you can also have your own list. 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 free Play Store credit just by completing surveys.
That said, you know what’s better than boring old productivity apps? Games – and the Play Store is full of them. There’s no shortage of guides bringing together the best games on Android right now, with selections like Baba is You and Dead Cells you’ll never find on the Amazon Appstore. If you’re out of Play Store credit, don’t worry, there are also plenty of amazing free games worth checking out including Pokemon Unite and Among Us.
Change your home screen
Amazon’s home screen is unlike any other Android device, but it doesn’t have to be. The Play Store is full of launchers, perfect for bringing the classic look and feel of your new tablet.
If you’re looking for a “stock Android” experience that’s as close as it gets – 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 interpretation of the home screen works great on a tablet-sized screen.
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow you to set a default launcher in its settings menu, which means some extra steps are required for it to work. Using ADB commands to set a default launcher on Fire tablets isn’t very difficult, and our guide walks you every step of the way. It uses Lawnchair to show you how to replace your homescreen, but with an additional third-party app, switching to services like Nova or Niagara is also very easy.
Or take advantage of the Amazon experience
Setting a default launcher is a lot of work, and if you’re not comfortable with ADB commands to modify your Fire Tablet, it might not be worth it. Amazon’s home screen experience may not look like regular Android, but if you take a few minutes to customize it, it’s actually not too bad, especially if you’re a subscriber. Premium.
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 at the top of the Home tab by tapping, holding and selecting “Not Interested”, leaving only 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 uninstalling unwanted (most) unwanted software with a long press 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 playlists – and you can customize everything using the button at the bottom of this page. There is also a filter to show only downloaded content, just in case you are offline for an extended period.
For You offers content suggestions from Amazon-owned services, as well as trending videos and app suggestions. Either you will find this page extremely useful, or you will never use it, with hardly any middleman. 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 to head to the settings menu to turn off home screen content that you might not want to see. This list includes calendar events, news, photo highlights, recipes, and more. Some of them might interest you, but if not, there’s no reason to keep it on your home screen. And hey, while you’re in the settings menu, now’s a great time to check out some basic adjustments, like font size and blue light filters.
Sync your smart home gadgets
You may have noticed that a small icon appears in the lower left corner of your screen. This toggle gives you access to Amazon’s Device Dashboard, the perfect way to control all of your Alexa-enabled smart home gadgets. If you’ve already synced some devices with Alexa, they’ll show up here, ready for use. Everything else can be added in the preinstalled Alexa app, whether it’s another device made by Amazon or a third-party utility from companies like TP-Link.
You can assign favorites, browse specific categories, create routines, and even control all of your lights with just one toggle. Device Dashboard is a must have tool for anyone obsessed with making their home a little smarter, and it only takes a few minutes to set up.
Amazon does a great job with profiles, delivering a personalized experience regardless of how many people are sharing the device. You can configure profiles in the settings menu of your tablet, adding accounts suitable for adults and children. The Family Library makes it easy to sync purchased content with each other, while Amazon’s handy screen time tools help keep your child focused without too many distractions.
Unfortunately, the Play Store is not shared between profiles, although you can fix this with a little free time and a little elbow grease. We have easy to follow instructions on how to get the Play Store to work on all accounts, but be warned – this process is not for the faint of heart.
Make it the perfect alternative to Echo Show
Last but not least, the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 devices can serve as alternatives to the Echo Show, making it the perfect gadget to throw in the kitchen, living room, or anywhere else in your home. Simply grab a stand for your tablet to prop it up on whatever surface you want, then swipe down from the top of the device to open the quick settings menu. Activate “Show Mode” and right in front of your eyes, your Fire Tablet will turn into an Echo Show.
To use “View Mode”, you must enable Alexa on your device. It works best when “Hands-free mode” is also activated – otherwise, issuing voice commands is much more difficult. You can access Show-specific settings by tapping 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 right at home with this user interface. Swiping right opens a control panel with quick controls as your home screen rotates between clock, weather, news, and more. Whether you’re trying to load up a Prime Original or looking for cookie recipes to start baking, âShow Modeâ 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. As limited as this experience may seem from the start, a whole world of possibilities opens up in just a few more steps. Who knows, you might even forget that it’s not working on Android after just a few days.
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