How to Use an Amazon Fire Tablet

If you've never used a Fire tablet, start here

What to Know

  • Initial setup: Create your initial login PIN code and log into (or create) your Amazon account.
  • Add apps: Open the Amazon Appstore app, browse through available apps, and tap the one you want to install.
  • Watch or read: Visit the Library page, and tap the content you want to watch or read.

The Amazon Fire is different than most other tablets, and in this article, you'll learn what makes it unique and how to use it.

How Do I Use My Amazon Fire Tablet as a Beginner?

If this is the first time you've ever used an Amazon Fire tablet, or if you've just purchased one and haven't set it up yet, you'll need to go through some steps to create an account and secure your device.

  1. The button controls on the Amazon Fire tablet are simple. The top of the tablet includes the micro-USB charging port, power button, and volume controls.

    Amazon Fire tablets made after 2015 have a Micro SD card slot where you can insert an SD Card (up to 128 GB) for extra storage capacity.

  2. If you own the latest Amazon Fire 10 tablet, you'll have a 5-megapixel camera on the back of the tablet, without any flash feature.

  3. When you first charge and then start your Amazon Fire tablet, you'll need to set up your initial login PIN. This will be used each time you power on your tablet. This can be any four-digit number.

    Screenshot of setting up initial PIN
  4. As part of the initial setup, you'll be asked to log in to an account you want to use with this tablet. For the easiest access to all of your Amazon products and services, log in using your regular Amazon account email and password.

    Adding an Amazon account to a Fire tablet

    You can not use an Amazon Fire tablet without an Amazon account. Just select the New to Amazon option and you will be taken through the steps to create a free Amazon account so you can use your Amazon Fire tablet.

  5. Open the Settings app and visit Profiles & Family Library to add new family members to your device. This includes child accounts with limited access, which have parental controls. This is also where you can configure parental controls for each of those child accounts.

    Screenshot of Family Library

How to Navigate the Fire Interface

Navigating your Amazon Fire tablet is slightly different than other tablets you may have used before, but it's simple to understand.

One of the first things you might notice about the lock screen and login screens is they are essentially ads (typically for Amazon products). If this bothers you, you can pay to remove these ads by opening your Amazon Account menu, opening Content & Devices, finding your tablet, selecting Remove offers, and then selecting End Offers and Pay the Fee.

  1. Once you've logged in, you'll see a home screen with three menu items at the top. The Home menu is the default and it's where you'll find all of the apps installed on your Amazon Fire tablet.

    Home screen of the Amazon Fire tablet
  2. Similar to other tablets, if you swipe down from the top of the tablet screen, you'll see Quick Settings icons that let you enable or disable certain tablet features. These include brightness, wireless, airplane mode, blue shade (night mode), do not disturb, Bluetooth, low power mode, auto-rotate, Alexa hands-free, and show mode.

    Navigating Amazon Fire settings by pulling down from the top of the screen
  3. Navigating across multiple open apps is very simple on the Amazon Fire tablet. You just need to swipe left or right across the tablet screen. This will slide the display across all of your open apps. Just stop swiping when you find the open app you want to use, and tap the app you want to use to switch back to full screen.

    Switching apps on Amazon Fire tablet by swiping left or right
  4. If you select the Library menu on the main screen, you'll see items from your various Amazon content libraries like Amazon Prime videos, Audible audiobooks, and content from any other Amazon services to which you've subscribed.

    Amazon Library on Fire Tablet

    To watch a show or movie on the Amazon Fire, scroll down this Library page to the streaming service you want to use and then swipe left to browse the content. Tap the content you want to watch or tap See More to browse the full content listing there.

  5. Accessing the Settings app, you'll be able to configure most aspects of the tablet's features. For example, you can connect to Wi-Fi networks and the Internet, or add Bluetooth devices. You can adjust sound or device settings, adjust Alexa settings, and more.

    Screenshot of navigating the Settings app
  6. There is a Devices app available on Amazon Fire that lets you connect with smart devices using your tablet. After connecting smart devices, you can control those apps either using the app or speaking voice commands to Alexa, since the digital assistant is embedded into the Amazon Fire tablet as well.

    Screenshot of managing devices with Amazon Fire

How to Add Apps

The Amazon Fire tablet comes preinstalled with a number of apps and services that let you use the internet, watch and listen to media, and much more. However, you can easily install new apps from the Amazon Appstore app.

  1. Another thing you may notice is most standard apps installed on other common tablets like Android or iPad are missing from this one. Instead of Google apps or Apple apps, you'll see a collection of Amazon apps.

    Screenshot of Amazon apps on Fire tablet
  2. The Amazon Fire tablet also comes pre-installed with a number of utilities, including clock, calendar, calculator, and even maps.

    Amazon Fire Tablet utilities

    None of these utilities are anywhere near as feature-filled as similar Google or Apple apps.

  3. You can add additional apps to your Amazon Fire tablet by opening the Amazon Appstore app. You'll find apps you can install across numerous categories by selecting the Categories tab. The Home tab provides featured apps, the Videos tab is focused on Amazon video content, Family lists child-friendly apps, Best Sellers are the most popular apps, and For You are apps related to the apps you've already installed.

    Screenshot of adding Appstore apps
  4. Just tap the app you want and select the GET button to install that app.

    Installing new app on Fire tablet
  5. Keep in mind that even popular apps like Facebook or Twitter are vastly scaled-back versions of the same app you might be used to using on other mobile devices. These are very simple and often miss basic features. For example, the Google Drive app lacks the ability to create new folders or files—only viewing is available.

How to Use the Web Browser

The Amazon Fire tablet comes with the Silk web browser preinstalled.

  1. Tap Silk Browser on the Home screen to launch the Silk browser.

    The Silk Browser highlighted on the Amazon Fire home screen
  2. While Silk is a fairly minimalist browser, you'll find a number of embedded features in the three dots menu in the upper right. These include accessing bookmarks, your Amazon reading or shopping lists, viewing past history or downloads, setting the Dark theme, or switching to a "Private tab" (this is the equivalent of Incognito mode in Google).

    The three-dot icon in the Silk browser on a Fire tablet
  3. Select Settings to configure the browser.

    The Settings icon in the Silk browser on an Amazon Fire tablet
  4. Settings options include saving payment details, adjusting browser security settings, saving passwords, and setting the default search engine.

    Screenshot of Silk browser settings
  • How do I reset an Amazon Fire tablet?

    For newer versions of Fire tablets, you can delete all of its data by going to Settings > Device Options Reset to Factory Defaults > Reset. If you have an older Fire, select the Settings gear and then go to More > Device > Reset to Factory Defaults > Erase everything.

  • How do I install the Google Play Store on an Amazon Fire tablet?

    Normally, you can't install Google Play on a Fire tablet, but you can do a workaround if you're running FireOS or later and aren't squeamish about installing files to your tablet. First, go to Settings > Security & Privacy and activate Apps from Unknown Sources. Then, download and install Google Account Manager APK, Google Services Framework APK, Google Play Services APK11.5.0.9(230), and Google Play Store APK using your Fire's web browser. Once you load these files, the Play Store will appear on your home page.

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