How To Tell If An Amazon Firestick Is Jailbroken Or Not
Last Updated: June 25, 2020
Most of us buy our Fire Sticks new direct from Amazon but there is also a thriving market in ready-jailbroken devices. These are bought by enterprising people, jailbroken for you with Kodi installed and then sold with a small markup as ready to go. If you buy one of these, how can you tell if the Amazon Firestick is jailbroken or not? If you acquire a Firestick some other way, how can you tell if that is jailbroken?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a relatively cheap device that opens up a world of TV and movies. It’s easy to buy, to use and to play around with which is why there are millions of them in circulation. While the vanilla Fire TV Stick offers access to thousands of titles, jailbroken ones open that up infinitely.
What is jailbreaking?
I think jailbreaking is an unfortunate term. It has negative connotations even though it’s a totally legal process. All it means is sideloading applications onto a device that aren’t supposed to be there. It happens on all kinds of devices, from iPhones to Raspberry Pi but is very popular on the Amazon Firestick.
The Amazon Firestick is based on Android that has been refined and modified by Amazon to suits its own purposes. Amazon have closed the system so it cannot be further modified by users. Adding an application not initially designed to run on the device, even though it can run such applications is what jailbreaking is all about.
It isn’t illegal and done right, does not harm your device.
Can you tell if an Amazon Firestick is jailbroken?
You can kind of tell if Amazon Firestick is jailbroken. Either ADB Debugging will still be enabled or Kodi will be installed. ADB Debugging is necessary to allow jailbreaking while Kodi is the result of jailbreaking. Some jailbreakers will turn on ADB Debugging and then turn it off again once finished as it is a potential vulnerability for hackers so you’re better of just looking for Kodi.
The easiest way to check is to look for Kodi in Apps & Channels. If Kodi is present and usable, your Amazon Firestick is jailbroken.
Not the end of the story
There is nothing wrong with buying a jailbroken Firestick but you’re depending on the honesty of someone you don’t know to place applications on a device you’re going to be using a lot. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. Rather than buy one ready-jailbroken, why not buy a new one and do it yourself? It’s very straightforward and you get to control every app that is loaded onto it. If you were gifted a Firestick, you can factory reset it and start again to make sure the device is clean.
To factory reset an Amazon Firestick, do this:
- Connect your Firestick to your TV and turn everything on.
- Select Settings and System from the menu.
- Select Reset to Factory Defaults.
- Confirm and select Reset.
This will remove all apps and settings and reload the vanilla Amazon OS. You can then jailbreak it yourself. You will need to turn on ADB Debugging and Unknown Sources and then install an app called Downloader to make this work.
If you buy a new Amazon Firestick, there are a couple of privacy tweaks you should make before you do anything else.
- Select Settings and Preferences from the Firestick menu.
- Select Privacy Settings and toggle Device Usage Data and Collect App Usage Data to off.
- Select Privacy Settings again.
- Select Data Monitoring and toggle it to off.
- Go back to the Firestick Home screen.
These settings turn off data capture and will help improve privacy. This could be useful depending on what you plan on doing with your jailbroken Firestick. If you don’t see the Privacy option, you may be using an older version of the device.
Now we jailbreak…
- Access the Settings menu on your Firestick.
- Select Device and Developer Options.
- Enable ‘ADB debugging’ and ‘Allow apps from Unknown sources’.
- Navigate to the home screen and select Your Apps & Channels.
- Select search and enter ‘Downloader’ into the search box.
- Select Downloader and select Get to install the app.
- Open Downloader, enter ‘https://kodi.tv/download’ into the URL box and select Download.
- Select the Android APK file and 32-bit.
- Select Install.
- Select to delete installer files once installation is complete.
Now you have jailbroken your own Amazon Firestick. Told you it was easy!
Now you can access Kodi, load apps and channels and use your Firestick however you want to.