How To Tell if a Firestick is Jailbroken

There is a thriving market in jailbroken Amazon Firesticks. Even though the process is straightforward to do yourself and costs nothing, there are still enterprising people out there who will charge to do it for you. If you buy one of these, how can you tell if a Firestick is really jailbroken?


Streaming

Jailbreaking is the process of installing non-standard software onto a device. It isn’t unique to the Firestick. It can happen to any fully or partially closed system like the iPhone or Amazon Fire TV Stick. If the device was intended to run a particular way with particular software, jailbreaking is installing other software not designed for that device.

It isn’t illegal and it isn’t going to get you thrown into jail but it is a legal gray area which I’ll discuss in a minute.

Is my Firestick jailbroken?

If you buy a jailbroken Firestick from somewhere, you’re paying a premium over what Amazon would charge for a vanilla model. For that reason alone you want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

There is no setting or notification that tells you if an Amazon Fire TV Stick is jailbroken. You have to look for signs that it has been done and there are two main signs. The first is that your Firestick will have Kodi or other non-standard media player installed and the second is that ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources will likely be turned on.

  1. Connect your Firestick to your TV and turn it all on.
  2. Log into the Firestick and look for Kodi under Apps & Channels.

If you see Kodi, your Firestick is jailbroken. If you don’t, it may not be jailbroken. It isn’t mandatory to install Kodi onto a Fire TV Stick but it’s the main reason to jailbreak it so should really be there.

Otherwise, check ADB Debugging or Apps from Unknown Sources.

  1. Navigate to your Fire TV Stick Settings menu.
  2. Select My Fire TV and Developer Options.
  3. Check ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources.

If either of these settings are turned on, your Firestick is likely jailbroken.

Neither of these methods are exact, as theoretically these settings could have been disabled again after Kodi was installed. However, most Firesticks I have seen have these two settings left on.

Jailbreaking a Firestick

It is actually very straightforward to jailbreak a Firestick yourself so there is no need to pay someone else to do it for you. I’ll walk you through the process here so you can see for yourself just how straightforward it is.

  1. Navigate to your Fire TV Stick Settings menu.
  2. Select My Fire TV and Developer Options.
  3. Turn both ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources to On.
  4. Return to the Home screen.
  5. Select Search at the top and search for ‘Downloader’.
  6. Install the Downloader app onto your Firestick.
  7. Open Downloader once installed and enter ‘http://www.kodi.tv/download’ into the URL box.
  8. Select Go and select Android from the screen.
  9. Select the most recent stable version of the Kodi .apk.
  10. Select Install and then Done once installation is finished.

Told you it was easy! You can take Kodi much further with repos and addons but that’s a little outside the scope of this article.

In the early days of jailbreaking, you could go to all sorts of places to get the Kodi .apk file. Now Kodi has its own version which is much less likely to contain anything you don’t want on your Firestick. All you need to do now is go to Apps & Channels and launch Kodi to see what it brings and what addons are available.

Is jailbreaking illegal?

This is probably the most asked question ever when it comes to jailbreaking devices. The answer is no. Jailbreaking is not illegal. It will likely void the warranty of the device you’re jailbreaking but it is not illegal. You paid for your device so it’s up to you what you do with it.

The legal gray area comes from the addons you can add to Kodi. Some of them will allow you to access illegal or copyrighted content and they don’t always make it clear that’s what you’re doing. Accessing copyrighted streams would be illegal.

While I’m not going to encourage you to break the law, I would encourage you to use a VPN whenever you use Kodi on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. You may not have the intention of breaking the law, but it is all too easy to do so unwittingly with some of these addons. You should never use Kodi addons on any device without being protected by a VPN.

Do you know of any sure signs a Firestick has been jailbroken? Tell us below if you do!