Amazon adds new features with each release of the Amazon Fire tablet range. But why is it so popular? It could be the low price, but does this mean you’re missing out on important features found on other tablets if you opt for an Amazon Fire?
Probably not. At worst, you’re missing the Google Play Store.
Even if you have the $50 budget version, you probably don’t expect that much from a Fire tablet. The real reason it is so popular is that your Amazon Fire tablet is far more versatile than you think. Here are some nifty tips you should try.
1. Name Your Amazon Fire Tablet
It’s a smart idea to give your Amazon Fire tablet a name. This is particularly useful if you use various Amazon apps across a range of devices. For example, you might have a phone with the Kindle app installed but want to send a book to your Fire tablet. If the devices are properly named, it makes delivering eBooks easier.
To set a name for your Amazon Fire tablet:
- Open Settings
- Choose Device Options
- Tap Change Your Device Name
- Set a new name, then hit Save to confirm
It’s that simple and really does make device management easier. You’ll also be able to spot the tablet quickly on your home network.
2. Install Google Play on Your Amazon Fire Tablet
Because Fire OS has its own app store, Google Play is not installed on Fire tablets. Yet Fire OS is based on Android, so it will run all the apps you’ll find on any other Android device.
By enabling this Amazon Fire workaround, you gain the ability to install apps from unknown sources (i.e., any location that isn’t Amazon’s App Store).
Follow our guide for the full steps to install Google Play Store on your Amazon Fire device in minutes.
3. Easily Uninstall Apps You Don’t Need
Installing apps on an Amazon Fire tablet is really simple. Many are offered up for installation on the home screen, while others are presented on other screens. The nature of the Fire OS platform is that you don’t necessarily have to go digging in the app store to find an app, and while this is advantageous, the downside is that you can end up installing far too many apps.
The solution is to learn how to uninstall the apps. To do this:
- Long tap (tap and hold) the app icon you wish to uninstall
- Tap any other apps you want to get rid of
- Tap Uninstall
A few moments later, the app should be gone.
4. Archive Unused Apps on Amazon Fire Tablets
If you don’t wish to uninstall an app as you only use it occasionally, but need the space, you can archive it.
With the 1-Tap Archive feature, you can remove apps from your tablet and save it to the cloud. It then remains available to reinstall on your tablet at a later date. It will not be deleted from your Amazon account. To use 1-Tap archiving:
- Open Settings > Storage
- Under 1-Tap Archive tap View Content to see what can be archived
- Tap Archive Now to archive the apps and make space on the tablet
Please note that archiving can lose personal data from within an app or game (such as saved progress), so use this feature with care.
5. Expand Your Amazon Fire Tablet’s Storage
One of the shortcomings of the low-end Amazon Fire tablets is the limited storage. If you own an older 8GB model, you’re left with around 5GB to play with (the rest is taken up by the operating system). That’s not much, especially if you want to use the device to play games or store videos.
The answer is to expand the storage with a microSD card. Simply purchase a suitable expansion card, then with the tablet switched off, insert it into the slot. Check your Fire tablet documentation to confirm the maximum microSD card capacity you can use.
Once the tablet is powered up again, it should detect the microSD card, so follow the instructions to format it. Many apps can be installed on the microSD card, plus you can move existing apps to it.
To use it as expanded storage, first format the microSD card:
- Go to Settings > Storage
- Tap Format as internal storage
- Wait while the process completes.
The SD card can now be used in the same way as the tablet’s internal storage.
If this isn’t convenient, you can continue using the microSD card as a separate device. This might be useful if you switch between tablets, for example. You can then ensure the Amazon Fire tablet prioritizes data storage onto the microSD card.
Various options are provided from this, letting you download films, TV, music, audiobooks, and books to the external storage device.
You can also check out these additional tips for saving and regaining storage space on your Amazon Fire tablet.
6. No Internet Connection? Watch Downloaded Movies
With additional storage installed on your Amazon Fire tablet, you can enjoy its benefits as a portable media device.
Taking a long car or plane journey? Simply copy your favorite movies to your tablet beforehand and enjoy them as you travel:
- Connect the Amazon Fire tablet to your computer via USB
- Once detected, browse to the microSD card storage
- Copy the video file from your PC to the microSD card
To view the video on your tablet:
- Tap Home and find Photos
- Select More > Device Photos & Videos
- Browse through the list for the desired video
- Tap to play
If it’s in the right format, your video will play. Note that MP4, MKV, 3GP, M4V, and WEBM should all work, but there is no support for AVI videos.
7. Use Your Amazon Fire Tablet for Office and Productivity Tasks
PC or laptop out of action? Need to finish that report? Amazingly, your Amazon Fire tablet is ideal for mobile working. With built-in Bluetooth and several office apps available, it’s really easy to set up, too.
Various portable Bluetooth keyboards are available that work with almost any tablet or phone. Simply pairing one of these to your Amazon Fire tablet will put you on the road to office functionality.
Once that’s done, find the office apps that you need on Amazon’s App Store or the Google Play Store. Microsoft Office, Google Docs and Sheets, and many other office tools are available.
Don’t be worried about missing copy and paste—this functionality is built-in. The Amazon Fire also comes with useful productivity apps, such as email, calendar, and calculator tools.
8. Try an Amazon Fire Tablet Stand
Most Amazon Fire tabs ship with an optional stand. Depending on how you plan to use the tablet, you may opt to include or discard this.
Amazon’s tablet cases and stands have improved considerably over the past few years. Younger children get the benefit of a cushioned case; older kids get the less spongy, more adult approach. Actual adults get to chose from iPad-style “fold-over” folios.
Unsurprisingly, various third party options are also available. Or you might prefer to make a DIY tablet stand.
9. Record the Screen and Make Screenshots on Amazon Fire Tablets
Recording the Amazon Fire’s screen is possible with third-party tools. Depending on the model you own, however, the results may not be satisfactory. Older 8GB models tend not to respond well to screen recorder apps, resulting in poor-quality recordings.
For the best results, try the RecMe Screen Recorder.
Need to take a screenshot of your Amazon Fire’s display? Whether you’re playing games or using the browser, taking a screenshot might prove useful for illustration or to get technical support for a problem you’re facing.
Capturing a screenshot on the Fire tablet is easy: just hold the Power and Volume Down buttons together. After a second, your device will capture the image on screen and save it to storage.
You can also hold the power button and select Screenshot.
From here, you can edit or share as needed.
10. Back Up Amazon Fire Photos and Videos
You can automatically back up screen recordings and screenshots, along with videos and photos taken on the Fire tablet. Take advantage of the Amazon Cloud and these types of media will automatically sync.
The advantage of this is clear: you won’t run out of space on your Amazon Fire tablet. To enable this:
- Open Photos
- Tap More > Settings
- Select Auto-Save
- Enable the toggles for Photos and Videos
- Tap Manage Folders to toggle images from other apps
Amazon Cloud storage is accessible through many other devices. For example, you can view synced media in your PC’s web browser or even on a smart TV.
Head to photos.amazon.com to confirm that your photos are synced. You can then remove them from your tablet to save space.
11. Set Up and Manage a Child Profile
While the Fire tablets are perfect for adults, they’re also great for children.
Although you can buy a dedicated Amazon Fire tablet for your kids, it’s simpler to create a child profile on your existing device. To do this:
- Swipe down on the notification area
- Tap your user avatar
- Tap New User and confirm with OK
- Select Add a Child Profile
- Add the name and date of birth of the child, then Add Profile to continue
Note that up to four child profiles can be created and managed.
With a child profile enabled, you can manage content filters and even subscribe to child-friendly shows and books. Learn more in our guide to setting up an Amazon Fire tablet for kids.
What Can You Do With an Amazon Fire Tablet?
These tips and tricks are just the beginning. Whether you use the Fire 7, an Amazon Fire HD 8, or even the 10-inch version, prepare yourself for portable entertainment and productivity.
In short, you can do almost anything with an Amazon Fire tablet!