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The Kindle Fire HD is built on a heavily modified version of the Android OS operating system, but it is an Android device in name only. What is noticeably absent from the Kindle Fire HD content is the lack of Android Apps or access to Google Play downloads. Despite building its device on the Android OS, Amazon does not allow users to take advantage of the additional content via the Google Play marketplace.
Rooting is a common practice of jail-breaking an Android device in order to load additional, unavailable content. The problem with rooting is it will void your warranty, as you are hacking the system to allow the apps and content to be loaded. Side-loading is a preferable method to get content onto your device, without the hassle and dangers of rooting. In terms of accessing or downloading Google Play apps, they can be side-loaded on to any Kindle Fire HD and there are resources and tutorials on the web to help you learn how. One such article can be found here.
YouTube is as ubiquitous as Facebook and Twitter and even comes preloaded on many other devices like Apple’s iPads. It’s a glaring omission from the Kindle Fire HD content and an app that many people will miss. It too can be successfully side-loaded. Once downloaded, the app appears under your application carousel and can be launched from there. Here are the steps you need to take to side-load YouTube onto your new Kindle Fire HD.
Before starting, you will want to go to your Kindle Fire HD’s Settings – this can be accessed by swiping a finger down from the top middle of your screen. You’ll then see a plus-in-a-circle icon on the far right. Click on it and it will take you to the “Settings” page. From here, you need to click on the “Device” settings and then toggle the “Allow Installation of Applications” settings to “On” (it defaults to “Off”). Your device is now set to allow applications to be downloaded.
Next, you need to locate the app’s APK file. In this case, YouTube’s file can be downloaded here. For simplicity’s sake, I would access this URL directly from your Kindle Fire HD’s web browser. Once you’ve pulled the page up, the APK file will appear in your “Downloads” accessed on the right side page icon. Click on “Downloads” and then you will see the YouTube APK file. Click on it and download. It should take a few seconds and you’ll be given a progress bar and a success message. That’s it, you can now access YouTube safely and easily from your Apps menu on the device.
The YouTube videos work well with the new HD device but the videos will not take full advantage of the HD capability. In fact, even the YouTube icon will appear a little fuzzy from your menu. Still, the rich Dolby Sound can make watching your kitten and meme videos really enjoyable. However, you will be unable to log in to your YouTube account, so if you have saved content and favorites under your YouTube profile, you will not be able to access them from this device. Additionally, this and any other side loaded apps will not be available on Amazon’s Cloud, so if you delete them, they will be gone completely.
Users that don’t want to walk through the steps of downloading the YouTube app can still access YouTube via the browser but the videos lack dedicated controls and you don’t have the ability to view videos in full HD mode. Be sure to leave us a comment if you have any questions or need further assistance.