Jailbroken Firestick: Is it Worth Buying or Should You Just DIY? (New Insights and Tips for 2021)

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 2 Nov 2021

Jailbroken Firestick: Is it Worth Buying or Should You Just DIY?

You can buy a jailbroken Firestick if you wish, and there’s nothing illegal about doing this. However, a lot of people with any sort of tech knowledge choose to jailbreak the Firestick themselves. Don’t worry; it’s not as complex as it sounds, and there’s no actual breaking out of jails involved.

It’s easy to see why the Firestick is so popular. These are affordable and convenient little devices that can allow you to stream loads of content from Amazon services like Prime Video and Firestick channels. With a bit of know-how, it can do a lot more than that, too.

Jailbreaking your Firestick takes your device to the next level with virtually no restrictions on what content you can view. A jailbroken Firestick allows you to watch unlimited shows and even some live event coverage with Kodi Live TV addons, for example.

Is it Legal to Buy or Sell Jailbroken Firesticks?

In a word: Yes.

This is true so long as there is no illegal copyright-protected material loaded onto the stick. Selling a stick with a load of brand new movies on it could definitely land the seller in some hot water. 

When you hear the term “jailbreak” you might assume something illegal about it, but this is just terminology. Jailbreaking means effectively removing the shackles that Amazon imposes. 

It helps to understand what jailbreaking is. If you were to jailbreak an iPhone (this is something that people do relatively regularly) it means you’re installing software that isn’t endorsed or authorized by Apple. You risk breaking the OS if you get anything wrong and you definitely void any warranty. 

With a Fire TV Stick, you’re just unlocking the potential of the stick to use third-party apps which Amazon had otherwise blocked.

Amazon’s own App Store has some very strict rules about which apps you can install. By jailbreaking, all you are doing is changing settings to allow third-party apps such as streaming services to be installed. Suddenly, you can watch virtually unlimited entertainment.

Some jailbreaking means updating and altering firmware. This isn’t required here, which is one of the reasons why it is so popular, and it is totally legal. Amazon’s rules on which apps you can use aren’t the law. They’re just restrictions.

When it may become illegal is when you watch copyright-protected materials. Some of the unlocked apps allow people to stream shows that are copyrighted and not legal to watch without a subscription. So, while a jailbroken Firestick isn’t illegal, it could be used as a tool to stream illegal content. This is true of pretty much any device.

The relevant legislation is the Digital Economy Bill. If you infringe on copyright law then you could potentially face a prison sentence.

Should You Buy a Jailbroken Amazon Fire Stick?

The short answer: No.

We really don’t recommend buying a jailbroken firestick in pretty much any scenario.

If there’s no copyrighted material on the stick then you aren’t going to be in legal trouble for buying one. However, there’s very little point in buying one with the jailbreak already complete because it is straightforward to do it yourself. (We’ve got you covered with our complete guide on how to jailbreak the Firestick)

You don’t need technical knowledge to carry out a jailbreak. If you buy a stick already jailbroken, then there is every chance you will need to learn how to reinstall them in the future. The makers of these apps are constantly updating them, and technology is changing, so you will need to learn how to “sideload*” the apps at some point anyway.

Sideloading is another cool tech term you might not be familiar with. In this context, it just means installing the apps required to stream more shows on your Firestick.

How Do Vendors Sell Jailbroken Firesticks?

Many platforms know that jailbroken Firesticks can be used to access copyrighted materials and have totally distanced themselves from sellers. For example, you probably won’t find them for sale on eBay. With so many sticks sold with pre-loaded illegal material, big sellers like eBay just put a blanket ban in place, so they don’t have to deal with any fallout. 

Some jailbroken sticks find their way onto Facebook Marketplace, or Gumtree, or Craigslist. It can feel like something of a “black market” product to get hold of, even if your intentions are legal.

There’s always a chance that you’ll “know a guy” at the local bar who can get you a jailbroken stick. Because it can be tough to sell them online, people might take to selling them in person more often.

In terms of seeking out a way to buy a jailbroken stick, it’s really not worth it. If you consider yourself any tech-savvy at all, you will be able to make your own. All you need is to buy a Firestick and follow our tips.

How to Jailbreak a Firestick Yourself? – A Simple Guide

You can either buy a new Firestick to jailbreak or use an existing model that you have at home. 

Before you get started, we definitely recommend covering your tracks. Whatever your intentions are with the Firestick, you can hide your activity by using a VPN like ExpressVPN, which also gives you the option to connect to streaming services all around the world, even if they are geoblocked.

How to jailbreak your device:

  1. Navigate to the “Find” menu from the home screen of your Firestick home. 

This is the search function that allows you to find the necessary app.

  1. Search for “Downloader.” 

This is the app that you need to download anything onto your stick, so it is essential anyway. This will let you find third-party apps that aren’t available just on the Amazon App Store. It’s totally legal to download this, and it doesn’t even break the user agreement with Amazon.Amazon Firestick search function with Downloader highlighted

  1. Download the “Downloader” app to the Firestick.The Downloader app highlighted, here’s the app you want.

Next, you can go back to the home screen and find “My Fire TV” which allows you to change settings. You need to do this to open up the stick to apps by other developers. 

  1. In My Fire TV, find “Developer Options.” 

This will let you choose to “Install Unknown Apps.” Toggle to the button and switch it on. This may be different depending on the generation of your Firestick. Our full guide to jailbreak Fire TV Stick explains more.Install unknown apps highlighted > Select Install unknown apps

Go back to the Downloader app and open it. It will now allow you to choose third-party apps and download the APK files to your stick.Downloader highlighted in the My Fire TV menu > Make sure that you allow Downloader to access third-party apps!Don’t forget the importance of a VPN if you are going to use any apps that may not be strictly allowed. This can be a way to hide your activities and make your jailbroken device harder to trace.

Before adding any apps, we also recommend ensuring Amazon can’t snoop on you. Check Preferences and then navigate to Privacy Settings. The Amazon Firestick Preferences menu with Privacy Settings highlighted

From here, turn off “Device Usage Data” and “Collect App Usage Data.” This will stop information from being sent to Amazon and prevent any issues you might experience when streaming copyrighted materials.Amazon Firestick Privacy Settings menu with Device Usage Data and Collect App Usage Data highlighted

Popular Firestick Apps

Now that you can access all those other third-party apps, it’s time to expand the repertoire of what your Firestick can do and turn it into a tiny streaming machine!

The apps below can open up the possibilities for your stick.

ExpressVPN

It just makes sense to protect yourself with a VPN, and it is worth the investment to ensure you aren’t tracked or restricted by geographical restrictions. ExpressVPN has an APK that can be installed directly through the installer on your Firestick. It couldn’t be easier to set up.

Kodi

Kodi is incredibly useful and flexible, though a little confusing if you’ve never used it before. But fear not! We’ve written a detailed guide on how to install Kodi on Firestick

Kodi is open-source and tends to have “builds” that you can download and use. Fair warning: They have some cool names. Check them out here: Best Kodi Builds for your Amazon Firestick

A build is a form of pre-packaged install, packed with apps that can let you access the streams you dreamed of. For example, the Misfit Mods build of Kodi comes with SportsDevil and The Magic Dragon and enables you to stream sporting events, TV shows, and movies rather easily.

Kodi addons are equally fun to use. These can be additional apps or libraries of movies and such. For instance, the ever-popular Asgard has some HD movies and tends to stream at incredible speeds.

There’s a good community around Kodi, and the app continues to get regular updates.

Cinema HD

This is an APK you can download and install on your Firestick once it’s been jailbroken. It opens up a load of films and also TV shows and cleverly pulls them from multiple sources to get you a reliable stream (no more spending 20 minutes refreshing)—a must for movie lovers.

Check out our guide on how to install Cinema HD APK on Firestick.

TVTap

Time to turn on the TV tap!

This very cool app pulls television streams from… well, pretty much everywhere all over the world. This includes some cable and satellite channels that carry sporting events that you would otherwise struggle to find. It’s great for watching things live and one of the top apps for Firesticks for sports lovers.

ESPN+

Though this is not free of charge, ESPN+ is a brilliant option if you want to legitimately watch sports from around the globe and don’t mind paying for membership. On top of this, using a VPN will let you unblock content that is restricted to certain parts of the world.

Using Your Browser to Stream

If you want to, you can also stream directly via the Downloader browser, which is especially useful for sports fans. Often, the best streams are hard to find, and you might have to do some searching. 

Check out some of these top streaming sites: 

You can put the URL directly into the Downloader browser and navigate to the stream.

But What is a Jailbroken Firestick Really and What Does it Do?

Some people build a jailbroken Firestick up to be some mythical, magic device. The truth is that it is just a way of opening up the potential that is already on your Firestick and allowing you to expand it with third-party apps. 

Hearing the term “jailbreak” might conjure images of high-level hackers sitting in a basement using some matrix-style code. That’s not what it is at all. In the case of Amazon’s Firestick, a jailbreak is so simple that your grandparents could follow a tutorial and complete it. 

It isn’t even doing anything that breaks your end-user agreement with Amazon. What you do next, well, that’s up to you.

In short, a jailbroken Firestick is one that doesn’t keep you shackled to the Firestick apps. There is a world of Kodi builds and third-party streaming apps out there, all for your neverending contentment.

Why You Should Break Out of Amazon Jail Yourself – Jailbreaking Your Firestick

Buying a jailbroken stick will just mean getting a model that has already been switched to have the capacity to download third-party apps. It may also have a Kodi build pre-installed or some other apps on there, but generally, it’s not something that is particularly tough to do yourself. Our tutorial on how to jailbreak your Firestick is neatly presented as just a few straightforward steps. If you’ve ever made changes to a device’s preferences before or downloaded some basic applications to Android, then you’ll be more than capable of taking the DIY approach.

Another reason you should learn how to do it yourself is that you’re probably going to need to perform some maintenance, anyway. Apps may need to be updated and reinstalled, and you may wish to add things to Kodi yourself. Sideloaded apps need to be updated. They may even stop working after a while if you don’t know how to do this. 

The ecosystem of a jailbroken Firestick is constantly evolving, or at least, it is if you want to get the most out of it.