It's always been possible to sideload Android apps to an Amazon Fire tablet, but with the new Fire OS 5 it's now possible without rooting to play games that were previously unplayable, including Plants Vs Zombies 2. Here we show you how to sideload Android apps to the Kindle Fire, and how to get Plants Vs Zombies 2 on Amazon Fire tablets. Also see: Amazon Fire (2015) review.
How to sideload Android apps to Amazon Fire tablets
Usually you can install an Android app on an Amazon Fire tablet simply by downloading its .apk file from the web (a Google search will bring up several sources, or we'll explain how to ensure you have the latest version below), enabling the ability to install apps from unknown sources in the Settings/Security menu (Settings/Applications on older Fire tablets), and then tapping on the downloaded file to install it (if you have parental controls set up you'll need to enter your password before you can enable app installation from unknown sources).
However, it's not nearly as simple with Plants Vs Zombies 2 and other such games, which tie into Google Play Games to save game data and make it available to all your Android devices. In the following walkthrough we'll explain how to get Plants Vs Zombies 2 on an Amazon Fire tablet. Also see: Best Android games.
How to get Plants Vs Zombies 2 on Amazon Fire tablets
Note that without rooting Plants Vs Zombies 2 will work only on Amazon Fire tablets running Amazon Fire OS 5, such as the new £49 Amazon Fire 7 tablet. When we tried the following walkaround on an Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids Edition running Fire OS 4.5.5, the game was unable to locate the Obb data files it required to run, despite us downloading them and placing them in the usual folder. We couldn't find a way to rectify this, but if you have a solution please post it in the comments below this article.
You can check which version of Fire OS you are running in the Settings, Device Options, System Updates menu. Also check here whether any new updates are available for your Fire tablet.
We have reached out to Amazon to find out whether older Fire tablets will be upgraded to Fire OS 5 and are awaiting a response. In the meantime, the below walkaround should help you play games that tie into Google Play Games but don't need to download additional resources before you can play them. It will be very much a process of trial and error, however, to see what works and what doesn't.
In order to complete the following walkthrough you'll need a PC (we're using a Mac) to which you can download the necessary files, unzip them, and then transfer them to your Fire tablet using a Micro-USB cable. Also see: Best tablets.
Step 1. Download the ES File Explorer to your tablet, which is free from the Amazon AppStore.
Step 2. Configure your Fire tablet to allow the installation of apps from unknown sources. You can do this by going to Settings, Security and turning on 'Apps from Unknown sources'. If you have parental controls set up you will need to enter your password to do so.
Step 3. On your PC, download the following files:
Both the Plants vs Zombies 2 .apk file and Obb data. You can download a version of this from numerous websites, but if you want to ensure you have the latest version you can download it directly from Google Play. To do so you'll need to be using the Google Chrome browser on your PC, with the APK Downloader extension installed.
With this in place you can go to the Plants Vs Zombies 2 download page on the desktop version of the Google Play Store and you'll see a new 'Download APK' button beside the usual 'Install' button. Tap this to download both the .apk file and the Obb data.
The next file you need is the Google Apps Minimal Edition zip file from XDA-Developers. Once the zip file has downloaded, extract the following items from the System/priv-app folder: GoogleBackUpTransport.apk; GooglePartnerSetup.apk; GoogleServiceFramework.apk; GoogleLoginService.apk; and GoogleOneTimeInitializer.apk. Add these to a new folder along with the Plants Vs Zombies 2 .apk file and Obb data.
Step 4. Plug the Fire tablet into your PC over USB and, with the exception of the Obb data, copy all the above files to the Downloads folder.
Step 5. Now find the Android/obb folder on the Fire and copy over the Obb data. Note that you need to include the containing folder that was downloaded to your PC, so in our case we ended up with the following file path: Android/obb/com.ea.game.pvz2_row-130-obbs/main.130.com.ea.game.pvz2_row.obb.
Step 6. Open the ES File Explorer app on your Fire tablet, swipe in from the right and then select the Downloads folder. In the order that they are listed here go through each file one by one, tap on them to launch the installer and follow the instructions to install them on your Fire tablet. Once you have installed the Google Play Store app you should also launch it and sign into your Google account (note that you won't be able to use the Play Store, but it needs to be running on your device).
Having done all this you can launch the Plants Vs Zombies 2 app, which should proceed to download resources, sign into your Google Play Games account, and be available to play on your Amazon Fire tablet.
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