With Apple's announcement that Amazon streaming would become available on the Apple TV, it looked like the walls between streaming platforms and devices were beginning to be torn down.
Unfortunately, just as soon as Amazon and Apple began to play nice, Amazon announced that it would no longer support Google's most popular streaming app YouTube. This means that beginning January 1st, 2017 you won't be able to download YouTube from the Amazon App Store on your Fire Stick or Fire TV, nor will you be able to reach the Youtube servers on the version of the app you have installed.
Thankfully for us YouTube junkies there is a way around the blockade.
How to get around the Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV YouTube Block
To bypass the block on YouTube, we will have to side-load a YouTube alternative app onto your device. Side-loading your device means that you will install unofficial apps not offered in the Amazon App store. All apps that we recommend have been tested by us and scanned for viruses.
The alternative YouTube app we recommend is called Smart YouTube TV. Smart YouTube TV is an app that was created as an alternative to the official YouTube app back when Google's version of the program was either lacking or non-existent on some devices. Since then it has been updated regularly and is just as good if not better than the official app that Google offers.
Before proceeding, we highly recommend streaming via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). By connecting through a VPN, all of your internet traffic will be encrypted and hidden from your internet service provider.
Our favorite, most reliable VPN service for streaming media on Fire Stick and Fire TV is IPVanish. For more information about protecting yourself with VPN as well as an instructional video on how to install IPVanish on your Fire TV please see our article here.
How To Install Smart YouTube TV on Fire Stick and Fire TV
1. From your Fire TV Home Screen, navigate to Settings>System>Device
2. Scroll down and select Developer Options
3. Turn Allow apps from unknown sources ON
4. Navigate back to the Amazon Fire TV home screen all the way to the left to Search. Type in Downloader. As you are typing, you should see the option to select Downloader App.
5. Select Download and then Install.
6. Open Downloader
7. Select Allow
8. Where it says to enter a URL enter http://smartyoutubetv.github.io/en/ and then select Go
9. Once the page loads, you can use the navigation pad on your remote like a mouse. Place the red cursor over Stable Version and hit enter.
10. Select Install
11. You should see a confirmation that the App has been installed. Select Done.
12. You will see a screen that tells you the file was downloaded successfully. You can now Delete the file as not to take up space unnecessarily on your device. Once you select delete, you will be asked to confirm. Hit Delete again.
13. Exit Downloader and go back to the Amazon Home Screen. Find the section called YOUR APPS & GAMES and scroll all the way to the right select See All.
14. Scroll down to the Smart YouTube TV Icon. DO NOT SELECT IT YET!
15. With Smart YouTube TV Highlighted, hit the menu button on your remote.
16. Select Move.
17. Using the navigation pad on your remote, place the app toward the top of the list. This will make it appear on your home screen.
17. You will be asked to select which version of Youtube you want. I recommend on Fire Sticks to stick with 720P.
However, if you know you have a fast internet connection, select 1080P.
If you are hard wired to the internet with a 4K enabled Fire TV box, choose 4K. You can always change this later if you so desire.
18. You will now see a warning that Crosswalk Project Service was not found. Select Get Crosswalk.
19. You will be asked if you want to install the application. Select Install.
20. Once installed you will see the following screen. Go ahead and select Sign In.
21. To sign in, you will need to activate the app via your phone or computer.
22. Visit youtube.com/activate and enter the code.
23. One done, Smart YouTube TV will activate and be ready to use.
While its tough to tell how long the stand off between Google and Amazon will last, you can rest assured knowing that Smart YouTube TV will continue to be updated by the community. Whenever there is an update, (which is quite often!) you will be notified when you open the app.
If a better solution arises, we'll be sure to post it here on Firestick.io and send out the new solution via our email list, which you can subscribe to below!