Kindle Fire: How To Install a New Homescreen and Bypass Carousel Without Rooting

Kindle Fire Go Launcher

I mentioned installing a new homescreen on the Kindle Fire to bypass the default homescreen and carousel in the Kindle Fire tips and tricks post, but I don’t think most people understand how easy it is and how it doesn’t require rooting or any technical work whatsoever.

The number one biggest complaint I’m seeing about the Kindle Fire is the default homescreen and carousel. A lot of people would rather have more options for customizing and a good share of folks want to do away with the carousel altogether.

So for this post I’m going to show you how to do just that by installing a new homescreen on the Kindle Fire and how to customize it to your liking with widgets and apps and themes. No rooting or hacking required.

Unfortunately most Android launchers won’t work on the Kindle Fire. Two that do are ADW EX and Go Launcher EX. I’d recommend the latter because it is loaded with customizing features. I never realized just how much it can do until I started experimenting with different things to put together this tutorial—it blows away all the other launchers I’ve ever tried by light years.

How to Install Go Launcher on Kindle Fire

Ironically Go Launcher is available for free in the Amazon appstore but Amazon hides it on the Kindle Fire I guess because they don’t want people to use it. Luckily the developers for Go Launcher post their apps on their website for easy download.

Here’s what you do to install Go Launcher on the Kindle Fire:

  1. Enable 3rd party app installs from outside the Amazon appstore by going to Settings > Device > Allow Installation of Applications.
  2. Open the web browser and go to the Go Launcher website.
  3. Download the latest version of Go Launcher (the other apps they offer are easier to download with Go Launcher after it is installed). I installed v2.71 for this tutorial; they update frequently so it changes often.
  4. Tap the Kindle Fire’s notifications bar in the upper left corner. Once the file is finished downloading, tap the notification to prompt install.
  5. After Go Launcher installs, you have the option of selecting it when you press the home button and it also appears as an app in the app drawer and on the carousel.

Go Launcher is Installed, Now What?

Now you can start setting up Go Launcher how ever you want. Here are some of the different things you can do:

  • Long-press the homescreen to add applications and widgets.
  • Press the middle button that looks like four squares at the bottom of the screen to launch the app drawer.
  • Hold and drag apps to move them. You can also add them to the list at the bottom of the screen.
  • Use the Launcher App located in the app drawer to jump back to the Kindle Fire homescreen and carousel.
  • You can set Go Launcher as the default homescreen by checking the box when pressing the home button. To clear defaults go to Settings > Applications > Go Launcher > Clear Defaults.
  • To uninstall apps long-press them or go to Settings > Applications > then select the apps to remove and tap uninstall.
  • Change transitions: Menu > Effects.
  • Change themes: Menu > Themes. Hit “More” > Go Store > Go Themes to download new themes. Then go back to the themes menu to apply.
  • Change homescreen grid size: Menu > Preferences > Screen Settings > Grid size.
  • Add more homescreen panels/delete homescreen panels: Menu > Edit.

Also, there are apps for most of the Amazon services, but you’ll still need to use the Launcher app to go the Kindle homescreen to access your books and magazines lists.

Some features don’t work like they should probably because the Kindle interface is interfering. Here are some things that don’t work:

  • Custom screensavers reset to random Kindle Fire screensavers after going to sleep and powering off.
  • Can’t create shortcuts.
  • Can’t create folders.
  • The themes shown don’t download; you have to launch the Go Store to get different themes.
  • Go Locker doesn’t play nice with the Kindle Fire’s lockscreen; I would avoid installing it.

A couple of things I did to customize Go Launcher as shown in the picture at the top of this post was to reduce the size of the app icons in preferences. This makes them look better, especially in landscape mode. I also applied the WP7Blue theme downloaded from the Go Store and changed the icons on the power control and added different apps to the dock row.

68 Responses to “Kindle Fire: How To Install a New Homescreen and Bypass Carousel Without Rooting”

  1. Dang, I almost feel like buying a Kindle to do your tweaks on :)

  2. Does tis still work?
    One review at Amazon says the Go Launcher has been disabled for the Kindle?

    Where did my previous comment with the same feedback go?

    Brian

    • Go Launcher still works fine; Amazon cannot disable it or anything else without a firmware update. The reviewer was probably talking about how it doesn’t show up on the Fire’s appstore; that’s why you have to sideload it.

      Your first comment has to be approved by me before it will show up; now all your comments will appear right after you post them unless there are 2 or more links.

      • I installed th app ok but it won’t show up in the apps or carousel. I looked in my settings and then to installed apps but it won’t let me open the app. Thoughts and help much appreciated

      • It won’t show up in my apps page or in my list of applications I looked at installed applications and it was there but I couldn’t do anything with it. Please help?

        • I doubt it even works anymore. Amazon broke alternate launchers on the Kindle Fire HD with a firmware update so I’d be surprised if it still works on the original. They don’t like letting people have any customization options whatsoever.

  3. I’m trying this for my kindlefire and when I go to download it wants me to download it by using an account. So it links to my gmail account that is connected to my droid x phone. How do I change the device ..or is that necessary ? I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    • Sounds like you are trying to use the Android Market instead of the link provided. The Android Market doesn’t recognize the Kindle Fire because it is not an officially supported device.

  4. Thanks Nathan….that’s exactly what it was…thank you!

  5. After downloading the go launcher app all the apps turned big. Is there any way to make them smaller?

  6. It’s actually usable with go launcher.

  7. Is there anyway to keep the screen (go launcher live wallpaper) the same so that when my kindle shuts off or goes to sleep and I turn it back on, it will automatically have the go launcher wallpaper as the background instead of the kindle random background screens?

  8. Any success on getting GO Keyboard to work on the Kindle Fire? It’s successfully downloaded, but in Settings, the Fire doesn’t recognize (allow?) Go Keyboard.

    If Go Keyboard is “no-go” (ha ha), do you have any other favorite keyboard apps that work on the Fire?

    Thanks very much for this excellent webpage. Fire’s Carousel was driving me nuts. Go Laucher is muuuuch better.

  9. Thanks, this is a great introductory article. But in the beginning you say you can put a new theme on the Fire without rooting it and then at the end you say that every time it goes to sleep you will lose the theme. Without rooting it, changing the theme for a few moments may be bliss, but then it’ll all be lost when you power-off and now you’re back to the unfriendly Kindle theme again. Even after you root it (which I just did) you still lose the theme. I have to dig deeper here somehow and find out how to make the changes stick.

    • Themes and wallpapers are two different things. Themes stick, wallpapers don’t. There’s a how to at XDA for fixing the random wallpapers. The Fire has to be rooted.

  10. Ah. Good point. Thanks.

  11. Follow this address for the way to add keyboard layouts for other languages, if that is what you mean, Nathan. Some do not work (see blog), but Russian & German work for me.

    http://www.shaftek.org/blog/2011/12/03/enabling-other-languages-on-amazons-new-kindle-fire-tablet/

  12. An app called Rotating Wallpapers fixes the wallpaper issue. Found it yesterday & am much happier with my Fire now!

  13. Great article! Any easy way to access cloud content without having to revert back to the original Amazon homescreen?

  14. So where did you find the Rotating Wallpaper app and how did you get it to stop the default Kindle wallpaper from coming back after sleep mode?

  15. Once I root my Kindle Fire, is there a way to unroot it in case I have to take the device back to the place i purchased it from for an exchange since I have an extended warranty.

  16. There is a way to make folders.. If you want a game folder put two games on the home screen.. then push and hold one of the games and then drag it over the other game and then release the game you are holding to create a folder… and yes the folder will stay there when you put the kfire to sleep or turn it off.

  17. I downloaded the Go Launcher to my Kindle Fire and have pretty much set it up the way I want it… BUT, when I go to the Kindle icon it will not open – it doesn’t do anything… Have any idea why? And how do I fix that?

  18. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! The carousel almost ruined the kindle experience for me, I was about to start the rooting process (which i dreaded but thot i had no other choice) when I came across your website. Downloaded the Go Launcher and it works!!

  19. When I try to install GoLauncher after downloading I get an error message that says

    PARSE ERROR

    There is a problem parsing the package”

    What am I doing wrong?

  20. I installed all the stuff like you said and it works fine but now it wont let me read or even look at the books that are on my kindle when its in this new format…help?!

  21. Also on my main screen there’s a messenger box. I have textplus on my kindle but it wont let me look at my inbox. It says..I can see my phones texts too and id I want to then I have to go to settings. I hit show both, and nothing happens, and I don’t know where to go in settings..

  22. You can make the wallpaper stick after kindle closing (without rooting!) by using “rotating wallpapers.” The directions are at:
    http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx2DGCKBA3DSAZN

    I’ve done this and it works wonderfully.

  23. Downloaded this today. Awesome. However when I’m trying yo download themes or anything else it just takes me to google play and I’m unable to down from there. It just keeps picking up my phone. Any idea on a work around?

  24. Regarding accessing the books on Go Launcher is possible thru the KINDLE APP…, but maybe you find that the app is crashing (don’t open) so if you have rooted kindle you need to access to Google Play app (former Andorid Market) and download the actualization for kindle and then voila… just need to reload your content from the archive…
    Now If someone ind a way to make shorcuts of the books to the main screen will be highly appreciated.

  25. Just found another way to fix the wallpaper issue… search for the app Kindle Fire – Wallpaper Change on Google Play… this app is only for Kindle Fire and works GREAT!!!

  26. I do not live in the U.S.A but i have a kindle an i cant download this or any other apps. How do i get around this.

  27. Easy bypass for the ever-changing wallpaper bug. Doesn’t require rooting the device and is simple to use.

    Download, open, select wallpaper option and choose your image from your gallery. Bam! Doesn’t reset when device sleeps.

    kindlecooltricks.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/change-kindle-fire-wallpaper-without-rooting/

  28. After its done downloading from the website and I click it to press install, it refuses to let me press the install button only the cancel button. Not to sure why, any help would be awesome.

  29. AFTER MY QUESTION THERE IS IMPORTANT INFO ON HOW TO CHANGE WALLPAPER PERMINENTLY hope this helps you. But to my issue…so I already have installed go launcher on my KF and have been using it for a few months… I’m still having problems running the go store. Everytime I try to download something from go store it takes me to the play store and wont let me download anything. Ive been able to get one or two apps but that’s it. ALL PEOPLE PLEASE READ…there is a way to permanently change your wallpaper… Google my kindle kindle wallpaper and you should find the application to download and it works amazing..it also permanently changes the default lock screen

  30. I followed directions. When i tried to launch it screen froze. Shut down kindle and now it won’t boot back up..help!

  31. Is this app available for the fire hd?

  32. it doesn’t work in kindle fire cause after when you install it doesn’t let me open the app so do something about it

  33. I sideloaded the app onto my (2nd generation) Kindle Fire. I installed it and when it was completed installing, the “Open” button was not an option.

  34. Is this app available for the Kindle Fire HD ?

  35. I go to the website you referenced to download this (golauncher.goforandroid.com), but for the life of me I see no way to download GoLauncher EX – it’s a blog.

    I’m not stupid, but I definitely feel like it after reading how ‘easy’ it is and then not being able to figure out the first step….head to desk with no download buttons, sections for downloads, install buttons, etc.

  36. I downloaded from the site you post, it’s a zip file,but when I unzipped I don’t know how install it.

    • It’s not a zip file it’s an apk file, I just checked. Make sure you get Go Launcher EX; there are a bunch of apps over there. It might be easier to just go to a site like 1mobile and download it from there.

  37. Ive got a kindle fire but it does not let me download go launcher why is this plzzz reply

  38. Hi tried downloading this and the kindle downloads it as a zip file but on laptop it downloads as apk file ? how do i get the kindle to download as apk not zip ?

  39. I have tried a lot of different versions an they download quick and easy but me kindle keeps sayning it cant open the file. Help me PLEASE!!!!!!

  40. I installed this but it’s refuses to open. :(

  41. I’ve got mine rooted using Nova launcher and go launcher but I can’t get the wallpaper up. It gives option to set live wallpaper like usual Android devices do but the screen remains black. How can I override the kindle HD black screen.

  42. Got to download the Go launcher.it works great. I do wan to make I default but unable to do so. When I long press th home button I don get any option of selecting a launcher or to make it default. I went into settings/applications/ and checked. Nothin default is set.

    Pleas help…

    Fyi, my system version is 7.4.9

  43. An update to this : opened Go Launcher from the carousel, web to preference an tried checking the default launcher option. The app crashed. Tried multiple times…

    ..if Amazon is indeed trying to restrict, not a good sign.

  44. Hi, well I got the go launcher and I am wobdering if it is free because when I installed it on mt kindle fire, it said they will call me and it also said it might cost money. I am also wondering why my wall paper is completely black.