Latest Fire TV software update reportedly blocks custom launchers
Amazon Fire TV Sticks are some of the most popular streaming dongles on the market, and there are a few to choose from on Amazon. The 4K streaming dongle, in particular, brings support for HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. Developers have also had a great time with them, figuring out how to unlock the bootloader and install custom software that brings them closer to the stock Android TV experience. However, over the last couple of years, it became possible to switch to a custom launcher with a bit of work. Now, Amazon has begun blocking that method in a Fire TV software update.
- Fire OS 7 (blocks custom launchers) software update version 184.108.40.206, build number PS7273/2622, rolling out to the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick 4K Max, 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick, and the Fire TV Stick Lite.
- Fire OS 6 (blocks custom launchers) software update version 220.127.116.11, build number PS6287/3768, rolling out to the Fire TV Stick 4K, 1st-gen Fire TV Cube, and the 3rd-gen Fire TV (Pendant).
- Fire OS 5 (might block custom launchers) software update version 18.104.22.168 is rolling out to the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick, 1st-gen Fire TV Stick, and the 2nd-gen Fire TV.
The method for installing a custom launcher on Amazon Fire devices is through Launcher Manager, available on the XDA forums. One of the apparent reasons Amazon has an issue with users switching the launcher is that advertisements are shown on the default home screen, likely a large source of revenue for Amazon from its Fire business. As a result, it’s likely that Amazon will continue to wage war on users changing their launchers on their devices, so long as it potentially hurts their revenue stream.
If you want to dodge the update, it’s possible to block software updates on your Fire stick via various different methods, including through DNS or through root access.