Amazon Fire TV update breaks some apps

Feb 28, 2024

Amazon has made yet another controversial change that affects Fire TV devices. A new version of Fire OS breaks compatibility with some apps.

A report by AFTVNews (via How To Geek) reveals that Fire TV apps can no longer use local ADB Connections or execute ADB commands. ADB refers to Android Debug Bridge, and this permission may be required by some apps for some advanced tasks. This cripples apps that rely on the feature. And it is not just apps from third-party stores that are impacted by the change, it also affects apps that are available through Amazon's App Store. It turns out that the company did not bother to notify the app developers about the change before implementing it.

The change is present in Fire TV for Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube, and in for Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Older devices could also be affected by the change. It does not affect the usage of phones and computers, so you can still use them to establish ADB connections. Enabling ADB is also required for sideloading apps on your TV, it appears that the latest change does not affect this in any way.

The feature, which had existed since the first Fire TV debuted in 2014, is something that you can commonly find on nearly all smart TVs. When AFTVNews reached out to Amazon for clarification, the company had replied, saying “We are aware of reports that some apps have been impacted by a recent security update.”

This is a rather odd response in the pretext of security. While ADB can be used for malicious purposes, it is worth noting that users have to enable ADB manually on their device. And most apps that require access to it tell you about it, and you're probably aware of the app. Such apps request permission to access ADB, which you need to grant. There are some safety mechanisms in Android that prevent malicious commands.

Amazon has taken an aggressive stance towards blocking alternative launchers for the home screen. Fire OS has not been particularly impressive for a couple of years. The home page on Fire TVs and Firesticks are horrendously bad, with autoplaying video trailers aka "Featured content" that Amazon likes to promote.

You can disable autoplay from the following page: Settings > Preferences > Featured Content > Allow Video Autoplay / Allow Audio Autoplay. While it will remove the annoyance, the home page still looks pretty bad. And to make matters worse, the non 4K models of Fire TV Sticks are incredibly slow in terms of performance. Even the company's premium streaming service, Amazon Prime Video now has ads.

The Seattle based company is said to be working on a non-Android operating system for its Fire TVs and Fire TV sticks, the upcoming operating system is called Vega OS. This will obviously remove support for sideloading, so you won't be able to use apps like SmartTube.

This is an anti-consumer move, which is designed to lock users in a walled-garden. You might as well use a third-party device like a Google Chromecast, Roku, or something else that offers you greater freedom of choice for installing whatever apps you may need.

Amazon Fire TV update breaks some apps
Article Name
Amazon Fire TV update breaks some apps
Amazon is crippling ADB functionality on Fire TVs
Ghacks Technology News

Previous Post: «


  1. Anonymous said on February 28, 2024 at 11:20 pm

    Use DNS blocker:

    Either that or JTAG with older firmware.

  2. John said on February 28, 2024 at 3:37 pm

    Overall Amazon has made some terrible decisions with its services. The value is not there as much as it used to be. I tried a Fire stick once and it was a horrible interface and performance issues were frustrating at times. Played around with a Fire tablet as well with equally bad experience. Amazon clearly does not have good communications with app developers which really ends up being a bad experience for end users.

  3. Mo' said on February 28, 2024 at 3:03 pm

    Roku, … offers you greater freedom of choice for installing whatever apps you may need.

    Unless they don’t approve of said apps.

  4. Anonymous said on February 28, 2024 at 1:35 pm

    iOS doesn’t have this and it’s managing perfectly, I think it’s fine. It’s Amazon’s operating system and devices after all.
    Having a system component that could be opened up and used to load third party software sounds like a privacy nightmare.

    1. tein eps said on February 29, 2024 at 5:57 pm

      using apple devices themselves already a privacy nightmare

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.