Amazon Fire TV Software Update Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

fire-tv-box-and-stick-update

Whenever a new software update for the Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick begins rolling out, I usually get the same set of questions from people asking when their device will update and if there’s anything they can do to speed the process along. Here are some commonly asked questions about the Fire TV’s software update process. Feel free to ask additional questions in the comments and I’ll update this post with answers.

Can I manually download and install an update?

No, there is no way to manually install an official software update on the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. The only exception to this is if your device is rooted.

Can I force an over-the-air update to install?

Yes and No. Once a new update starts rolling out to devices, there is no way to absolutely force the update to install on a specific Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. All you can do is force your device to check if its turn has come up to update. You do this by going to Settings > System > About > Check for updates.

One additional thing you can do to ensure your device is fully checking for updates, is to connect to it via ADB and run the command:
adb shell pm clear com.amazon.device.software.ota
This will clear all previous checks and ensure your device fully checks for an update when you force a check under Settings. You’ll know you cleared previous update checks because the “Last Checked” date will say “Never.” It’s not certain if this actually does anything to help, but it can’t hurt.

When will my device update to the new version?

Every Fire TV and Fire TV Stick has a specific place in line to update. If a particular device’s turn hasn’t come up, there is no way to force it to update. This place in line is random, however each device will always have the same place in line. Meaning, if a particular Fire TV is among the first to update, it will always be among the first to update, and if it updates late, it will always update late. The place in line is not linked to your Amazon account or physical location in the world.

What determines when my device gets updated?

The order at which devices update is random. It is not determined by your Amazon account or by your physical location. The order a device updates is locked to the device’s serial number. This is why one person can have multiple Fire TVs that update weeks apart. If you shipped a particular Fire TV across the country and used it under a different Amazon account, it would make no difference to when it would update.

Why does it take so long for updates to roll out?

Amazon rolls out software updates slowly to a few devices at a time. This allows them to detect if there are unforeseen issues with an update. It’s possible for an update to start rolling out and then be halted due to an issue. In those instances, Amazon will quickly fix the issue and start rolling out a new version of the update. It could be a month or more between when an update first starts rolling out and when all devices have received the update.

How long does it take for updates to reach all devices?

This varies greatly from update to update. Some updates seem to take as little as a week to reach everyone, while others have taken over a month. For the most part, the larger the update (i.e., many things have changed) the longer it usually takes to reach all devices. This is likely because when many parts of the operating system have changed in an update, there is a greater chance for an unforeseen issue to arise, so Amazon rolls the update out more slowly. Small updates that just fix a few bugs will usually roll out quickly.

Why is the latest software version number on Amazon’s site wrong?

The software version number listed on Amazon’s official page for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick usually does not get updated until most devices have received a particular software update.

Can I block software updates?

Amazon does not provide an official way to block software updates. However, there are unofficial ways to block updates, which you can find here.

Can I stop a software update that has started downloading?

See this post for information on how to stop a software update.

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22 comments
  1. Craig says:

    They really should just post the firmware and allow manually side-load to update their own devices. This waiting crap is BS!

  2. Athos Kyriacou says:

    The remote app is no longer functioning as it was with the previous version.you cannot access the sideloaded apps any more.any ideas?

  3. derrick says:

    They need to just F’ing get on with it.

    • Athos Kyriacou says:

      Steve, I also use ES explorer to install apps. There was an option on the remote app that you could access apps that you already installed before. With the upgrade, it has disappeared. Anything??

  4. tech3475 says:

    My guess for the rollout is two fold:
    1) Reduce server load.
    2) Minimize any problems e.g. bugs only detected in the wild.

    Look at what happens when a new major iOS update comes out as an example.

    • vulcan195 says:

      “Reduce Server Load”? Really? Amazon owns AWS. They can easily handle the load. And what this about your fate in line being sealed for life based on the serial number of the device? Looney Tunes if you ask me.
      They could easily make the firmware available on the site since mostly its techie folks who would be using that route and … they are precisely the kind of folks you want to be testing the firmware.

      • tech3475 says:

        I was discussing OTA, not manual.

        Even with AWS, with the amount of devices out there and depending on how they’re handling their update servers I could still see potential problems if every device did an OTA at the same time.

        As for the list, I don’t know.

        Could be because they are load distributing with AWS and want an even spread across the different servers for various devices e.g. x amount of Fire Stick for server 1, x amount of Fire TV 1 for server 2, etc.

        Remember, this is pure speculation.

        Also, judging by their products and behavior, I think Amazon hate us ‘techies’.

    • William Olsen says:

      All it is is to address all the different sticks and TV fire box’s that have Kodi and all their different builds to doc records and deliver the info to the companies and distributors losing monies. Do some research and you’ll find that out your selves.

      • tech3475 says:

        If they wanted to track your device and Kodi, I don’t think they would need a delayed rollout to do so. That doesn’t make much sense to me unless you have evidence to show otherwise.

  5. damien says:

    the roll it out in waves linked to your mac for bug purposes.
    just like the satellite companies roll out updates linked to your CAM id.
    its just the way it is.
    saves tech support calls and replacements in case of a fatal bugs.

  6. Kristi says:

    When does the new update start?

  7. Mimi says:

    When was it released? Sometimes there isn’t sound and when it goes to sleep I have to unplug and plug back in for the remote connect and have TV activity. This just started recently.

  8. Cyberic says:

    Geographic location does matter for firmware updates. For instance german privacy laws are much more rigid than those in the US, this limits telemetry a company can collect and Amazon’s branch in germany is subject to local law, not US law. This slows the process of rolling out, evaluating possible glitches, fixing them and going on with the roll-out – because the same time, the software has to cope with regional specifics and can’t be simply adopted 1:1 from one pilot area to any other area.

    I would expect US customers to be first in line, simply because Amazon’s tech development is US based and this is where they start. At least this is how it went in the past with major updates.

  9. Hannah Jordan says:

    Question : When you update the firestick do you lose all installed apps like kodi etc, and after installation do you need to input your amazon account again?

    • Geznson says:

      Are people going to lose kodi etc with this update? ?

      • ChrisBC says:

        No, it is still there, though it will fall out of Recents until you use it again. New layout is kinda….different.It will also show under Apps

      • ChrisBC says:

        OK, not sure what is going on, but the last FireOS update (5.2.4.0)seems to have hosed my SPMC install. Now it either will not boot fully ( goes to black screen and stops), or boots up, but has lost my scanned in SMB shared folders. Have done numerous clean installs using both adblink and ES File Explorer, across 4 different version of SPMC, rescanned media each time, moved data folder to SD card, at the end it craps out.I’ve spent my whole weekend trying to solve this. Not sure if it the Fire OS update, but ever since then I no longer have a stable (or otherwise, for that matter) working SPMC.
        If this is Amazon’s Xmas gift to it’s customers,this box will be on craigslist REAL soon!!!

  10. Hi im there says:

    I cant put it on 21 9 aspect ratio. Is it possible to do that?

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