How to unbrick by entering Recovery Mode and Factory Reset the Amazon Fire TV

fire-tv-recovery-mode-options

If you’ve managed to brick your Fire TV or for whatever reason are unable to get to the settings menu to perform a factory reset, here is how to enter recovery mode without fully booting into the Fire TV’s operating system. 

To do this you will need a USB keyboard with a “Print Screen” or “SysRq” key. Mac keyboards generally do not have this key so will not work. Before you get started, plug the USB keyboard into the Fire TV and unplug the Fire TV’s power. Now plug the power in and while the Fire TV is booting, you need to press the following 3 keys simultaneously: Alt + Print Screen + i

Pressing those 3 keys sends a “kill all tasks” command to the Fire TV. If you kill all tasks during boot up enough times, the Fire TV will enter Androids default Recovery Mode. So after pressing Alt + Print Screen + i, the Fire TV will flicker and restart the boot up process. While it’s trying to boot up the second time, press Alt + Print Screen + i again. A good time to press it is as soon as you see the colorful Fire TV logo. Repeat this process several times, pressing Alt + Print Screen + i during boot, until the Fire TV displays the message “The System Update was not successful.” When you see this message, you are now in Recovery Mode. Note that depending on your TV, the colorful Fire TV logo may appear off screen, so you’ll need to guess when it appears.

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Once on the “Update was not successful” screen, press the Home key on your keyboard. This should bring up a menu in the upper left corner. If a menu doesn’t appear, press Alt + Print Screen + i one more time. The screen will go black and then return to the “System Update was not successful” screen. Pressing the Home key should now definitely bring up the menu. Once you see the menu, use the arrow keys on the keyboard to highlight the factory reset option and hit enter.

Sourcejljaries42

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43 comments
  1. S.J.kim says:

    I hit enter at ‘wipe cache partition’ mistakenly. then AFTV turned off and it doesn’t print the screen on monitor.
    How can i fix it?

  2. Juan says:

    The home button on the right? Or the home button with the Microsoft logo?

  3. Ronald Smith says:

    So how does it recover if router has the Amazon firmware update site blocked? Does this set it back to its original (rootable) firmware? Or does it have a saved copy of its latest updated firmware somewhere?

  4. Rodolfo says:

    The sequence alt + print + i commands did not work.
    Pressing the same sequence + “to” I can reboot. But nothing happens. Only amazon logo appears blank.
    AFTV was good while it lasted.

  5. Ryan Griffiths says:

    I get it get to restore screen but I hit home button and nothing happens.

  6. Ryan Griffiths says:

    Well I want to let everyone know that I got it to work and my fire tv is unbrick end. Thank you all that found this info and shared it with all of us. Saved me 100 bucks.

  7. helpplease says:

    hi, i bought a fire tv this afternoon and hooked it up via ethernet. after booting up i removed the ethernet cable to try to hook up wireless, after doing so the fire tv flashed with a green screen and will not boot at all. it gets to the gray amazon screen then the screen flashes green again and goes back into the boot sequence once again.

    the white light is fading in & out and sometimes flashes a faster orange color then back to the fading in & out white.

    i tried the alt-print sys req/i and it does nothing. can i try a different method??

    thanks in advance

  8. Leroy says:

    Will this unbrick firetv if the bootloader is damage to the put the white amazon logo appears and that all it does with a orange light glowing?

  9. Fredy says:

    My fire tv is bricked.
    It has cwm 6.0.5.1.4a recovery.
    so it doesn’t changed by Alt + Print Screen + i
    any other solutions?
    please…

    • Vladimir says:

      I have the same issue. I do not know what to do.

    • Vladimir says:

      Hey Fredy, FYI IF YOU CAN GET INTO CWM YOU ARE NOT BRICKED. You may have to post of the XDA forums for AFTV but you can still fix anything wrong with it. I had a similar issue, but I was able to clone a recovery file off a different rooted AFTV to fix it. You can upload files to it in CWM with a usb hub, keyboard, and jump drive. Or it is possible to ADB connect into if you remember the IP address or check your router. ADB is limited though.

  10. Robert says:

    wouldn’t it be possible to root an “unrootable” Fire TV with “apply update from ADB” and then pushing a rootable downgrade or modded firmware over USB?

  11. Robert says:

    I assume not possible because of locked bootloader :(

  12. justin6162 says:

    after it finished wipe data and cache and i hit reboot. still nothing happen. please help! is there any way i can use a usb drive or adb to recover my aftv?

  13. justin6162 says:

    i’m using the factory recovery

  14. Epotex says:

    After a few months that the AFTV set without use I wanted to reuse it, I’ve rooted it before, so I went and selected the “reset to factory defualts” from the setting menu to begin with fresh box – BIG mistake, when I rooted the box back then there was an instruction to block specific Amazon address, that I found out later that it’s critical to the login process, so after resetting the box I’ve been locked out of the AFTV because I can’t go anywhere untill I’ll log into my amazon account and since this address is blocked on the hosts file I can’t log to Amazon, So I learned the hard way that it is not a real “reset to factory default” Anyway It feels like this is an unfinished article, Once I’m in the recovery mode, How can I use the update from ADB? USB cable? Over wifi? Network cable? It’s just unclear to me, I tried all this method, but still couldn’t see any device via ADB….

    Thanks

    • GlammaGeek says:

      I don’t know what firmware you were on and whether it was pre-rooted, or whether you even still need help. But if you can get into CWM recovery, here’s what you should do: connect an ethernet cable and a keyboard, boot to recovery in whatever way you can, then go to install zip > install zip from sideload. Then on your computer, open an adb session, and type “adb connect ip.address.of.your.device” Once you see that you’re connected, you can just type “adb sideload name_of_the_firmware” Make sure you type in the complete path of where the firmware file is located on your computer.

      If that doesn’t work for you, let me know and I’ll do my best to help you sort it out.

  15. GlammaGeek says:

    I screwed up so badly that I had to share my experience on how I recovered. I’ve learned so much from reading all the help you wonderful folks have so painstakingly shared, I couldn’t go to sleep tonight without taking the time to hopefully give something back.

    What happened is I was updating a customer’s rooted AFTV from “51.1.3.0” to the most recent rooted custom ROM. Everything went fine at first. I installed “51.1.4.0_514006420” without a hitch. I then rebooted the device and did the partial bootloader unlock in the Amazon FireTV Utility App. Then things went horribly wrong because since I was distracted, I forgot to install the new bootloader. I didn’t notice that I had forgotten this crucial step until after I clicked to install CWM version 6.0.5.1.4a. While I was in the new recovery, I installed “51.1.6.0_516009820”. OOOOOPS!! Just before it finished, I started crying because I realized my mistake and knew Little-Miss-AFTV-Expert had f**ked up.

    Like an idiot, I made the further mistake of doing the “let’s just see if it will boot” trick. Well. It didn’t. Neither could I get into recovery. And since I had only done the partial bootloader unlock, making a mad dash to my store in the middle of the night to grab a USB-A male-to-male cable was wasted energy because fastboot was not an option. I WAS DOOMED!!! But I kept reading and kept crying.

    The problem was further exacerbated by the fact that I could not even get to where I could see the colorful Amazon logo while it was trying to boot. What finally worked was persistence. I just kept trying the “Alt-i-Prt Scrn/Sys Req” button on the keyboard, followed by pressing the “Home” button. After getting into CWM a couple times without being able to connect via ADB, I realized by looking at the IP Address that it wasn’t connected to the internet. So I looked in my stash and found a long-ass ethernet cable, fought to reboot back into CWM, sideloaded “51.1.4.0_514006420” and found love and laughter again.

    My word to the wise is this: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT EVER EVER EVER FORGET TO INSTALL THE BOOTLOADER BEFORE YOU UPGRADE TO THE NEWEST FIRMWARE!!! AND IF YOU HAVE THE HUEVOS, IT’S A GREAT IDEA TO DO THE FULL BOOTLOADER UNLOCK BEFORE YOU START MESSING AROUND. Please learn from my mistake because if you don’t have the bootloader fully unlocked and you screw something up, you are in for a bricked device and a WORLD of hurt.

    Thank you Jesus, Allah, and every other diety. And most of all, thank you wonderful people for sharing all those AFTV tips and tricks. You saved my wallet…

    • AFTVnews says:

      I’m glad you were able to get things fixed!

      To clarify for others, when you say “install the bootloader” what you really mean to say is “install the boot menu”. Those are two very different things.

  16. Laaannger says:

    Big round of thank you to GlammaGeek! Your post saved my bum today. Alt-i-Print_Screen got be back into CWM and luckily I still had the 51.1.4.0_514006420 still on the SDCard. Quick install from ZIP and boom back to normal. Family distractions did me in today…best to work on Fire TV when everyone is asleep!

  17. Daniel says:

    I love you! :-*

    Stock in recovery after this here: (see edit)
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/fire-tv/help/help-hid-devices-mouse-keyboard-cwm-t3229698

    You help me a lot. Thank you very much.

    Greetings by Daniel

  18. Daniel says:

    Oh yes:
    OS: flashed 51.1.6.3_516012020-rooted over cwm
    Error: Stocked with flashing (waves) Amazon fireTV logo
    Solution with: Logitech K400r DE-Layout
    Buttons: fn + AltGr + i + Drucken
    (drucken is print)
    Process: Pressing this button many many many many times again again together, I think after the third boot process I come my lovely CWM :)
    Tipp: Dont stop to pressing thoose buttons and check some keyboards.

    Greetings by Daniel

  19. Ryan says:

    I can get to wipe all user data. Then I hit enter. It says resetting fire tv but then it does nothing just black screen

  20. Michael says:

    This method did finally work after many, many attempts. It helps to have the HDMI from the FIRE TV plugged into a small display or you miss the menu in the upper left corner to wipe and reset to factory settings. The USB keyboard method is the one I used. Thanks to everyone for their comments.

  21. Stanley says:

    I tried this with a keyboard and it worked FLAWLESSly. I cannot thank the OP enough

    Thanks

  22. Christie says:

    Hi my Amazon fire stick wont work. I needed to update it and a friend told me to press fresh start and then follow the prompts from a video. I was successful with one. However, I cannot do it for my other one. I clicked fresh start and it wont let me continue to follow the neccessary steps to continue the process. It wont let me do click on nothing. I am so frustrated. Please any help?

  23. Sebastian says:

    Hi,
    my gen1 firetv suddenly reboots every time within 10s of getting to the amazon launcher gui.
    I had the latest fw on it and also used kingroot to root it. This worked great the last weeks.
    I’m not aware of anything I did to trigger this now.

    I tried to enter the recovery mode (via “adb reboot recovery”), but I don’t get any options there.
    It just says “Amazon(sic!) recovery mode ” in a red font and that the device will reboot after a few minutes (which it doesn’t). Pulling the plug after a half an hour leaves me with the “old” system, i.e. no data has been wiped.

    When it boots, I have a few (10 or so) seconds with network connectivity that I can use to fire up an adb command. Sadly nothing helped so far.
    Looks permanently bricked to me :-/
    Any ideas?

  24. Jerry says:

    My Gen 1 FireTV now is stuck on the initial black and white Amazon logo screen and doesn’t go any further. It stopped working a couple of months ago – I suspect this was as a result of a botched OTA firmware update as they were being put out around that time. This box was completely stock and never rooted. And of course, Amazon tech support could not help me as it is out of the 1 year warranty now (even though their OTA update killed it, most likely).

    I’ve tried using a USB keyboard and the Alt-i-SysRq key combination on startup and have never seen any evidence that it did anything, even after pressing that combination several hundred times after bootup. For those of you for which this worked, how many times did you need to press it?

    I also tried to get into the box using adb and a USB A-A cable. When plugging it into my Windows computer, I hear the Windows device connection sound and the ADB bridge appears in Windows Device Manager. Unfortunately, after about 10 seconds, I hear the disconnect sound and the device disappears from Device Manager. I tried running commands like “adb devices -l” to see if I could see the device, but it always returned an empty list. Does anyone know of any other commands that might work within that 10 second time period so that I could do a factory reset?

    • Paul Craton says:

      I just had a very frustrating call with Amazon support on this issue. The l1 support team are using Kodi as a blanket excuse for an update failure that results in the blank boot screen issue mentioned in your post (I am seeing exactly the same symptoms here).

      I am unable to get the USB keyboard method you detail to work. It seems to be in a reboot cycle lasting 15s.

      My system boots to the white “Amazon” logo and then just goes blank. I do not see any coloured logo… just a blank screen continually rebooting to another blank screen (no black and white amazon logo).

      The support rep suggested the issue was being “Caused by Kodi” and the fact it had installed Kodi onto the System partition of the device and as a result of Kodi being there is causing issues with the the system partition and as a result was failing to complete the upgrade resulting in the reboot.

      I asked the support rep for guidance on how to use a USB keyboard to get the system to restore to the factory image. The support rep refused to acknowledge there was a USB key stroke that could be used (has this feature been disabled in later boot loaders?).

      I’m sure I am not the only person out there that needs confidence Amazon will prevent updates from being installed on the Amazon Fire boxes that may impact application development work. It was a total let down for the support team to refuse to provide guidance on this.

      BIG THUMBS DOWN ON AMAZON SUPPORT FOR REFUSING TO ASSIST IN FIXING A PROBLEM THEY CAUSED.

      If you find a way to restore your firetv from the similar bricked state mine is in – please let me know.

      I have no remote working with the device other than the Fire TV remote app.

      I have a USB debug cable an a mac with ADB. I cannot issue an adb command to the device as it reboots every 10s or so…..

      Let me know if you find a solution….

      Thanks

      • Alec says:

        You can be annoyed, but if you installed Kodi, you sideloaded it. That means that you caused the issue. Not Amazon. You f***** with the software of a device and got burned (full disclosure – so did I), but Amazon is not the reason, you are.

  25. Steve C says:

    I am new to this forum as I just discovered it while trying to find some troubleshooting assistance for my stock Gen 1 Fire TV that stopped working within the past few days. I have the same symptoms as Jerry (simple black and white Amazon logo on screen and white light on box fades in and out) which appeared about the same time. I suspect a botched firmware upgrade. We have experienced a few short power outages recently during thunderstorms which could have happened while a firmware upgrade was in progress. I have tried Amazon’s reboot procedure by disconnecting power for 30 seconds but no change. I have put fresh batteries in the remote and used the button combinations to sync it but no change. I have also tried the button combinations to change the screen resolution but no change. The box does not respond in any way to the remote. I would appreciate some advice on what steps to take to attempt to get it working again. This thread caught my eye as a possible way to force a factory reset but don’t want to attempt it if I am on the wrong track.

    Thanks for any assistance.

  26. Kit Reynolds says:

    I had a bricked FireTV non HD after the April 2016 update clashed with my side loaded firestarter. It got stuck on the white logo with the power light glowing dim then bright.

    The usb keyboard combination worked when I kept the three keys held down for around 30 secs after several attempts. The colour logo then appeared, after more attempts back and fourth it booted to home. Frooze once, more attempts and I got back to home navigated using the keyboard cursor aka arrow keys and managed to factory reset.

    After seeing a screen with red writing saying wait but if it doesn’t restart unplug and plug in the power. I did this after waiting and am now stuck on the colour logo. So a lityle further but the factory reset doesn’t appear to have worked… anyone got advice please?

  27. Nicola says:

    Brilliant, this worked for me. Took six or seven attempts of taking the power cord out and pressing the three suggested buttons but allowed me to get the home screen to do a factory reset. Thank you very much for your help

  28. japjap says:

    i got a firetv with pin it so i have no access to the menu i don’t know the pin.

    can this solve the problem ? or not ? thank you

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