A new software update has started to roll out to Amazon Fire TV devices. The only change I’ve found so far with this update is a change to how apps you have installed and the channels you are subscribed to are arranged on both the home screen and the app grid. The option to move items has been replaced with a new option to pin items to the front of your list of apps and channels. This has been done because new apps you install and new channels you subscribe to will now automatically appear at the front of your list of apps and channels, making them easier to find. Pinning an app or channel gives it priority over new items and keeps it at the front of the list.
The problem that Amazon is trying to address with this change is not being able to find, or easily get to, a new app you installed or a new channel you subscribed to. With the old behavior, new apps and channels were always added to the end of your list of apps/channels, so that they didn’t disturb your manually organized app/channel arrangement. This made new items difficult to find for novice users. I constantly receive emails from people claiming that Amazon blocked sideloading or that my Downloader app is broken because they can’t find the app they just installed. Every time, it’s simply because they didn’t scroll to the end of their app list, where new apps appear.
Since new apps/channels now automatically appear at the front of your list, the option to pin an app/channel has been introduced so that you have a way to keep certain items at the front, regardless of what new apps you install or channels you subscribe to in the future. The main issue with the new pinning behavior is that there is now no easy way to rearrange the items that you want at the front of your app/channel list.
If you pin items in the reverse order that you want them to appear, then you’ll be able to control the order of your apps/channels since the last item you pinned will always go to the front of the list. If you ever need to rearrange the list, you’ll need to unpin everything and repin in the desired order that you want. This is certainly a nightmare, but it seems like it’s only going to be a temporary issue.
I’ve been told that Amazon will be adding a way to more easily organize the items you pin in a future update. It seems like they wanted to address the issue of not being able to find new items first and then circle back to add back in the lost functionality of easily rearranging items.
The new pinning functionality is currently rolling out in software update 188.8.131.52 (build 632552020) to older Fire TV devices. So far, I’ve only confirmed that the Fire TV 1 and Fire TV 2 have received this update, but I assume other models will also receive it or a similar update. Let me know in comments if you receive this update on other models and if you notice any other changes.
I’m told this update is rolling out to the Fire TV Stick 1 and Fire TV Stick 2 as well.