Amazon adds missing storage permission so apps can easily access all files in Fire OS 8 on the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K & 4K Max

Amazon has just pushed out a new software update to the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K Max that fixes a big omission in Fire OS 8 which was causing many apps to not work correctly. Being based on Android 11, the new operating system from Amazon comes with more stringent file access permissions for apps on the latest Fire TV Sticks. This better protects a user’s privacy, which is great. However, Amazon forgot to include the permission option that allows users to give apps, they deem safe and trustworthy, access to all files. Thankfully, the omission has now been corrected with the addition of the missing storage permission that can now give apps access to all files without the need to use special ADB commands.

Before this latest update, all Fire TV devices had just two storage permission options, Allow and Deny, that a user may set for any given app wanting to access all files on the device. For devices running Fire OS 7 or prior versions of Amazon’s operating system, these two options were sufficient because selecting to allow storage permission gave apps access to all files on the device. More recent versions of Android, which Fire OS 8 inherited as it is based on one of these newer Android versions, introduced a new third storage permission option for users to have the choice to give apps access to just media files or all files. When Fire OS 8 arrived on the two new Fire TV Stick models earlier this year, it still only had Allow and Deny storage permission options. Selecting “Allow” granted an app access to media files and left no easy way to grant an app access to all files.

Fire OS version 8.1.0.1 (build 1854), which is rolling out now to the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K Max, changes app storage permission options from being a binary allow or deny to being the three options it should have been all along. The deny option is still present, but the allow option has been split into two options labeled “Media” and “All Files.”

When an app brings up a prompt along the bottom of the screen to grant file access, selecting “Allow” is equivalent to setting the app’s storage permission to “Media.” This gives the app access to audio, video, and photo files stored on the device but nothing else. To give an app access to all files, you must manually navigate to Settings > Applications > Manage All Applications on the Fire TV, find the app in your list of installed apps, and enter the permissions options for the app to select the new “All Files” option.

An important thing to note is that there is no way to set the new “All Files” storage permission from within an app, like you can through the popup that grants media file access permission. You must go into the Fire TV’s application settings to grant an app access to all files. This is by design, and is a behavior that is common to all Android devices running newer versions of Android, so that uninformed users don’t unknowingly give apps access to all files. Many apps needing access to all files will display a message instructing you to change the storage permission and then send you to the app’s settings menu, but they cannot just display a permission prompt within the app like you may be used to on older Fire TV models.

You’re not going to see the new “All Files” storage permission option for all apps that access files. An app must explicitly be coded to request the newer “MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” permission for the “All Files” option to appear in the app’s Fire TV settings. If an app only requests the older and lower “WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE” permission, you’ll only see the permission option for “Media” access in the Fire TV settings. That said, an exception is made for apps that explicitly request legacy storage behavior and target old versions of Android. By doing so, the app can access all files even if it only requests the lower “Media” access permission. My Downloader app is one such app that does not have the “All Files” permission option because I anticipated the mess the new stricter permissions may cause and purposely kept the Amazon Appstore version of Downloader targeting older versions of Android to retain access to all files through the simpler “Media” permission. I may change this behavior in the next update to Downloader, now that the new permission option is present.

While the new “All Files” storage permission option added in the latest update to Fire OS 8 solves many of the headaches that people have been facing with file access on the two newest Firesticks, it doesn’t solve all issues. There are still directories on the device that apps cannot access with this new permission alone, such as the /sdcard/Android/data/ folders. For those, users must still provide special access permission through the pre-installed Files app (a.k.a. system picker) which is, at best, very difficult to use with a remote and impossible to use with only a remote for certain tasks. The new Fire OS 8 update does not address the Files app issues at all, nor does it allow access to those Android data directories through an ADB connection, as other newer versions of Android do.

44 comments
  1. Andrew says:

    Will this work for Tivimate app granted permissions? Thanks

  2. terry Knapper says:

    Andrew, I have the same question.
    Elias’s “fix” works well.
    But, Amazon should never have put “us” through misery.
    TK

      • terry Knapper says:

        Elias.
        Do I understand correctly. There was/is two issues.
        Amazon addressed one. Now TiviMate has address the other?
        Terry K

        • Not exactly. There are several ways for an app to request access to external storage. Tivimate chose the method that requires using the Files app (a.k.a. system picker). That’s a perfectly valid way to do it and Tivimate has technically made no mistakes. It just so happens that the system picker is a nightmare to use without a touchscreen. If Tivimate switched from using the system picker to, instead, requesting the “All Files” permission, then it would benefit from this new Fire OS update. That’s probably what Tivimate should do, but I wouldn’t say that Tivimate made a mistake by not doing it in the first place because it’s not Tivimate’s fault that the Files app is nearly unusable on a Fire TV.

          • terry Knapper says:

            Elias, if I understand correctly, the way TiviMate and the OLD
            4KMax worked in regard to external storage is not the same way as the TiviMate app and the OS 8. whatever and android 11 on the new 4KMax?
            What does the latest 2nd gen 4KMax update accomplish ?

    • Miller says:

      Terry, are you able to create a backup and use the restore option?

      • terry Knapper says:

        On a slightly different note:
        I noticed on my NEW 4KMax, when I first start my system up, that quite often the FS would not display , in my case , the HDMI 2 location.
        This never happened with my old FS.
        After pulling out what hair I have left, I tried the “CEC” selection on my input options. I choose “ON”.
        Now things seem to work.
        Does this make sense?
        One more thing while I am on a roll, I can’t seem to get
        the Mouse toggle app to work on my new FS. It worked on my old FS.
        I tried the suggested on/off of the AB settings.
        It just stays Status:starting.
        That is it, I promise.
        Terry K

      • Julian says:

        Der Zugriff bringt einem momentan Trotzdem nichts. Ich versuche ein Backup von dem Kodi Files Ordner einzufügen. Dies funktioniert nicht man kann den files Ordner nicht löschen oder überschreiben.

    • Miller says:

      Terry, on tivimate?

      • terry Knapper says:

        “Miller”. I have never tried anything with the back up stuff.
        I am not that adventurous.
        And yes I am using TiviMate ver 4.7.0(Premium).
        I only want the ability to send my recordings to an external
        storage device on a 2n gen 4KMax FS.
        The fix from Elias works fine.
        I was just hoping that the Amazon/TiviMate issues in this
        area would come together.
        Terry K
        Terry K

        • Miller says:

          Terry, can you go into tivimate setting under “General” scroll down until you see backup data then click it and let me know if it worked or failed.

          It won’t hurt anything if it works it will save any tweaking you might have done on the tivimate app.

          Thanks, Miller

        • Pawdog says:

          If you use Tivimate on more than one device it’s essential. I have it on 8 different devices and they all have the same setup. Backup and restore makes it all possible and it’s really easy.

  3. Benni says:

    Will this enable the show 15 also Again ?

  4. Bernie says:

    What an embarrassment Amazon has become! I will NEVER buy another Fire Stick or Tablet – and I have spent 1,000’s of dollars up to this point.

  5. Kenneth Robertson says:

    I stopped buying firesticks from Amazon for these reasons. I have purchased 10 Google ONN streaming devices from Walmart for $19.88 each. Additional internal or external memory is easy to add with USB. Google does not prevent third-party applications.

    • Pawdog says:

      Amazon doesn’t prevent sideloading apps either.

      • Kenneth Robertson says:

        But they are trying to uninstall less frequently used applications. Google does not care what applications you install. They are easy to setup and work perfect for $19.88.

        • Uninstalling less frequently used apps has nothing to do with sideloading. It’s to help people who have run out of internal storage. The feature never touches sideloaded apps.

        • Pawdog says:

          Yeah, I love my Onn devices too, but the new Max with 16GB storage and Dolby Mat support has changed the game for stick devices. Some of Amazon’s choices are maddening but I got updates blocked and Projectivy launcher installed so I’m happy.

  6. DjKilla says:

    This new Fire TV Stick 4K Max 2 is a problem. So what exactly is needed to get Kodi to work on these? I use Downloader to sideload then what? I’ve been saving links to all your articles on the latest 4K Max 2 but now I’m confused on what’s needed.

  7. Miller says:

    If tivimate developer changes their request higher all files permission. Then will this work?

    Also I wonder if it possible for the tivimate developers to do this.

  8. Pawdog says:

    Kodi already works on the device you just can’t restore backups that come from other devices. Install and set it us as normal.

    • DjKilla says:

      Thank you for answering this! I’ve always sideloaded Kodi with no problems on many Fire TV Sticks but just wasn’t sure about the latest one. I’m happy to hear that there’s no extra steps and I just install Kodi the same as the previous versions of the Fire TV Sticks.

  9. Kevin says:

    Elias — can you give a link to the legacy settings for USB access with tvmate and the file picker on the first generation fs max? We have one and can not find the correct instructions to use the USB. Thanks.

  10. Terry says:

    So is smrters pro having the same issue? Mine keeps going back to the smaters start screen. Or is this a different issue

  11. TechyList says:

    This is great news! I was starting to worry that Amazon was going to leave Fire OS 8 users without access to their files.

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