Amazon blocks long-running Fire TV capability — Breaking popular apps with no warning and giving developers the runaround

Amazon’s recent streak of unpopular Fire TV changes continues, and its latest change is a doozy. The most recent Fire TV software update has blocked a Fire TV capability that has been present since the original model’s release in 2014. This is a basic Android capability that, to my knowledge, no other Android-based device manufacturer has ever had issues with, let alone blocked. This change has rendered popular Fire TV apps, which have been in Amazon’s own Appstore for years, useless. Worse yet, Amazon seems to have been careless in implementing this change without even a courtesy email to the affected app developers, all under the, seemingly false, guise of enhanced security.

Code excerpt of Amazon’s change to Fire TV’s ADB connection that denies local connections. Sent to me by an affected app developer.

Amazon has blocked the ability for Fire TV apps to establish local ADB connections and, in turn, execute ADB commands. While it’s not a capability used by many Fire TV apps, without it, Fire TV apps can no longer perform certain advanced tasks, such as freeing up internal storage space by clearing the cache of all installed apps. This change has been verified to be present in Fire TV update 7.6.6.9 for Fire OS 7 devices, like the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube, and update 8.1.0.3 for Fire OS 8 devices, like the Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It is unknown if older Fire TV models running Fire OS 6 or Fire OS 5 will also be receiving this change, but it seems likely. This update does not change the ability of external devices, like computers or phones, to establish an ADB connection with a Fire TV, which remains possible.

When I asked Amazon if this change was intentional and performing as intended because multiple readers and developers were asking me about it, Amazon’s only reply to me was “We are aware of reports that some apps have been impacted by a recent security update.” Since then, the developer of the immensely popular app Remote ADB Shell, which has over half a million downloads and has been heavily crippled by Amazon’s update, has reached out to me with evidence that the change by Amazon is certainly deliberate.

While Amazon is stating this change is in the name of improved security, I don’t buy it. While ADB commands can be very powerful and, therefore, should only be allowed to run with care, all Android-based devices, including Fire TVs, have several precautions in place to keep users safe from apps or devices trying to execute nefarious ADB commands.

ADB connection request on Fire TVs

Before any ADB command can be executed on a Fire TV, an ADB connection to the device must be made. This starts by selecting the Fire TV’s model name in its “About” menu seven times to reveal a hidden developer menu. Then, an “ADB debugging” option must be enabled from said hidden menu. Finally, every unique ADB connection request from a device or app, be it a local or external connection, results in a full-screen prompt that must be allowed before the ADB connection is made.

These numerous ADB-related security hoops are in place on all Fire TV models and are common to all Android-based devices. No manufacturer apart from Amazon has felt the need to enhance device security by blocking local ADB connections, despite most non-Amazon Android devices being phones, which hold far more private and critical user data than a Fire TV streaming media player.

Most likely, this change is an idiotic way for Amazon to protect its Fire TV home screen from being bypassed and, in turn, to protect its profits. Apps commonly used by the Fire TV modding community will often use local ADB connections to detect remote button presses. That detection allows the use of alternate home screens, which aren’t inundated with things like auto-playing fullscreen video ads like Amazon’s own home screen.

While it’s an unpopular opinion, I see nothing wrong with Amazon protecting its Fire TV revenue by stopping the use of alternative home screens. It’s crucial to the business model Amazon has chosen to use for the Fire TV and if customers don’t like it, they don’t have to buy one. However, blocking a core OS capability and breaking popular apps in a futile effort to protect the Fire TV home screen is shortsighted and foolish. It’s the equivalent of a town mayor demolishing a bridge used by everyone because their political opponent lives on the other side.

What makes this Fire TV change even worse is how Amazon has treated the developers affected by it. Two popular Fire TV apps affected by this change are TDUK APP Killer and TDUK APP Cache Cleaner, which use local ADB commands to force quit and clear the cache of all apps with a single button press. I’ve been going back and forth with the app’s developer, popular Fire TV YouTuber TechDoctorUK, all week trying to get to the bottom of why his apps were suddenly and unexplainably marked as incompatible with all Fire TV models, despite not receiving any notice from Amazon and his apps appearing “Live” with “No issues found” in his Amazon developer portal.

Emails shown to me from Amazon stated that TechDoctorUK’s apps were removed for failing tests that resulted in error messages being displayed by the apps. However, the Amazon testing that resulted in those errors was done on non-Amazon devices (i.e., Android phones), despite the apps only being listed by TechDoctorUK as compatible with Fire TV devices. After being given the runaround for a couple of days, only after I reached out to Amazon about this issue did TechDoctorUK receive an email that stated: “Because your app overrides the native user experience (e.g., with a lockscreen, or widget), it has not been published on Amazon devices.” Given that force-stopping apps and clearing app cache are both native capabilities of Fire TVs, just not with a single click, I interpret the email as Amazon’s canned way of saying we don’t want your app on Amazon devices.

During my brief stint as a Fire TV Product Manager at Amazon, I was put on a team tasked with changing a Fire TV capability that could affect existing apps. We created and executed a plan that involved contacting affected app developers ahead of the change, helping them update their app if needed, and addressing customer issues that might arise, among other things. What we certainly didn’t do is carelessly push out the change, ghost ban affected apps, give developers the runaround, and reply to concerns with irrelevant canned replies.

Blocking local ADB connections on Fire TVs is a shortsighted decision. If the goal was to further protect the Fire TV home screen, it should have been achieved in any number of other ways that didn’t require breaking legitimate apps.

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220 comments
  1. Chris says:

    If that prevents sideloading it’s the end of fire tv in my house.

  2. Frank says:

    I have all 8 of my firetv devices updates blocked, 0S 5,6,7.

    • Kenny says:

      It’s not going to help your going to wake up to your device restarting then updating. It’ll be a forced update , then your device will restart and you’ll be on Amazon’s new OS VEGA…

      • Greg says:

        That’s. Not Correct at this time. This has Nothing to Do with the OS Been Changed to Linux.
        This Only Affecting ADB debugging. Different Subject all together

  3. Alan says:

    It looks like it’s the start of amazon restricting what you can do. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stop allowing side loading as well in the future. I used the TDUK apps on my devices and they are really good apps.

    I myself have dumped all fire sticks and am using another android tv device going forward. On my Nvidia Shield Tv, the TDUK apps work.

    • Tom says:

      The Nvidia has a one click app cache cleaner in its Android softwre.

      • Powerfader says:

        True, but you still need to force close all background apps Besides, it is a bit easier using the TDUK’s apps.

        • Kevin says:

          Amazon should have came out with their own cache cleaner app a long time ago techdoctorUK I used all the time. When I call Amazon I will be asking them for the $1 app fee I paid refund it they will do it. I got pissed off when I found out when they added the ads on prime video They didn’t let me know in the email that they stopped Dolby vision and Dolby Atmos I told an employee that he didn’t know about it. I paid for the ad free $2.99 and my Dolby vision and Atmos came back you can test on Jack Ryan series mostly season 1 cuz some episodes and later seasons don’t have it at all. I’ve been a customer with Amazon since 2008 They have to make money somehow so I don’t mind the ad free but be more transparent as to what you’re taking away. I heard about the ADB about a week before it happened on my fire stick Max second gen. I did see mentioned here somehow it is done if you have the app on your phone to clear the cache on your fire stick I will have to read more about that. I did use the ADB shell to code it for a faster animation on homepage it seemed okay but the fire stick second generation is kind of clunky on their animation which annoys me greatly. FYI Amazon offers discounts on their monthly if you have Medicaid just take a copy photo and submit it and now your price a monthly is half. Walmart plus also does that. And other government assistant you’ll have to check on their site. Hope I’ve helped.

  4. greedyiphones says:

    So much for their customer-centric business model. I think the writing was on the wall when they stopped production of the Recast. Is all this worth 2-day free shipping? I’m beginning to wonder…

    • NPmatt says:

      That’s already gone away for most of us in areas where Amazon doesn’t have its own delivery fleet. For two Christmases now I’ve had in-stock gift items ordered before Thanksgiving delivered after Christmas. Two years ago maybe they could blame COVID. This year they can’t. Other than Amazon Marketplace orders (others selling on Amazon), I haven’t received an Amazon order in under two weeks in over a year, and most take 3-4 weeks. They don’t even ship for a week or more. I ordered in-stock TurboTax for S-Corps before Christmas and cancelled the order when it still hadn’t shipped by the time my 1099s had to be filed (Jan 31). Sometimes they’ll sit on an in-stock order for weeks then ship it 2-day air when timely ground shipping would have been cheaper and faster. Stupid. Last year they charged me for “free” gift cards advertised as premiums for buying TurboTax–with no return options. And you can’t critique Amazon Fullfillment on their site–only Marketplace Sellers. Sorry I’m long-winded and wandered off-subject, but there’s vitually nowhere to critique the crap they’re doing and I’m pissed.

      • Donna says:

        Always check to see what Amazon Prime is charging this year. I have prime, it is 139.00 a year, I was charged 150.00. I called and they said that it would be adding tax to Amazon Prime. They did take the tax off , but from here on out we will be paying 150.00 a year. I will probably drop Amazon Prime. Try to find something cheaper and better.

        • Kevin says:

          If you have Medicaid or know somebody who has Medicaid you can open a prime account they will only charge you half price on the monthly Walmart plus also does that. And other government assistance programs. Hope I’ve helped

  5. Earl Jackson says:

    Amazon is systematically destroying the future for their devices by making drastic changes and affecting the way end users enjoy streaming. In one single shot they will destroy what they worked so hard to establish. Shame on them!

  6. RG Geiger says:

    on my yearly Vaca I fired up my old Chromecast and was surprised to see the live TV guide was considerably better and the continue wAtching carousel on the home screen was working with nearly every service I’m using and not just the ones I subscribed to on the UI (like firetv). I may be switching when I get back

  7. Greg says:

    As of about 6.30pm USA Eastern Time 23 Feb. The Max Firestick 2023 OS 8. Version. OS 8.1.0.2(RS8120/1969).

    ADB debugging is working as Normal. Both TDUK App Killer And TDUK Cache Cleaner. Are Still Working. Eg when press Connect it Connects as it Should Do.

  8. clocks says:

    If they ever do anything to break SmarttubeTV or whatever it is called for Youtube, I will switch out all my devices, or go to Apple TV.

    • Ahhh says:

      Holey dooly this so much. When SmartTube stops working I’m out.

    • David says:

      Smart tube is the 2nd best app out the. First is kdtv

    • Frank Nitty says:

      That would be the most idiotic thing Amazon could do to their loyal paying customers. I wish Amazon would try to pull that BS, and I will be on the phone w/ customer support so fast to get a refund for all the Fire TV devices running in my house since that’s called false advertising, by removing functionality that was originally included when I initially bought those devices.

  9. Kjl562022 says:

    Fire tv stick 4k max, 7.6.6.9 , developer options gone, pressed the action button 7x, developer option back, for now

    • msinim625 says:

      yes that’s what I had to do in order to install my app. And as mentioned, back for now. who knows if they will remove that in the near future

    • I’ll reiterate that nothing has changed regarding developer options, external ADB connections, and unknown sources. It’s only internal ADB connections made by apps already installed on your Fire TV that have been blocked. This block does not make it harder to sideload. It just removes a tool that apps have been able to use for advanced tasks for years.

  10. Lynne says:

    It seems amazon just isn’t making enough money already so they have to screw all the people that bought their over-priced crapola anyway ,myself included,but if this is the wave of the future,Screw Amazon

    • O.R. Mitchell says:

      Just wanting some clarification:
      It was not obvious from the code snippet provided, whether the issue was a FireTV App making a connection to the ADB server at the “localhost” e.g. “127.0.0.1” address -or- if it was also blocking the resident FireTV App from making a connection to ADB servee using the FireTV system’s network IP address -or- if the incoming ADB connection request has the IP address of the FireTV device -or- All of the above?

      Does anyone know the answer?

      Or asked a different way does the ADB server test for or nolonger listens on “127.0.0.1” (a.k.a “localhost”)?

      Or does the ADB server look at the source IP address of the client and refuses connections if that source IP matches the IP address of the FireTV device?

      The reason for asking is that if the prohibition is for incoming connections to “127.0.0.1” then changing the connection attempt to the network address of the FireTV device will circumvent the restriction…

      If it’s both, then there is no way for an App on the FireTV device to connect locally to the ADB server!

      By the way, for the more geeky types, there is a ‘simple’ way to “fix” this but it would require a second system running a simple proxy software that would accept connections from the FireTV device and then turnaround and make another connection to the ADB server of the FireTV device and those local App’s connections would look like any other external device making an ADB connection!

      For example, the Unix/Linux standard utility called “netcat” or “nc” could be easily used in this masquerading or proxying scheme… A RaspberryPi on the local network could easily be used to perform this function!

      Thanks, in advance, for any clarification!

      • It appears as though they are taking the connection address and trying to bind to it to determine if it’s local, since you can’t bind to an external address. So, if binding is successful or results in the error EADDRINUSE, then they consider it a local connection.

    • Ron Coley says:

      I’ve been avoiding buying a Nividia Shield. Looks like now’s the time.

  11. Rick says:

    I switched to the ONN google TV box for $20 at Walmart. Easy Cache cleaning in settings. Sideloaded Wolf launcher and many other apps. No Problems at all. I’m never going back to fire devices.

  12. Paul Grant says:

    If Amazon makes it so one can’t sideload the Firesticks that would be the end of most sales of firesticks! Most people will resort to buying android boxes instead. Stocks for Amazon thhenm will drop in lightning speed in a matter of weeks. After all that’s why we purchase Firesticks. I have bought well over at least 1000 4K sticks over a preriod of 5 years!

    • Anonymous says:

      I doubt that 200 million people eagerly bought FIRE TV devices to immediately sideload apps on them. That is such a small minority of use cases that are always amplified on sites like this where power users exist. I get that you may personally choose to stop using them. I doubt that it will be the downfall of FIRE TV devices.

      • Rob says:

        I think you would be surprised at how many people are buying modded firesticks to watch TV on “unofficial” apps, people that have no idea of how it works but know how to pay someone that does to make it work.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think that number would be surprisingly low. I don’t have numbers and there likely aren’t numbers for ‘modded’ devices. And if that number is substantial and breaking the legit business model, why would Amazon worry about those losses? Doesn’t sound like a business model they would want to support. The vocal ‘power user’ voices in a discussion like this are always amplified.

        • keith says:

          Some folks who sale modded devices avoided Firesticks. This is why .

  13. Alexander Grace says:

    My Fire TV cube is powered down and sitting on the shelf while my $15 ONN streaming device is performing beautifully. Does anyone know of a ROM to make the cube do something useful?

    Has anyone else noticed their Alexa devices asking you to repeat yourself and not performing requested tasks lately? I think Amazon may be finished with the device business since they are not driving sales.

  14. Carl says:

    I can’t even use my prime video app on my fire stick. The movies won’t play. Nothing will play on there

  15. Keith says:

    This is what I really needed to move on. With that absurdly busy home screen that’s now an eye AND ear sore and the fact that i needed to delete apps tonight just to squeeze in a Netflix update…who would want one these devices? I don’t have Kodi installed anymore. I don’t have an abundance of apps. So Im thinking your basic, click and watch non-techie is also frustrated as hell.
    8 GB of storage in 2024 is insulting to the consumer.
    My hope is that Amazon will want to have Prime exclusively on fire tv. I won’t have access to it and therefore won’t need to watch ads on a paid streaming service.

    • Bee Altieri says:

      Yes Keith , non techie here and all I know is I hate my fire TV! Constant problems and everyone else I know are saying the same thing. I turn it off and go to my other TV with Roku and ZERO problems. It’s now a fact all our fire tvs are on their way out of our lives.They basically are putting their own selves out of business.

  16. Dave says:

    I’ve also disconnected my 4k max and cube 3. The annoyances far outweigh the benefits.

  17. O.R. Mitchell says:

    Just wanting some clarification:
    It was not obvious from the code snippet provided, whether the issue was a FireTV App making a connection to the ADB server at the “localhost” e.g. “127.0.0.1” address -or- if it was also blocking the resident FireTV App from making a connection to ADB servee using the FireTV system’s network IP address -or- if the incoming ADB connection request has the IP address of the FireTV device -or- All of the above?

    Does anyone know the answer?

    Or asked a different way does the ADB server test for or nolonger listens on “127.0.0.1” (a.k.a “localhost”)?

    Or does the ADB server look at the source IP address of the client and refuses connections if that source IP matches the IP address of the FireTV device?

    The reason for asking is that if the prohibition is for incoming connections to “127.0.0.1” then changing the connection attempt to the network address of the FireTV device will circumvent the restriction…

    If it’s both, then there is no way for an App on the FireTV device to connect locally to the ADB server!

    By the way, for the more geeky types, there is a ‘simple’ way to “fix” this but it would require a second system running a simple proxy software that would accept connections from the FireTV device and then turnaround and make another connection to the ADB server of the FireTV device and those local App’s connections would look like any other external device making an ADB connection!

    For example, the Unix/Linux standard utility called “netcat” or “nc” could be easily used in this masquerading or proxying scheme… A RaspberryPi on the local network could easily be used to perform this function!

    Thanks!

  18. Rob p says:

    As a Amazon employee I can’t help but snicker at yet another boneheaded move by Amazon I’ve never seen a company sabotage itself like Amazon seems to do alot I know one thing is for sure my gen 2 fire sticks will never be updated and will be my last time buying them I’ll stick with google

    • A.Wood says:

      Amazon will force update while your not using fire devices, it looks like this is a no win situ. The days of asking you to update are long gone, I guess this is the price of stupidness.

      • Patrik says:

        They won’t be able to force their sh*tty updates when the update servers are blocked so it can’t even phone home to check :o)

  19. David says:

    Yes put Amazon in the bin what a way look after customers from music to fire sticks i do not buy anything of Amazon Dead to me and family and friends

  20. David says:

    I started with a fire stick a few years ago and realised they are very limited as to what you can do. Buy an android box and your options and apps that the firestick has banned and they are far superior and they’re a lot cheaper.

  21. NOT IMPORTANT says:

    It’s all about the money’s for me, it’s amazing to me how some say this country free, not a democraticy. Lies, there’s always something that is going to come up sooner rather than later that demands more money in order to get/live stream an app.Once something becomes popular in the USA trust they are going to come up with a solution that involves a sale/money’s. It’s all a gimmick, no reply/response needed. I’m just waiting for the Shoe to drop so to Speak. It’s always a glitch that leads directly to the disbursement of fund’s for something.

  22. John m says:

    Haven’t decided what I’m doing with my square. Might put it in a drawer, disconnected it for a pure Android box. Mine kept filling up with junk, mostly their junk.

  23. Richard says:

    Anyone noticed how the backdrops of certain movies and shows in the Fire TV Home Screen appear to be random blurry screenshots from the film/show rather than actual high quality stills. It sometimes seems like pirated sites have a better user experience

  24. jcowdough says:

    the onn TV box is better anyway and it’s only 20 bucks

  25. Jon says:

    Maybe this is just a start before banning apps

  26. Suvalu Jones says:

    So I still can download apps

  27. Trump Won Jobama Overthrew our Governmnet = Treason says:

    If Kodi stops working on my 2 Firestick 4K’s then I’m going to throw them in the trash and immediately cancel my Prime membership and stop buying anything from Amazon period!!!

  28. Dave smith says:

    Does this effect mouse toggle?, doesn’t seem to be working

  29. Flip says:

    Seems like a precursor to forcing the use of proprietary amazon software. Won’t be shocked if side loading capabilities vanish soon as well. In that event, I will have no further use for fire devices across my house. Plenty of others will ditch as well.

  30. Daniel says:

    What do you mean, “if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy a fire stick” referencing the full screen auto play ads?! What about the people who bought fire TVs before they implemented this and never intended to purchase a product like that and were never asked or given a choice in the matter?!

    • That was in reference to not being able to change the home screen, not the ads. I definitely agree the auto-playing ads cross the line and feel like a bait-and-switch.

      As for not being able to change the home screen, that isn’t a bait-and-switch because Amazon has been adamant from the very beginning that alternate launchers aren’t allowed.

      Fire TV buyers shouldn’t be buying with the expectation that they can change the home screen. If they do, that’s their mistake in lack of research before buying. Conversely, every Fire TV owner who bought before the auto-playing ads were added did so with the expectation that the device wouldn’t blast them with ads every time it powered on. That’s not their mistake and they should all be entitled to full refunds if they want it.

  31. BigRed says:

    Non techie here.
    Reading all these comments..
    I have an android tv in one room and fire sticks in three, I hardly use the fire sticks and while I love my android tv, google isn’t much better about clearing the cache. If I do not clear, the entire TV slows down. EVERYTHING.
    So since before I read this article and the comments, I didn’t know I could download one app to take care of clearing the caches, I CAN DEFINITELY SEE WHILE EVERYONE IS ANNOYED. ESPECIALLY APP DEVELOPERS. it’s a freaking hassle .
    Furthermore, why must huge tech companies rule the earth? Isn’t there enough to go around for everyone? How much can one man spend on a super yacht? What would it take to politely give app developers a heads up before removing their revenue stream?
    Just asking .

  32. Dazz h says:

    Kiss my Ass #amazonhfirestick

  33. Dan says:

    I bought several fireTV units specifically so I could download Kodi to access my own movies off my server. It is already installed. It is an “unknown app” but I had to use the ADB debugging off feature to download and install it. Will it continue to work? But then I just won’t be able to download any new updates or versions?

  34. Phil says:

    Likely not “an idiotic way” but rather an urgent security update to patch a new exploit which if able to be exploited and issue adb commands could be classed as very severe. I suspect Amazon rightly cared more about end users security than breaking some apps until they can come up with a better solution and patch.

    • Respectfully, I disagree. Local ADB connections are not a “new exploit” and are in no way an “urgent security” threat. They have existed for as long as Android has and have a robust set of barriers that every manufacturer, apart from Amazon now, feels is sufficient to keep users safe. I say this change is idiotic because apps have used local ADB connections to bypass the home screen since at least 2016 and Amazon has sucessfully stopped all of them without needing to block local ADB connections and without hurting Fire TV functionality or crippling usefull apps. The decision to block local ADB now, when Amazon has proven there are pleanty of other options in the past, is lazy and narrow minded. Whoever made this call shouldn’t be making Fire TV decisions.

  35. Nancy says:

    Never ever will I purchase a Fire TV. Too many issues. Can’t even get closed captioning to stay on. Several apps don’t play. Never eva again.

    • Greg says:

      Talking about Fire Tvs Sets. Panasonic are Releasing there 2024 tvs with Fire TV pre installed. If I decide to update to it I will still use my Firestick as the Nain device over the biilt in

  36. Bob says:

    F#CK AMAZON!Typical of those monsters who have lost their soul and have no interest in anything other than making $$$.

  37. Brian Tordoff says:

    I know nothing about computers. That is why I bought Amazon fire. It has done everything I wanted. But now this wonderful, fun entertainment system is WORTHLESS. So, what do people like me do?

    • Andr'e Wood says:

      One of the 1st ways I used to stream was through Kodi, although I haven’t for many years but it’s still out there. Others are Android TV (various devices), Roku (various devices), chromecast (for me this one’s a bit hit and miss) Google TV, and as much as I don’t like it, there’s also Apple TV. Everyone will tell you what they use is the best, I think all of them (except if you’re a newbie to Kodi) are quick and easy to set up but each one has it’s own Pro’s
      & Cons so read up on them first to see which suits you. Looking forward, anyone of these will be % more use to you than Amazon devices in the near future with the company heading down that slippery spiral staircase – even Kodi.
      Good look with your choice, it’s going to be a better one for sure.

    • Kevin says:

      Go to troypoint.com they’ll tell you everything you need to know pretty simplified I followed them for years.

  38. Stan Koziel says:

    I wish they would just leave the fire stick alone. It works fine. I have no problems with it. I enjoy it and now if Amazon comes along and changes it, I might have to get rid of it.

  39. Kerry says:

    Bozos is just an evil prick of the WEF ilk. So much money he could care less about losing customers as long as he can cause misery to the people barely scraping by. Just how the Demonic crew rolls

    • André Wood says:

      If it carries on the way it is he’s going to be left with a whole lot of misery on his hands.

    • Kevin says:

      I have no complaints you just have to be smarter than them. Save another ways on their website. I’ve gotten free phones and sound bars from them not by being a vine reviewer but just buying items that they made a mistake and their ad and I get my money back for years I called them two years after a surge protector sucked and had old technology in it and got my money back. Microwaves two years later money back. Just call and fight. They have a call back service that you don’t even have to call their number They call you you can find it your phone number will be in there on the call back if you have an account. They offer half price monthly if you’re a Medicaid recipient or other government receiver Walmart plus also does this. Hope I’ve helped

  40. John says:

    Did this also affect the app myradio tuner?

  41. Julius Simpkins says:

    I threw my fire tv away. All I watch is my roku and streaming apps. Amazon messed things up for the people. I hope they lose a lot of money.

  42. John Smith says:

    Sadly, like many large corporations Google have little interest in developers or customers other than as cash cows. The philosophy of service on our terms and at our sufferance is too true in Googles case. Frankly the quicker their corporate philosophy is forced to change by International Courts and Countries, the better for we the end user.

  43. smith says:

    Every update firecube/firestick seems to be doing is making me want to sell them and get nvidia shield or something instead.

    I just worry they will block sideloading one day with the rumours of them switching to Linux instead of android in future.

  44. Gil says:

    Good article but,no were can I find what ADB means!

    • Sorry. ADB, which stands for Android Debug Bridge, is the method built into every Android-based device that lets you control the device using text commands. If you’re at all familiar with Windows command line or Mac terminal commands, it’s the same thing but for Android. Power users, and in turn power user apps, use ADB commands to achieve tasks that may otherwise not be possible.

      You can think of using ADB on an Android device like using tools to work on a car engine. Most people are only comfortable modifying their car through infotainment settings but power users are comfortable tinkering under the hood. What Amazon has done is permanently lock the hood because they don’t want people removing the ad module they installed in the engine bay, leaving all the engine tinkerers locked out as well.

  45. Mike says:

    This was not a good idea at all now i have to check all of my firesticks and my fire tv .

  46. Zach says:

    Force closing the apps all at once is still a main functionality issue across all these devices. Most people don’t even consider their fire tv stick as a computer. It’s the best kind of computer. Lightweight and easy to manage under the strict file size requirements. But if they really wanted an update, I’ve been on this thing forever! If it’s views, they’ve already got it. But changing the views they have to be able to advertise to the poorer markets. It’s difficult but that’s the workless cash machine.

    I’m most upset about my DualShock 4. My buttons were remapped from the OS level so now the buttons don’t call functions properly. People use this service all the time! Keeping things the way they were versus some apps that might take advantage of larger super user functions might be the aim though…If it’s not your input, it is someone else’s..But what does that have to do with my controller!? It takes time for us to spend money, it shouldn’t be forced on us like some dictatorship. We play our parts in society. At least pay into THAT system a bit more before forcing us all into the corner…

  47. Scott46953 says:

    Nvidia makes the best streaming box called Nvidia Shield and also has two versions! Amazon streaming devices was just for low budget or beginners. We all know and video makes the best graphics chip, then be a shield includes AI video enhancement, much better picture than the Amazon fire crap. Also no more stuttering, no more buffering, much better CPU, GPU and Wi-Fi chips! Example Amazon fire stick has four cores? Nvidia Shield has 8? Plus a video chips that has 1000’s of cores? Which device would you prefer? Guess I didn’t realize there was this many people still using the fire crap. Sorry for not telling you sooner

    • tech3475 says:

      I would struggle to recommend the Shield now, at least at its usual price.

      Just in terms of updates my one is at April 2022, 2 years ago.

      Yes it still works, but would you want to pay £189 (~$240 w/tax) for an already unsupported device?

      The cheaper model also seems to be discontinued, at least where I live.

      • Adam says:

        It looks like we have one more update they are working on coming, but otherwise, yes, the 2019 Shield has reached the end of its life as a retail product. Its still a great streaming box, superior in a few ways, but the clock is ticking on its hardware and software for things like newer surround sound, HDMI and HDR formats.

        There is no indication either way on if there will ever be another Shield. Best you’re going to get is that there is a new Nintendo Switch in development, and this may lead to a new Shield.

        • clocks says:

          I wonder if Shield is enough of Nvidias business to give a F. They are raking mega billions from AI. I suspect the Shield is like a fraction of a percent of their overall revenue. At the time they released the Shield, they were a much smaller company, more focused on gaming.

          • Agreed. The Nvidia that released the Shield 1 is nothing like the Nvidia of today. The company rightfully has entirely different goals, considering what AI has done to the tech world.

            As for Nintendo, they were coming off the failed WiiU and shopping for a cheap off-the-shelf SoC for their next experiment. Now that the Switch 1 has been a monumental success, all indications are that the Switch 2 will use a very customized SoC made specifically to fit Nintendo’s gaming needs. I highly doubt that SoC will make its way to a new Shield, which might be the end of the Shield line ridding the Nintendo wave.

          • Adam says:

            Yeah, my perception as well. Shame since there doesn’t seem to be a vanilla android power-user’s box that can really step into its place yet. Maybe Sonos. The market is definitely there, but I don’t know if the industry has any appetite for them anymore. Onn is a fallback, but a meager one currently.
            Fortunately, the Shield is still very capable, so there’s time to wait.

  48. Red Pepper says:

    Everyone should drop Amazon prime and do not buy from them. All they understand is money. If you don’t buy from them then I get in a revenue. If it’s done on a mass basis as a protest, it would work and they will put it back on their device. Everyone can sacrifice a week or two until they come to realize the money revenue is dropping. You got to hit them in the pocket.

  49. Tommy says:

    That’s not all — I noticed two other changes recently:

    1. Downloader app no longer works, so sideloading is no longer possible. EDITED BY AFTVNEWS (ELIAS): Downloader and sideloading still work on the new updates, so I’m editing this to prevent false information from spreading.

    2. Voice search is broken in third-party apps. Now all voice searches are sent to the Firestick OS.

    • Greg says:

      What version firestick are you using Downloader is still working I just install something from it.

      And Alexa mic won’t open another of 3rd party apps and navigate in side them

    • Stu says:

      Yes, my 4K Max won’t let me install anything from downloader anymore, that’s not handy at all.

      • Greg says:

        Try Going to My Fire TV. If you don’t see Development options there. Go to About and press OK 7 times to you see you are a Developer.

        Or if it’s there press on it and unknown apps and check if Downloader is switched ON and Don’t forget some other apps might need to be turn on After you have install them.

        You could try using this link to help setup your Firestick Settings

        https://youtu.be/LWd1qie5G8I?si=CgpvceNMTF-AA1z3

        Plus tech doctor uk has tduk app Killer and tduk Cache Cleaner Apps Just wait to see that Amazon has fixed ADB debugging. At this time both apps are still working on My Max 2023 OS 8.

  50. Carson Miller says:

    I don’t know if it is connected to Amazon’s recent changes to Fire TV, but my closed captioning no longer works, which makes my TV worthless to me.

  51. Dave Ashton says:

    This is all good news for the high street shops and other traders that offer free delivery, the only thing that kept me with Amazon prime. As for the ads I wouldn’t have minded if the hadn’t also removed Dolby atmos sound and Dolby vision will be googling other areas now when I purchase products and ditch Amazon this is only the start.

    • Kevin says:

      I let Amazon know about not notifying me about the Dolby Atmos and Dolby vision being removed I added the ad free for $2.99 and it came back you could check with the series Jack Ryan first season most episodes are in Atmos and Dolby vision. I will be calling Amazon up and getting money back from them for the ADB block of my tech doctor UK cache cleaner app they’ll give it back to me I’ve got lots of money back. From them.

  52. Kathy White says:

    My TV has a ad box covering the screen. Is this a sign of the problem

  53. Hank G says:

    Apparently an immediate work-around for users exists: “This update does not change the ability of external devices, like computers or phones, to establish an ADB connection with a Fire TV, which remains possible.” ….but WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! How does one achieve this exactly?

  54. Greg says:

    Amazon stink!

  55. Paul Deemer says:

    Y’all didn’t see this coming when Amazon announced people were going to have to pay $3.00 extra for prime video to avoid ads? It’s probably all related to their new ad strategy and forcing ads on people unless they pay up more money. The new gold mine for services trying to survive and compete with Netflix and to start making profits is Advertising money. So this move is probably another way Amazon is taking away power of developers to bypass Amazon and roadmap plans.

  56. Frank says:

    More Andy Jassy f**kery. Amazon is becoming an abomination under his purview. I’ve been a prolific user of all Things Amazon since it’s early days as an online bookstore. I just got rid of Prime, FireTV, all my Alexa-enabled smart tech, etc. I’m done with Amazon. They are losing about $70,000 a year just in my business alone, and I’m sure I’m not the only former enthusiast done with their BS. They never should have bumped Jassy up to CEO. He’s destroying the company,multiple policy changes at a time.

  57. fvbekkum says:

    Is it legal to block features after a product has been sold?

  58. ShrineClown says:

    Okay, I’ll bite. What is an ADB connection?

    • Suzanne says:

      If you read earlier comments, you will find that this question was nicely answered. However, to make your life a bit easier, given that Amazon’s action’s has generated quite a few comments, I’ve taken the liberty of copying the answer for you.

      “Elias Saba (AFTVnews) says: (February 25, 2024 at 8:29 am)
      Sorry. ADB, which stands for Android Debug Bridge, is the method built into every Android-based device that lets you control the device using text commands. If you’re at all familiar with Windows command line or Mac terminal commands, it’s the same thing but for Android. Power users, and in turn power user apps, use ADB commands to achieve tasks that may otherwise not be possible.
      You can think of using ADB on an Android device like using tools to work on a car engine. Most people are only comfortable modifying their car through infotainment settings but power users are comfortable tinkering under the hood. What Amazon has done is permanently lock the hood because they don’t want people removing the ad module they installed in the engine bay, leaving all the engine tinkerers locked out as well.”

  59. Steven Hessing says:

    I have problems loading networks and have to repeat the steps over and still do not gain access.
    If this will be the norm, I will remove the Firestick and use one of your competitors. As recent as yesterday, I could not access ABC and ESPN (favorites).

  60. Leo says:

    Amazon is just being Amazon I guess. The point is they don’t want anyone to mess up their cash flow as it relates to ads and their devices. Just get another device from another OEM that doesn’t block or disrupts you from actually using your own device. I mean we’re the ones who paid for it..right?

  61. Jack says:

    Amazon, you just started your own decline in sales. After reading this I will not purchase another Amazon product and will instruct my friends and family to do likewise. You should have thought this through. Very short sighted on your part Amazon. I will be promoting Android boxes going forward. I hope all of you cord cutters will join in.

  62. Hank says:

    Perfect timing for me, I was recently given a firestick without a remote. I’ve not tried using it yet, but at least I won’t need to buy a new remote for it, as I won’t be able to use the stock in the way I wanted to.

  63. JP Rodrigues says:

    Unfortunately speaking to anyone of any importance at Amazon is virtually impossible and the mass of customers that mega corp has makes even thousands of displeased customers insignificant. Personally I’m getting fed up with many things amazon has been doing on their firestick and TV’s as well as their bait and switch app and movies… Nickel and diming you once they get you addicted to an app or acting like a movie is free to stream and then nope… Haha, a friggin 19.95 to RENT, not own it… Or 14.95 for SD… Seriously and people pay that? No chance here. May the better hacker win.

    • Kevin says:

      When I dislike is when they offer the HD version to buy and then if you click to the right there’s more purchase options and the ultra high def is the same price. I think a lot of people don’t know if you buy the ultra high def because they don’t have an ultra high definition television they think it won’t work on it but it will Amazon does an offer the ultra high def first just the HD version. So the non-techy people when they get their first 4K TV all those movies they purchased don’t give them the UHD version. I had iTunes for years uploaded approximately 200 CDs and didn’t have access to that music unless I was in the Apple world I stopped using my laptop finally I forget who but with adding in their settings other people I was able to get the music finally it’s on YouTube music if I need it. But Apple has never gotten my business after that. I did have it backed up on a mp3 player but still. I will probably never own a iPhone or Apple product they’re just jacking up prices with people and calling their chips some bionic crap to make it sound good I’ve had my Samsung S5E for a couple years now and have no problems with a compared to Amazon tablets that have deregistered me twice for using their Fire TV app remote from Google Play store added on the device. Amazon said I de-registered it I got pissed off and told the guy he was didn’t know what he was talking about. I like to help people save money go to troypoint.com will tell you everything you need to know for people who don’t know about them. Also if any of your family members have or yourself have Medicaid or other government benefits you will pay half price monthly on your Amazon account also Walmart plus does that it’s called Walmart plus assist. Hope I’ve helped.

  64. Mike says:

    Many thanks for the article. I’ve managed to block any updates at the DNS level. I hope Amazon reversed this ridiculous decision. I guess I need to look at other hardware.

  65. Brian Fuggle says:

    Could this be an attempt by Amazon to stop people using Firesticks to illegally stream content via apps like IPTV and KODI?

  66. Bee Kay says:

    Do what I and every one I know is doing. Buy walmarts Onn streamer. Amazons POS doesn’t compare.

  67. Ryan says:

    Does this mean I won’t be able to watch sky glass on my fire stick

  68. Robert says:

    Is this why I’m getting a screen message saying that it’s shutting dn to make more room? It turns on and off. Pisses me off.

    • Kevin says:

      Sounds like you might have offloading apps turned on turn it off and settings. What pisses me off is whenever a show isn’t playing or weird things are happening Amazon forces an update but you have to go into the settings to do the update instead of them automatically doing it when you’re not using it. That pisses me off because most people aren’t tech savvy and wouldn’t know to go there. Click about and then check for updates.

  69. Mike says:

    Another way of capitalist to screw the low income

  70. Warren Johnson says:

    Good article. I assume this move is tied into the WSA in windows 11. Amazon hosts some of the apps for the subsystem, I bet Microsoft is dictating to Amazon. Also the fire stick is easy to “jailbreak” allowing for easy access to paid content for free. There are apps available to perform this bypass and developer mode in Android Debug Bridge is the avenue used for such bypass. I can see why Amazon did what they did if my assumptions are correct. Legit developers should have been treated better than they were, however there are illegit developers in the mix using the same tools. To separate who is who is a daunting task. I may be wrong in this assumption. It is only my opinion. Once again great article.

  71. Jennifer Issel says:

    I have no idea what you’re talking about but I’m sure you will love to tell me about it.

  72. Rob Hoffmann says:

    Amazon doesn’t care. They’re doing to eventually dump Android from all of their devices, so ADB won’t work anyway.

    Amazon wants to be a walled garden. It’s a bold strategy, we’ll see how that plays out for them.

  73. Colleen says:

    The his is indeed bad news. Thank you, Elias, for sounding the call. This is a quintessential demonstration of the evil of monopolies and would-be monopolies.

  74. Mark B says:

    Your article is refreshingly blunt and savage…and most appreciated.

    I used Kodi on a Fire Stick all weekend to access Radio Paradise as I was renovating the cottage living room. Minutes after launching the app it went into the update. After that I found FTV would go to sleep every 20 minutes as it doesn’t “see” streaming radio as ‘activity’. I previously had used a ‘don’t sleep’ app as a work-around solution to this behavior. Looks like the update broke that. It was VERY annoying to stop work every 20 minutes to press a button on the remote to awaken FTV.
    I finally gave up and streamed the program to a Bluetooth speaker and didn’t turn on the tv the rest of the weekend.
    I’m sure that was Amazon’s desired reaction. /S

  75. Bunter says:

    If you want to pay for amazon you are as daft as they are for blocking ADB all they are doing is speeding up their own demise and who would by another new stick streamer ever again, no one. Sky TV are now charging stupid money when all one needs is the latest version of kodi,pure greed has killed their own product so my and your heart should not bleed for them and simply return a now defective product for full refund because it no longer does what you paid for so its defective now

  76. ben says:

    what apps does it affect. everything works for me, then again i dont do adb debugging i just use it for youtube stremaing apps. like disny netflix etc

  77. Tom says:

    So. I can’t clear cache of application when the limited memory get low and causes significant slow down?

  78. José says:

    I have two Fire TV Sticks (3rd generation). A Google TV 4K and an Android TV 9. Since the 7.6.9.9 update, the Fire TV started to go wrong. I found out that it was the Internet, it had a speed of 6 Mbps, when it should be 300 Mbps. The TV and Google TV worked fine, and at the correct speed. I tried different things, changing WiFi channels, etc. I searched to see if it was an update issue and couldn’t find any information. Finally I factory reset them and they started working fine. Now reading this, I understand what happened. I have a mouse toggle app installed, it uses ADB. It starts at boot. I need it to use the app for my CCTV system, which does not have support for Android TV. I use the Android’s tablet version. The problem surely began with this conflict with the app and OS.

  79. George says:

    Everyone should start legal action for all devices purchased.
    This is a Material different from when the devices were purchased.
    I am sending an LBA to the london office for the 50+ devices that now have a reduced capability due to this change.

    Anyone looking for an alternative device I recommend the Nokia Streaming 8000 and a USB stick formatted as internal storage. Extremely capable device and less hastle from Amazon devices.

  80. Sheti says:

    I appreciate this info but I am still wondering how to fix problem. It is with my laptop,prime video player will not load
    Is this the reason why this is happening?
    Thx

  81. Joe says:

    They’re ditching Android anyway so they dont care & when it happens nobody will support firetv except Amazon. I’ll finally toss my 2015 2nd Gen 4k “Box” in the trash & look elsewhere.
    Sure sucks, had free tv/movies all these yrs,except last 3yrs I paid IPVanish $4 mo.
    We watched everything we wanted too, lil box saved us from a monster cable bill having every channel & 2 DVRs before it. Wife & I being disabled we watch it day/night.
    Nothing lasts forever. I only visit Amazon homepage for certain apps & settings,most apps I sideload.

    Idk what I’ll get but I wont get tied down to Amazon. Never paid for Prime but one might as well have a cable bill relying on Amazon for everything.

    The End Of FireTV coming Soon!
    https://9to5google.com/2023/11/09/amazon-android-fire-tv-report/

  82. Jonathan C Neuhaus says:

    Geez. I love Amazon but I’ve noticed a tendency lately to go for the Evil Empire model. It seems they have chosen now to disappear all of their formerly “free” features we have come to rely on while also raising the price of Prime. That’s a double fisted money grab with zero subtlety.

  83. Athos Kyriacou says:

    Is Easy Fire Tools blocked after the new updates?

  84. Peter Bennett says:

    Amazon’s change may be related to the fact that they allow debug apps to be live in the app store, a thing which google prohibits. It would make more sense for them to just prohibit debug apps in the app store.

  85. jonathan says:

    Broke my Tivimate app. All channels are now gone. They work fine on my ONN device.

  86. Terry Glisson says:

    Thanks for the information. I have been trying to figure out why his apps has stopped working. It seems to me that Amazon is determined to loose a lot of business. Between this and their adding commercials to to prime video channel. The only reason I haven’t cancelled my prime is because of the free shipping which actually saves me money. I think that if they actually go to a new os and block side loading apps they will see the sale of fire sticks drop drastically as people switch over to things like the ONN streaming box. I have both the latest fire stick as well as the latest ONN and they are almost identical to someone like me that is not a tech guy but just someone that wants to watch TV. I hope Amazon changes this adb thing or maybe tech doctor can figure out a way around it.

  87. Zoey B. FLY says:

    My downloader app hasn’t worked for 2 days

  88. nh says:

    MouseToggle by Fluxii uses local ADB to start/stop the service so is effectively disabled on a power cycle but can be force started using the troubleshooting section of the smartphone companion app, or the following remote ADB command sequence:
    .
    adb shell /data/local/tmp/.mousetoggle/nmouseg stop
    adb shell /data/local/tmp/.mousetoggle/nmouseg start &

    I use this app with Firefox on a routine basis and resent Amazon for crippling this functionality, and I won’t be roped into using silk.

  89. Atanya L. Hayes says:

    Thank you so much for clarifying. I bought a new Firestick because I thought something was wrong with mine. I’ve spent hours troubleshooting trying to figure out the problem. No warning, no consideration. Just rude, inconsiderate, and disrespectful. Just because you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean you should do it. This is nothing more than bullying! I am so disappointed in Amazon. There is more than enough money to go around. I hope a class action lawsuit is in the near future.

  90. Powerfader says:

    Bezos wants total control, if not a monopoly. Bezos has been going in that direction for quite some time and will get even more intrusive in tye very near future.

    The smart cord-cutter will steer clear of all things Bezos!

  91. Emil Woidich says:

    Just confirming FireOS 6 is affected too.

  92. Kevin says:

    Sounds like you might have offloading apps turned on turn it off and settings. What pisses me off is whenever a show isn’t playing or weird things are happening Amazon forces an update but you have to go into the settings to do the update instead of them automatically doing it when you’re not using it. That pisses me off because most people aren’t tech savvy and wouldn’t know to go there. Click about and then check for updates.

  93. James Irish says:

    The Amazon Fire TV products are becoming unusable. The drastic changes they have implemented but namely these loud commercials are so annoying that I’m looking to Fire alternatives. I can’t stand hearing commercials when it should be dead silent in the room. I’m not looking to hack my Fire TV products but these blatantly stupid feature rollbacks and locks are just the icing on the cake causing us to consider leaving the Amazon fire TV portfolio.

    • Greg says:

      Try using this link to setup your Firestick settings.

      https://youtu.be/LWd1qie5G8I?si=CgpvceNMTF-AA1z3

      I just go to Applications and use most of my apps from there, or resent, or App library. I spend to much time watching things that these miner things don’t worry me.
      And setting up your firestick /fire device settings could help solve some of your problems/worries.

  94. Markette says:

    Good evening,

    Be careful because on second generation
    Firesticks (Fire TV 4K MAX) the commands that allow you to change the DNS completely block your internet connection on all your connections.

    The commands to change DNS were this:

    settings put global private_dns_mode hostname

    settings put global private_dns_specifier dns.adguard.com

    On the Fire TV 4K Max 2nd gen this will work but as soon as you restart the FireTV you will no longer have access to the internet on your FireTV on all your internet connections (wifi, connection sharing, etc.).

    The command to rollback is this:

    settings put global private_dns_mode off

    Does anyone have a solution to get around this new Amazon block?

    Thanks

  95. Robin says:

    Well this update knocks out the use of home theatre projectors which is my tv so after paying my amazon subscription renewal within less than a week I am blocked out now because the update no longer lets the two communicate. The 6 month old 4K Amazon Firestick researched to know it would work on a projector now is only a black screen. I cant use my very expensive paid subscription to the Sports Network so pissed beyond. Amazons reply was to go shopping on their site for a new projector!!! Mine was over $900 and a couple of years old. So my reply was for Amazon to pay me back my full year subscription fee, take back the less than 6 month old fire stick and realize I will no longer shop on their site anymore. I dont appreciate Giant companies forcing perfectly good electronics into he land fill because their profits are put first. We are all dealing with high costs imposed by governments for climate change and Amazon must be accountable for that mind set. So done with technology there is a reason people now have far more mental health issues in life.

  96. zeke says:

    I cannot enter URL on downloader using Firestck. Can you say what’s happended?

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