Amazon finally lets you hide its preinstalled apps on Fire TVs

Among the features brought on by the new Fire TV interface is the addition of user profiles that allow you to customize the device for different people. One aspect of that customization is the ability to hide apps, without requiring you to uninstall them entirely, so that one user’s apps don’t clutter up a different user’s app list. When the new Fire TV interface first launched with the ability to hide apps, Amazon, unfortunately, decided to not allow its own apps to be hidden. A recent update has, thankfully, changed that and you can now hide any and all of Amazon’s own apps.

Bear with me while I take us on a quick trip down memory lane. Back in the earliest days of the Fire TV, pre-installed apps weren’t even a thing because all of Amazon’s own services were actually baked into the Fire TV interface. There was no Amazon Photos app because there was literally a “Photos” tab in the navigation menu. A few months after the Fire TV launched, a software update added Prime Video, Music, and FreeTime (now called Amazon Kids) tabs to the main navigation menu, which ran vertically along the left side of the original Fire TV interface.

Things remained that way for a while with the addition of new tabs when significant new Amazon features or services arrived on the Fire TV. That changed when the first major Fire TV interface update arrived. The navigation menu was significantly trimmed down in the new interface and several menu tabs were turned into stand-alone apps that were, seemingly, preinstalled on the Fire TV. I say seemingly because, in reality, those apps always existed on the Fire TV, since the original interface was actually composed of numerous preinstalled apps, where each tab was actually a separate app. Those preinstalled apps just didn’t have icons in the list of apps because they were accessed through the main navigation menu.

Option to hide Amazon apps missing in initial new interface release

Fast forward to today where all Fire TVs now come with individual stand-alone icons for Prime Video, IMDb TV, Amazon Kids, Amazon Music, Amazon Photos, News, and Appstore apps preinstalled. Apart from IMDb TV and News, which are recently launched services, the other preinstalled apps have always existed on Fire TVs in one form or another, but since they’ve been turned into stand-alone apps over the years and have grown in count, they seem more like bloatware than ever before. So, when the new interface arrived with the ability to hide apps, it was a real shame that Amazon deliberately disabled the ability to hide its own apps.

Newly added option to hide Amazon apps in new Fire TV interface

Thankfully, Amazon has come to its senses and recently made it possible to hide any and all of its own preinstalled Fire TV apps. Just highlight any app and press the menu button on the remote to see the option to hide the app appear in the lower right corner. To add the app back, open the Appstore app and do the same thing from the “Installed on this TV” list of apps. While this isn’t as good as the ability to actually uninstall Amazon apps entirely, since hiding an app does keep the app installed on the device, it’s at least a step in the right direction. Ideally, it should be possible to uninstall most of Amazon’s apps, to free up precious internal storage space, and reinstall them at will from the Amazon Appstore, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening anytime soon.

If you’re a minimalist (and slightly crazy), this means that you can actually hide all apps for a completely empty navigation bar and access your apps by using voice commands. Although, there does seem to be a bug that keeps the last app you hide in the navigation bar, even though it’s hidden everywhere else, so I had to run the ADB command adb shell pm clear com.amazon.tv.launcher to force the home screen to clear out the last app. Do note that if you hide all apps, including the Appstore app, you’ll need to press and hold the Home button and select “Apps” from the quick launch menu to get back into the app list screen, in order to unhide apps from your app library.

20 comments
  1. Dallas says:

    it is not letting you hide sports and the etc like apps

    • oasis_001 says:

      Dallas,
      I just checked and the NEWS tab has the ability to be hidden, along with APPSTORE, PHOTOS and other Amazon apps.

  2. oasis_001 says:

    +1 on this ability. Really does allow you to clean up what appears in the APPS+ section of profiles while all these other apps can sit in the APP LIBRARY section for the occasional need.

  3. hdmkv says:

    Wish we could customize home to have favorite apps show up in that top content row.

    • oasis_001 says:

      hdmkv,
      Do you mean the WATCH NEXT top row? That is an Amazon sponsorship row, so I am guessing that will not change. You can add your top (six) apps to show up in that top HOME BAR.

      • hdmkv says:

        That’s what I meant, or at least the row below that. Agree, I don’t see it happening :(. Thanks for Wolf Launcher… it ain’t perfect, but at least there aren’t ad-ware nonsense.

        • Greg says:

          You can put your favorite apps to the home screen bar. Hold down on the home button, go into apps, then move your favorite apps to the top.. now they’ll appear on the homescreen bar.

    • Marc R Joondeph says:

      Using the Wolf Launcher, you have total, customize control of the FS home page, with zero Amazon promos.

      • Sharon A Mckoy says:

        How do you install that ?

      • Tenderfoot56 says:

        Certainly it would be helpful to hide applications we are not using, but that really doesn’t help much with memory issues. Ultimately completely removing them from the Fire Stick entirely is the goal to open up more memory for actual applications that users want to use.

  4. Dominick barilw says:

    This is positive, but still prefer to be able to remove an app i dont use instead of hiding it. Now I’m still waiting for the update with the new u.i for my fire TV, but instead of having tons of videos & sponsored stuff on our home screen, why not allow the user to choose what they want to see. Maybe I wouldn’t mind seeing an HBO max row with some previews. Just a thought as I dont have the new u.i. my preference has always been roku because its home screen is clean with only the apps I want on it, but some of the programs I use, there interface for fire TV is pretty slick in comparison to roku’s u.i.

  5. Gl says:

    I want to uninstall so many default apps that FireTV has; do you think Amazon is going to come up with that feature or can you relay or influence these features?

  6. Ben says:

    Hope soon all the other sh*t can be hide also…

  7. Tenderfoot56 says:

    My Fire TV 4K sticks got the most recent update, but nothing yet on the TCL Fire TV Edition Soundbar which is suppose to be a 4K stick but since it doesn’t seem to work with any of the “Mouse Toggle for Fire TV” versions, I’m not so sure that is the case.

  8. BC says:

    It would be great if we could delete them too… They are limiting the memory for apps I actually use.

    • Marc R Joondeph says:

      You can disable the Amazon bloatware by using the TDUK Debloater app. It will return those apps to bare minimal memory consumption, as well as disable future updates.

  9. Michael Gehrum says:

    It should be illegal for devices to have ” apps ” that you cannot remove, from a device that you purchased.. it’s B.S.

  10. Jony quest says:

    What about storage on Amazon fire tv-?

  11. Chase says:

    If that could include being able to block their occasional political “social justice” messages that would be even better.

  12. idA cooper says:

    What happen when firestick canceled it cracked with amazon

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