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.
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.
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