A new feature introduced with the new 126.96.36.199 software update, for older Fire TV models, and 188.8.131.52 software update, for newer Fire TV models, gives you a bit more control over when system apps get updated. As an alternative to overall operating system updates, Amazon began the practice of updating individual system apps, such as Amazon Photos or Prime Video, separately a few years ago. This would occur silently in the background as a way to update individual Fire TV components without needing to update the entire operating system. With the latest round of software updates, it’s now possible to manually check for system app updates and force them to install.
Most Fire TV owners are probably familiar with the option to check for software updates, located in the Settings area as the last option in the My Fire TV > About menu. That same option now serves double duty as both a place to check for and install operating system updates and, now also, “System component” updates. System components are the various pre-installed 1st-party apps, made by Amazon, that come with the Fire TV by default.
Prior to this change, there was no way to know if a system app update was waiting to be installed. The Fire TV normally waits for an ideal state, such as when you’re not using the device, to install system app updates in the background. This is so that the update does not disturb what you’re currently doing with the device. With this new change, you can now see if a system app update is pending and choose to manually force it to install.
Unfortunately, the update interface does not tell you which system apps are being updated, just that something is updating. When you select to install a system component update, the Fire TV displays the “Finishing Updates” screen you see above for a few minutes, while the system app is being updated. If you notice that your Fire TV’s operating system has received an update, it’s probably a good idea to check the last option in the Settings > My Fire TV > About menu to see if a system component update is waiting to be installed. If you never check that screen, the system component update will eventually install itself on its own.