Android TV’s Leanback Launcher has been modified to run on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

Love it or hate it, the Amazon Fire TV’s home screen layout isn’t for everybody. If you’re looking for an alternative, a developer by the name of rockon999 has taken the old Leanback Launcher used by Android TV and made it compatible with the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The Leanback Launcher for Fire TV isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressive first release that works better than any attempt I’ve seen before.

Many have tried to get Android TV’s home screen app, called the Leanback Launcher, to run on Fire TV devices in the past, but it has never been an easy task. Rockon999 has taken a very interesting approach that has shown great potential. Instead of getting the launcher to run as-is, he has decompiled the original launcher, stripped out troublesome components, modified others, and repackaged it as a standalone app.

Gone are the Leanback Launcher’s dependencies on Google Play services, which have always been a headache to get working on Fire TV devices. This means that rockon999’s launcher does not require the Fire TV to be rooted, but it also means that some components of the launcher, like recommendations, are not present.

Core capabilities, like listing apps, launching apps, and modifying the favorites row work correctly. The developer also managed to map the Leanback Launcher’s Bluetooth, WiFi, and notification buttons to the Fire TV’s default settings area.

This new Leanback Launcher for Fire TV isn’t ready to be a complete replacement for the Fire TV’s default home screen, but it’s a nice alternative way to display and launch your apps. You can install the app the same way you sideload any other app, such as using my Downloader app and entering in the URL field. It doesn’t work with Fire OS 6 on the Fire TV 3 yet, but it looks like that’s already being worked on.

If you like the launcher app, rockon999 has provided additional instructions on XDA Forums to bake the app further into the Fire TV, such as an ADB command to make the notification counter functional. If you’re interested, Rockon99 also has instructions for getting additional Android TV components to work on Fire TV devices, such as the Android TV screensaver and Google’s TV search.

  1. ciubaca666 says:

    does it work for the firetv devices? such as firetv stick ?

  2. Richard says:

    This is very interesting. I’ll have to play with it. I wonder if there’s a way to make it launch on startup?

  3. Jay says:

    Anything that declutters the default Fire TV homescreen is welcome!

  4. amy says:

    how do i get it ?

  5. sylvio says:

    I think Amazon will block this app in the not so distant future.

  6. Charlie says:

    Looks like fun, but as a former Nexus Player and MiBox user that home page is not that great, especially running Oreo. Hopefully it will be better for you on FTV.

  7. Mark B says:

    The only advantage Android TV has is the Live Channels app. Being able to have HDhomerun and also pull in Pluto TV etc is huge. You put anyone in front of that app with its EPG and they won’t even know you cut the cord. Seriously. Man I”d like a to see that ported.

    • Ray says:

      The Live Channels app can be easily downloaded from various sites and should work on any Android device (I’m sure I had it on my Tablet once). The main issue may be in linking external apps to it (on my ShieldTV I use TVIrl with Live Channels for my IPTV service and dreamdroid for my Sat box) on the FireTV…

      • Mark B says:

        Thanks Ray, yea I honestly haven’t tried just installing it, lazy I know, even if it just jhad hdhomerun app that would be something. Both Plex and Hdhomerun are redesigning their apps right now so the epg part won’t be an issue for very long but pulling in Pluto etc would be the bees knees. Will have to try I guess.

  8. Robert Katz says:

    Thank God! I’ve been trying to get this launcher to work numerous times on various devices with no success (obviously) and have been using HALauncher as a substitute for my Android boxes. The HALauncher isn’t detected by the Launcher Hijack app, so at least now I can use this on my 2 Fire Sticks. Oddly enough, though, I can’t get this launcher to run on a Z11 Pro box, but it runs perfectly on my SCISHION V88

  9. Spotmark says:

    Love my TV Launcher, with home button detection, on my rooted 5.0.5 firmware.

  10. atone says:

    Thanks Y314K for all the links regarding home button, never knew about that workaround. On my rooted FTV2 box I’ve been using a version of Firestarter 3.2.3 which loads up fine on startup of firetv, but home button was something I’ve been living without the past year.
    I’ve been fine using it this way, but now
    I’ll try out the new home button trick maybe the new launchers and in the future…

    • Y314K says:

      np, I use AppStarter v4 with the @boot & home detection apps. It’s been the perfect solution. Specially since some Kodi & SPMC links changed since AppStarter v3.2.3. I use this combination when helping all my friends & family with their FTVS2’s. Although my FTV1’s all have root & fully unlocked bootloaders. I run them on modded FW without SuperSU to bypass some streaming app restrictions. And both these apps have made it possible to not missed anything related to Root.

  11. AR says:

    so what does notification do exactly?
    does it show amazon ro android notifications?
    i assume you would need to not only enable it but also use his tutorial for installing the google play services to make it work for android notifications? or is it still always for amazon notifications?

    • Y314K says:

      Seems there is an ADB command anybody can run for notification integration after installation. It is all in the OP aka original (first) post of the XDA link.

  12. Jon says:

    Anything to get rid of the incessant grand tour adverts. I despise Amazon for buying that disgraceful garbage.

  13. JFC says:

    Is it just me, or is this app not quite ready for prime time yet?

    On my Fire TV 2nd gen box stock, when I try to rearrange the Favorites list and then click DONE to finish, nothing happens. And when I exit out, the Favorites list loses any changes I’ve made.

    On the app sections, it put Amazon Music and Spotify into its Music apps section, and left out a dozen other music/audio apps I have on my Fire TV.

    And I can’t figure out if there’s any way to re-arrange the ordering of the app icons in the Music and Video lists, or add icons to either of those lists that currently only show in the Apps list below.

    • Robert M Katz says:

      I have the same problem- it’s irritating. I also found this launcher to be extremely slow on the fire stick. I switched back to App Launcher as the default

    • Adam says:

      Is it just me, or is this app not quite ready for prime time yet?

      From the download page:
      Alpha 1
      @rockon999 rockon999 released this 3 days ago

      Yes, Pre-release and alpha 1 are exactly what not-ready-for-prime-time means. This is the preliminary stage where he’s get the application working.

      • JFC says:

        Don’t get me wrong.. I really appreciate the work and the effort.

        However, there are so many issues with the app in its current form that I’m not sure it really should have been put out for even beta public release, or otherwise promoted, until further along. But that’s just MHO.

        • Adam says:

          Its not out for a beta test, its in alpha when a programmer is just trying to get the application running. The version number 0.1 is also a pretty clear designation. And is exactly where stuff like this is put out.
          I understand what you’re saying, but what you’re seeing here is how the ready-for-prime-time stuff you’re used to comes into being, and like I said, the stage this project is at is clearly specified.

  14. Charlie says:

    I decided to install the launcher and as advertised not completely ready yet, but has promise. Would like to see the background imaging active in future builds. That’s one of the better features in my opinion, appearance-wise, in pre-Oreo Android versions.

  15. Brett says:

    K, I must be an idiot but I cannot seem to get the Prime Video app on the launcher. I can’t even find the apk file on the internet.

    Anyone have a link I can pop into Downloader?

  16. Ray says:

    I’d love to see the Recommendations part working 100%, specially since Kodi 18 will support it for the Leanback Launcher… would be interesting to see if it’ll work on our FTV devices with thks project…

  17. Brett says:

    I liked the launcher when I installed it but Amazon Video is conspicuously missing. I spent about 2 hours trying to find an .apk file that would work and came up with nothing.

    Not ready for prime time.

  18. John Love says:

    thanks :) works on Fire TV Stick (LY73PR) (ARM)
    Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (api level 22)

  19. Basic Buzz says:

    How do you get the recast to work with this?

  20. Puia says:

    Unfortunately, this does not work for me. I have the 3rd Generation Fire TV and Leanback won’t start. The same was with Launcher Hijack, but with a adb shell command I managed to fix the problem for that. But for Leanback I don’t know what to try. When I select the app nothing happens at all. Is there any way I could fix it?

  21. Frank Nitty says:

    Has anymore progress been made on this launcher or has its dev abandoned the project altogether?

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