Careful! Downloading some Fire TV apps will now automatically subscribe you to the service by default

Amazon has made a sneaky change to how apps are downloaded on Fire TV devices that is bound to trick some people into unintentionally subscribing to streaming services when all they meant to do was download a free app. When searching to install select apps, such as Paramount+, Apple TV, Philo, Starz, and others on a Fire TV, the default option is no longer to simply download the free app, as it has been for the last 10 years. Instead, the default option has now changed to both download the app and simultaneously subscribe to the service.

These automatic subscriptions are processed through Amazon, so, even if you’re already subscribed to one of these affected streaming services directly, you may find yourself double-subscribing when all you intended to do was download the free app and log in with an existing subscription. The option to “Download app only,” which used to be the default option for all apps, is now the third button in on an app’s download screen.

What’s worse is if the streaming service offers a free trial before the paid subscription automatically payment begins, the icon displayed to both simultaneously subscribe and download the app is the same cloud-download icon used for apps you’ve already downloaded in the past. Meaning, that you have to be sure to pay attention to the text next to the button you’re selecting to realize you’re about to start a paid subscription, since the button isn’t labeled with a shopping cart icon. However, that text takes a second to appear after the entire rest of the screen has already loaded, so, if you’re too quick to select the cloud-download icon, you can be on your way to starting a new subscription before the clarifying text even appears.

The one redeeming aspect of this change is that, thankfully, a confirmation click is required after the initial click on the new download and subscribe button, before the new subscription is activated. However, I’m sure some people will inadvertently click through the confirmation thinking it’s just confirming their desire to download the app. The confirmation page should have a button to only download the app as another indicator that the new default action will result in more than just a free app download. Instead, you have to back out of the confirmation screen and click over to the third button to only download the app.

It’s unclear when this change was made or how many apps are affected. Only streaming apps that allow subscribing through Amazon’s marketplace are demonstrating the new default behavior. This is different from apps that simply allow subscribing through standard in-app purchases or Prime Video Channels, as those don’t have an automatic subscription tied with downloading the app. Even though there are only a handful of apps with this new default behavior, be careful to read the text on the screen the next time you download a Fire TV app, especially if you’re used to blindly selecting the familiar cloud-download button.

28 comments
  1. kywildcat says:

    Amazon just keeps getting worse, my next Android TV box will be Onn

    • JFC says:

      Already departed for greener Android TV pastures…. Amazing how the current Amazon behemoth keeps piling one abusive change on top of another.

      • Kary says:

        Abusive? OMG, we have a new type of snowflake. One that can’t contemplate having to decide which button to hit!

        Of the things Amazon has done in this area the only one worthy of actual mention is starting to charge $3.00 to avoid certain ads.

        Of the things Amazon has done that is complained about widely, but not worthy of mention, is setting the home page focus at the top, where show suggestions are shown, not at the row that you can select apps. OMG, you have to hit the down button before selecting an app. Terrible tragedy. /sarc

  2. Chris says:

    Amazon has become a four letter word. Might need to start looking into other options. Maybe a SBC option is out there. I use to use a HTPC before falling into the Amazon rabbit hole.

    • Ealia says:

      If you’re looking for local media support then I recommend a cheap chinese android box. These have gotten flack for their supposed “spyware” and while I’m not discounting that, I also do not care. I don’t care because I install CoreELEC (LibreELEC is another popular one). This gives me a box dedicated to Kodi and through that I can install my Plex/Jellyfin addon and enjoy.

      • Jenna says:

        do you have a particular box to suggest? I have about had it with Amazon and their need to screw with the media device I paid for. about to reset it and toss it up on ebay cheap.

  3. streaming_sooner says:

    And most likely, their response to criticism would be that they’ve made the change for the “convenience” to the customer. Yeah, right.
    Amazon is just batting a thousand these days. :/

    • Victoria says:

      Yes Amazon is a big pain in the back end. I have one TV that is Roku and another TV with a FS. I loathe all the crude Amazon keeps putting on our TV’s Obviously they don’t care what we like. I would love to get rid of them

  4. Patrick says:

    Good thing about not having kids in my house is I didn’t have to bother with parental controls. Now I guess I better set up a purchase P.I.N. so I don’t accidentally purchase something. Thanks Amazon ..

  5. Norm Manis says:

    Amazon has become Nazi scum. Toss all sticks and boxes and cubes in the dumpster.

  6. KB says:

    Once the ads went crazy I switched to Apple TV for that. Price well worth it for no ads (ant least for now) imo. Also it’s crazy fast.
    Doesnt hurt that RetroArch was just released for it either.
    My 1 remaining fire tv is now going in the trash. Wonder if they’ll find a way to charge me for that too.

  7. KB says:

    Just realized that they’re somehow gonna work this into Alexa. I’m eliminating those too.

  8. Tingo says:

    So a factory reset is now out of the question. Can you remove payment details from your Amazon account and just enter them when making a purchase to stop this happening.

    • Chris says:

      I think you must have a credit card to have an account. At least that’s how it was years ago when I got my kids a tablet and was using the Amazon app store for certain free apps. There was a way around it with test credit card numbers. The problem is I’m sure Amazon will never let you delete a credit card just like I tell it to never remember my Wi-Fi password but somehow all my devices find their way into my main Wi-Fi network and not my IoT network.

    • Bryan says:

      Just setup in settings to use a purchase pin. As mentioned above

  9. Charlie_ says:

    I feel like this is a lawsuit in the making

  10. Mike says:

    Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, could be very convenient for customers who need a subscription. The change did confuse me for a moment, but since I can read, I was able to determine the correct button to press. Good grief, people complain about everything.

    • Kary says:

      I agree. From the screenshot it appears to not only be clear, but also clearly offers a download only option. Also, with Amazon it’s very easy to unsubscribe. Some people complain merely because it’s Amazon.

  11. ben says:

    there would be a suit. it clearly says subscribe and download and then an option to download. there are many things to complain about like prime adding ads but not this. for kids you can add a pin

  12. Itbedave says:

    Yep! I just realized I had a second Paramount+ subscription I didn’t know about YESTERDAY through Amazon and had to cancel it and demand my money back. They had been billing me for it monthly since OCTOBER of 2023! I started subscribing directly as an early adopter in 2021! So I really didn’t notice until I saw the duplicate charge to my bank account that wasn’t on the day that it normally comes out on. I guess I’ve missed it all this time before that. Very sneaky. They didn’t give me all my money back and they couldn’t tell me which device was used to subscribe to the service. But they could see that I hadn’t used it at all… Go figure!

    • Adam says:

      Now now Dave, from what I’m reading here, you’re just being a complaining snowflake. This is a convenience, for your benefit, not a means of bringing about profitable incidents of this type. Why, I bet they never even imagined that some people would do what you did.
      Please be polite and thank Amazon for what they’re doing for us.

      • Mike says:

        So Adam you think a change made by Amazon in the last couple of weeks somehow tricked Dave into buying a subscription six months ago. Not sure I follow the logic. Sometimes people just don’t read carefully and make the wrong choice. It happens to all of us. And for those who don’t know, Amazon sells subscriptions to various services, if you choose to buy the service, they will sell it to you, even if you don’t need it. Sure they make it easy, and they don’t try to persuade you that you don’t need it.

        • Adam says:

          No, like I said, this is a convenience for that Amazon have to use for it benefit, no other reason, you and I are in complete agreement. He should be thanking Amazon for this. Heck, the money he didn’t get back is money well spent.
          Honestly, if you look at it, Amazon is the true victim here.

          • Mike says:

            Apparently I was confused by your initial post. I guess we are in complete agreement. Amazon had to pay Paramount for six months for his subscription because of his mistake. So Amazon was the major victim. But they are a big benevolent company and should take all the loss for their customer’s mistakes.

  13. Adam says:

    Agh, auto correct.

    that Amazon gave to us for our benefit

  14. oppman35 says:

    With AI booming in the next 3 years other options will put ALEXA to shame, the fire tv will be obsolete pretty soon . Amazon has decided to charge more and more and its digging its own grave

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