Fire TV home screen replacement is possible again with new Launcher Manager Mini release

The tug-of-war between Amazon and the Fire TV modding community continues and the modders just pulled ahead again. If you’ve been keeping track, Amazon recently blacklisted a popular app used to replace the Fire TV home screen and, more significantly, followed up by blocking a long-running Fire TV local ADB capability that the app used to bypass Amazon’s ad-ridden Fire TV home screen. Blocking that local ADB capability royally upset a huge swathe of Fire TV users, making many abandon the platform altogether, and it was all pointless in the end because the latest version of the Launcher Manager app achieves the same outcome without using local ADB at all.

If you want to have a go at changing your Fire TV home screen, you can get the new Launcher Manager Mini here on XDA or by entering short code 632067 into my Downloader app. Once the app is installed, you’ll need to grant its required permissions by running these three ADB commands individually:

adb shell pm grant com.wolf.minilm android.permission.SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW

adb shell pm grant com.wolf.minilm android.permission.READ_LOGS

adb shell dumpsys deviceidle whitelist +com.wolf.minilm

After installing the manager and running the commands, you’ll need to install your home screen of choice and configure the manager to use it. The new non-ADB method of replacing the home screen that the manager uses isn’t as robust as the old method and results in some short delays before your custom home screen is shown, but it works well enough. If you plan to use this new manager app, it should go without saying that you’ll need to block software updates if you want to keep your custom launcher working. Amazon will surely blacklist this app shortly and possibly change Fire OS to not allow the necessary permissions to be granted in the future.

The availability of this new method to modify the Fire TV home screen, mere weeks after Amazon restricted local ADB capabilities on Fire TVs, underscores the shortsightedness of that decision. Genuinely useful Fire TV apps in the Amazon Appstore were broken and developers were left out to dry with no warning by that change to ADB and it was all for nothing.

41 comments
  1. Norm Manis says:

    Launch on boot works for now.

    • jim says:

      yes it does.

      • JC says:

        This is what I’ve noted. Maybe I’ve overlooking something here. I appreciate the update and advice, but I’ve found a pretty simple way to get a custom home screen and full control over it (for now).

        1. Pair Launch On Boot with a custom launcher.

        2. Pair App Opener with a custom launcher.

        3. Pair the 1 or 2 button on a Voice Remote Pro with App Opener.

        That’s it. No Launcher Manager needed, as far as I know. Nothing Amazon can do unless they block LOB and App Opener, at which point I’ll take my business elsewhere. The only downside is having to buy the awkward-feeling Voice Remote Pro, which has so many buttons that I actually tape latex over some of them.

        • JFC says:

          “1. Pair Launch On Boot with a custom launcher.”

          I’m pretty sure after Amazon got thru messing around with its various measures trying to block/disable use of Launcher Manager, I tried using the Launch on Boot method along with a custom launcher.

          As best as I can recall, yes, LOB worked when I installed it and tested it within the app. But then when I actually restarted my Fire TV device, LOB not withstanding, every time, the Fire device would simply open to the regular Amazon home screen and nothing after that.

          • JC says:

            Apparently, there’s a similar app called Autostart No Root available via the TechDoctorUK site.

        • Iulian says:

          There are two other methods you can use (I personally prefer the second) :
          1.Button mapper
          2.Get a hammer, hit the bloody stick hard and forget about it, buy ONN

          • JC says:

            LOL.
            1. I would LOVE to use Button Mapper, but neither it or the Accessibility app run properly on my Fire Stick. I’m guessing Amazon snuck an update in that counters both, since I can’t seem to block updates.
            2. Android, oddly enough, lacks Tennis Channel, as well as the ability to watch content from a larger flash drive by simply plugging it in.

          • JFC says:

            “.Get a hammer, hit the bloody stick hard and forget about it, buy ONN”

            Hehehehe….. :-)

            I just let Amazon have its “victory,” abandoned their devices, and substituted my ONN TV devices as my home streaming hardware.

            Had been a Fire TV user and customer for years almost since the beginning. Had bought and used multiple generations of their devices.

            But now the Fire TV devices and I are formally divorced!

        • Geoff says:

          Is there anyway you can do this without the Voice remote pro remote?
          I have set up my cube using the mini launcher but Amazon will eventually disable this method.
          I object to buying another remote, so is it possible to get Alexa to pair without the pro remote

          • JC says:

            Not that I’m aware of. I absolutely wish that I could just use the regular remote, because it’s more comfortable than the VRP. Unfortunately, the method that I described is the only way that I know of to return to your custom launcher with one tap. This new LM doesn’t work for me — and, as mentioned, Amazon will probably screw with it anyway. It would be great if someone created a new button mapper. I’ve thought about buying an actual Fire TV, but I’m wary of Amazon ruining things if I set it up the way I’d prefer.

  2. JFC says:

    Done with Amazon Fire TV devices, period! Put all the ones I have at home into storage, and switched entirely to using my Onn TV Android TV devices instead.

    The latest home screen hack for Fire TVs may well work for some period of time, but as with prior workarounds, Amazon at some point likely will disable the functionality of this latest method…just as they’ve done in the many past iterations of the same fight.

    After several years of that back-and-forth, I’m tired of the fight, and have given up on the Fire TV devices, since I’m someone who wants to control what happens with MY devices (the ones I paid for to own), and not have Amazon dictating to me how my devices are configured.

    Adios Fire TVs!

    • Jim says:

      I could not agree more. I am still shopping for an Amazon 3rd Gen Cube replacement. Suggestions would be great. Thanks and congrats on leaving the Amazon Ecosystem.

      • LTM says:

        I would go with the Nvidia shield. Yeah, it’s a little bit long in the tooth, but it does everything perfectly well and yeah, you might think there’s ads on the Google home page, but a launcher, like sideload channel launcher 2 is what I use. I think there’s a version 4 but 2 works good enough for me. No ads and it just streamline’s my app collection. I’m sure any launcher would work with the Shield. Added to all of that, sideloading is a piece of cake. The Shield handles NTFS and Ex-Fatm unlike the Fire boxes which are only capable of FAT32. I just like the customization options of the shield and ability to add my own apps outside of the google play store, unlike anything from Apple. I’ve had my Nvidia Shields for years. Nothing has gone wrong and pretty solid stability.

        • Adam says:

          Agreed on everything you said.

          There’s also a number of launchers available in the Google Play store on the Shield, no sideloading required.

          I use FLauncher. Simple, free and effective. I use Button Mapper, also in the Play store, to start FLauncher with a long press of the big Netflix button at the bottom of the remote. Easy way to auto-start it along with the TV.
          I never see the default launcher unless I want to.

        • Norm Manis says:

          I HAVE 3 2017 SHIELDS THAT WORK GREAT. I ADDED MY 3RD PARTY APK,S AND SHUT OFF ALL GOOGLE PLAY APK,S AND SEVICES. STILL HAS ORIGINAL ANDROID TV UI WITH NO ADS.. NEVER UPDATED THE HOME SCREEN.

        • hugh says:

          shield is not perfect as it has a problem with 4k. it will not play the three 4k channels on directv stream app as it comes up as not compatible.best to get the new mecool box it works for all

          • discgolf4life7 says:

            The Shield is not the issue when it comes to 4k incompatibility. It’s the directv app causing the issue. We’ve run side loaded apps for years and never a problem with 4K or Dolby Vision streams either. Also using Plex for local media has no issues with any of it. Get a better service than DirecTV and you’ll never have an issue with 4k.

        • tech3475 says:

          I’ve had some issues with my Shield where it will crash and reboot whilst watching Youtube and I find it hard to recommend spending so much on a device that looks to be EoL.

          On a side note, it’s possible to also replace the launcher on the newer Android based Chromecast as well, although I haven’t used it long term.

          I haven’t looked deeply into it, but at that price an Xbox Series S might be something to look into depending on needs and wants.

          • Adam says:

            Yeah, it should be easy on any Android/Google TV box that has the Google Play store. Sideloading any launcher that isn’t there is easy, especially with Elias’ Downloader
            And like I said, Button Mapper makes it easy to auto-launch it when turning on the TV.

    • Brian says:

      Couldnt agree more. Very well said@

  3. Kir says:

    please tell the developer of LM Mini to add a choice of:

    1. Language
    2. Keyboard

    I don’t need third party launchers

  4. Raymond says:

    I have no problems with the amazon home screen.

  5. Raymond says:

    I tried google TV with the Onn device and I like the fire TV better. There were many instances where I could use voice on the fire TV and I had to type on the google TV Onn device. Also web pages that displayed properly on fire tv were too tiny to ready on the Onn device.

  6. Marc says:

    Meh. This will just get broken again. I seriously don’t know why people waste so much time setting this up knowing that they’re quickly going to lose.
    If you want to be able to customize YOUR device, then you have to buy something that truly belongs to you because in Amazon’s view, that Fire device is not yours.

    • JIm says:

      True statement. Rent to never own.

    • Gaines says:

      That’s only true if you didn’t block updates. Only idiots let their Fire TVs update.

      • JFC says:

        I had all updates blocked on my FTV devices for varying periods of time. But at some point, various problems started to crop up, such as the Paramount+ app and a few others no longer working at all, ie, failing to load…. So I had to allow some updates to occur in order to regain access to several apps that I regularly used.

        That said, I still was able to use Button Remapper along with one of Elias’ past hacks to remap one of the premium channel buttons at the bottom of the remote to instead load my alternate launcher. And that method survived the various Amazon updates and continued to work right up until I recently shelved all my FTV devices.

        I wasn’t going to even try to use the latest method described above in Elias’ post because I’m assuming that Amazon will get around to breaking that just as it has broken numerous prior interations of the same hack. For me, Amazon lately disabling on-device ADB commands was the last and final straw.

        • JC says:

          I definitely would block updates if I could, but Amazon has apparently done something to prevent that now. This is possibly why I can’t make the Button Mapper app (not the similar Remapper) actually work. And before anyone says it, I would LOVE to just drop Fire TV and leave greedy Amazon behind, but Fire TV has a few essentials for me that Android, surprisingly, doesn’t, namely Tennis Channel and the ability to watch content from a 256 GB flash drive right out of the box.

  7. opp says:

    WE should be able to return the devices for money as they took functionality away.
    I started to use MINIPC that pretty much does it all

  8. Jim says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTf8p7SNYik

    https://buzztv.com/

    Anyone look at this? Getting closer to leaving the Amazon rental box.

    • Ghizmo says:

      It’s broken again.
      Is there any other method?

      • JC says:

        If you’re referring to maintaining a custom launcher, the steps I listed above work.

        • Ghizmo says:

          Thanks for your reply. Yes I’m referring to custom launcher. Does your method work with home button?

          • JC says:

            No, you have to create a new home button.
            1. Pair Launch On Boot with a custom launcher. If LOB is unavailable, an app called Autostart No Root might work.

            2. Pair App Opener with the same custom launcher. App Opener is in the official Amazon Store.

            3. Pair the 1 or 2 button on a Voice Remote Pro with App Opener. This is your new home button. 1 and 2 can’t be used directly with a sideloaded app, so App Opener is needed.

            I’m surprised that this method isn’t more popular. It’s not fun to use a Voice Remote Pro, but it gets the job done.

            Alternate Method: Download the Apps shortcut from AFTVNews, pair it with 1 or 2, and use that for a simple home screen.

    • JFC says:

      Another YTer posting about those two upcoming Android boxes just did an update saying the market pricing when they’re released is going to be $300 or $400 depending on the memory amount. And that the boxes won’t have the license for 4K Netflix, only Android AOS HD.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eWT9JbMU34

  9. vbet says:

    WE should be able to return the devices for money as they took functionality away.
    I started to use MINIPC that pretty much does it all

  10. Dave says:

    How do you run the ADB commands on the Fire TV Stick? I usually do that through adbLink, but that doesn’t seem to be able to connect now to my Fire TV Stick.

    • Kwl says:

      I’ve been asking same for weeks in various sites and have not received an answer. There must be something…

  11. Kwl says:

    I’ve been asking same for weeks in various sites and have not received an answer. There must be something…

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