A new software update is currently rolling out to Fire TV Sticks, Fire TV Cubes, and Fire TV Smart TVs that changes the main navigation menu on the Fire TV home screen. Gone are the text navigation menu items, like “Home” and “Find,” that have been part of the Fire TV interface since the beginning. In their place are new icons without any text. However, the change isn’t simply a cosmetic update as the new icons come with revamped screens to go along with them.
The old navigation menu consisted of the user profile icon, and three text buttons for Home, Find, and Live tabs. That menu arangement has been in place ever since Amazon removed the “Library” tab from the navigation menu a year ago in order to increase the size of the six favorite app icons. In addition to switching from text buttons to icons, the new navigation menu brings back the Library tab, this time adding it to the far right as a bookmark icon with a “My Stuff” label. Lastly, the “Find” tab has been moved to the left of the Home icon. This was likely done to not increase the number of clicks it takes to get to your favorite apps.
Moving the Library section, now called “My Stuff,” out of the Find tab, where Amazon stuffed it a year ago, and into the navigation menu is a welcomed change. The tens of thousands of people that have been using my Library Shortcut app from my collection of Loader apps can certainly attest to that. While the section itself has been renamed to “My Stuff,” it still contains the same stuff as before, which includes your watchlist, purchases, rentals, and DVR recordings if you have a Fire TV Recast. You’ll be happy to know that highlighting the new icon loads the section immediately in the bottom half of the screen, without needing to click the icon.
The other notable change is with the Find tab, which now uses a magnifying glass icon. At the top is a new search bar, whereas before it used a square search icon that looked like the other colorful squares. Functionally, the search bar is just a button that takes you to the same search screen as before. As for the various section and category buttons in the Find tab, those have been trimmed down from four rows to just two. The big sections, like Free, Movies, Comedies, and Sci-Fi, are still present, but some of the smaller sections, like Westerns, Thrillers, War movies, and Cooking Shows, have been removed. Since Amazon can dynamically change these buttons at any time, don’t be surprised if more buttons appear again in the future.
If you’re thinking to yourself that there is a lot of empty space between the navigation menu and the list of favorite apps, remember that Fire TV Smart TVs have an extra “Input” button in the navigation menu to quickly change the TVs input. That icon was added last August. With that extra icon, it fills in the empty space seen on stand-alone Fire TVs, like Fire TV Sticks and Fire TV Cubes. It would have been great if Amazon allowed for a seventh favorite app in the navigation bar on standalone Fire TVs to make use of the extra space, but that’s not the case.
The Home and Live tabs seem to be unchanged, apart from using icons instead of text. This home screen change seems to still be rolling out to Fire TV devices, so don’t be surprised if it’s not on your Fire TV yet. Updates like this usually take about a week or two to make their way to all devices, so sit tight.