Ever since the first Fire TV Edition televisions were released, there have been people wanting to reconfigure the app buttons on the bottom of the remote to launch an app of their choice. Now that there are numerous Fire TV Edition devices with various different remotes in several different countries, all with their own set of app buttons, that desire has continued to grow. Introducing Remapper, a new set of apps that I’ve created to reassign the app buttons on the bottom of Fire TV Edition remotes so that they launch any app that you want.
Remapper mimics the app that the app button is supposed to launch by using the same app package name. For this reason, each app button needs its own unique Remapper app. When the app button on the remote is pressed, the corresponding Remapper app launches and then immediately launches the app of your choice.
When you first launch a Remapper app, either directly or by pressing the corresponding app button on your remote, you must select the app that you want to launch instead. Once an app is selected, every time after that, the selected app will immediately launch, without seeing the Remapper interface.
Similarly to my Bookmarker apps, if you later want to reconfigure the Remapper app to launch a different app, you need to clear the apps data under Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications. I’ve also built in a mechanic where if you repeatedly press the app button on the remote a bunch of times (about 5 to 10), the Remapper app will reset itself. This mechanic is a bit hit or miss, so just clear the app’s data manually if you can’t get it to work.
One major shortcoming of the Remapper apps is that, in order to use them, you cannot have the actual app that the remote app button is for installed on your device. This is because Remapper mimics the original app and you cannot have two apps with the same package name installed at the same time. So, for example, if you want the Netflix button to open something other than Netflix, you cannot also have Netflix installed. This also means that Remapper does not work for app buttons to preinstalled apps, like Prime Video or Amazon Music, because there is no way to uninstall those apps.
Additionally, if you have a PS Vue app button that now opens the “Live” tab, Remapper will not work for that button. That is because Amazon added a special case for that button, through a software update, after PlayStation Vue shutdown. I’ve created a Remapper app for PS Vue, but it will only work if the Fire TV is still running the older software version that still tries to launch the PS Vue app when the app button is pressed.
2/25/22 Recent Fire TV software updates have prevented the origial method for installing Remapper but there is a workaround to make the app work again. If you’ve previously installed Remapper, you must uninstall it and follow the updated guide linked below.
Detailed instructions for how to install and configure Remapper can be found here.
Since I’m in the US, I’ve only been able to test Remapper for Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and PS Vue. If you have a Fire TV remote with one of the other untested app buttons, please give it a try and let me know in the comments if it did or didn’t work. Please also leave a comment if you have an app button that I missed and include the exact Fire TV model and app in the comment.
Remapper was inspired by a comment from long time AFTVnews reader Ujn Hunter who wanted to give their kid an easy way to get to Disney+. I had thought about testing this app mimicking method for a long time, but never bothered because I figured it would be too annoying to have to constantly change the package name of the app that you wanted to launch every time the app was updated. Ujn and I both had the epiphany of creating a middle-man app instead that did the redirection.
The big question is, will Amazon do something to break Remapper? My guess is yes, but I’m hopeful that they’ll leave it alone, at least for a while, since it only works if you’ve already chosen to not have the original app for the app button installed and it doesn’t work for app buttons to Amazon’s apps. If someone has chosen to not install the app for a particular app button, then the button is completely useless, so there is no loss in letting a few savvy customers improve their Fire TV experience. Besides, its possible to remap remote app buttons on Android TV devices without even needing to sideload or mimic apps, so my Remapper app just levels the playing field a little.