New Fire TV privacy options control the info your apps share with Amazon

As part of the new Continue Watching row feature on the Fire TV home screen, Amazon has added new privacy options that allow you to control which of your apps share your viewing history with Amazon. With these new privacy options enabled, your supported apps will share your watch activity, watchlist, DVR recordings, content purchases, and rentals with Amazon. While Amazon will use this data about you for positive things, like the new Continue Watching row, it will also use the data to target ads at you.

The new Continue Watching row on Fire TV home screens lets you easily pick up where you left off in a TV show or movie by listing the content you most recently watched. Unlike Amazon’s past rudimentary versions of this concept, which only listed content you started through the Fire TV interface, the new Continue Watching row can list content that was started within third-party apps and services not run by Amazon. For Amazon to know your viewing history within apps, you must be okay with those apps sharing data about you with Amazon.

Thankfully, it’s your choice whether you want all apps to share data with Amazon, some select apps to share data, or no apps to share data. In the Fire TV settings, the new privacy options to control app data sharing can be found under Settings > Preferences > Privacy Settings > Manage Sharing from Apps. From there you can turn off app data sharing altogether with a single click by disabling the “Share App Viewing and Content Info” option. If you want to select which apps can or can’t share data with Amazon, you can do so within the “Manage Participating Apps” option.

In this new app sharing privacy menu is also an option for syncing your viewing information across devices. This is a replacement for the older sync option, which has since been removed, that synced your “Recents” row across devices. As you’d expect, leaving the sync option enabled will make the content you watch on one Fire TV appear in the Continue Watching row of other Fire TVs registered with the same Amazon account. This isn’t a global account option but, rather, a device-specific option. So, if you only want some devices to sync viewing information but not others, you can do that by disabling this option on the devices you want isolated.

Apps and streaming services must opt-in to participate with Amazon’s Continue Watching row to share data with Amazon. When Amazon first announced the feature, Disney+, Freevee, Hulu, Max, MGM+, Peacock, Prime Video, STARZ, and Tubi were only mentioned as supported apps. This list will surely expand in the future. If you’ve selected to allow all of your apps to share data with Amazon, it’s likely that any apps that add support for this feature in the future will automatically begin sharing your watch data as well.

While the new Continue Watching row on Fire TVs is great, it would have been nice if the viewing data stayed on-device, instead of being added to Amazon’s ever-growing profile about you. As it is now, Amazon says it will use your third-party viewing data to “improve your recommendations and ads,” which sours an otherwise great feature.

7 comments
  1. Bob says:

    YOU are the product. The Firestick is the garden Amazon is growing you in. Google and Facebook are the same. You get these discounted devices and get to use these cool sites for free so they can grow and sell a profile about you. Don’t forget it.

  2. Kary says:

    I can’t imagine how anything I watch would allow Amazon to target ads. Maybe if I watched reality or cooking shows?

    But in any case, Amazon isn’t really good at targeting ads. They’ll send me email advertising for things I recently bought through them! Things I obviously wouldn’t need a second of.

    Same complaint about Paramount+. Their ads for their own shows (which I really don’t like seeing since I pay for ad free) is never the type of show I would be likely to watch. It’s like it’s not targeted at all.

    Stated differently, I hate ads, but if there are ads I prefer them to be properly targeted.

  3. anon_001 says:

    FYI. I am only seeing this selection option on a 1st GEN FTV4K Max with FIRE OS 7. 2nd GEN FTV4K Max with FIRE OS 8 is lacking this option at the moment. MAX is the only supported app currently showing as a selection.

    • Patrick says:

      Truth be told it appears the 2nd generation 4k Max is missing many of the recently added options, at least in the USA. I don’t know why Amazon seems to be limiting their new flagship device in this way. From what I have been seeing online they don’t appear to be in any rush to get those options to users in the USA anytime soon.

      • anon_001 says:

        It does seem strange that the latest 2nd GEN Max isn’t seeing this at the same time. Same goes with PROFILE LINKING. That isn’t available on 2nd GEN MAX as well. I figured it might have something to do with different FIRE OS Versions (7 vs. 8) that might delay the release. The CONTINUE WATCHING feature that includes standalone app integration seems like an important one to release across all device versions at the same time. I have one (1) 1st GEN Max device that is showing MAX content in the CW row and three (3) 2nd GEN Max devices where it is absent.

  4. Tj says:

    Amazon also updated the ‘ON Now’ TV guide. Instead of showing a horizontal row, it now shows a vertical list of what’s on TV.

  5. Doug Wheeler says:

    Firesticks have always done this for the apps that Amazon owns (Prime, Freevee, MGM+), which I’m fine with, as I view the firestick as one giant Amazon app, and prefer my Continue Watching for Prime & Freevee to be outside those two individual apps, which I find poorly designed / a pain to navigate. (Though Freevee recently added a CNN Headlines live channel, so now I go into the Freevee app solely for that.)
    As for non-Amazon apps — if they those whose own Continue Watching function works well — and all of the apps on this initial list do so — then I prefer their Continue Watching list remains inside their apps. It’s ONLY the apps which are buggy, poorly designed to navigate, and/or don’t have a well functioning Search, Continue Watching, and/or Watchlist, where I would then prefer my firestick to handle it. I.e., Xumo, AMC+, CW (which I haven’t watched since they dropped Arrowverse), Plex, Fawesome, Crackle, etc. But none of THOSE are (yet) listed.

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