The Prime Photos app on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick has been updated with a new option that allows customers to disable the app altogether. As you would expect, disabling the app prevents it from being launched. More importantly though, and likely the main reason for adding this new option, disabling the app also prevents it from storing photos and videos from your Amazon Drive onto the Fire TV or Fire TV Sticks internal storage. This allows customers who don’t use the Photos app to reclaim the precious internal storage space that the app normally uses.
The new Prime Photos app is being released through a system app update. This means only the one app is being updated and not the entire operating system of the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. There will be no indication that the update arrives, other than the new option to disable the app appearing in the Fire TV’s settings menu. You can check if you have the new version by going to Settings > Applications and scrolling down to see if you have version FOS-5 801027110 of the Prime Photos app. It appears only 2nd-gen devices with the new user interface are currently receiving the updated photos app, but it will likely come to older 1st-gen devices later this year when those devices eventually receive the new interface.
Strangely, Amazon has updated the Fire TV’s Software Update page to indicate that a new operating system version has been released for 2nd-gen devices. While the true latest software version seems to still be 188.8.131.52, the page now indicates the latest software version to be 184.108.40.206 with a build number of 801027110. I think this is a mistake because the new alleged operating system build number is actually the version number of the new Prime Photos app. I expect the software update page will be reverted back once someone at Amazon realises the mistake … or reads this post ;-).
As for the new option to disable the Prime Photos app, you can find it by going to Settings > Applications > Prime Photos. When you select the new option, you’ll have to confirm you want to disable the app; first by selecting “Disable Prime Photos” and second by selecting “Disable” to confirm. With the app disabled, it will still appear in your list of apps in the Fire TV’s interface, but selecting the Prime Photos app will display a message telling you the app is disabled and that you need to go into settings and enable it before you can launch the app.
As soon as you disable the app, it automatically deletes all of the photos and videos that it was storing locally on your device, which were previously downloaded from your Amazon Drive. For me, disabling the app freed up 1.48 GB of internal storage. Even if it’s disabled, the photos app will still use around 400MB of internal storage due to various interface images that it must store, like the default screen saver images.
While it would be better to be given the option within the photos app to select which photos and videos it stores locally, or better yet, the option to cap how much internal storage it uses, the new option to disable the app altogether is a welcomed addition. Hopefully a completely new Prime Photos app, that both better matches the new interface and has more advanced storage management options, is in the works, and that this updated app is just a temporary stopgap.