Amazon has published guidelines for how long it will continue to release security software updates for Fire TV devices, including Fire TVs, Firesticks, Fire TV Cubes, Fire TV Smart TVs, and Fire TV Soundbars. The policy is quite simple on the surface, in that Amazon will guarantee security updates for at least 4 years after the device is last available for purchase on Amazon.com. However, in reality, it’s not quite that simple to know when updates will stop. Here’s a list of when updates will stop and what that means.
Fire TV Guranteed Security Updates
|Fire TV 1||2014 - 2015||No Longer Guaranteed|
|Fire TV 2||2015 - 2017||Through 2021|
|Fire TV 3||2017 - 2018||Through 2022|
|Fire TV Cube 1||2018 - 2019||Through 2023|
|Fire TV Cube 2||2019 - Present||Through 2025|
|Fire TV Stick 1||2014 - 2016||No Longer Guaranteed|
|Fire TV Stick 2||2016 - 2020||Through 2024|
|Fire TV Stick 3||2020 - Present||Through 2025|
|Fire TV Stick Lite||2020 - Present||Through 2025|
|Fire TV Stick 4K||2018 - Present||Through 2025|
|Fire TV Stick 4K Max||2021 - Present||Through 2025|
|Fire TV Stick Basic Edition||2017 - Present||Through 2025|
|Fire TV Recast (DVR)||2018 - Present||Through 2025|
Security Updates vs Other Updates
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Amazon’s new policy of at least 4 years of updates is specifically regarding security updates only. Amazon has not committed to a guaranteed timeframe for feature updates or Android version updates. If you buy a Fire TV device today running Fire OS 7, this does not guarantee that in 4 years it will be running the latest version of Fire OS at that time. Similarly, this guarantee does not mean that a Fire TV purchased today will have all the same features as a Fire TV purchased 4 years from now. It simply means that Amazon will continue to patch security issues for at least 4 years.
That said, it’s in Amazon’s best interest to keep Fire TV devices as up-to-date in features as possible. This is because Amazon makes little to no money when selling Fire TVs. The vast majority of Amazon’s profit comes from people using the device, through on-device purchases and advertising, so the longer customers use their Fire TV the better it is for Amazon’s bottom line.
Take the 1st-gen Fire TV for example, which was sold from April 2014 through October 2015. Based on this new policy, security updates could have ended in 2019 and other updates earlier than that. However, the original Fire TV received a software update just over a month ago, in September of this year. That was most likely just a minor security update but the 1st-gen Fire TV has received countless new features since 2019, along with the rest of the Fire TV models.
Last Sold Dates Vary Greatly
The tricky part for determining software update support, especially when buying a new device, is not knowing how long a model will be sold. The 3rd-gen Fire TV (pendant), for example, was only sold for 1 year before being replaced by the Fire TV Stick 4K. That means that its owners will only receive a maximum of 5 years of guaranteed updates. Compare that to the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick, which was sold for 4 years. Because of how long it was available for sale, its owners will be getting up to 8 years of guaranteed updates. In other words, the newer, more expensive, and more capable Fire TV 3 will lose guaranteed support in 2022, 2 years before the older and cheaper Fire TV Stick 2 loses it in 2024.
Refurbished and Used Devices Don’t Count
Amazon has not stated this outright but, based on when each model’s guaranteed updates are set to end, the “last sold date” is not actually when you could last purchase the device from Amazon. Instead, it’s, essentially, when the device was replaced by a newer model. The 2nd-gen Fire TV, for example, was replaced by the 3rd-gen Fire TV in October 2017. That is why it will be losing guaranteed updates after this year, which is 4 years later. However, since the 3rd-gen Fire TV was underwhelming, many were still buying Amazon Certified Refurbished 2nd-gen Fire TVs well into late 2018. Even today, the Fire TV 2 is still listed as “In Stock” because you can still buy it used directly from Amazon. So, when Amazon says “last available for purchase on our websites,” what they really mean is: last available for purchase [new as the latest model in its respective product category] on our website.
Fire TV Smart TVs Are No Different
The same 4-year policy for guaranteed security updates that applies to stand-alone Fire TVs also applies to Fire TV Smart TVs. I haven’t included them in the table above because there are too many models to list. For example, the very first Fire TV Smart TVs from Element and Westinghouse, which were released in 2017, will lose guaranteed security updates in 2022 because they were replaced as the primary models in 2018 by Fire TV Smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia. However, coming back to the issue of “last sold” dates, you can still buy the 2017 Element Fire TV Smart TV brand new from Amazon today. Anyone buying that TV is only getting 1 year of guaranteed updates.
Faith in Amazon
Ultimately, all that you can know for sure is that for at least 4 years after you purchase a new and current Fire TV device, you are guaranteed to get software updates that keep the device secure. Note the important emphasis on “new and current.” For everything else, you have to put your faith in Amazon and its track record of updates. So far, Amazon has done an above-average job of keeping older models relevant and functioning. There are still many people still using the original 2014 Fire TV and Fire TV Stick over 7 years later, and both devices have received software updates of some sort within the last few months, as have all Fire TV models that have ever been released.