If you own an Amazon Fire TV device, you‘ve likely encountered those pesky on-screen prompts to download new updates. Updates usually provide useful fixes and features. But some recent Fire OS releases have blocked the ability to use third-party launchers like Wolf Launcher and Launcher Manager.
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know about blocking updates on Firestick and Fire TV. You‘ll learn:
- The backstory on how Fire OS updates are removing launcher support
- Methods to prevent updates from installing
- How to troubleshoot issues with ADB and debloater tools
- Tips for managing apps and storage without updates
- How to install and customize third-party launchers
Let‘s start with some background on why you may want to block those updates in the first place.
The History Behind Fire OS Updates Removing Launcher Support
Amazon‘s Fire OS is based on Android, but customized to run on Fire TV devices. Launchers like Wolf Launcher provide alternative home screen interfaces. But Amazon‘s updates have been progressively removing support for third-party options.
For example, Fire OS 188.8.131.52 in 2019 blocked the "Set Custom Launcher" setting. Later updates prevented access to the launcher intent.
Most recently, Fire OS 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 completely broke compatibility with Wolf Launcher, Launcher Manager, and others.
According to stats from the Google Play Store, Wolf Launcher alone has over 1 million downloads. Launchers are very popular for customizing Fire TVs. Blocking updates is the only way to restore launcher functionality.
Fire OS Versions Affected
The latest Fire OS versions with launcher issues are:
- Fire OS 18.104.22.168
- Fire OS 22.214.171.124
If your Fire TV is still on an earlier version, you can block the problematic updates:
- Fire OS 6 users must be below 126.96.36.199
- Fire OS 7 users must be below 188.8.131.52
Check your version in Settings > My Fire TV > About to verify. If you already installed one of the affected versions, rollbacks are unfortunately not possible.
Comparing Fire TV Launchers
Before blocking updates, let‘s look at some popular third-party launchers for Fire TV and their benefits:
- Highly customizable home screen grids, menus, and shortcuts
- Supports profiles, app hiding, and password protection
- Home screen widgets like weather, RSS feed, and more
- Simpler grid-based layouts
- Integrates with Favorites for quick access
- Fewer customization options but very lightweight
- Designed exclusively for Fire OS
- Supports voice commands and search
- Integrates with app store for updates
Wolf Launcher is the most full-featured option. Launcher Manager offers a minimalist alternative. FireLauncher aims to feel native. Evaluate your needs to pick the best launcher before blocking updates.
How Fire TV Updates Work
To understand how to block updates, let‘s briefly cover some background on how they work in Fire OS.
The main packages responsible for updates are:
- com.amazon.device.software.ota – The core OTA update component
- com.amazon.device.software.ota.override – Allows overriding update behavior
By disabling these packages with ADB commands, you prevent the system from checking for or downloading updates.
Updates still require user consent on the device to install. So disabling the packages prevents the update prompt from ever appearing.
Now let‘s get into the step-by-step process of blocking those updates.
Use TechDoctorUK‘s Debloater Tool (Recommended)
The simplest way to disable the Fire TV update packages is using TechDoctorUK‘s open-source debloater tool:
Here‘s how to use it:
Download the latest debloater ZIP file from the link above.
Extract the contents. Inside is the Debloat-FireTV Python script.
Enable ADB debugging in your Fire TV‘s Settings under Developer Options.
Connect your Fire TV to your computer with a USB cable.
Open a command prompt or terminal and navigate to the extracted folder.
adb devicesand verify your Fire TV is listed.
Run the debloater with
Select option 3 from the menu to disable system app updates.
This will automatically send the ADB commands to disable the update packages. Re-run the tool and choose option 4 to re-enable updates if needed.
The debloater provides a simple set-it-and-forget-it solution. But let‘s also cover how to manually run the ADB commands for full control.
Manual ADB Commands to Block Updates
For advanced Fire TV users comfortable with ADB, you can use these shell commands:
pm disable-user --user 0 com.amazon.device.software.ota.override pm disable-user --user 0 com.amazon.device.software.ota
To re-enable updates:
pm enable com.amazon.device.software.ota.override pm enable com.amazon.device.software.ota
The steps are:
Enable ADB debugging in Settings.
Connect via ADB on your computer.
Run the disable commands.
To undo, run the enable commands.
This gives you full control without third-party tools. But the package names are prone to typos. The debloater is less error-prone for most users.
Let‘s go over some common issues and solutions:
ADB won‘t connect:
- Check USB connection and reboot
- Enable developer options
- Reinstall ADB drivers
- Use a different USB cable
Debloater not working:
- Use latest version of tool
- Retry with admin command prompt
- Reboot Fire TV after running
Apps won‘t install:
- Enable apps from unknown sources
- Check for corrupt app packages
- Factory reset fixes most issues
Updates still occurring:
- Run debloater or ADB commands again
- Verify commands disabled correct packages
- Some updates may still slip through
And if you run into any other problems, don‘t hesitate to ask in the comments!
Tips for Managing Your Fire TV Without Updates
Blocking updates means you‘ll have to be more proactive in managing your Fire TV. Here are some tips:
- Clear app cache and data to free up internal storage space.
- Use a third-party file manager to clean up unneeded files.
- Be diligent about closing apps not in use to conserve memory.
- Check for app updates manually in the Amazon Appstore.
- Periodically factory reset to clean up any update remnants.
Overall you‘ll need to take a more hands-on approach without those automatic updates handling things behind the scenes.
Customizing Your Launcher
Let‘s wrap up with a quick tutorial on setting up and tweaking your launcher once you have updates blocked.
For this example we‘ll use Wolf Launcher, the most customizable option. Here are the steps:
Install Wolf Launcher from the Downloader app or appropriate .apk file.
Open the launcher and enable as default home screen.
Customize home screen panels, shortcuts, widgets, etc.
Tweak navigation menus and system settings to your liking.
Set up user profiles for different family members.
Enable password protection and other security features.
Take some time to explore all of Wolf Launcher‘s options for tailoring it to your needs. And refer to their site for additional help.
The process is similar for other launchers – just with varying levels of customizations available.
Hopefully this guide has provided everything you need to make an informed decision about blocking Fire TV updates. While updates provide benefits, disabling them can restore launcher functionality and customization options.
Use TechDoctorUK‘s debloater tool for an easy automated solution. Or apply manual ADB commands for more control. Follow the troubleshooting tips to address any issues.
Blocking updates does require more diligent housekeeping to maintain optimal performance. But with the power to customize your launcher, the tradeoff is often worth it!
Let us know if you have any other questions. And happy customizing!