Amazon Blocks Launchers with Fire OS Update

Amazon Blocks 3rd Party Launchers

Amazon is currently releasing two updates that will block 3rd party launchers such as the extremely popular Wolf Launcher.

This has caused some furious Amazon customers and we want to hear your thoughts in the comments below after reading this article.

Over the past year, users have flocked to Wolf Launcher and other 3rd party launchers due to the constant ads and streaming services pushed through the new Amazon user interface.

Amazon Launcher
Amazon Launcher with Ads

Wolf Launcher allows for an ad-free experience with numerous customization options.

Wolf Launcher
Wolf Launcher

A launcher replaces the home user interface, allowing users to customize it to their liking.

Customize Launcher
Customize Launcher

The popularity to use 3rd party launchers came when Amazon pushed out their new user interface over a year ago that was riddled with advertisements and very few customization options.

The two Fire OS updates in question are.

  • Fire OS 6.2.8.7 NS6287/3768
  • Fire OS 7.2.7.3 PS7273/2622

It seems that the above two updates are targeting Fire TV Sticks whereas Fire TV Cubes and Fire TV Televisions will probably receive a similar update soon.

Either way, it’s apparent that Amazon is fed up with these customizable launchers that are blocking their advertisements and they’re going to stop it.


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What Can You Do?

When I first learned of this new update on Sunday morning courtesy of Powerfader in our TROYPOINT Insider, I made two videos that show how to block Amazon updates.

Amazon Blocks Launchers
TROYPOINT Insider

Unfortunately, for some of you, it was already too late because Amazon pushed out an update recently for some devices that stops the ability to block their updates.

It seems that this process does currently work on newer Firesticks such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max as that’s what I’m using in the tutorials linked below.

How to Block Amazon Automatic Updates for Firestick / Fire TV

Maybe It’s Time to Move On

Some speculate that blocking 3rd party updates is just the start and soon we won’t be able to side-load 3rd party apps such as Kodi, Syncler, Unlinked, etc.

I don’t necessarily agree with this because there will still need to be a way for developers to test their apps on these devices and they do this by allowing Unknown Apps/Sources.  This is the main reason why that feature exists in the first place.

Firestick Unknown Apps
Unknown Apps

But, there is no doubt that Amazon will continue closing options to modify their Fire OS and the question remains how far they will take this.

Android TV Devices

If you want to use 3rd party launchers, Android TV devices are still an option.

As of this article, I’ve tested the following popular Android TV streamers and they are still working with 3rd party launchers in combination with Launcher Manager.  I’ve applied the most recent available updates for each of these devices during my testing.

I’ve got other Android TV systems in my closet and assume they all currently work due to the fact that the ones listed above do.  Please let us know in the comments section if you’ve run across an Android TV device that doesn’t work with 3rd party launchers.

My Thoughts on Android TV Boxes

Android TV / Google TV is an operating system built by Google and is meant for the television.  This is very similar to Fire OS which is Amazon’s operating system that is built for the TV and/or tablets.

Last year, Google released Google TV which is a user interface that pushes ads for various streaming services, TV shows, movies, etc.  You will find the full Google TV experience on the Chromecast with Google TV.

Google TV on Chromecast
Google TV on Chromecast with Google TV

Other manufacturers such as NVIDIA have also adopted some of Google TV into their user interface as well.

This new Google TV experience created an uproar in the streaming community and many people started using 3rd party launchers on those devices as well.

So, similar to Amazon, Google is pushing ads and streaming services on their operating system as well.

Will Google start blocking 3rd party launchers just like Amazon in one of their future updates?

NVIDIA Shield Allows Update Blocking

Most Android TV devices will push operating system updates automatically, similar to Amazon Fire OS.

I couldn’t find a setting on my Chromecast with Google TV that disables automatic system updates.  Yes, you can block automatic updates for applications, but not system updates.

This isn’t the case for NVIDIA SHIELDS.

Thankfully, NVIDIA provides the option to disable automatic updates on their Shields.  If you own a SHIELD, I would strongly suggest not enabling this and take a good look at the release notes for future updates.

Many of us got stung by NVIDIA SHIELD Experience 9.0 as there were many bugs.

NVIDIA SHIELD Auto-upgrade
NVIDIA Auto-upgrade

And the same question applies for NVIDIA.  Will they eventually remove the ability to block Auto-upgrades on their devices?

Generic Stock Android TV Boxes

And finally, we have the generic devices that run stock Android which is often found on phones and tablets.

Stock Android is not designed for the TV experience but manufacturers have used customizable launchers so they will work.

You can read the difference between Stock Android and Android TV in my post below.

Android TV Box Resource Guide

I’ve gotten away from doing reviews on these generic devices due to the fact that we have so many good options that run the true Android TV experience.

Due to what’s unfolded over the past few days, that’s going to change.

The great thing about generic Android TV Boxes is that you generally aren’t limited to customizing it.  In fact, many manufacturers build their devices with customizing in mind.

I recently reviewed the Ugoos AM7 Android TV Box and was blown away by its performance and ability to customize.

Ugoos Android TV Box
Ugoos AM7

Devices such as the Ugoos won’t be limited by future updates, in fact, just the opposite!  Ugoos is well-known for their regular updates that expand the various features, settings, and options available on their devices.

There are some drawbacks of using these devices running stock Android.

  • Most won’t play Netflix & a few other streaming services in HD
  • You don’t get Android TV app store…you get stock app store meant for phones and tablets
  • Sometimes you need a mouse to navigate screens since it’s not meant for TV screen

If you don’t use any of the major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, a generic Android TV Box might be for you.  Many TROYPOINT fans are only interested in the free APKs and unverified IPTV services, and these devices are perfect for that.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a strong user of paid streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV etc. and you don’t use third party applications, the Fire TV devices are probably perfect for you.

If you want the ability to customize your system then I would suggest both generic stock Android TV Boxes and true Android TV systems.

But, we need to keep a close eye on what happens with Android TV moving forward.  Their steps this past year are very similar to Amazon in that they are pushing ads and streaming services through their user interface or launcher I should say.

It is apparent that both Google and Amazon are getting a kickback from those who purchase streaming services directly through their devices.  This is why they can sell their hardware at a break-even price point.  How about they give us the option for the ability to customize and we pay slightly more?

Please tell tell us in the comments what you think about Amazon blocking the use of 3rd party launchers.  Also, what type of streaming device do you see yourself using in the future.

Lots to discuss on this one so let us know what you think below!

This page includes affiliate links where TROYPOINT may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Many times, you will receive a discount due to the special arrangements made for our visitors. I will never promote something that I personally don't use or recommend. Purchasing through my links directly supports TROYPOINT which keeps the content and tools coming. Thank you!


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82 thoughts on “Amazon Blocks Launchers with Fire OS Update”

  1. Launch on Boot 1.1 works to reboot Wolf kinda until you press home. I’m using it right now. It’s not perfect though but is an option.

  2. Robert Wagenvoort

    I have 2 Firesticks and I updated both of them. Wolf launcher still works, when I’m done using them I power them off. So if they are making changes while we are not using the Device perhaps and the power is on. So far so good!

  3. I tried using both of your published methods for blocking the amazon updates, but both ways DID NOT work……some message came up – saying unable to modify a protected device or something close to that……

    No other work around ?????

    1. Agree!
      Just bought my Fire Cube 2nd jan 1st week of December. I put Wolf on it and Amazon pulls this stund. I know how to get on Amazon I don’t need to see their ads. Most likely this will be my last Fire Device. Going back to my Android Box H96 Pro

  4. I am sure this is just the beginning of a massive plan to eliminate third party free streaming options. I’m not looking forward to endless ads on my Fire stick … I get enough of that when I’m browsing on Google Chrome.

    1. Rather be killing communists

      You shouldn’t even use chrome or anything by Google. Use Duckgo and TOR. Why support Google, they are the slime of the web.

  5. I’ve been using the TiVo 4K for a couple years with wolf launcher, works great and I like it better than the fire stick 4K

  6. Kathleen A Dombrowski

    Amazon is cracking down on Kindles as well.
    Do not update FireOS to 7.3.2.2 if you want to use Fire Toolbox
    And disable OTA updates while you still can.
    Apparently in FireOS 7.3.2.2 Amazon protected some system apps so they cannot be disabled anymore, including the launcher.

  7. Thank you TROYPOINT, I have been with you since the beginning of time. You are amazing for providing us with so much needed information. Your followers are also amazing for their added input. To hell with Amazon.

  8. Hey, Troy! Why can’t we just unlug the otg cable and USB and just plug it into the back of a smart TV? That way we can just play what we installed as third party lancher apps from the TV. I have a fire tv cube hooked up to a Roku smart TV. If in the event they block my launchers on the fire tv cube, I’ll just use my TV as a plug and play via the USB if it displays correctly. Not sure if the OS on the TV can handle apk like an android, but we shall soon see.

  9. Troy, any reason you didn’t include the TiVo streaming device in the alternatives section above? I feel like you previously rated it higher than the Chromecast, no?

    1. Hi Jobie, ratings have nothing to do with which devices I tested. “I’ve got other Android TV systems in my closet and assume they all currently work due to the fact that the ones listed above do.”

  10. I have Firestick 4K Max. It took me 2 tries to finally get Amazon updates blocked using Remote ADB Shell. You have to issue the commands exactly as Troy shows in the videos, even the spaces. Check and double check!

  11. I tried a good generic TV box a few years back. I didn’t notice a big loss due to not having the Android “TV” OS. I now have a Nvidia Shield. If the home screen ad is forced on me, my next box with be a generic Android box. I think that the best of them are far better than they were a few years ago, and I am fed up with ads and Corporate bullying..

  12. I think the whole idea of forcing unwanted, annoying adds and unnecessary apps/bloat ware on people who paid for their device already is utterly ridiculous! It’s like we buy the device, but it doesn’t really belong to us. Instead of buying we’re renting and Amazon gets to tell us what to do or how to use our own property! Makes me want to just ditch my fire stick and go back to using apps on my smart TV. Sad!

  13. I am using a Firestick 4K, and for some reason, I can’t get any updates. I don’t recall doing anything to it. And after reading this, maybe that’s a good thing?

  14. Thank you for this. To be honest with you, I never used a different launcher. Although, since reading this and turning off the auto updates, I am now using the Wolf launcher on my fire stick 4K. I love it! Thanks again, Troy, for all that you do.

  15. It is incredibly amazing that Amazon is doing this crap at this time of the game. That’s why these types of companies should go down even if it hurt us at the beginning because I know eventually other companies are going to pick up the slack.

  16. Is there anyway to get rid of the update if it hasn’t uploaded? My fire stick is saying the update will load when I restart my fire stick.

  17. Rather be killing communists

    Does this mean firestick can no longer be jailbroken and we can’t use cinemapk, or other channels? Or just the launcher? Please explain. I have an older firestick without wolf , and newer one with wolf. Both my firesticks never update to my knowledge, and I can’t ever update them manualy.

      1. Rather be killing communists

        Thanks Brett. I am glad the update never worked then. I don’t think my sticks have updated in over 2 years since I bought them.. I don’t even know how they became blocked.

  18. I use Wolf launcher and I love the clean look. The Amazon default is crap. Do you think anyone will make a work around.
    This is just like iPhone you have to jailbreak it to make it good.

  19. personally I feel like someone find a way around Amazon’s nonsense again eventually. hopefully sooner than later. if they don’t I’ll be finding a new device for myself and a new home for 2 Fire TV devices.

  20. What’s notable here is before Amazon updated and blocked launchers, they first updated to block update blockers.
    What I’m saying, example I have some fire TVs with update blocker installed before all this started. So glad I put update blocker on last year. It is my belief it works really well and will continue.

  21. I was using android boxes forever, then everything was about the stick so went there, and who would of thought Amazon would try to capitalize off of this. DAH!!! Ads?> There are always going to be adds, so what. Minor inconvenience to watch tv for free. I eventually and finally get to where I want to be and watch what I want. I’m going to try the ONN like Mike just to see what it is all about, just curious, but when you are cutting the cord and corners you have to give a little. They have to make some money and if I can get what I want, and they are satisfied enough to leave me alone, I am happy.

  22. Forget Firestick. ONN media stick or 4K box[same as Dynalink] 15.00 and 20.00 from Walmart. Been using them for about 6 mos now. Best media player yet. Has a much better remote than Dynalink-Power and volume controls for TV. Android TV.

    1. Just purchased one a few days ago. Installed launcher manager for the shield tv and wolf launcher. Customized it and changed some settings such as background apps running to never and animation windows to. 5 as well as a couple of others. Runs very fast. I have wolf launcher on 2 t95q android boxes and 6 Amazon firetv devices. I had already blocked the updates so fortunately no problems.

  23. I’ve enjoyed using the Wolf launcher because it cuts out the clutter of the stock launcher. You would think a business would care more about what its customers want.

    1. Not all true, fire sticks are dirt cheap, they’re betting you’ll make purchases from there advertisement. It’s about more money in their pockets.

  24. This is Amazon trying to make more money. They are selling their firesticks by the millions. They want more!
    We now have access to the full google apps, every time they block, someone will have a work around it.
    I use TIVIMate with a paid IPTV, reasons to pay are obvious! All other stuff I do is through my Shields, just wish they’d fix the Android 11 issues. We are inconvenienced with Amazon and their apps and doubling up on them. Don’t use them, they upgrade them, I take them back to default. It takes me 5 minutes, but the pleasure of knowing I’m defaulting them is even better. Don’t even use their Silk Browser, use TV Bro…great app!
    Yea, I use Wolf Launcher on all my android devices…..enjoy it way too much!

  25. I’ve been using Stock Android since the beginning, 6-7 years. I’ve changed boxes, now up to Android 10. They all worked just fine. Yes, the launchers that come with these boxes have changed slightly, but they work just Fine! Yes, I need to Click a few times, use mouse function a few times, but the bottom line is that I watch pretty much whatever I want! I use many APK’s, purchase a reasonable IPTV, and buy the highest internet speed available to me. I watch pretty much Anything I want! I even find many shows from HBO, Prime, Hulu, etc. with NO Subscriptions or Ads. It may take me 2, 3, or 4 minutes to get to the Shows or Movies that I want, but I’m totally used to it..
    Troy works so much on helping everyone with the newest systems, Apps, Launchers, etc. that sometimes I think he is Under-Appreciated. I think he would agree, that with all the things he provides for us, we all should use the devices and things that work best for our individual needs. Thanks Troy!

  26. I don’t like ads in my face regardless of the medium. I’ve been using an alternate launcher for some time. If it’s taken away and I get suitably annoyed, I will consider switching to another device. This just seems like an attempt by those who have the majority of the wealth to grab more. Pathetic!

  27. It’s pretty annoying. I really love Wolf Launcher and being able to just put on my homepage what I want. And not all those annoying ads too. New to Firestick I used Roku for years until I was gifted the Firestick last Christmas. I joined Troypoint while discovering all the many ways to customize my viewing experience. Like all the other comments, we pay for these services and they push what they think we want and it’s not freedom of choice and that’s what irks me the most. If I’m forced to use Amazon launcher…I might have to go back to Roku

  28. I have managed to block updates on my 4K Max stick but was too late for my 4K. I tried a Mecool KM7 but that would not run some key U.K. TV apps (e.g. ITVHub). I will keep an eye on NVIDEA Shield but I fear that Google is going the same way. It needs more knowledgeable people than me to guide us in the future – over to you Troy!

  29. This has been ongoing with me for the last 6 months. It seems to happen when any auto updates are done installing. I just enable wolf launcher again and I’m good to the next update.

  30. I don’t use a custom launcher because I really don’t understand why people say the Fire Stick has too many “ads”? From my Home screen I see ONE sponsored ad banner. That’s the only “ad” I’ve ever seen. All the other rows are simply suggested content to watch. While I do agree the interface looks a bit cluttered with all the suggested content, once you learn how to find what you’re looking for it’s just a matter of scrolling past the suggested content rows. No big deal. Sometimes I just like to browse, and I often find something that interests me based on their suggestions. But as far as “ads” I just don’t see what all the fuss is about, or see the need for a custom launcher.

    1. Paul, imho when they talk about Ads I believe what they are referring to is all the content that you can scroll through but can’t play or see without subscribing, that’s an ad. I personally use these to find new content I want to watch then search KODI to watch it.

      1. Thank you, Jagman! I, too, have been wondering what are all the ads they are talking about? I do what you do, find what I want to see and then go somewhere else …….thanks again.

    2. If your using basic Firestick approved apps then I could see your point. If you’re using 3rd party apps and you get a gray app logo with no description than you might understand. I also think your not taking into account all the suggestions to try this watch this ect ect.

    3. I’m with you. The ads just don’t bother me. I ignore them and go on t what I was looking for. Whether it’s Amazon, Google or Android who creates the product, it’s their prerogative to put whatever they want to put on them. If you don’t like something, don’t buy it. I have several FireTV Sticks and TV Cubes and all have allowed me to spend less on cable TV. Again, I just ignore the ads.

  31. I feel I purchased the device, and like all others that have stated below once I own it I should have full control of it whether to have Amazon’s ads or not, and whether or not I have the option to allow third party apps.

    1. Agree!
      If they were free, regardless of the cost, you couldn’t really complain about the Storage space they chew up with their ads. But we do pay for them and have every right to complain.

  32. Since I loaded Wolf and the manager this week my 4K stick OS 6.2.8.1 NS6281/4812 will not maintain internet connection for more than 5 to 75 minutes – even when I went back to the stock launcher. When I can get to the network setting (hit or miss) I see I have wi-fi connection but not internet.

    Has anyone else seen this? or maybe it is just a coincidence. I am trying to avoid a factory reset and rebuild exercise.

    1. Do a restart in your system settings.Clear cache in all the apps.Ive seen it before.If you have IpVanish disconnect and reconnect make sure you have tunneling set for apps like Amazon in IpVanish settings.Restart modem.Check router settings.This all should clear it up.I only turn on IpVanish.When i use Cinema or Bee tv.And have Safety dot.Good luck hope ive helped.

  33. Time to completely shun all Amazon streaming devices. I hate ’em, personally, and I prefer my generic Android 11 TV box. Way faster with more storage and flexibility. Screw Amazon!

  34. I believe we own the boxes once we pay for them. We should be able to do as we please with them. After all, we are the ones that are watching them.

  35. Need to check out the Walmart ONN. It’s now $20. Runs Android TV… is essentially a chromecast with google tv for $30 less. I’ve been super impressed with it. And I have a ton of streamers!

  36. Poor Jeff Bezos: he just doesn’t have enough money. Since he has now fallen below Elon Musk to be only the second richest person in the world, his life is in tatters. He’s also having trouble getting his $580 million super yacht out of the shipyard in Holland. So, I guess all this just makes him crabby and mean. I’m sure he has given serious thought to how this action affects us insects on the ground.

  37. Immediately discontinue using Amazon devices for tutorials. If you can’t update new technology without 3rd party and/or launcher disqualification, you have an outdated device. Will a new firestick come with these limitations out of the box? Amazon went too far, use another device for tutorials and don’t recommend Firestick/Cube products, PLEASE!

    1. You should try the Firestick debloat tool! I was having issues and use this to turn off all Amazon updates and get rid of unneeded programs like FreeTime (I don’t have kids). It’s allowed me to use my Firestick 4K with my VPN, Unlinked, and all my streaming apks without problems. It’s free too. Just be sure to install the correct version for your particular Firestick.

      1. I have that debloat tool. The problem I have is that when when I turn off the TV, the Firestick also turns off and the debloat tool is disabled. Is there any way to make that tool stay on all the time? I think, though not sure, that Amazon updates run ALL THE TIME, even when the TV/Firestick is off. THAT’S how they get through!

  38. I have 3 of the older gen 2 Fire tv sticks running fire os 5.2.8.4 Please let us know when there is a way to block os updates on this device, thanks

    1. I have done a deep dive. Looks like we will need to take control at the DNS level. Like your router will have to block the things you don’t like such as the update that kills 3rd party launchers. Looks like a lot of work to me. Hopefully someone will develop a pi-hole type approach.

  39. I just discovered my Firestick had updated last night when it returned to the stock page. I went into the launcher area and re-clicked Wolf.. it came back instantly

      1. As far as I am concerned I paid good money for it so belongs to me if I want to install a custom launcher that is my decision, I hate adverts so why should I be bombarded with crap I don’t want.

  40. Mostly because of my grandkids and my wife I have been restricted to using the easiest IPTV boxes. Like most people we were on cable and then when I finally couldn’t justify the bill anymore we decided to try what our mobile phone company was selling as they had a decent package price with your phone plan. Worked pretty well too until they shut it down, but for some reason they have been keeping their TV boxes updated and I think someone mentioned even a new one based on a newer GoogleTV box again. Anyhow I had two of the TV boxes until the last update they sent out turned one into a boat anchor. I am now contemplating where to go, I have tried a couple different Amazon devices in the past, but after reading this I don’t think I will be going back to that platform.

    Anyhow I have one TV back on its built-in apps for now and one still on that TV device in my bedroom. Fortunately, the other TV has what my family likes to watch built-in, Netflix, Disney and stuff as you mentioned, so they are still doing OK for now. The other TV’s TV device is so far at least only showing moving trailers across the home screen. This I am OK with as I can review them and decide to rent or buy them. Hopefully it will stay this way….

    My main concern comes from the digital content I have purchased over the years, what if they start to insert ads into my digital library somehow and call it the cost of using their storage or some such thing. I would imagine that there is a lot of storage space being used up for the worlds purchases even if they are optimizing it

    Lots of stuff to think about as the digital world continues to evolve…

    As always thank you for keeping us all informed about all this, its better to know now than get surprised…

  41. You buy an automobile you can modify it much as you want.

    You lease an automobile you are restricted with its use.

    The last time I checked I do not lease any Google or Amazon products. I own them.

    Simple….

    Ownership = Freedom of Choice

  42. Like Amazon , Google is starting to restrict freedom of my choice like Apple. For instance I?ve had a chromebook for several years. I use to turn it on and use it, easy. Now I have to login with my google account to use it. I also have Google routers, 3 inch ??pucks??, I used to use my app on my cell phone to make changes and trouble shoot issues that may occur. Now Google migrated that ability where I have to login to my Google account to make changes. The app was so much easier. I see Amazon and Google in the same boat. Want to control things I do like Apple does. I bought a buzzbox thanks to Troypoint review which has Wolf launcher already installed. I do have a fire cube a four firesticks but I will not buy a google chromecat device.

  43. If Amazon continues with systems and locked os I’d start looking into different generic os boxes, the ugoos is a fantastic start and I do believe there is others out there. Nvidia and Google Chrome cast are also very good options. So far they let you explore apps and side load. Generic os boxes do the same, but good ones have lots to offer. But we will see how this plays out. I understand everyone’s disappointment but there is sliver linnings and the troy team is amazingly good at what they do.

  44. I was able some time ago to halt all updates on my one fire device at 6.2.7.7, and it will no longer update thanks to certain tubers ?. I will no longer recommend fire stick devices due to this recent action by amazon. Happy to only own android TV devices and Nvidia. All launcher settings still working perfectly. Spend a bit more money for better devices now, or pay the price later …. Thanks Troy

  45. I have been using Wolf Launcher on my 4k firestick for quite some time and I have customised it exactly the way I want. The thought that all of that will be lost is horrifying. Shame on Amazon.

  46. Tbh this doesn’t surprise me it’s the reason I hate apple products they just love to be in control well I run sticks and a cube but I also have two boxes if things do go pear shaped and you guys can’t find a way round it then I will just go back to using boxes even tho I do run both netflix and prime thx for keeping us in the know Troy ?

  47. It’s my device leave it alone Amazon. I like your idea of paying more $$ and then let me customize it. Worst case I’ll go to websites like ustvgo.tv and others.

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