Fire TV

Read Me First!

Update: March 13, 2017 I have posted a tutorial for running Android TV on the Fire TV. I'm using a Fire TV currently rooted on 5.0.5 firmware and first updating it to 5.2.4.0. Note that 5.2.4.0 can not be rooted out of the box (unless you want to break out a soldering iron), you must already be rooted on a prior firmware for this to work. It's in the Other Tutorials menu.

Update: December 31, 2016 I'm happy on 5.0.5 firmware and that's where I'm staying. Keep that in mind when reading my rooting tutorials as they are for 5.0.5. I pretty much just use my Fire TV now for Kodi. The Apple TV does all the surfing for content ever since either Amazon or Netflix decided to hamper my video output with regards to the Netflix interface since I don't want to update from 5.0.5. I just don't want to keep playing cat and mouse with Amazon every time a new firmware comes out. It's just not worth it to me.

A quick note on the tutorials I have posted. I only own the Fire TV 2nd generation model (late 2015, with 4K video), but I have a few of them. I have one rooting tutorial where you don't need a computer at all. I highly recommend following this tutorial (unless you are on 5.0.5.1 firmware). Otherwise, my tutorials are written for Mac users. If you need Windows tutorials then I recommend stopping by AFTV News. If you want even more in-depth discussions on hacking the Fire TV check out the XDA Forums. Those are the two web destinations where I learn A LOT.

I intend to only have a few key tutorials on this site. In fact I think I've pretty much written all I'm going to write right now. My rooting tutorials are lenghty (it's really just the screenshots that make them so long) as I prefer having a more all in one guide.

There's a lot of terminology in rooting the Fire TV so here's some definitions and the workflow to help you put it all together.
  • Step 1. Root the Fire TV. This opens up the Fire TV OS file system making it read/writeable so you can modify it to add applications and features like turning off software updates from Amazon that may block rooting.
  • Step 2. Install TWRP custom recovery. This is important because if you just root your Fire TV and start installing and uninstalling things, and modifying files and you find you've messed up your file system you won't have any way to recover from serious issues. This is what custom recovery is for. It allows you to reboot into a special mode that doesn't load the Fire TV OS so you can work under the hood so to speak. Custom recovery is also for installing new future software updates from Amazon that have already been rooted for you.
  • Step 3. Use TWRP to install a pre-rooted ROM. First off the following terms are interchangeable (at least how I hear them discussed): ROM, Amazon software update, firmware, Fire TV OS. At the time of this writing Fire OS 5.0.5.1 is the most current. Pre-rooted ROMS are especially helpful when you are on an older Fire OS (5.0.5) but a new one (5.0.5.1) is available and has already been pre-rooted for you. All you have to do is install it and you are on the latest Fire OS and still rooted.
  • Step 4. If using the KingRoot method (this no longer works on 5.0.5.1), then use TWRP to perform a factory reset. This will get rid of all the bloatware that KingRoot installed (not to mention other issues), and leave the Fire TV with a clean file system (other than the addition of the SuperSU program which you have to have).

So as not to confuse anyone (like I was when I started learning) here's a brief run down on the tutorials in my menu above.

Rooting Tutorials

I have three rooting tutorials that achieve the exact same thing for Fire TV 2 on almost all firmwares. If you are on 5.0.5.1 firmware and want to stay on that firmware (or even downgrade to firmware like 5.0.5) then you must use the 2nd Next Best Method as KingRoot no longer works on this firmware. Otherwise use the first tutorial (Best Method).
  • How to Root the Fire TV without a Computer using KingRoot, Install TWRP Custom Recovery, a Pre-Rooted ROM & Block Software Updates (Best Method). The only difference between this tutorial and the Next Best Method is not needing a computer.
  • How to use KingRoot to Root the Fire TV, Install Custom Recovery, and Install a Pre-Rooted ROM (Next Best Method). The biggest difference bewtween this tutorial and the 2nd Next Best Method is you do not need to purchase a specific USB A to A cable to connect your computer to your Fire TV to root it. It's also has a lot fewer steps.
  • How to Root the Fire TV, Install Custom Recovery, and Install a Pre-Rooted ROM (2nd Next Best Method). This tutorial requires a specific USB A to A cable as you must connect your computer directly to your Fire TV to root it.

Other Tutorials

  • How to Install Kodi and FireStarter and use an External Hard Drive for Media Content. You do not have to root your Fire TV to do this.
  • How to Wirelessly Transfer Files to the External Hard Drive on your Fire TV. You do need to root your Fire TV to do this. ES File Explorer allows you to set up an FTP server on your Fire TV. Simply use your favorite FTP client on your computer and you can transfer files.