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Amazon's latest Fire TV update has broken some third-party apps


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Amazon's latest Fire TV update has broken a number of popular third-party apps, users are reporting – with advanced modding apps, such as those that skip the Fire TV home screen, apparently the worst hit.

As AFTVnews explains, the newest version of the Fire OS software blocks access to something called the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Essentially, this is a feature used by developers to access system controls and settings that aren't normally available.

It means that apps that do anything out of the ordinary – like clearing the cache of a Fire TV device to free up memory, or running a console game emulator – are now blocked. If you notice something broken on devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, this may well be why.

In statements to AFTVnews and Ars Technica, Amazon said the update was in the interests of improving security on Fire TV devices, and that any developers affected by the changes should get in touch with Amazon directly.

Security, security, security

Amazon Fire TV Omni Series

Amazon doesn't want you skipping this screen (Image credit: Amazon)

While it's true that ADB connections, with their deeper device access, can be used for malicious purposes in some cases, it's also true that these connections must be made deliberately: they don't happen on their own, without any user interaction or alerts.

It seems that Amazon hasn't given any advance warning to developers or users that this change was going to be made, which has left people with crashes and error messages. If you're using an affected app, the only option seems to be to stop using it.

Clearly, Fire TV mods – ones that skip the default home screen, for example – aren't in Amazon's best interests. Like every other big tech firm, it wants everyone going through the official channels and interfaces, which are the most secure (and also happen to be the most well-monetized).

As per Ars Technica, one developer was told that their app had been broken because it "overrides the native user experience", which gives a bit more insight into Amazon's thinking. If, as rumored, it's planning to ditch Android on its Fire TV devices, it'll get even more control over the software interface.

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