For those of us that use our Amazon Fire TV devices for streaming our favorite content, we don’t normally care about any of the Amazon services and don’t want to see all the apps and recommendations that are pushed to our devices by Amazon. It has been a struggle to find a great solution for overcoming this issue, but I have put together a tutorial that will show you how to replace the default Amazon Fire TV launcher with something that will give you more control over the home screen.
I have lots of friends and clients that I have done installations for, and some of those can be confused by all the icons and recommendations on the Fire TV home screen. I wanted to make things simpler and less confusing. I wanted to basically lock the home screen so that only the apps that they use will be shown on the home screen. I was able to accomplish this by using three different applications. HALauncher, Launcher Hijack, and OnBoot App Starter. HALauncher is the replacement launcher that the user will see. Launcher Hijack overrides the home button on the remote so that the HALauncher will be the launcher that is shown when the home button is pressed. And OnBoot App Starter is used to start the HALauncher automatically when the Fire TV device is started up, bypassing the default Amazon launcher. Using this cocktail of apps, I was able to create a solution that is simple to install and configure.
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ALWAYS use a VPN if you want the best streaming experience, the best selection of media and don't want your ISP to slow you down or shut you down. I recommend IPVanish VPN for all my clients and I use it on all my devices.
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Replacing the Amazon Fire TV Launcher
The first thing we need to do is to install the apps required for this solution. All of the apps used in this article are available for download and installation from the KodiAmerica.com Jailbreak App Vault. If you already have this app installed, you can continue on. If you haven’t installed the App Vault yet, you can follow the tutorial How to Install the Kodiamerica.com Jailbreak App Vault. Once you have verified that you have the App Vault installed, move on to the next step.
Open the KodiAmerica.com Jailbreak App vault by clicking on its icon
If my code is not already there, type in my code like this 47356537
After the screen fully loads, scroll down toward the bottom of the list of apps until you see HALauncher.
Right below that you will also see Launcher Hijack and OnBoot App Starter. We will be installing all three from here.
- Click on the download icon to the right of HALauncher
- The download will begin
- When the download finishes, the download icon changes to an install icon. It looks like a “play” button. Click that to begin the installation of HALauncher
- You will see the installation screen. Scroll down and choose INSTALL
- Once the installation is finished, you will have the choice to close the installer or to open the app. Click DONE and you will be taken back to the App Vault list of apps.
Repeat those steps with Launcher Hijack and OnBoot App Starter
After downloading and installing all the necessary apps, let’s go ahead and exit the App Vault and empty the trash on the way out.
Hit the back button. You will be asked if you are sure you want to exit. Click on YES
Move the cursor up to the little trash can in the upper right-hand side of the screen and click on it.
You will be asked if you really want to delete all of the downloaded files. Choose YES.
Then click the back button to go exit the KodiAmerica.com Jailbreak App Vault.
Now let’s get everything configured and working. The first thing you will want to do is to open the Launcher Hijack app. Long-press the home button on the remote and choose Apps
Find the icon for Launcher Hijack in the list of apps shown. The icon looks like this. Click it.
You will see the main Launcher Hijack screen and you will see the HALauncher listed. Click HALauncher.
You will be asked to verify that you want to set your launcher to HALauncher. Click OK
Next, find the icon for OnBoot App Starter. It looks like the image below. Click on it.
The home screen of the OnBoot App Starter will come up.
There is only one thing you can do from this screen, and that is to select an app you want to start automatically at boot. Click the OK button on the remote and app list will pop up.
Scroll up until you see HALauncher in the list and select it.
The screen should end up looking like the following image.
Next, press the home button on your remote. This will bring up the HALauncher home screen.
Scroll down and click on Settings in the menu on the left side. This will bring up the settings screen. Click on the settings box. Note: if you already have a favorite configuration, feel free to perform that. These are just configuration changes that I personally like to do to make it look slicker.
This will bring up the settings screen for HALauncher. Scroll down until you have selected UI Theme and click on it.
The UI Theme settings will open up. I don’t like the Side Bar, so I uncheck the box beside Use Side Bar.
Click the back button until you get back until you see the main HALauncher settings screen. Scroll down and click on App list.
The App list screen lists all the apps and groups of apps.
This screen might seem a little confusing at first, but it works this way. The button that you click always acts on whatever you have selected by clicking its checkbox. In this case, I want to remove all the default groups. I do this by clicking the check box next to each group I want to remove and then choosing REMOVE.
This leaves me with a clean slate. I want to create one group and put all the apps I want on the menu in it. First I will click the NEW GROUP.
You will be asked to type a name for the new group. You can name it whatever you want, obviously. Type it and click OK.
Now you will see the new group you created. In order to put apps into the group, click the checkbox next to the group you created, and then check the checkboxes for the apps you want to put in that group on the left side.
When you have selected all the apps you want in the group, click on ADD.
Now you will see that the apps have moved over to the right and into the group. You can repeat this as often as you like and create groups that you want. If you are using multiple groups, you might want to turn the Side Bar on that was turned off in step one. I’ll leave that up to you. Now, click the home button to see what you have created.
There are many other settings you can change. In my example, I will still have to go into the App List screen again and arrange my apps in the order I want. You can do that by using the arrow buttons on the right of the App List. It’s fairly intuitive and I won’t go over all the settings here.
Now, when you reboot your fire stick, the HALauncher will be the menu that you see on bootup. And when you click the home button, you will also see this menu. If you get stuck or something, you can click the Back button on the remote from the HALauncher home screen to exit the HALauncher.
If you want to simplify the home screen of your Fire TV device or want to make it easier for someone else that might be less technical to use their Fire TV device, this solution is one that is easy to set up and really cuts down on the number of home screen icons. Remember, you always want to use a VPN when using any of the apps on your Fire TV. Whether those apps are official or not. Any app can contain spyware, and most do track your usage to some degree. Using a high-quality VPN will protect you from prying eyes. Get a 57% discount on IPVanish VPN service. I recommend IPVanish to all my friends and clients and I use it myself. Get it now!