The default launcher for Amazon Fire TV devices is designed to present Amazon’s services and offerings first and foremost. Obviously, it is their device, so they can do that. But many people I know, including myself, like to use their Amazon Fire TV as a platform for other streaming services. In my case, I live in another country where Amazon Prime Video is geo-restricted. I know I could get a VPN to get around the geo-restriction. But, honestly, with all the other streaming apps available, I don’t see any reason to pay for Amazon and also a VPN.
If you choose to use your Amazon Fire TV device as a platform and forego the Amazon services, you still have to contend with Amazon’s default launcher, which isn’t very configurable and you cannot hide any of the Amazon stuff. In this case, I created a little 1…2…3… punch to overcome this issue. By using three very simple applications, you can bypass the Amazon launcher and go directly to a very configurable launcher that looks exactly like the Google TV Launcher. In my previous article, I wrote about using HALauncher as a replacement launcher for your Fire TV, but I am finding Leanback Launcher to be much simpler to navigate and easier to use right out of the box.
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Replacing the Amazon Fire TV Launcher
Just like in the HALauncher tutorial, we will be installing all these apps 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 Leanback Launcher for Fire TV.
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 Leanback Launcher for Fire TV
- 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 Leanback Launcher
- 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 that you have all the required apps installed, let’s go ahead and get them configured to work together so that the replacement launcher launches correctly. There are two parts to an effective launcher. It should launch on boot and it should be the launcher that is used when the home button is pressed. Here is how to do that.
First, open up 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.
There is only one screen for this app, and it will show a list of all the replacement launchers that are installed on your Fire TV. In this example, I have only installed Leanback Launcher for Fire TV.
Click on the launcher you want to be your default launcher and you will be asked if you want to set the launcher to be your default. Click YES
You will be taken back to the main screen of Launcher Hijack. press the back button to exit Launcher Hijack.
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 or down to select the launcher you want. In this case Leanback on Fire.
Once you have selected it, the screen will look like the one below. If it doesn’t, click OK again and choose the right launcher.
Now comes the first test. Press the home button on your remote control and Leanback Launcher for Fire TV should come up. If it works, you will see a screen similar to this.
The Leanback Launcher home screen will initially show all your installed apps. Now we will change a few settings so that you can have a more customized home screen. Scroll down and click on the Launcher Settings icon.
The first setting you will want to change is how the apps are organized. Click on Organize apps and games.
You will want to choose Customize order. Click on it to select it.
Scroll down until you see Enable Favorites Row and click it to check the box. Here, you can also adjust how many rows you want in the favorites section.
Press the home button on the remote to go back to the Leanback Launcher home screen. Scroll down and click on Edit Favorites.
A list of all your installed apps will pop up. Select any apps you want to be in your favorites which will be shown at the top of the home screen. When you are finished selecting apps, press the back button to go back to the home screen.
You will see that your home screen now has a favorites row with all your favorites. Now, let’s organize them the way you want them. If you long-press on any of the application icons, the screen will change and the icon will get a little bigger.
In the following image, I have long-pressed on the Mobdro icon, and it is now a little bigger than the rest. This means that I have “grabbed” it. Now I can move it.
Here, I have dropped it where I want it to be. Notice there is a little square around it to show that you have dropped it. Once you are finished arranging your apps, scroll down and press DONE.
Not only can you arrange apps in the Favorites row, but you can arrange the apps in the Apps row as well. You can also uninstall apps in the same manner. From the home screen, long-press on any app icon until you have “grabbed” it and simply move it down to the trash can at the bottom of the screen and click to uninstall it.
That’s it. You are all done. Now, when you boot up your Fire TV, you will have Leanback Launcher for Fire TV as your default launcher as well as when you press the home button on your remote. Sometimes there can be a slight delay in loading Leanback Launcher and you might catch a glimpse of the default Fire TV launcher from time to time. But if you are willing to accept some very slight glitches, I truly believe you will enjoy using this slick launcher free from the Amazon junk.
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