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Block Amazon Fire TV auto update (unrooted) – Method 2

Stop Amazon Fire TV from auto updating

written by Anand August 29, 2015

Few months back I presented a way to block Amazon Fire TV auto update by adding the AFTV update domains to the routers block list. I noticed that this did not stop FireTV auto update, the last time. Others have wrote to me confirming this. With the impending release of Amazon Fire OS 5, which has been found to interfere with Llama and Kodi, it is even more important to block Amazon Fire TV auto update. This post will show you how to block AFTV update on both unrooted Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

New to Amazon Fire TV and Kodi? Check out: Beginner Blueprint: Complete Amazon Fire TV Kodi Guide. It covers everything you need to know on Amazon Fire TV Kodi setup.

One of the main reasons Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick has been selling like hot cakes is because of its ability run Kodi. Running Kodi directly interferes with Amazon's purpose of selling Fire TVs – to play content from Amazon Ecosystem. While Amazon may never disable sideloading apps, its move to make running Kodi difficult is not surprising. Without further ado, let us see another method to stop Amazon Fire TV from autoupdating. I am currently using my first AFTV update block method and this one concurrently.

Update (Oct 5, 2015): This method is confirmed to work on both Fire TV and Fire TV 4K UHD.

Block Amazon Fire TV Auto Update

The first way to stop Amazon Fire TV update involved adding the following 3 domains to blocked list on your router administration page.

Block Fire TV Updates with Router URL Filter

Block Fire TV Updates with Router URL Filter

Some have reported that this method does not work on HTTPS domains, which could be the reason for my Fire TV continuing to auto update. The second method described in this post involves using DNSMasq feature in routers. Most advanced routers or routers running open-source firmware such as DD-WRT, Open WRT, Asus-WRT, etc. should allow adding DNSMasqs. [Read: Enhance your Router with a DD-WRT Firmware Upgrade]

In this demo, I am using ASUS RT-AC68U with Merlin's firmware. While the method of adding DNSMasqs may vary slightly with router make and software, the principle still remains the same.

Router Automatic Reboot

Step 1: Enable JFFS partition and SSH

With some router firmwares, JFFS partition is enabled by default. If not, enable it. Similar, enable SSH access to your router and note down the SSH port (default 22). Below is a screenshot of how to accomplish this in ASUS WRT firmware.

Enable JFFS and SSH on Asus-WRT

Enable JFFS and SSH on Asus-WRT

Step 2: SSH into your router

Next, to block Amazon Fire TV auto update, login into your router using SSH. On Windows, you may install PuTTY in case you don't have an SSH client. On Mac or Linux you just open terminal and type in:

ssh USERNAME@192.168.1.1

Of course, replace USERNAME with your router login username.

Step 3: Add DNSMasqs

Once you are in, navigate to /jffs/configs folder. If it does not exist, create a file called dnsmasq.conf.add (notice that the file name is dnsmasq.conf.add and not dnsmasq.conf):

vi dnsmasq.conf.add

First press a and copy-paste the following lines to it:

address=/amzdigitaldownloads.edgesuite.net/127.0.0.1
address=/softwareupdates.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/updates.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/a1910.d.akamai.net/127.0.0.1
address=/softwareupdates.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/firs-ta-g7g.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/amzdigital-a.akamaihd.net/127.0.0.1

Update (Apr 5, 2016): Added amzdigital-a.akamaihd.net to address change of domain in Fire OS v5.0.5.1.
Update (Oct 14, 2014): Removed atv-ext.amazon.com per Terry's comment below.

Save and exit by pressing Esc, wq, and Enter in sequence (or learn how to use VI editor). These DNSMasq rules will stop FireTV autoupdate by blocking access to Amazon software update domains. Finally, reboot your dnsmasq service for the rules to take effect.

service restart_dnsmasq

Alternatively, you may just reboot the router. After reboot, SSH into your router again and open /etc/dnsmasq.conf file. Scroll down and ensure that the lines you added to dnsmasq.conf.add file are present here. The picture below shows an example.

DNSMasq Rules to Block Amazon Fire TV Auto Update

DNSMasq Rules to Block Amazon Fire TV Auto Update

That is it, you all set. Your router should now block new Fire TV update (hopefully, you never know when Amazon may change its update method). Blocking Fire TV auto update also protects your root as well as running launchers such as FireStarter. In fact, there are reports that the Fire OS 5 blocks FireStarter. So go ahead, block Amazon Fire TV auto update and preserve the hard work you have put in so far.

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23 comments

D. Lowery August 30, 2015 - 6:51 pm

It’s nice that these steps are using WRT firmware…but how about those of us who are using an unmodified Actiontec C2000A router like used by CenturyLink which I can’t hack without CenturyLink throwing a fit?

Reply
Anand August 31, 2015 - 11:36 am

You can use OpenDNS if your router allows customizing the DNS.

Reply
D. Lowery August 31, 2015 - 7:42 pm

Kewl!

Reply
James Mac Seoras Blair October 4, 2015 - 1:41 pm

I wish I knew what you all were talking about.

Reply
Terry October 14, 2015 - 1:51 pm

Hope this helps others using the Amazon FireTV devices…

I have the very capable Amazon Fire TV box (2015) with 4K support and also subscribe to Amazon Prime so wanted to be able to use Amazon Prime media services with this device in addition to media available to Kodi (streaming, movies on local media server, etc) while blocking Amazon updates so as to preserve the Firestarter/Kodi installs.

I installed the updated FireStarter_V3 and Amazon FireTV and Kodi coexist amazingly. Boots up to FireStarter menu with icons for Kodi and FireTV. The home button on the remote is configurable and mine is configured to return you back to FireStarter menu to allow access to both FireTV and Kodi.

After adding your DNSmasq entries in this post, I found that updates wereindeed blocked but so was access to Amazon Prime/Instant Video media from the FireTV. I did a bit of experimenting with these entries in my router and found that by only adding the following entries, ACCESS TO AMAZON PRIME/INSTANT VIDEO IS AVAILABLE AND FIRETV BOX FAILS TO CHECK FOR UPDATES with “Unexpected error…” when I manually initiate “Check for Updates”.

address=/softwareupdates.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/updates.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/softwareupdates.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/firs-ta-g7g.amazon.com/127.0.0.1
address=/amzdigitaldownloads.edgesuite.net/127.0.0.1
address=/a1910.d.akamai.net/127.0.0.1

The only item,from your initial list above, that I omitted when setting up my router’s DNSmasq entries is found below. Leaving this item out of the DNSmasq appears to allow the FireTV box to access and consume Amazon media while still blocking FireOS updates.

address=/atv-ext.amazon.com/127.0.0.1

Reply
Anand October 14, 2015 - 8:16 pm

Awesome! thanks for sharing. Updated the post.

Reply
Brendon November 7, 2015 - 10:12 pm

I am able to follow all steps, but I get to trying to open /etc/dnsmasq.conf and it says “permission denied”. Yet it lets me add the file in the first place (well, I’m hoping it did). I’m using Putty.

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Brendon November 7, 2015 - 11:12 pm

Scratch that, I can open /etc/dnsmasq.conf, but any changes I make never seem to survive the restart. I will add the changes, save and close, and reopen the file and the changes are still there. But once the restart is completed, they seem to get wiped. Any clues?

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Anand November 8, 2015 - 3:57 pm

Changes to dnsmasq.conf will not survive restart. Please re-read the article carefully. You are supposed to add the lines to dnsmasq.conf.add in jffs/configs folder.

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Brendon November 10, 2015 - 11:29 pm

Awesome, it worked this time. Thanks for your help 🙂

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Chris December 2, 2015 - 11:49 am

I read a forum that stated the debloater tool can be used in Fire OS 5 to disable the services responsible for updating. Have you checked into this method? Here’s a link to the forum: http://forum.xda-developers.com/fire-tv/general/block-ota-updates-root-fire-os-5-t3183134

Reply
Anand December 2, 2015 - 12:53 pm

Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Daniel Noon April 11, 2016 - 12:27 pm

yes i used it today and it works im using liama now to auto boot to kodi now and one home press back to amazon tv

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EEMS January 16, 2016 - 1:20 pm

On DD-WRT can’t the address block lines just be added to the Services –> Additional DNSMasq Options box? I have jffs enabled but tried this first and it seems to work fine.

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Anand January 17, 2016 - 10:45 am

Sure. You can do that. Just try visiting one of the blocked domains from the list to verify.

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Truka February 1, 2016 - 7:26 am

Hi,

I noticed in your graphic “Block Fire TV Updates with Router URL Filter” that the final “t’ is missing from the update url:

amzdigitaldownloads.edgesuite.ne

instead of
amzdigitaldownloads.edgesuite.net

Could this be the reason that the update went through instead of being blocked?
Regards,
Truka

Reply
Anand February 3, 2016 - 10:43 am

My router does not allow the last t – exceeds the max length of the field. The picture shows method 1 and not the method 2 that uses DNSmasq. Method 1 did not work for me but method 2 has.

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Godzilla March 1, 2016 - 2:50 pm

Aside from my Fire TV, I also have two Kindle Fire tablets and two Kindle e-readers. If I apply these settings to my router, will it also block auto-updates to these devices?

If so, is there a way to only block the updates to the Fire TV while allowing the other devices to auto-update?

On my Windows PC, I can perform a similar function by putting entries in the hosts file, redirecting URLs to localhost, which is a per-system setting. Perhaps Fire TV has something comparable?

Reply
Alejandro March 6, 2016 - 12:41 am

Hello, there is indeed a hosts file for Android, which is the system underlying the Fire TV OS. You would need root access to edit it, but it’s located on /system/etc/hosts, so perhaps that’s a useful place to start.

If you want, you could open a thread on this issue in our HTPCBeginner Support Forums, and our HTPC enthusiasts could provide more ideas for you to try. Thanks!

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James April 9, 2016 - 10:30 pm

Can you effectively block the update by using the feature “block sites containing these keywords or domain names” in my netgear router? Enter the domain and keywords you provided us?

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Alejandro April 12, 2016 - 11:37 am

Hello, your router brand and model should not affect the information contained in this tutorial, as long as you can effectively block domains and keywords.

Reply
Peter June 7, 2016 - 11:20 am

1) Does this method also happen to block updates of the Amazon Prime database, which would be undesirable for Amazon users like me.

2) When using FireTV in Asia, should the above list contain amazon.com or the local national ending (not .com)?

Best regards

Reply
Anand July 6, 2016 - 4:39 pm

If you are on Amazon Fire OS 5.0.5 or above this method won’t work.

Reply

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