Fire TV

How to Root the Fire TV, Install TWRP Custom Recovery, and a Pre-Rooted ROM. (2nd Next Best Method)

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Step 11.

Now we'll install the TWRP Custom Recovery. Open the Terminal and enter

CD

followed by a space, and then drag the folder where you placed the files you received back in Step 5 and the Terminal will enter the path for you. I named my folder RootTools and placed it on the Desktop.

Next execute the script file you modified (or downloaded from me), install_firetv2_recovery.sh by entering this command:

./install_firetv2_recovery.sh

and then press Enter. It will say: Waiting for preloader...

Fire TV






Reconnect the power cord to the Fire TV. You should see a couple more messages and you'll be prompted to unplug the USB A to A cable (just from your computer), plug it back in and then press Enter. If instead the Fire TV booted up normally, unplug the power cord, and unplug the USB cord and repeat this step from the beginning.

Fire TV



If you still have the Fire TV connected to a TV you won't see any output but you will see the white light on the front pulsing letting you know it's on. Picture courtesy of Ars Technica.

Fire TV



If this script didn't detect the Fire TV and begin transferring data to it then try closing the Terminal, disconnecting the USB cable, powering off the Fire TV, and repeating this step from the beginning.

Many more status messages will appear.

Fire TV



The script will continue writing files to the Fire TV for 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure your computer doesn't go to sleep during this process. If a problem should arise then try this process again.

I was prompted to again unplug the USB cable, plug it back in and press Enter. If at this point you receive the message "error: unable to open comport!" start this step over from the beginning.

Fire TV



The script will continue writing data. The last message will be “Closing the file...” and the script will finish. You can now disconnect the USB A to A cable from both your computer and the Fire TV. Disconnect the power cord from the Fire TV.

Fire TV



Step 12.

If you haven't yet connected your HDMI cable from your Fire TV to your TV, then do that now. Leave the Fire TV powered off however.

I'm using an external USB hard drive and a USB keyboard/trackpad which I plugged into my USB hub. I then plugged the hub into the Fire TV. If you still have that USB A to A cable hanging around put it away, you don't need it any more.

We've reached the point in the tutorial where the bad cell phone pictures are going to make their appearance. I've tried a couple methods using screenshot programs in recovery mode but can't make any of them work on Mac or Windows.

Once you've got all your cables set connect the power cord to the Fire TV. Here's the first screen you'll see (after the white amazon logo). If you don't see this screen, then let the Fire TV boot up normally, then go to Settings, System, Restart and try it again.

Fire TV



The next screen is the boot menu selector. Click the button on the right to Launch Recovery. You'll only have a couple seconds to do this. If you don't choose in time you'll will boot into the Fire TV OS instead. If you miss this just go to Settings, System, Restart and try it again.

Fire TV



You will see one of two screens next.

If your Fire TV is brand new, fresh out of the box never been powered up or registered with Amazon yet (or you otherwise know how to return it to factory new condition), then you'll see this screen before you see the screen that follows.

Click Swipe to Allow Modifications.

Fire TV






If your Fire TV was previously rooted then you'll come to this screen instead.

Once you are at this menu screen click the Install button.

Fire TV



Click the Select Storage button.

Fire TV



From this point on all screenshots will show 5.0.5 firmware and not 5.0.5.1 firmware. Just select the file appropriate to what you're installing.

Select the storage location of your pre-rooted ROM and click OK. In my case even though the USB was already checked, I still needed to click on it because it showed (0 MB). Once you click on it then it will communicate with the drive and its true capacity will appear.

Fire TV



If you copied your files to your storage directly by connecting it to your Mac you'll see that the Mac OS just loves adding extra hidden files in directores. You may see your ROM appearing twice. Select the ROM that doesn't start with ._ in front of the file name.

Fire TV



Click the button with the three arrows on it right next to where it says Swipe to confirm Flash in the bottom right corner. The process will start immediately.

Fire TV



Wait for the pre-rooted ROM to install. This will only take a couple minutes.

Fire TV



Stop right now before you click anything else if you're at all concerned about a newer update being available that may block root access (since we haven't gotten to the point in the instructions yet where you can disable updates).

As soon as you click the Reboot System button at the next screenshot the Fire TV will go through its normal process of checking for updates. At the time of this tutorial being updated 5.0.5.1 was the most current firmware and I want to remain on the 5.0.5 firmware I'm flashing right now.

Elias at AFTV News.com wrote a great article (and made a really good video) on how to prevent the Fire TV from checking for updates. Basically it boils down to disconnecting your modem or router's power (or ethernet cable) after you initially set up the Fire TV by providing your log in information for your Wi-Fi. This way it establishes a wireless connection (or wired if on ethernet), but it isn't able to connect to actually check for the update (because you cut the power or disconnected the ethernet cable), so it forwards you on to the registration screen instead. Sneaky.

Check out the article and video here. Ok I'm done with my warning.

Once the install has completed click the Reboot System button to restart the Fire TV.

Fire TV



Step 13.

You can either use Wi-Fi or ethernet to connect your Fire TV to the Internet. You may find Wi-Fi easier as all you have to do is remove power to your modem or router to kill your signal. I'll be using ethernet which is easier to disconnect, but more of a pain to set up as you have to know a few IP addresses to program it.

The Fire TV will scan for networks.

Fire TV



Either set up a Wi-Fi connection or scroll toward the end and select Configure Ethernet Connection.

Fire TV


  • Enter the IP address for your device and click Next.
  • Enter the Network Prefix Length. 24 is a good default. Click Next.
  • Enter the gateway address to your router. Click Next.
  • Enter the IP address for DNS 1. Click Next.
  • Enter the IP address for DNS 2. Click Next.
It will then say Configuring Ethernet Connection. I then disconnected the ethernet cable (otherwise disconnect power to your router). The message Checking for Updates appeared for about a second then it moved on to the Amazon registration screen. Success.

I then connected my ethernet cable again and waited about 10 seconds before continuing to ensure I reestablished an Internet connection. I then completed the registration.


Step 14.

Go to Settings, scroll left to System, select it, scroll down to Developer options and select it. Make sure ADB debugging is on.

Fire TV



Verify your IP address. Go to Settings, System, About, Network. Mine is 192.168.0.30.

Fire TV



Step 15.

Go to Jocala.com to download the adbFire program. Double click the dmg and then drag the app icon into your Applications folder.

Fire TV



Launch the program. Here's what it looks like. Click the New button on the top row.

Fire TV



Enter a name for your Fire TV in the Description field. Then enter your IP Address in the Address field. Click the Save button.

Fire TV



In the Current Device drop down box you should see the name of your Fire TV. Click the Connect button.

Fire TV



In the Connected devices box you should see your IP address. In the Status box you should see device. You are now connected.

Fire TV



Click the ADB Shell button.

Fire TV



A Terminal window will open.

Fire TV



Enter

su

and then press Enter.

Fire TV



A pop up will appear on the Fire TV. Click the GRANT button.

Fire TV



In the Terminal you should now see the prompt root@sloane:/ #

Fire TV



Enter

pm disable com.amazon.device.software.ota

and press the Enter key. You'll receive a reply that OTA updates are now disabled.

Fire TV



You can verify that updates are disabled by going to Settings, System, About, Check for System Update.

Fire TV



Click the Select button to check for an update and you'll receive an error message.

Fire TV



Click Stop ADB and Disconnect and you can close adbFire.

Fire TV



Additional Information

If you should happen to go to Settings, Applications, Manage Installed Applications, be aware that a program called SuperSU is installed as part of this process. Don't worry it's supposed to be there.

Fire TV




Factory resetting and software updates.

If you decide to factory reset your device you will have to block software updates again.


How to restore your Fire TV back to stock.

Follow Zeroepoch's Wiki page here.

What I did for some testing (and keep in mind I'm on 5.0.5 firmware) was to reenable software updates, use TWRP to flash 5.0.4 pre-rooted software, then use the Fire TV to check for and update and install 5.0.5. This left me with an unrooted, stock unit. Using TWRP again to root it would verify I was stock by seeing the device as read only.


How to upgrade a rooted Fire TV.

From Zeroepoch's Wiki: It's possible to upgrade a rooted device directly to a new version while keeping root. It carries more risk because the technique used could cause unrecoverable damage if done incorrectly (uses dd). One benefit though is that the upgrade process is very quick compared to the initial rooting. The safest way to upgrade is to revert back to stock, take the OTA, then root again.

There are currently no procedures for this on the Wiki, but when there are Zeroepoch will post them here.


How to unbrick a Fire TV 2nd generation model.

Here's some helpful files from rbox.


Enabling root on your Mac.

When I was playing around in adb shell I tried to access root on my Mac (which I do quite a bit). I just switched from OS X 10.9 Mavericks to OS X 10.11 El Capitan and I was surprised when it wouldn't accept my password. I didn't realize this is another new feature Apple has made to make it harder to run root. Here's how to set this up.

• Launch System Preferences.
• Click on Users & Groups.
• Click the lock and enter your administrator password to make changes in this panel.
• Click Login Options.
• Where it says Network Account Server click the Join button.
• Click the Open Director Utility buton.
• Click the lock and enter your administrator password to make changes in this panel.
• In the menu bar click Edit then select Enable Root User.
• Enter the root password you wish to use in both the Password and Verify fields, then click OK.