Amazon’s 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick (the 1080p model that has a list price of $40) is powered by a MediaTek processor, much like Amazon’s Fire tablets. So it should come as no surprise that the same exploit that hackers have been using to unlock the bootloaders and root the latest 7 inch and 8 inch Amazon tablets can be applied to the Fire TV Stick 2.
As spotted by AFTV News, it’s now possible to unlock the bootloader and install a custom recovery on Amazon’s latest Fire TV Stick.
Xda-developers forum member k4y0z has posted a set of step-by-step instructions. Before you get started though, you should know that you’ll need two things: Linux and the willingness to open up your Fire TV Stick’s case.
In a nutshell the process involves downloading some software, connecting your Fire TV Stick to a computer with a USB cable, and running some commands in a Linux terminal. But in order to put the Fire TV Stick in a mode where it can receive those commands, you need to short a point on the system board.
Basically that means holding something conductive like a paperclip or a pair of tweezers so that it touches both the points marked CLK and GND in the image above.
So there is a little risk involved — but if everything goes according to plan you get a device with an unlocked bootloader, a custom recovery (TWRP), and root access, which means you can modify system files that would normally be hidden or protected.
If you mess anything up, TWRP should allow you to backup and restore your device. It also makes it possible to install custom ROMs… if anyone develops some for this platform.
One thing this hack does not do is prevent over-the-air updates though. So you may need to investigate options for blocking them if you want to prevent Amazon from disabling root or overwriting changes you’ve made through an automatic software update.