So you’ve installed the Google Play Store on Amazon’s Fire HD 8 (2020) tablet. What’s next? While you can’t yet root the tablet or replace the operating system with a custom ROM, you can disable a bunch of Amazon apps and features.
Don’t need the Amazon Appstore, want to disable the Weather, Prime Video, or Kindle apps? Or maybe you want to prevent your tablet from automatically downloading and installing Fire OS updates.
Here’s how to do that.
Enable Developer Options and USB Debugging
On your tablet, take the following steps:
- Enable Developer Options by navigating to Settings -> Device Options -> About Fire Tablet and then tapping the serial number for your tablet 7 times.
- Tap the back button to go back to Device Options.
- Scroll down and select Developer Options.
- Slide the toggle for Developer Options to “On.”
- Scroll down until you find USB Debugging and slide the toggle to the on position.
Set up adb (Android Debug Bridge)
- Connect your tablet to a computer with a USB cable
- On your computer, download the Android SDK Platform Tools from Google (available for Windows, Mac, or Linux)
- Unzip the file you just loaded and make note of the directory where you’ve unzipped it.
- Open a terminal or command prompt and navigate to that folder.
- Type “adb devices” (without the quotation marks) to see if our computer detects your tablet. If it does, you’ll probably see a device number and the word “unauthorized” in the terminal window if this is the first time using adb to connect this tablet to this PC.
- After that last step, a pop-up notification should appear on the tablet asking if you want to allow the USB debugging. Choose OK (and optionally check the box that says “Always allow from this computer” if you don’t want to be asked again.
- Now if you type “adb devices” again, you should see the same ID for the tablet, but now instead of “unauthorized” you should see the word “device.”
Use adb to disable Amazon apps
Here’s the part where we can actually disable specific apps. Note that Amazon does not make it easy to completely uninstall or remove apps that come pre-installed on its tablets, so we’re going to disable them instead. You may have to run through these steps again at some point in the future if the apps start running again after Amazon pushes an update.
In a nutshell, you can disable an app by entering an adb command that looks something like this:
adb shell pm disable-user com.goodreads.kindle
That particular command will stop the Goodreads app from running on an Amazon Fire tablet. But you can customize the line to disable other apps or disable apps just for specific users.
Disable different apps
For example, com.amazon.kindle is the name of the app you’re disabling in the command above. If you know the package name of the app you want to affect, you can disable just about any app on your tablet by changing that part of the command.
Here are just a few of the apps you can disable:
- Amazon Appstore: adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.venezia
- Goodreads: adb shell pm disable-user com.goodreads.kindle
- Kindle: adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.kindle
- Legal Notices: adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.legalsettings
- Prime Video: adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.avod
- Silk web browser: adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.cloud9
- Special Offers: adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.kindle.kso
That last command will remove ads from the tablet’s lock screen almost instantly. Here’s what it looks like when you execute that command while viewing the lock screen:
Again, keep in mind that the lock screen ads may re-appear at some point in the future if Amazon pushes an update. The only ways to permanently remove them are to pay Amazon $15 to officially remove “Special Offers” or to root the tablet and/or install a custom ROM (neither of which can be done with the 10th-gen Fire HD 8 as of early June, 2020).
You can find a longer list of apps that can be removed in a thread at the xda-developers forum. Note that you might have to disable multiple packages to fully disable some apps and features. For example, in order to disable the Weather app, you would run the following commands, one after the other:
- adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.weather
- adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.platform
Disable the default Fire Launcher
I’m giving this one its own section, even though you can remove it with a simple command just like any of the apps listed above. The key thing to keep in mind is that you only want to disable the Fire Launcher after you’ve already installed a third-party launcher. Otherwise your tablet will get stuck at the loading screen when you turn it on.
adb shell pm disable-user com.amazon.firelauncher
If somethings goes wrong and you’re left without a working launcher at all, the tablet will get stuck at a loading screen. Fortunately, you can always re-enable any app you’ve disabled. See below.
Disable apps just for one user
Update: An earlier version of this article included an extra variable in the disable-user commands that would have allowed you to disable apps for specific user profiles only. As of June 8, 2020 that no longer seems to work, so I’m crossing out the rest of the text in this section. But it’s possible this may start working again in the future, so I won’t erase it altogether.
In a nutshell, a command like “adb shell pm disable-user -user 0 com.amazon.kindle” (without the quotation marks) would have allowed you to disable an app just for user 0. Changing that to another number would let you disable the app for other individual users.
The part that says –user 0 means that you’re disabling the app for the primary user of the tablet, which means anyone who uses the tablet will no longer see that app running. But if you have multiple user accounts on your tablet and just want to disable an app for a specific user, here’s how to do that: Connect your Fire HD to your PC with a USB cable, open a terminal/command prompt, and type “adb shell pm list users” see a list of users and ID numbers. You should see a number before each name. Change the number 0 to the number of the user you want to disable the app for. Now when that users logs in, the app you disabled will not be active. But if another user logs in, they’ll still see that app. Alternately, you can leave out the –user 0 part of the command altogether, and the app should be disable for all users.
Use adb to re-enable Amazon apps
Say you’ve disabled an app and discovered that you actually wanted or needed it? Here’s how to re-enable an app.
- Connect your tablet to your computer with a USB cable.
- Open a terminal or command prompt to your adb directory.
- Type a command that looks something like this: “adb shell pm enable com.amazon.firelauncher” (without the quotes).
The example above will re-enable the default Fire OS Launcher app after it’s been disabled. But you can change the package name to any app that you’ve previously disabled. For example, if you disabled Goodreads using the command listed earlier in this post, then pasting this line into a terminal will re-enable Goodreads:
adb shell pm enable com.goodreads.kindle
A few more notes
This guide was originally written on June 6, 2020 and tested with a 10th-gen Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020 model) tablet. But the steps should also work with a 10th-gen Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2020) or 9th-gen Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019 ) tablet.
Amazon may change the apps that are pre-installed on these tablets at some point in the future, and/or the company may change the package names for specific apps. If these steps stop working, please leave a note in the comments. You can also keep an eye on the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 General section of the xda-developers forum for updates.