When it comes to streaming dongles, Amazon Fire TV Sticks are some of the most popular streaming devices on the market. Amazon maintains its own fork of Android called Fire OS for these devices, which lacks Google apps and has a completely different UI than Google’s Android TV OS. If you own a 3rd generation Fire TV Stick or its Lite variant and aren’t satisfied with the out-of-the-box software experience, you can now swap the Amazon firmware for the source-built Android 11 ROM and enjoy the vanilla Android TV experience.
Notably, Amazon does not officially allow unlocking the bootloader of any consumer Fire TV devices. That’s where the XDA community comes in. In a recent post, XDA Senior Member k4y0z highlights an exploit, using which you can unlock the bootloader of your Fire TV Stick 3 (code-name “sheldonp”) and Fire TV Stick Lite (code-name “sheldon”). While the process does not require you to disassemble the target device, it requires an older version of Fire OS (<126.96.36.199) and Linux as the host operating system. The developer has also compiled a unified TWRP build for the device duo. You can install it right away after unlocking the bootloader and gain root access.
Bootloader unlock and TWRP for the 3rd Gen Fire TV Stick (Lite)
Now that you have a working TWRP, the next step is of course a custom ROM. XDA Senior Member Rortiz2 has been compiling unofficial LineageOS builds for various Fire HD tablets for a while, and now the developer has come up with the first Android TV 11-based LineageOS 18.1 ROM for the 3rd generation Fire TV Stick (Lite). Despite the SoC being 64-bit capable, the Android OS on these models is running in 32-bit mode. As a result, you have to opt for ARM variants of Google apps packages after flashing the ROM.
Most things seem to be working, according to the developer. You might find Netflix crashing after playing something, though, but a reboot should fix that. The only major issue with this build is that SELinux is set to permissive.
This is an exciting development for hobbyists and Fire TV Stick 3 (Lite) owners, allowing them to have the best of both worlds: a handy Amazon streaming dongle and a full-fledged Android TV experience with the Play Store. If you’re interested, head over to the linked thread below and read through all the requirements and step-by-step installation instructions needed to install Android TV 11.
Unofficial LineageOS 18.1 for the 3rd Gen Fire TV Stick (Lite)