The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a very popular streaming TV device because of its low-cost, full feature set, and solid streaming performance. It’s a very decent centerpiece for a mid-budget TV and entertainment setup, especially if you don’t have a smart TV.
However, because it’s part of the Amazon ecosystem, when you set up your Fire TV Stick, the install app insists that you provide your Amazon account information.
For most users, this isn’t a problem. In fact, it means that you can easily integrate your Fire TV Stick with your Amazon Prime Video account. But, some people simply want to use the Fire TV Stick as a set-top smart device and avoid any further entanglement with the Bezos empire.
So, if you’d like to protect your privacy while using your Fire TV Stick, you might be interested in learning how to set yours up without linking your personal Amazon account.
In this article, I will show you how to do just that.
Don’t Buy It On Amazon
First off, if you buy your Fire TV Stick using your own Amazon account, then for the hardcore security-seeker, this article is pointless.
Amazon already knows that this Fire TV Stick is associated with your account. You can still disassociate the Stick and the account by using the tips in this article, but you should be aware that Amazon has already made the connection and that data point will not go away in their vast computer network.
If your goal is to completely avoid Amazon’s watchful eye, then you need to buy a used stick via eBay, Offerup, or another third-party retailer. You can usually find Fire TV Sticks on your local Craigslist page as well.
Doing so will ensure that Amazon isn’t able to link your Amazon account with your Fire TV Stick as soon as you make the purchase.
The Registration Process
When you first turn on your Fire TV Stick, it hard-boots into a setup screen. Here, you’ll be asked to enter the details of an Amazon account in order to proceed with activating the device and getting access to its feature set.
If you don’t want Amazon to know that you are the owner of this particular Fire TV Stick, then you have two basic options:
- Register the Fire TV Stick using your own account, then de-register it later after you’ve installed an alternative method of accessing content
- Register the Fire TV Stick using a throwaway account
Either of these options will help you keep your data and activity more or less private, so pick whichever option you prefer. I’ll walk you through how to do either.
Set up a Fire TV Stick using your own account
This is a very simple way to keep your Fire TV Stick separate from your personal Amazon account. Though, if you’re really paranoid about Amazon knowing who you are, you’ll want to use the other approach. With this approach, they could at least theoretically be aware that this Fire TV Stick is connected to your account.
To do this method, just follow these simple steps:
- Connect the Amazon Fire TV Stick to your TV and home network.
- Enter your account details when prompted.
- Load Kodi or another content management app.
- Select Settings->My Account->Amazon Account.
- Select De-register.
This method will allow you to continue streaming content via Kodi or a similar app without Amazon being able to track your activity through your Fire Stick.
Set up a Fire TV Stick using a bogus account
If you’re a little bit more concerned about your privacy than the average person, you may prefer using a phony Amazon account to set up your Fire TV Stick.
Follow these steps to set up your Fire Stick with a bogus Amazon account:
- Buy a prepaid Visa gift card or prepaid Visa credit card.
- Set up a new Amazon account under a bogus name and add the Visa card as the payment method.
- Register your Amazon Fire Stick using this account.
The main issue is finding a card that will work. Gift cards that require you to enter the three-digit CVV code when paying for something won’t work on Amazon.
For that reason, you might want to invest in a full-fledged prepaid Visa card. Once you have that card associated with your Amazon account, you can go ahead and use its balance for something else, so all it will cost you is the starting fee for the card (usually around $4.95).
While this method may take a little bit more effort, it will ensure that Amazon isn’t able to link your personal Amazon account, and thus your personal information, with your Fire Stick in any way.
Let’s back up. If you’ve unregistered your Amazon account, then you’ll probably want to install Kodi or a similar program on your Fire TV stick so as to have access to more content.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kodi, you should know it’s one of the Internet’s favorite open-source media players. Originally launched over fifteen years ago as XBMC, Kodi works as a media center and home-theater PC client, allowing you to stream and watch content from anywhere around the world.
Kodi has a fantastic interface, a great theming engine complete with tons of options, preferences, and appearances, and the ability to add applications from multiple sources using software repositories.
This makes Kodi one of the most powerful media streaming applications available online, especially in a post-Windows Media Center world. If you’re looking for something with plenty of power behind it, Kodi is the app for you.
Fire TV Sticks are cheap, powerful streaming devices that can help you take your home entertainment setup to the next level.
However, if you’re concerned about your privacy, you might not be happy to learn that setting up a Fire Stick requires you to link an Amazon account to the device.
If you’d prefer to keep your Amazon account separate from your Fire Stick, following the steps above will help you take advantage of your Fire TV Stick without sacrificing your privacy.
Want to learn more about what you can do with your Amazon Fire TV Stick?
We have a full article on installing Kodi on your Fire TV Stick worth checking out.
Do you know of any way to use an Amazon Fire TV Stick without registration? Tell us below if you do!
For more information about your Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi, or Plex, we have a whole library of useful articles.
Here’s our walkthrough on adding Plex to your Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Kodi is still in active development, so you’ll eventually want to update Kodi on your Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Want local channels? Check out our tutorial on getting local channels on your Fire TV Stick.