App Timeout on Fire Stick

Lately, my taplist seems to time out after a certain number of hours. I will walk up to it and there will just be a blank screen. When I push a button on the remote, it takes me to the FireTV home screen. I thought maybe it was something with the FireTV, so I used the ADB to change the sleep settings so it wouldn’t go to sleep. Now, instead of seeing a blank screen, I’m already at the Home screen. So it seems the App is somehow timing out and closing.

Has anyone else seen this? If so, any idea how to fix it? It seems like this has only been a problem for the last month or so. Before that, the taplist would stay on indefinitely.


Hey Matthew! Unusual indeed - the app has a lot of hours of usage on it by now (like, in the millions), and so while on one hand that means it’s extremely stable - it’s also how we might catch a “one in a million” (less common) bug.

Since you’re handy with adb, would you be able to grab an adb bugreport after the next time you see this happen?

My thought is there might be something funky happening under the hood with WebKit, which has a slightly exotic implementation on android.

I wouldn’t say I’m handy with adb, I just found a walkthrough on how to use adbLink to change the sleep time function. I’ll see if I can find the walkthrough to get a bug report.

This has happened to me 3 or 4 times in probably a month and a half (ish?), the interval seems random between close out. Doesn’t really bother me i just restart the fire stick and reload the app. I kind of thought it was a power thing or a ram (or whatever these sticks use like that) thing, but if its a bug I guess I’m just seconding that I see it too.

Hmm, that’s a useful additional datapoint. We’re going to add some new instrumentation and see if we can get to the bottom of this, 24/7 reliability is key - my original design goal was, “I never want to fiddle with stuff at the TV”.

I received your in-app bugreport too, thanks, please keep 'em coming!

This has happened to me too-- Randomly it goes to a black screen.

I have the same issue as well. I ended up just setting up an Alexa routine that once I open the door to the garage, which is where my beer fridge is, it automatially starts the application on my firestick. If it’s still running it continues to, if it’s not it starts it up all hands free.

Thanks for all the data on this, folks! It’s certainly a concerning change of events.

What we’re trying to triangulate is whether this is a new system OS related issue, since the app itself hasn’t needed or been updated in over a year.

For those of you experiencing this, what happens when you “revive” the stick: After you clear the black screen, is it the app showing again, or does it go back to Home?

Mine stays black screen until I push a button on the remote. Once I do that it goes to the home screen.

Same as Ivan, mine would be at a black screen when I walked up to it. I would push a button and it would return me to the home screen. I would then need to navigate back to the Taplist app and restart it. After I modified my sleep settings, using ADB, it now just goes to the home screen. I think something is causing the app to timeout, so it probably went to the homescreen before and then the black screen after it went to sleep. I just never saw the transition, I just see it after it has timed out.

Thank you! To double check on one more important detail, would you all say this happens:

  1. Somewhat randomly; i.e. there are days or weeks where it the app stays up as expected; or
  2. Very predictably; i.e. it’s almost guaranteed to happen after X hours/days.

If it’s “somewhat randomly” - which I think has been the theme here - I have narrowed down both a potential cause and bugfix.

I would say it is pretty predictable. I need to restart the app at least once a day. If I watched it for 24 hours, it’s possible it may happen more than once a day, but I can say it happens at least once a day.

Mine happens many times over the day. I’d say more than 10. (I visit the fridge a lot) :slight_smile: But as I stated I set up an Alexa Routine to automatically start the app on the firetv stick once I open the door to the garage. It would be preferable if i didn’t need that. I just changed the dense theme with snow to the jumbo theme to see if my results vary.

I have notice there are less crashes when I turn off snow for the display. I haven’t had one yet today.

After Ivan’s last reply, I had an idea. I use animated GIFs for most of my beer logos on my 6 taps. I wondered if changing those to static images would stop the crashes. It has been almost 2 days now with no crashes, so I think I found the culprit. Now that we seem to have identified what is causing the crashes, hopefully a solution can be found. I miss my animated GIFs already…

Thanks for giving me the idea @ivan.singleton !

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Ah! Verry interesting datapoint. I will look into this on our end as well. I think we can, at minimum, trap such crashes and gracefully reload.

@matthew.johnsen checking in - seen any crashes since disabling animations?

@mikey Nope, not a single crash since disabling animations.

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Awesome! Well, still not awesome to crash, but this narrows it down substantially. It’s looking a bit tricky to avoid this (underlying issue in WebKit), but I’m testing some workarounds. You can probably guess one of them (push a reload every couple hours). More to come!