Amazon Fire TV Tips and Tricks: Nine Hidden Features about Amazon’s TV Streamer
If you’re looking to access apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, it’s hard to beat Amazon’s Fire TV lineup of devices. From watching movies and live TV to playing games on the big screen, Amazon’s Fire OS devices are the best way to build your entertainment system.
Amazon Fire TV (2nd Gen) was a slim designed box discontinued in 2018, replaced by the ever-growing Fire TV Stick line of products, propelled mainly by the success of the 2nd Gen. Fire TV Stick of 2016. Amazon also sells the Fire TV Cube. Today, you’ve got several Amazon Fire TV Stick choices from Classic to 4K, and the tips and tricks discussed here should work for any version of Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire Cube, or the old Fire pendant. Visually, each model may appear different on your screen than some of the screenshots shown below.
Over the years, Amazon has updated the models and their design with helpful tweaks, including the option to control your TV’s power and volume right from the remote. Meanwhile, they’ve also improved their software to look cleaner than ever before, so you can find the movies you want to watch and jump right into the action. Installing Kodi on a Fire Stick is just one more cool thing you can do, along with many other third-party applications.
Here are nine hidden/semi-hidden features for Amazon Fire TV devices.
1. How to Use the Fire TV Shortcut Menu
If you’re tired of navigating into the “Settings” menu every time you need to put your Fire TV to sleep (no on/off option available), there’s a quick method that Amazon included by default. The shortcut menu on your Fire Stick makes for quick navigation, and once you know where to look, it’s something you’ll use all the time.
- Press and hold the “Home” icon button.
- The “Quick Settings” pop-up menu appears and displays common options including Sleep, Mirroring, Settings, and Apps, depending on your model.
2. How to Use Your Amazon Tablet as a Second Screen
If you have an Amazon Fire tablet, you can use it as a second screen for watching content on Amazon Prime or for navigating around your Fire Stick. You can also push content to your tablet, meaning you can enjoy your Fire TV even if someone else uses the actual TV.
As with everything else on Amazon’s media box, it’s pretty easy to set up.
- Ensure that your Fire Tablet and Fire TV Stick/Cube are connected to the same network, including the band (2.4GHz/5 GHz).
- On your Fire Tablet, open the “Settings“ menu.
- Next, choose “Second Screen” from the options to enable the device to serve as a secondary display.
3. How to Mirror Your Fire Tablet to Your TV
Newer Fire HD tablets, such as Fire HD 8 and 10, provide easy access to the mirroring functionality.
The easiest way to identify mirroring support on your device: If your Fire tablet includes the “Display Mirroring” option found under “Display & Sounds,” it supports the feature.
Here’s how to mirror your Fire tablet to your TV, Firestick, or Fire Cube.
- Ensure that your Fire tablet and the TV, Firestick, or Fire Cube are connected to the same network.
- On your Fire tablet, swipe down from the top, then select “Settings.”
- Choose “Display & Sounds,” then tap on “Display Mirroring.”
- Choose your TV, Fire TV Stick, or Fire Cube from the list that appears. Your tablet begins mirroring to the device.
To stop mirroring to the TV, Firestick, or Cube, all you have to do is swipe down from the top and choose “Stop Mirroring.” The process is that simple.
4. How to Enable Parental Controls to Keep Your Kids Safe
Amazon allows you to place Parental Controls on your Amazon Prime Instant account or the apps installed on your Fire TV device. This option keeps your kids from accessing inappropriate content, and it also means you won’t end up with any surprise payments.
While a device-level setting for Parental Controls will cover all Amazon content on your device, you’ll still need to set restrictions for other apps such as Netflix.
5. How to Expand Your Internal Storage for Games, Videos, and Apps
As standard, Amazon’s Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen. 2019) comes with 16GB of internal storage, while the Fire TV Stick 4K and 4K Max include 8GB.
Although that amount of space on Firesticks and the Fire TV Cube may sound reasonable, any serious Fire TV user will discover that it fills up rather quickly. Thankfully, the Fire TV Cube allows you to plug in a USB stick or drive to transfer over your games and apps or to install new apps on it. You can’t easily do the same with the old 2018 Fire TV dongle or any Fire TV Stick. An OTG USB cable is required, and you have to move files to the external USB stick or drive manually.
For increasing storage on your Firestick or Fire Cube, you need a USB 3.0 stick (not 2.0) that is formatted to FAT32, or else your Fire TV will wipe everything when it formats it.
- Once the USB stick or drive is plugged in, go to “Settings.”
- Next, click on “Manage Installed Applications” to transfer content to the USB storage device.
6. How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones
Did you know that the Fire TV supports Bluetooth headphones? If you didn’t, you do now. The process is simple.
- Ensure your headphones are ready to pair and then select “Settings” on your Fire TV device.
- Next, scroll over and select “Controllers and Bluetooth Devices.”
- Under “Other Bluetooth Devices,” you can automatically select and connect your headphones to your Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Cube. Be patient. It may take a couple minutes to display Bluetooth devices.
7. How to Keep Your Home Screen Tidy
If you don’t like clutter on your home screen, you can remove entries from the “Recently Used Apps” section plus other areas. The newer design uses horizontal scrolling (sliding carousel navigation), so there isn’t much to clean up. However, you can still remove some thumbnails from specific lists to reduce their length.
- Navigate to the item you wish to remove from any sliding carousel section but don’t select it.
- Tap the “hamburger icon” (Menu) button on your Fire TV remote.
- Choose “Remove from List” or “Remove from Recent” depending on the location of the entry.
Note: If an item is not removable, such as those listed in “IMDb FREE MOVIES AND TV” or “NETFLIX RECOMMENDS,” you will not see the “Remove from List” option. There is nothing you can do.
Currently, as of Feb. 19, 2022, you can remove entries from the following sections:
- Recently Used Apps
- Prime Movies We Think You’ll Like
- Any other “We Think You’ll Like” section that appears on the Home screen
Other sliding carousel sections may exist depending on your use of the Fire device. Furthermore, the carousels get changed/updated frequently, so they are subject to variations, such as adding carousels for the Olympics, Holidays, etc.
8. How to Create a Personalized Screensaver
To add a custom screensaver to your Fire TV device, upload a set of images to your Amazon Cloud Drive. Be sure you choose the same account registered to your Fire TV account. You get 5GB of storage for free just for setting up cloud storage, so that’s plenty of space to upload a few glossy images to decorate that lovely big screen when the Fire TV device is inactive.
To access the images, go to the “Photos” tab on your Fire TV device, and then browse through the uploaded photos to set some as your screensaver.
- Upload some images to your Amazon Cloud Drive (must match the Amazon Fire TV account used on your device).
- Access “Settings” on your Fire device.
- Choose “Display and Sounds.”
- Select “Screensaver,” then choose “Current Screensaver.”
- Select “Daily Memories,” “Your Photos,” or “Recent Photos.” If you added any custom folders to your Amazon Cloud Drive, they also appear in the list as an option.
9. How to Install Apps from Amazon’s Website
Navigating your way through Amazon’s Appstore on Fire TV can be a pain, especially if you’re in a hurry. But did you know that you can install apps on your Fire TV device directly from Amazon’s website? Ensure you use the filters on the left side to deliver compatible apps for your particular Firestick.
By either browsing Amazon’s online catalog or navigating directly to the app you want, you’ll be able to buy it and push it to your Fire TV device, so long as it’s linked to the Amazon account where you purchased the app.
As you can see above, Amazon’s Fire Stick models offer many exciting features and benefits. The devices are customizable and universal for music, movies, shows, games, pictures, apps, wallpapers, content organization, and more! Give some of the features above a try!