Amazon Fire TV Tips and Tricks: Nine Hidden Features about Amazon’s TV Streamer
Amazon Fire TV (2nd Gen) was a slim designed box discontinued in 2018, replaced by the ever-growing Fire TV Stick (mostly due to the success of the 2nd Gen. Fire TV Stick of 2016). Amazon also sells the Fire Cube and previously sold pendant-style models. 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, and Fire pendant. Visually, each model may appear different on your screen than some of the screenshots shown below.
The Fire TV Stick released in 2016 provided the same features as Fire TV, but it delivered more. 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.
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.
Feature #1: Use The 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.
Feature #2: 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 Instant 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.
- Select Settings, on the TV, then select Second Screen to enable it. Just make sure your device and your Fire tablet are on the same wireless network.
Feature #3: Mirror Your Fire Tablet to Your Fire TV
Although it no longer ships with newer Fire HD tablets, older Fire HDX tablets can mirror directly to your Fire TV, just like Google’s Chromecast products.
- Make sure your tablet is on the same network as your Fire TV.
- Now, choose Settings from the menu at the top of the screen.
- Next, select Display & Sounds, and turn on display mirroring for both the Fire TV and the Fire tablet.
Feature #4: 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 one individually for other apps such as Netflix.
Feature #5: Expand Your Internal Storage for Games, Videos, and Apps
As standard, Amazon’s Fire TV came with 8GB of internal storage, while the current Fire Cube offers 16GB.
While that may sound reasonable, any serious Fire TV user will discover that it fills up rather quickly. Thankfully, the latest update to the Amazon Fire TV set-top box allows you to plug in a USB stick and transfer over your games and apps. You can’t easily do the same with the 2018 Fire TV dongle nor the Fire TV Stick, but you can purchase an OTG USB cable and manually move files to an external drive.
You’ll need to make sure it’s a USB 3.0 stick, formatted to FAT32, or Fire TV will wipe everything when it formats it.
- Once plugged in, go to Settings in your top menu.
- Now, scroll over and select Applications.
- Next, click on Manage Installed Applications to transfer content to the USB stick.
Feature #6: 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 Homepage.
- Next, scroll over and select Controllers and Bluetooth Devices on your TV. Under Other Bluetooth Devices, you can automatically select and connect to your headphones.
Feature #7: Keep Your Home Screen Tidy
If you don’t like clutter on your home screen, you can remove the featured apps from your recently used tab. Navigate to the item you wish to remove, and below it, next to “More info,” select the “Remove from recent.” This option removes the chosen item from your homepage until the next time you use the app.
Feature #8: 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 free just for setting up remote 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 a screensaver.
Feature #9: 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?
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 much more! Give some of the features above a try!