Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 9 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. It also has some of the best support you can find today.
Over the years, Amazon has updated the design with helpful tweaks, including the option to control your TV’s power and volume right from the control. Meanwhile, they’ve also tweaked their software to look cleaner than ever before, so you can find the movies you want to watch and jump right into the action.Of course, if you’re new to your Fire TV, you might not know where to start with streaming your favorite shows and movies. Thankfully, whether you’re looking for basic commands or trying to find new tips and tricks, we’ve done the hard work for you. Whether you’re running an older Fire TV or Amazon’s newest Fire TV Stick 4K, these are nine of the best Fire TV features you need to know about.
1. Learn to use the shortcut menu
If you’re tired of navigating into the Settings menu every time you need to turn off your Fire TV, you’ll need to get used to the shortcut option Amazon’s included by default. The shortcut menu on your Fire Stick makes for speedy navigation, and once you know where to look, it’s something you’ll use all the time.
Just press and hold the home button to open up a pop-up menu with quick select for options like Power, Mirroring or Settings. Simple.
2. Use your Amazon Tablet as a second screen
If you have an Amazon Fire tablet, you can actually use it as a second screen when 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 is using the TV.
As with everything else on Amazon’s media box, it’s pretty easy to set up. Head to Settings, then select Second Screen to enable it. Just make sure your device and your Fire tablet are on the same wireless network.
3. Mirror your Fire Tablet to your 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 own Chromecast products. Make sure your tablet is on the same network as your Fire TV Stick or box and head to Settings, select Display & Sounds and turn on Display Mirroring on both your TV and tablet.
4. Enable Parental Controls to keep your kids safe
Amazon allows you to place Parental Controls on your Amazon Prime Instant account or apps installed onto your Fire TV device. Not only does this keep your kids from accessing inappropriate content, but it also means you shouldn’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.
5. Expand your internal storage for games and apps
As standard, Amazon’s Fire TV comes with 8GB of internal storage. While that may sound reasonable, any serious Fire TV user will discover that it fills up all too 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 if you’re still using an older device, you’re in luck.
You’ll need to make sure it’s a USB 3 stick formatted to FAT32 (otherwise Fire TV will wipe everything when it formats it) if you want to expand your storage. Once plugged in, just go to Settings | Applications | Manage Installed Applications to transfer content to USB stick. External hard drives will not work.
6. Connect Bluetooth headphones
Did you know the Fire TV set-top-box supports Bluetooth headphone connectivity? Well, you do now.
It’s incredibly easy to set up too: just have your headphones set to Pair and head to Settings, then Controllers and Bluetooth Devices. Under Other Bluetooth Devices on your Fire TV, you should be able to select and connect to your headphone automatically.
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.
To do so, just navigate to the item you wish to remove and below it next to “More info” you should see a “Remove from recent” option. Clicking it will banish it from your homepage until the next time you use the app.
8. Create a personalized screensaver
Want to make your Amazon Fire TV seem a little more personal? You can do so easily by simply uploading a set of images to an Amazon Cloud Drive linked to the same account you set your Fire TV up with. You get 5GB free just for setting it up, so that’s plenty of space to upload a few glossy images.
To access the images, just go to the Photos tab on your Fire TV and you can then browse through the uploaded photos or set them as a screensaver.
9. You can 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 actually install apps directly from Amazon’s website?
By either browsing Amazon’s online catalogue or navigating directly to the app you want, you’ll be able to purchase it and push it to your Fire TV device so long as it’s linked to the Amazon account you purchased the app with.
Unsure whether Amazon Fire TV is the right streaming device for you? Here’s our pick of the best media streamers on the market.