Troubleshooting: Amazon Fire Devices

10 Ways to fix Buffering And Slowness on a Fire tv device

Settings to Make Your Amazon Fire TV Stick Run Faster

With that in mind, let’s look at some settings you can turn off which will help to reduce the load on your device’s CPU, thus reducing its temperature and allowing your Fire Stick to run faster.

1. Update Your Device

Amazon releases regular updates for the Fire OS software. These updates are designed to improve speed, security, and performance. That’s why it’s important to periodically install Fire TV Stick updates to make sure that its operating system is working optimally.

To find the latest Firestick updates and install them, here’s what you have to do:

  • Go to the interface on your Fire TV Stick and click on the Home Menu

  • Once you get to the Home Menu, scroll to the top left corner of the screen and choose “settings”

  • Scroll to the right again and then choose “device”

  • From there, select “check for system update”

  • Once you reach the next window, click “confirm”

  • The Fire TV Stick will take care of the rest by tracking new software updates.

  • The screen will show a “download and install” prompt if any new software updates are available

2. Uninstall Apps That You Don’t Use

Does your device have a lot of apps? This can significantly compromise your ability to enjoy content from your Fire TV Stick because it adds to the overall demand on the device’s software. Third-party apps are notorious for slowing down the Firestick because they’re not optimized to perform properly.

To remove these apps, simply follow these steps:

  • Switch on your Fire TV and click on the home menu

  • Look at the top of the screen and direct your mouse to the right

  • Select “settings”

  • Scroll to the right and select “applications”

  • Once on the App menu, scroll down and select “manage installed applications”

  • Select the apps you’d like to uninstall from the list provided.

  • Once you click on an app, the browser will automatically open a new screen.

    Then Click Delete or Clear data 2x

  • Scroll down and select “uninstall”

  • The browser will open another screen. Select “uninstall” again.

  • This should automatically delete the app from your Firestick.

3. Video and Sound Autoplay

By default, your Amazon Fire Stick will use the Featured section on the Home screen to play videos that its algorithms think you might be interested in. The videos play on a continuous loop.

Disabling this feature will significantly reduce the CPU’s load. You can do so by going to Settings > Preferences > Featured Content and turning off both the Allow Video Autoplay and Allow Sound Autoplay options.

4. Notifications

There are a few types of notifications on Fire TV Sticks. The Amazon Appstore will generate notifications about app updates and other services, while the apps you’ve installed can also create notifications. These typically inform you of breaking news or freshly-available content.

To turn off Appstore notifications, go to Settings > Applications > Appstore > Notifications. To disable notifications from other apps on a case-by-case basis, go to Settings > Preferences > Notification Settings > App Notifications.

5. Automatic Updates

Automatic updates serve an important purpose. They make sure you always have the newest features and security fixes.

To protect yourself from hackers and viruses, you must keep your software and hardware updated. But which devices need to be updated?

However, when enabled, the updates can occur at any time in the background. Instead, if you turn off automatic updates, you can take control of the process. Set aside sometime when you’re not watching anything and run the update process manually.

To disable the feature, head to Settings > Applications > Appstore > Automatic Updates.

Note: You should always make sure you’re running the latest version of the app. If you disable updates, make sure you don’t forget to check.

6. Disable Unused Services

The Fire Stick has some of Amazon’s other services built-in. They include Prime Photos and Whispersync.

Prime Photos provides unlimited photo storage from Prime members; Whispersync syncs progress, high scores, and other gaming data across all your Amazon devices.

If you don’t use either of the services, you should turn them off. To turn off Prime Photos, go to Settings > Applications > Prime Photos and turn off both Allow Guest Connections and Access Prime Photos.

To disable Whispersync, you need to go to Settings > Applications > GameCircle > Whispersync for Games.

7. Data Collection

Unsurprisingly, your Amazon Fire TV Stick is set to collect a significant amount of data about you when you use the device.

If you turn off all these settings, it’ll not only improve your security, but it will also help your device run faster; all the collection techniques represent power-hungry background processes.

You’ll find the settings you need to disable split across both the Privacy and Data Monitoring menus.

Firstly, go to Settings > Preferences > Privacy Settings. There are three settings you need to turn off. They are Device Usage DataCollect App Usage Data, and Interest-based ads.

Next, go to Settings > Preferences > Data Monitoring and turn off the single setting.

8. Restart Your Fire TV

Most people are so obsessed with their Firestick devices that they never switch them off! Unfortunately, keeping your Fire TV Stick on at all times can lead to serious buffering issues. That’s why you need to reboot your device every now and then to clear out its cache and improve performance.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Open the Fire Stick and scroll to the home menu

  • Scroll to the topmost part of the screen, move the mouse towards the right and select “settings”

  • Scroll to the right and choose “device”

  • Select “restart” and approve in the next window

  • The Fire TV Stick will reboot itself automatically, and the process usually takes a few minutes.

9. Reboot Your Router

To fix buffering on Firestick that’s caused by a slow local network, simply reset everything. This means you’ll have to switch off your router and your modem completely. Wait for a few seconds before you plug everything back in following the same order through which you turned them off. This is sometimes the best way to fix interference issues with your Fire TV Stick and improve your local network’s performance.

10. Do a Factory Reset

If you’ve tried all the solutions mentioned above and your Fire TV Stick still has buffering issues, you might have to do something more radical. This could mean doing a complete factory reset, which will remove almost all your Firestick data, including sideloaded software and downloaded apps. However, you’ll still have your important data, purchases, and downloads. But doing this will solve your buffering issues.

There are two ways for you to perform a Fire TV Stick factory reset. The first one requires that you start by going to “settings.” Click on “device”, scroll to the bottom of the page and select “restore” to factory defaults and confirm your selection. The Fire TV Stick will take care of the rest.

With the second method, you simply hold press on the right key and back button of your Fire TV Stick remote. Hold both buttons for about five seconds or so until the factory reset warning shows up. Afterward, a timer will appear, giving you an additional 20 seconds to change your mind before starting the automatic reset process.

Conclusion

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is a fun and convenient device that gives viewers access to all types of content. But it can be frustrating to deal with buffering problems, which are common with these devices. Fortunately, if you follow the tips in this article, you can fix buffering on Firestick without even hiring a professional.

However, if you’re looking for a quick and all-encompassing solution, consider using a VPN like IPVanish. This VPN works with all types of devices and has a proven track record with solving buffering issues.

Fire Stick Voice Search without Alexa

You don’t have to have an Echo device to make use of some of Alexa’s voice commands. Amazon has added voice control to its newer Fire TV models, allowing you to press a button and speak to your Fire device to search for content without typing.

Step 1 – Use a Voice Remote or Voice App

To make use of the Fire Stick’s voice search feature, you’ll need to make sure you have a voice-enabled remote or voice-enabled remote app on your smartphone. The accessory shipped with new Fire TVs is compatible, as is Amazon’s official Remote App. Grab one of those first, turn on your Fire device, then make sure it’s paired.

Step 2 – Hold the Voice Button

At the top of the remote you should see a voice button marked with a microphone. If you’re using the remote app, look for the microphone button at the top of the screen. Hold the button down, then speak directly into your remote. Keep holding the button while you talk.

Step 3 – Searching

When your query is done, release the button and Fire TV will start the search. You can access the voice search feature from any screen and your Fire Stick will scan all the apps on your device. Try looking for movies, TV shows, actors, or even episodes by name. You’ll still need to use the remote to navigate search results when you’re done.

Step 4 – Clear Search History (optional)

If you’re concerned about your privacy, it’s a good idea to occasionally delete your Fire TV voice search history. Amazon keeps track of every query you enter in an effort to provide customize results. It’s a little creepy to look at, though, so go ahead and fire up your PC’s web browser, then visit the content and device management page on your Amazon account. Find the device you want to edit, then choose the voice search history option to clear it out.

How to Clear Video App Cache On a Firestick or FireTV Box

How to Clear Cache On Firestick and Fire TV

Fire TV or Fire Stick running a little slow? Does every app or video feed you open stutter, buffer for ages, or just generally feel sluggish? You could have a cache problem that needs to be dealt with. Cleaning or clearing the app cache on Firestick and Fire TV can dramatically improve performance on, especially if you run a lot of sideloaded content or HD video feeds via Kodi.

Below we provide a tutorial for clearing individual app and video caches on your Firestick and Fire TV. It’s easy to do, doesn’t require any kind of hacking or jailbreaking, and should only take a few minutes of your time. Once you know how to do it, you can keep your Fire TV video cache clear on a regular basis for optimal device performance. Failing to do this means the cache just keeps growing, which can lead to all sorts of errors down the line.

How the video app cache works

Caching video content is a common practice on just about every piece of hardware in existence, including smart TVs, PCs, laptops, and cellphones. Streaming devices have a small amount of storage set aside intended to hold small bits of data. As the movie or TV show downloads from the Internet, the device places the data into this storage area, plays it on your screen, then deletes the content in preparation for the next bits of data.

Using a video cache means a smoother stream, especially in areas where internet speeds may not be the best in the world. Caching has its limitations, though, especially in situations where low-powered devices meets sluggish Wi-Fi. If a Fire TV has a small video cache, and if it can’t download enough of the movie to maintain a constant stream, problems will start to arise.

Symptoms of full app caches

What happens when an app’s cache gets full? Unfortunately, Fire TV doesn’t notify you when this is the case, nor can it always clear the cache on its own. If you encounter any of the following symptoms, chances are you need to take measures to speed up your Firestick.

  • Stuttering movies that start, stop, or frequently skip frames or entire seconds of playback.

  • Periods where movies, TV shows, and live streams freeze in place for a long time.

  • Menu navigation becomes slow to respond to inputs.

  • Frequent and extensive buffering delays.

Ways to keep the cache empty

Emptying the Fire TV’s video cache is a good way to clear everything out on occasion. In addition to this, you can also take a few quick precautions to ensure the cache never fills up in the first place. These aren’t guaranteed to keep

  • Use a higher-powered Fire device with more video cache storage, such as the Fire Cube or Fire TV Stick 4K.

  • Stream lower quality videos whenever possible, as they take up less video cache space.

  • Use built-in streaming apps instead of third party or sideloaded software.

  • Turn off or reboot your Fire device on a regular basis.

Is it safe to clear app and video cache on Fire Stick?

Perfectly safe, yes. Amazon has provided an easy way to clear the cache on any app, regardless of whether you downloaded it from the built-in appstore or sideloaded it yourself. The process removes files that are intended to be temporary, so in most cases you aren’t even deleting anything you might need later, just garbage file data that’s slowing down your system.

In some cases with sideloaded content such as Kodi, clearing the cache may remove certain customization features, including add-ons and login information. You can recover or re-install these pretty quickly, however, so it’s still a good idea to free up cache space even if you’ll lose a little information in the process.

How to clear the cache on Fire Stick and Fire TV

Ready to boost your device’s performance and make it feel like a brand new machine? Follow the steps outlined below to clear your Firestick, Fire Cube, or Fire TV’s app and video cache.

  1. Turn on your Fire device and go to the main menu.

  2. Press up on the remote control to select the top navigation bar.

  3. Scroll right and choose Settings.

  4. Select Applications, then move down to Manage Installed Applications.

  5. Choose the app you think needs its cache cleared. This can be any video streaming software, including Netflix, Hulu, or Kodi.

  6. Select the app and scroll down. Click on Clear Cache. Fire TV will clear out the video and app cache for the software in question.

  7. Repeat the process for any other apps you think are causing device or playback slowdown.

It’s worth noting that clearing an app’s cache may remove some personalized data, especially in the case of sideloaded apps such as Kodi. If you feel that clearing the cache is necessary, try making a backup of the app first, or at the very least, note which add-ons you want to keep and re-install them later.

 

Uninstall problem apps

If you sideload a lot of content to your Fire TV, you may run into these cache issues on a frequent basis. This is because apps designed for Android operating systems weren’t necessarily optimized with Fire Sticks in mind, leading to all sorts of resource bottlenecks, including a clogged cache.

If you clear an app’s cache every couple of days, you might want to consider removing it and replacing it with something a little more streamlined. Below you’ll find a good step by step guide on how to uninstall sideloaded or downloaded apps from your Fire device.

  1. Open your Fire TV interface and go to the home menu.

  2. On the menu items at the top of the screen, scroll to the right and choose Settings. You may need to press up on the remote to highlight the menu before navigating.

  3. Scroll right and choose Applications.

  4. In the Applications menu, move down and choose Manage Installed Applications.

  5. Scroll until you find the problem app in the alphabetical list.

  6. Select the app and a new screen will open. Scroll down and choose Uninstall.

  7. A secondary screen will open. Choose Uninstall again to confirm.

  8. After a moment, the app will be deleted from your Fire TV device.

With the problem app out of the way, you won’t have to worry about its cache issues anymore. Now you can check out alternatives to that streaming software to find something that works better in the long run.

How to Sideload onto Amazon Fire

Sideloading apps onto Amazon Fire TV

There are a couple ways to sideload apps onto Amazon Fire TV. You can use an Android phone, download directly from the internet or use cloud storage. I tend to go with that last method. I find it much easier to use my PC to find what I want to load and uploading to Google Drive or OneDrive takes a second. You can then access the files from your Fire TV and install directly.

First we need to enable files from unknown sources.

  1. Start your Fire TV and go to the Home page.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Select Device and Developer Options.

  4. Toggle ‘Apps from Unknown Sources’ to on.

This setting allows you to install unofficial apps that aren’t on the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store.

Sideload apps directly onto Fire TV

This method installs a downloader app and then searches for apps directly. I find typing fiddly using the remote but you might have more luck than I.

  1. Start your Fire TV and go to the Home page.

  2. Use Search to locate the Downloader app. This allows you to install APK files directly onto Fire TV.

  3. Download and install Downloader.

  4. Open Downloader from the Apps menu and acknowledge the ‘Update Notes for Downloader’ popup if you see it.

  5. Select Settings within Downloader and check the box next to Enable JavaScript. This is to ensure the websites you visit using the app work properly.

  6. Select Home in the left menu to return to the main Downloader screen.

  7. Press Select to highlight the URL box in the center of the screen.

  8. Type the URL of the app repository in the URL box and select Go.

  9. Select Install when Downloader finds the file and allow the installer to complete.

Pair Fire TV Remote with Smartphone Apps

How to Pair Fire TV Remote Smartphone Apps

One of the best hidden features of Fire TV is the ability to use a variety of official and third party apps as remotes. No need to pair another piece of plastic, just fire up an app and start streaming. The pairing process is easy to do, as well.

To use a Fire TV smartphone app, you’ll need access to a separate device. Any Android phone or tablet will work, as will iOS hardware like iPads and iPhones. If you have a fourth generation Fire Tablet you can even use the app from there! Search your devices app marketplace for a compatible remote app. Amazon has an official one called Amazon Fire TV Remote App, and it’s by far the best software for the job. There are also plenty of third party apps you can use for voice control and basic Fire TV navigation.

Once you have the remote app installed, it’s time to pair it to your Fire Stick. Make sure the Fire device is turned on and connected to your home Wi-Fi network. Next, turn on your phone or tablet’s Wi-Fi and connect it to the exact same network. Launch the remote app, then select the device you want to pair it with. You may need to sign into your Amazon account before the device can be located. A code will then appear on your TV. Enter that into the app to confirm the pairing.

Whenever you open the app and have your Fire device active, you should be able to control it with your phone. If problems arise, make sure both devices are using the exact same Wi-Fi network, or try rebooting the Fire TV.

Take a look at an in-depth guide to using your phone as a Fire TV remote

How to Pair a Fire TV and Fire Stick Remote

How to Pair a Fire Stick and Fire TV Remote

You can have up to seven remotes paired to your Fire device at a time. This includes the pack-in remote you got with your original device, replacement remotes, game controllers, and app-based remotes you run on your phone. Pairing is as easy as pressing a button in most cases. Follow our setup guides below and you’ll have everything paired and perfect in seconds!

Pairing Your Fire Stick Remote for the First Time

Amazon has gone to great lengths to make sure Fire TV and Fire Stick devices are incredibly easy to set up and use. The first time you power on your device is a great example of this, as just about everything happens automatically.

Once you have your Fire Stick ready, plug it into your TV, plug the power cord into an outlet, then turn your TV on. Grab the remote and put two AAA batteries in the back. New devices come with Amazon brand batteries ready to use, just pop them in. If the Fire TV has power it will automatically sync and pair with the remote. No need to do anything, just start streaming.

If the pairing process fails for any reason, you can simply hold the home button for ten seconds and try again. This initiates the remote’s pairing routine and signals the Fire Stick to add it as an active device.

Pairing a Replacement Remote

If something happens to your first remote, or if you want to try out one of the many third party options available on Amazon, you can always add a new pairing to your Fire Stick. There’s no need to remove old devices when you do this, either. As long as you haven’t hit the seven simultaneous pair maximum, just add the replacement remote and you’re good to go.

To pair an additional Fire TV remote, start by turning on your device and going to the Settings menu. Open the Controllers & Bluetooth Devices section, then choose Amazon Fire TV Remotes.

Pick the Add New Remote menu item to start the process. Next, hold down the home button on your replacement remote for about ten seconds. The pairing will complete after a few moments and your new device will be ready to use.

Pair a Game Controller as a Remote

Both the Fire TV and Fire Stick come with full support for Amazon Appstore games. Most of them are an absolute pain to play with a standard remote, but if you’ve got the right wireless controller sitting around, you can easily pair that and start playing. Best of all, compatible bluetooth gamepads can be used to control your Fire TV, just like a remote.

To pair a game controller, turn it on and have it ready while your Fire TV boots up. Go to Settings from the main menu, then select Controllers & Bluetooth Devices. Pick the Game Controllers option, followed by Add New Game Controller. Hold the home button on the gamepad for about ten seconds, then the pairing will automatically complete.

Not all bluetooth gamepads work with Fire TV, of course. If you need to use one, your best bet is to seek out an official product on Amazon. First generation Fire TV devices support up to two Xbox controllers through a wireless USB receiver, but later models removed this option.

Pairing Other Devices

The Fire TV can pair with more than just a few remotes and gamepads. You can also pair bluetooth keyboards and a few other accessories, most of which add functionality while still letting you navigate the interface wirelessly.

To pair another device, go back to your Fire TV’s Settings page, choose Controllers & Bluetooth Devices, then select Other Bluetooth Devices at the bottom. Click the Add Bluetooth Devices option to ready the Fire TV or Fire Stick to begin pairing. Next, make the device you’re trying to pair discoverable via bluetooth. This will vary depending on the hardware in question, but it’s usually something simple like holding a button down for a few seconds. Once that’s done, the Fire TV will automatically pair with the device and you’ll be good to go.

Troubleshooting Remote Pairing Issues

The pairing process is usually pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into any problems. Try the common fixes below to see if they can help get you back on track.

Check the Range

Paired remotes and gamepads need to be within ten feet of your Fire Stick to work. They also need a clear space for optimum signal strength. If any objects are in the way, such as cabinets or entertainment centers, try moving them or shifting your position. You can also try moving the Fire TV a little further from the TV, just in case there’s some interference.

Remove Excess Devices

Fire TVs and Fire Sticks can be paired with up to seven devices at once. If you reach the limit, you won’t be able to pair any other remotes. Check to see how many pairings are currently active, then remove any you no longer use.

Re-pair the Accessory

Pairing isn’t a perfect process. If you get an error, or if a “successfully” paired device won’t work, check to make sure it has power, then simply try pairing it again.

Restart Your Fire TV

When all else fails, it’s time to turn it off and on again. Disconnect the power cord from the back of your Fire device, wait a few seconds, then plug it back in. It will start up in a few moments and will hopefully accept the previously failed pairing automatically. If it doesn’t, try pairing again.

How to Remove Paired Remotes

Reach your seven paired devices limit? Need to use a remote with another piece of hardware? Don’t worry, unpairing isn’t all that difficult!

Register the Remote with Another Device

Often there’s no need to remove a remote’s pairing. If you get another Fire Stick, all you have to do is pair the remote with it and everything will automatically switch over. Remotes can only be paired with a single device at once, so the Fire TV OS handles it pretty well.

Manually Unpair a Remote

A somewhat hidden feature is the ability to force unpair a remote. If Fire TV doesn’t offer a menu option to remote an accessory, all you have to do is go to Settings > Controllers & Bluetooth Devices > Amazon Fire TV Remotes and highlight the device in question. Then, hold menu + back + home for 15 seconds. When the unpairing completes, Fire TV will send you back to the main menu.

Remove Paired Remote Apps

A strange quirk of the Fire TV interface is you can’t actually remote a paired remote app once it has been initially paired. If you run out of pairing space, the only way to get rid of them is to factory reset your Fire TV device.

Buffering Issues

Buffering Issues on your Streaming Devices

Amazon continues to make waves with its popular Fire TV Stick and Fire TV devices. Both open up a world of entertainment for consumers who want to enjoy a combination of online and cable TV programs. The Firestick is definitely a low-cost solution to unlimited content, including live sports events in HD quality, TV series, HD movies and more.

The only downside with using the Firestick device is that it’s vulnerable to occasional buffering issues. Although this problem only lasts for a few seconds or minutes at the most, being forced to wait for your show to begin or continue can be quite annoying.

The good news is it’s possible to fix buffering on Firestick. In this article, we’ll share with you all the different techniques that you can use to identify and fix slow streaming problems.

Checking for Fire TV Buffering Errors

You might think that you’re alone in dealing with buffering issues with your Fire TV or Firestick device, but that’s not the case. This is a running problem with these devices and almost every user who owns them complains about the same thing.

The key to fixing the issue is to identify the source of the problem first because it’s not always the same cause.

What is the Reason Behind These Buffering Errors?

The Firestick device automatically downloads the content you stream so that it’s available in a temporary cache. So, when you’re watching a video it’s actually playing from the cache. Meanwhile, the device continues to download the next chunk of content at the same time. This means that it has to juggle two tasks at once, and this is what sometimes causes buffering issues.

If you happen to finish the first part of the movie while the Firestick is still downloading the next chunk of content, it’ll inevitably show you a buffering message. The Firestick will pause the video while it’s downloading the rest of the content in an effort to update the player.

The problem could be worse if you’re using one of those low-powered and smaller Fire TV Sick devices. They’re often short on cache storage space and they don’t have the fastest download speeds. That’s what causes the drawn-out buffering interruptions that they’re famous for.

Now that we understand what causes buffering, it’s time to take a look at the reasons behind the lack of synchronization between the downloading of new content and playback of cached videos.

• ISP Throttling

Internet Service Providers (ISP) are known for purposefully slowing down loading speeds and this can negatively affect your Firestick viewing experience. ISPs periodically scan for particular traffic categories that they want to discourage their users from watching, which is what often happens to Fire TV Stick users.

• Hardware Limitations

Your buffering issues might be coming from the Fire TV hardware itself or it could be a problem with your modem, Ethernet cable or router.

• Remote Server Malfunctions

Server malfunctions can also cause slower buffering speeds when watching certain kinds of content.

• Slow Internet Connection

Perhaps your home internet connection is struggling to handle the demands of a particular stream.

• Too many Devices on your Wifi network

If you have too many devices using your wifi connection then this can cause slow bandwidth for your streaming device. Reboot the router to drop off all connected devices.

Other Causes of Slowdown on Fire Sticks

Other Causes of Slowdown on Fire Sticks

Not all speed problems can be fixed with software tweaks. If you’re getting video stutter, are stuck on buffering screens, or just can’t seem to connect to the internet, chances are there’s an external problem affecting your Fire TV. If you’ve tried everything above, run through the list in the following section to see if you can regain some speed.

  • Check your Wi-Fi – Wireless internet isn’t the most optimal way to connect streaming devices. Unfortunately for Fire TV Sticks, its the best we’ve got. Make sure your device is as close to the router as possible for optimal signal strength.

  • Hardware limitations – When it comes down to it, the Amazon Fire Stick isn’t a high powered device. You won’t be able to squeeze the kind of performance out of it that you might get from a smartphone, tablet, or set top Fire TV box. If you’re comparing your TV Stick to another device you may be imagining the whole slowdown issue.

  • Router and modem reboot – A solution to local network slowdown issues is to perform a reset. Turn off your modem and router, wait ten seconds, then plug them back in in the same order. This can clear channel interference problems and put your local network back on the right track.

  • Switch VPN servers – If you’re run a VPN on your Fire Stick you could be having an issue with a laggy server. Open the app on your device and choose a different location to see if that speeds things up.

  • Turn off your VPN – VPNs are slower than most unsecured internet connections. If changing servers doesn’t grant some speed, try disabling your VPN.

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