Just like any PC, at some point, you’re going to notice that your Fire TV (or the stick) gets sluggish and slow to respond over time. Now it’s never, ever going to be any kind of a speed demon; the hardware simply won’t go that fast. But there are several Fire TV Tips and Maintenance tasks you can do to make things more responsive, and reduce the chances of short memory errors and buffering.
Before we start, there are 2 assumptions that must be made;
- You are using the version 126.96.36.199 firmware with the new screen layout. Note that as of this writing, version 188.8.131.52 is being released for Fire TV Generation 2 units only. Whether this firmware will be released for generation 1 units remains to be seen
- Anything that appears to be related to Amazon Services that run the FireTV should be left basically untouched. Changing these might render the FireTV inoperative.
Table of Contents
Fire TV Tips: MAINTENANCE AND SETTINGS
There are a number of settings that, when taken together, can really bog the little processors down if they are actively used. Most of the Fire TV Tips below are based on a YouTube video from ASBYT called ‘9 Ways to Supercharge Your Fire TV‘. Hyperbole aside, you should keep in mind that some of these settings are a matter of user preference. All of these selections are available from the Settings selection at the top of the screen.
Turn off Data Monitoring.
If you don’t want to see notifications from other apps, under Notification Settings, turn on Do Not Interrupt. If however, you want these notifications, you can choose which apps can send them. Click on App Notifications. This brings up a list of all your applications, and whether you want to receive notifications from it. If you don’t, turn it off. Do this for each one individually.
Under Featured Content, turn off both the Allow Audio Autoplay and Allow Video Autoplay options. These 2 options autoplay advertisements from the top of the screen, which will slow down the boot time.
Turn off the Collect App Usage Data option. This monitors your usage and reports it back to Amazon. As it appears to be constantly monitoring in the background, it’s an unnecessary drain on the processor.
Select the Appstore. This area has 2 options that you’re interested in; Automatic Updates and Notifications. Note that turning these off will make the user responsible for updating apps as well as the updates to the OS. The fire stick is constantly monitoring in the background for updates which slows your overall performance.
If you aren’t using your Fire TV for games, turning both options off under Gamecircle will slightly reduce the overall time the processor is trying to sync your data. Unfortunately, the Whispersync option is turned back on automatically each time the stick is turned on; you may need to turn this off each time, which is rather clumsy
Clearly, the most important step here is to go through your Firestick / Fire TV applications and remove anything that is no longer working or you never use anymore. This will free up a large amount of memory and storage, once this process is complete. We can also save some memory on those apps that you do use regularly.
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To start, select Manage Installed Applications. Make note of the Space Utilization shown on the bottom right. Now select an application, and first, Force Stop it. This is because an application isn’t truly shut down when you exit it; it’s actually taking up space in a queue so that it can start up more rapidly. Unfortunately, if you have a lot of these, you’re consuming a good bit of memory.
Now, Clear Fire TV Data & Cache
Next, Clear Data. This removes any user data and settings. Note that if you are having issues with Kodi, doing this will essentially give you a clean version without any addons. This may be preferable to doing a delete and having to reinstall it.
Finally, Clear Cache. This is something you can do regularly for those applications you do use regularly. But as we’ll see in a moment, this particular option is something that can be done semi-automatically by a utility. When it’s cleared, the size becomes around 12kb (or slightly more).
Now you can use Uninstall.
So, now that you have removed all of the apps you wanted, look at your space utilization. You’ll notice it hasn’t changed very much, if at all. This is because the uninstall process leaves a lot of junk files behind. We need a way to clean this out.
Continue on to the next item in this list of Fire TV Tips to clean out the junk files on your Firestick or Fire TV.
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Now we need a utility to go through the remaining storage and clean up all the junk from the uninstalls we did previously. Go to the Apps area at the top, select Categories, then Utility. Install Clean Master. This utility will not only clear your caches but more importantly, remove the junk files left over from when you did your uninstalls. It should be noted that it might not clear the cache for sideloaded applications like Terrarium TV; these will need to be done manually. According to the Clean Master app’s developer, Clean Master also cools the CPU, and boosts both memory and CPU, as well as having an anti-virus function.
There is also a way to use ES File Explorer to do at least some of the work that Clean Master does. This utility is available from the same (“Utility”) area of the Amazon App Store. That video can be viewed here.
ARE THERE OTHER UTILITIES?
Just a brief check of the Utility area shows several versions of File Manager, as well as File Commander, Cache Cleaner Pro, Master Cleaner Pro, Total Commander and Disk Storage Viewer. Comments on how these (and other) utilities work in performing maintenance on the Fire TV units are encouraged. More Fire TV Tips are being discovered every day, so share yours with us!
Doing a complete reset should be the last ditch effort, especially after doing all the cleaning, and it appears nothing has changed. Go to Settings / Device / Reset to Factory Defaults. You will need to re-sign in the device on the Amazon website
This is only a first attempt at codifying how to maintain and improve the performance of the Fire TV boxes and sticks. Apart from a few YouTube videos, there has been little written on this subject. Other areas may need further investigation such as how Prime Photos utilize space.
The Fire TV Tips & maintenance tasks above should be repeated from time to time; much as you would maintain a PC, the FireTV boxes and sticks require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Walking through your applications and regular use of utilities like Clean Master will make this process less tedious and keep your unit running smoother, regardless of whether you are using Kodi or one of the many forks.
- We give Special thanks to Mike from Facebook for all these great Fire TV Tips! Without his suggestions and help, this article would most likely not even exist.