Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is an affordable streaming stick that is great for watching Amazon Prime and supports all major streaming services, screen mirroring, and third-party apps. But there is still enough weirdness to the Fire TV Stick experience — simple stuff, such as blocking third-party Android apps and autoplaying videos on the home screen — that can make the experience more annoying than it needs to be. Let’s cut through some of those quirks.
Disable autoplay on the home screen
After the recent redesign, Amazon is really pushing the big previews at the top, and the recommendations in the grid view — and the constant autoplay previews on the home screen can get annoying when all you want to do is get to the YouTube app.
You can disable these from Settings. Go to Settings > Preferences > Featured Content and disable the “Allow Video Autoplay” and “Allow Audio Autoplay” options.
Install any Android app on your Fire TV Stick
While it might not look like it, Fire TV Stick is based on Android — but there’s no Google Play Store, and by default, Amazon stops you from installing Android apps. But with a change in settings, and the Downloader app, you’re good to go.
First, go to Settings > My Fire TV > Developer Options. Enable “ADB Debugging,” then click the “Install Unknown Apps” option.
Next, download the “Downloader” app from the Amazon Appstore — it allows you to browse, download, and install Android APKs. Just open the app and search the web for any app APKs you want to install.
Customise Amazon Appstore settings
The Amazon Appstore is the backbone of the Fire TV Stick experience, and you should take some time to customise its settings.
Go to Settings > Applications > Appstore. Here, you’ll be able to customise the following settings.
- Automatic updates: Enable this so apps can update in the background automatically (this doesn’t work for sideloaded apps).
- Disable in-app purchases: If you don’t want your family members (or yourself) to accidentally purchase in-app subscriptions, disable this feature.
- Manage subscriptions: This is where you’ll be able to manage and cancel your in-app subscriptions.
- Notifications: Don’t want Appstore notifications? This is where you’ll be able to disable them.
Stop annoying app notifications
Speaking of which, notifications are actually one of the bigger annoyances of using a Fire TV Stick on a regular basis. Amazon loves to notify you about every little thing from new releases to app updates. And it gets worse when you factor in notifications from third-party apps.
To disable, go to Settings > Preferences > Notification Settings, and select the “Do Not Interrupt” feature to turn off notifications across the board. Alternatively, you can go to the “App Notifications” section to disable notifications for particular apps.
Turn off the clicking sound
The interface click sound is a subjective thing. Some users like it, some users don’t. If you’re in the latter camp (someone who always keeps their phone in silent mode), you’ll probably want to disable the click sound for the Fire TV Stick.
To do this, go to Settings > Display and Audio > Audio > Navigation Sounds > Off.
Make Fire TV Stick the only remote for your TV
If you have a modern TV with CEC capabilities, you can use the Fire TV Stick remote to control your TV, as well. Pressing the Home button will turn on the TV, and when you put your Fire TV Stick to sleep, it will turn the TV off.
This feature is usually enabled automatically, but if it’s not, you can do so from Settings > Display and Audio > HDMI CEC Device Control.
Turn off data collection
Amazon enables the Data Monitoring feature by default. This feature allows Amazon to collect user data related to device and app usage. If you care about your privacy, this is a feature you should turn off.
Go to Settings > Preferences > Data Monitoring > Off. While you’re in the Preferences section, go to “Privacy Settings” and disable the “Device Usage Data,” “Collect App Usage Data,” and “Interest-Based Ads” features.
Connect Bluetooth headphones with Fire TV Stick
Love watching TV at night within the proximity of others who would prefer silence? Well, Fire TV Stick supports Bluetooth headphones — but the feature is a bit buried in settings.
Go to Settings > Preferences > Remotes & Bluetooth Devices > Other Bluetooth Devices. Here, you can pair Bluetooth devices like headphones, keyboards, mice, and more.