Amazon Fire TV devices come with tons of exciting and useful features. While you might know the basics, such as installing or uninstalling an app and searching for your favorite show, much more is hiding beneath the surface.
Connect Bluetooth Headphones for Private Listening
Whether you want to avoid disturbing people around you or you’re looking to block out background noise, you can ask your Fire TV device to send the audio to your favorite Bluetooth headphones. This feature is very convenient while planning a late-night Netflix binge session.
Pairing Bluetooth headphones with Fire TV is pretty straightforward. First, put your headphones in pair mode and navigate to Settings > Controller & Bluetooth Devices > Other Bluetooth Devices > Add Bluetooth Devices. Then, highlight your Bluetooth headphones when they show up and press “Select.”
Turn Your Fire TV Into a Baby Monitor or Pet Cam
Thanks to Alexa integration in Fire TV devices, you can seamlessly access the live video feed of a smart home camera installed in the nursery, backyard, or anywhere else. All you have to do is pick up the Alexa Voice Remote and say, “Alexa, show me the nursery,” or whichever name you have used while setting up the smart home camera.
Don’t have a video feed already set up? Smart home cameras with Alexa support are available from Arlo, Nest, Ring, Wyze, and more.
Control Fire TV From Your Phone
Amazon has an official Fire TV Remote app for Android and iOS that you can use as a replacement for the bundled physical remote. Apart from offering all the functions available on the physical remote, the app includes a keyboard to enter text and login credentials. Moreover, you can use it to launch apps on your Fire TV and access the device settings.
Install Apps Remotely
While all Fire TV devices come preinstalled with Amazon’s Appstore for your app needs, you can also use the Amazon Appstore website to browse, search, and install apps on your Fire TV remotely. This is very helpful when you are trying to discover new apps, as navigating Fire TV Appstore using a remote can be cumbersome.
If you have multiple Fire TV devices, make sure to choose the correct Fire TV from the “Deliver to” dropdown on the Amazon website.
Save Time With the Quick Access Menu
Fire TVs have a quick access menu that isn’t widely known. It includes shortcuts to the profile switcher, all apps, and settings. You can also use it to put your Fire TV to sleep or begin screen mirroring.
This menu can come in handy when you want to change a setting quickly or are looking to jump into another app while doing something else on the Fire TV. The quick access menu can be triggered by long-pressing the home button on your Fire TV remote.
Simplify the Home Screen
The Amazon Fire TVs feature a very busy home screen, and a significant portion of the home screen is devoted to the featured content from different apps. If you hover over featured content for more than a second, it starts playing the preview, which can be very annoying, especially when you end up on the same preview day after day. But thankfully, you can disable this behavior by going to Settings > Preferences > Featured Content. You have the option to disable both video and audio autoplay independently.
Sideload Android Apps
Fire OS, the operating system used in Fire TV devices, is based on Android, and it allows sideloading Android applications that aren’t available in the Amazon Appstore. But it’s not as straightforward as downloading an APK and installing it. Before you can load an app, you must reveal the “Developer Options” menu and enable the “Apps from Unknown Sources” as well as “ADB Debugging” options on your device.
To do so, open the “About” menu and select the device name seven times. Once you are in the developer options, you can activate the “Apps from Unknown Sources” as well as “ADB Debugging” settings. Then, you can use apps like App2Fire (on your phone) or Downloader (on Fire TV) to sideload apps on your Fire TV. For detailed instructions, you can check out our guide explaining the sideloading process for Fire TV devices.
It’s important to note that not all Android apps will function properly on the Fire TV. Some will simply refuse to complete installation because your device lacks some of its dependencies. Others may not offer the best experience as they are not built for the Fire TV.
Restrict Content With Parental Controls
If you have kids, Fire TV’s built-in parental controls are an easy way to ensure they are only exposed to age-appropriate content. Apart from restricting content, the Fire TV parental controls also place purchases and app launches behind a PIN.
To set up parental controls from your Fire TV device, navigate to Settings > Preferences > Parental Controls. You will first have to set up a PIN. Then, you can tweak individual options to your liking.
Pin Favorite Apps to Home Screen
Fire TV comes with six default apps already pinned on the home screen. But if you don’t use these apps often or not at all, you can swap them with your favorite apps. To accomplish this, open the All Apps screen by selecting the icon with three small squares and one plus sign.
Once in the apps list, navigate to the app you want to pin on the home screen and hit the “Menu” button on the Fire TV Remote. Choose “Move to front” from the options, and the app will get pinned to the home screen. You can repeat the process to pin more apps.
But remember that there can only be six pinned apps on the home screen.
View the Hidden Diagnostics Panel
Fire TV hides an interesting diagnostics panel. Dubbed System X-Ray, this panel offers information about source resolution, frame rate, memory use, and network connection details. And if you also enable advanced options, you can get details about audio codec, video codec, video resolution, color standard, and more when you are playing a piece of content.
Much of this information is of little use to regular consumers. Still, it can help you identify the resolution at which a particular piece of content is playing and whether or not you are getting the highest possible resolution.
Accessing the diagnostic panel requires a specific button combination. To enable System X-Ray and Advanced Options, you will have to open the “Developer Tools Menu” by long-pressing the “Select” and “Down” buttons. After about five seconds, release both buttons and press the “Menu” button once. You can now activate System X-Ray and Advanced Options.
More Fire TV Tips and Tricks
Fire TV devices are pretty popular, especially the streaming sticks from Amazon. One of the reasons for this popularity is the ever-growing list of Fire TV features. We have already mentioned some of the not-so-common but helpful features. But apart from these, Fire TV devices also allow you to pair third-party gaming controllers, stream local media using Plex, and even mirror your Android or iPhone’s screen.
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