If you’re like me, you have Amazon Fire TV sticks all over the house. These little gizmos support a wide range of streaming services and are often offered at discounted prices, making picking one up a no-brainer.
And while it’s easy to get started with the Fire TV interface, these helpful tips, shortcuts, and quality-of-life improvements can make your streaming experience even more enjoyable.
Pair Bluetooth headphones for private listening
I love going to sleep with a terrifying true crime show playing in the background. My wife doesn’t.
If you find yourself involved in a similar marital challenge, there is a favorable compromise. Simply pair your favorite Bluetooth headphones with your Fire TV.
Go to the Settings menu, then select Bluetooth controllers and devices, then Other Bluetooth devices.
Pair your headphones – you only need to do this once – and the next time you want to listen privately, just turn on your headphones and they should connect automatically.
Use your phone as a remote control
Losing the Fire TV remote is an almost daily occurrence in our house, so I’m quick to launch the official Amazon Fire TV app (iOS, Android), which features a built-in remote.
You’ll need to complete a one-time pairing, and you may need a way to turn on your TV manually if it doesn’t wake up when you wake up your Fire TV device. But once those two things are taken into account, this is a great way to get back to a show without spending an episode’s worth of time looking for the remote.
There’s also a handy text input feature: Tap the keyboard icon in the top right corner the next time you need to enter a cumbersome login email address or complicated password. It beats entering text character by character with the remote any day.
Quickly access apps and settings
A very useful but often overlooked feature: Long pressing the Home button on the Fire remote brings up the Quick Access menu. Doing so allows you to quickly switch between profiles, see all your installed apps, access settings and more.
If you find the Fire TV interface to be a bit clunky at times, this trick makes navigation much simpler.
“Where’s that guy from?”
My wife and I want to play “Where’s that guy from?” game, but we’d love it even more if our brains were still sharp enough to receive such information without having to search for it.
Thankfully, if you see a familiar face in a movie or point out that you’re streaming through Amazon Prime Video, all you have to do is press the controller to access Amazon’s X-Ray feature.
The interface will then tell you who is currently in the scene and what music is playing, at which point you can click through to get short bios and see other titles the cast members have been in.