Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 12 keys to help navigate the platform

Improve your streaming experience with these lit pointers

Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks

The Amazon Fire TV platform has quickly become a go-to option for those wanting to easily turn their regular set into a bonafide smart TV.

What initially started off as a simple dongle in the back of a TV is now a deep platform designed to put all your movies, TV shows and apps in one place. And this Amazon line has now evolved into a full family, with the latest Amazon Fire TV Stick offering 4K capabilities and joining the Fire TV Cube and standard Fire TV.

Read this: The best streaming sticks and boxes

It's all very straightforward to get set up and started with, but, like with any platform, it also takes a bit of time to master. That's where we come in. Instead of faffing around and experimenting with all the different areas of your Fire TV, read on below for our top tricks, tips and hacks.

Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 12 keys to help navigate the platform

Disable auto-playing

Though the new Fire TV layout is pretty nifty, the auto-playing option can quickly become a burden on your sanity if you're the kind of person (who isn't?) that takes upwards of 15 minutes to select some nighttime viewing.

To disable auto-playing, head to Setting > Preferences > Featured Content and turn off the Allow Video Autoplay option. And while you're all up in the settings, why don't you de-select the auto-playing audio, as well. Feels better, doesn't it, this hesitating in peace thing?

Change the name

Just like Amazon's range of tablets and smart speakers, your Fire TV will automatically be assigned a name once you've got it all set up. However, if you have more than one, things can quickly get a little confusing.

Since the last thing you want is to ping paid-for apps to the wrong device, you can take some control back by renaming your Fire TV device. Head over to Amazon in your browser, and from there jump across to the Manage Your Content and Devices page. Click through to the Your Devices section, hit Edit and then begin renaming your Amazon army.

Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 12 keys to help navigate the platform

Kill the focused adverts

Unfortunately, you can't kill adverts altogether on Fire TV, but if you're uncomfortable with the idea of being tracked for advertising purposes, Amazon does include the option to turn this off.

You'll still get ads, but they'll instead be a little less tailored to your taste, with the algorithm no longer clocking your every move. To do this, here's the equation: Settings > Preferences > Advertising ID > turn Interest-based Ads off.

Add some parental controls

If you leave your Fire TV hooked up and in the reach of a youngling, there's a chance they could do something reckless like accidentally sticking on The Grand Tour when you're not around. However, you can help them avoid such irreversible mishaps by adding some parental controls.

If you don't want your kids watching R-rated or TV-MA bits from Amazon, head over to Settings > Preferences > Parental Controls and click on that. From here, you'll be asked to set up a PIN code that'll need to be entered to access certain material and make purchases. Adding these controls also bars the use of games, apps and photo viewing by unauthorised persons.

Read this: How to watch YouTube on Fire TV

Just be aware that this only covers off Amazon's own services. If you want to add restrictions to apps such as Netflix, you're going to have to do that separately.

Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 12 keys to help navigate the platform

Restart using the Remote

The Fire TV is a fairly sturdy device, but that doesn't mean you won't experience the odd hiccup. Naturally, the first bit of troubleshooting you should be performing is the classic off-on trick, but this is made unreasonably hard by the fact you'll have to get off your couch to do so.

Or, wait, do you? Using the power of the Fire TV Remote, you can reboot things without sacrificing the mould your body has formed into the couch. You also have two options: go to Settings > Device > Restart, or simply press and hold the Play and Select buttons simultaneously for roughly five seconds.

Re-pair the Remote

We haven't had any particular problems with our Five TV Remote, but pairing issues can, and probably will, occur at some stage. Thankfully, holding down the Home button for around ten seconds should usually re-pair it to your Fire TV. The same trick can also be used to pair new remotes or game controllers, providing they're compatible with the platform.

Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 12 keys to help navigate the platform

Use your phone as a Remote

Maybe you're just not willing to invest in the Remote, or perhaps you've simply lost it down the side of the couch – either way, you can use your iOS or Android device to control the Fire TV.

You'll need to make sure your phone is on the same Wi-Fi network as your streamer, and on the same frequency, but this gives you every bit of control you would usually get from the Remote, plus the added benefit of that smartphone keyboard for typing things in and voice control (particularly handy for those who don't have Alexa built into their older Stick).

Once downloaded, your device should appear in the list, and you simply need to follow the on-screen sync instructions to pair the two.

Share your smaller screen

Handily, Fire TV supports Miracast, an app which allows you to show videos and the like across a couple of screens.

You'll have to be in possession of an Android device running Android OS 4.2 or later, a third-gen Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch, fourth-gen HDX 8.9 or fifth-gen Fire HD 8/HD 10, but if you do, head to Settings > Display and Sounds > Enable Display Mirroring and then head into your mobile settings and start Miracast. Alternatively, hold the Home button on the Remote and select Mirroring.

Again, you'll have to be on the same network as your Fire TV, or using the same Amazon account, for this to work.

Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 12 keys to help navigate the platform

Delete your voice recordings

If you're using the above method to speak to your Fire TV, or simply the Remote itself, you should know that Amazon is storing everything you say. The company says this is to help use the information to make voice search more useful to you, but you don't have to be a part of this.

Essential reading: The best apps to download for your Fire TV

By heading to Amazon on your browser and jumping through to Account > Manage Your Content and Devices > Devices, you should see a tab that says Manage Voice Recordings. From here, you'll be able to see an option to delete them all.

Pair your headphones

It's 3am and you've snuck away from your partner to watch the next episode of Making A Murderer without them, but how do you go undetected with all that meddling sound primed to wake them up?

Well, never fear, you morally bankrupt TV show cheater. With the Fire TV, you have the wicked ability to pair your Bluetooth headphones and beam all the sound straight to your ears. Simply head to Settings and then to the Bluetooth section, with the two pairing just like they would on your phone.

Just, you know, don't blame us when said partner wakes up and catches you in the act, oblivious – you did this to yourself.

Turn off navigations sounds

In a similar vein to auto-play on the Fire TV dashboard, the default navigation sounds can be a real ear-grater if you're taking some time flicking through the menus. Okay, okay, so the click on the Fire TV isn't actually that bad, but you do have the option to turn it off altogether by navigating to Settings > Display & Sounds > Audio and turning them off.

Amazon Fire TV tips and tricks: 12 keys to help navigate the platform

Get more info

Since it's impossible to get through any kind of viewing these days without checking with Google where you recognise the actor/actress from, Amazon Fire TV has taken some of the legwork out of the process with its X-Ray feature.

Since the company owns IMDb, it's managed to integrate info from the site into Amazon Video to help you quickly pull up player's profiles and filmography. To do this, press the up or down key on your Remote when watching and scroll through the cast and even receive a bit of trivia. Want to know the song playing in a certain scene? That's available here, too.


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