Is your Firestick or Fire TV Cube gasping for storage space? This quick guide will show you how to expand the internal storage, giving you plenty of breathing room for more apps, games, and media.
By using an inexpensive OTG cable and USB drive, you can increase the storage capacity from the limiting 5GB up to 256GB or more.
It‘s a game-changer that every Firestick owner should know how to do. Let‘s dive in!
Why Expanding Storage is a Must for Firestick Owners
Before we get our hands dirty, let me convince you why expanding storage should be a top priority:
You‘ll Avoid the Dreaded "Storage Full" Message
There‘s nothing worse than getting ready to install a hot new streaming app or game and seeing that dreaded pop-up saying your storage is maxed out.
Expanding to a speedy USB 3.0 flash drive means you‘ll likely never have to see that message again.
More Apps & Bigger Games
The average app size these days is around 100MB. Popular games like Asphalt 9 take up over 1GB of storage.
With only 5GB on your Firestick, you‘ll run out of room after installing just 10-20 apps. And forget about big HD games entirely.
But with expanded storage, you can install giant game files without sweating the space.
No More Juggling & Reinstalling
Previously, you may have found yourself constantly juggling apps – installing one just long enough to use it, then uninstalling it to make room for the next.
A larger pool of storage means you can keep all your apps and games installed for instant access. No more reinstalling and updating each time you want to use something.
Store Photos, Videos, and Media
A USB drive also gives you external storage space for your personal media files. You can store your vacation photos and home videos to view on your Firestick whenever you like.
It‘s also handy for storing movies, TV shows, and music from your computer to enjoy later on your Firestick.
So in summary – more apps, bigger games, less juggling, and personal media access. Let‘s make it happen!
What You‘ll Need to Get Started
Expanding storage on your Firestick or Fire TV Cube is an inexpensive and straightforward process. But you will need a few pieces of equipment:
1. OTG Cable
This special USB cable connects external drives to your Fire TV device. You can grab one for as little as $5.
For Firesticks, I suggest getting an OTG cable with power to provide steady juice to your drive.
For the Fire TV Cube, a basic OTG cable without power is fine since the Cube has its own power source.
2. USB 3.0 Flash Drive
USB flash drives are the ideal external storage for Firesticks and Cubes. Make sure to get a USB 3.0 drive for maximum performance.
I recommend a minimum size of 64GB, but you may want to future-proof with 128GB or 256GB.
SanDisk makes excellent USB drives that work flawlessly in my experience.
3. Rufus (Optional)
Rufus is a free utility for properly formatting drives to FAT32. This step is optional but good insurance to maximize compatibility.
4. ADBLink (Only for Older Fire OS 6 Devices)
ADBLink is an app for controlling Firesticks over ADB. This is only needed for older devices running Fire OS 6. Newer models with Fire OS 7 don‘t require it.
That covers the gear you‘ll need. Now let‘s look at how to expand storage on both Fire OS generations.
Adding Storage on Fire TVs Running Fire OS 7
Fire OS 7 is the latest software found on these Amazon streaming devices:
- Fire TV Stick Lite (2020)
- Fire TV Stick 3rd Gen (2020)
- Firestick 4K Max (2021)
- Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen (2019)
The good news is expansion on these models is a breeze with no computer required.
Follow along with me in this video as I demonstrate the Fire OS 7 process from start to finish:
Here are the steps simplified:
Connect your OTG cable and USB drive to the Firestick/Cube
Go to Settings > My Fire TV > USB Storage
Select your drive and click "Format as Internal Storage"
Wait for the formatting to complete
Enjoy your new storage space!
It‘s so easy that anyone can do it in under 5 minutes. Apps will automatically install to the external drive from now on.
One catch is that some preloaded apps like Netflix don‘t support external installation. Keep reading for the workaround.
Adding Storage on Older Fire OS 6 Devices
Fire OS 6 is found on these older Firestick and Cube models:
- Fire TV Stick 2nd Gen (2016)
- Fire TV 3rd Gen (2017)
- Firestick 4K (2018)
- Fire TV Cube 1st Gen (2018)
Storage expansion requires connecting via ADB (Android Debug Bridge) to issue some commands. But don‘t let that scare you – I‘ll make it easy!
Watch me demonstrate the full ADB process from start to finish:
Here are the steps explained simply:
Install "ADBLink" on your Firestick from the Amazon Appstore
Enable ADB debugging in the ADBLink settings
Connect your computer and Firestick to the same WiFi
Open a command prompt/terminal on your computer
adb connect [firestick IP]using the IP shown in ADBLink
adb devicesand confirm your device appears
sm list-disksto list the drive names
Partition the USB drive with
sm partition [drive name] mixed 50
df -hto verify the new partitions
Note the package name of the apps you want to move
Move apps by typing
pm move-package [package] [partition ID]
I know that probably sounds intimidating at first. But don‘t worry – I‘ll break down what each step means so you feel comfortable.
The key is taking it slow and easy. If I can do it, you can do it too! Onward!
Pick the Right USB Drive for Your Firestick
As I mentioned earlier, you‘ll need a USB flash drive to provide expanded storage for your Fire TV. But not just any drive will do.
After testing many drives, I found a few things are important for optimal performance:
USB 3.0 drives offer much faster data transfer speeds compared to old-school USB 2.0 drives. This makes a big difference when running apps and games directly from the drive.
The blue connector is your clue that a drive is 3.0 enabled. Avoid the older rectangular USB connectors.
Stick with major brands like SanDisk, Samsung, and Kingston. I‘ve had the best luck with SanDisk USB 3.0 drives personally.
Lesser-known brands sometimes cut corners, resulting in slower speeds and compatibility issues.
64GB or Larger
I recommend a minimum size of 64GB, but 128GB or 256GB gives you far more breathing room.
The Firestick 4K Max supports up to 512GB drives according to Amazon. But 256GB hits the sweet spot of size versus price right now.
Most USB drives come pre-formatted as exFAT or NTFS out of the box. But Firesticks require FAT32 formatting.
I‘ll cover how to properly format next. But know that a properly formatted drive avoids installation headaches.
How to Format Your Drive to FAT32
If you purchased a SanDisk or other major brand USB 3.0 drive, there‘s a good chance it will work fine right out of the package.
But some drives come pre-formatted as NTFS or exFAT instead of FAT32. This can prevent the Firestick from recognizing the drive properly.
Reformatting the drive to FAT32 takes just minutes and ensures compatibility. Here‘s how:
1. Download the Free Rufus Tool
Google "rufus download" and grab the latest version for your computer‘s operating system.
2. Insert Your USB Drive
Plug your USB drive into your computer. Make sure you back up any existing data first, as formatting erases everything.
3. Open Rufus
Launch the Rufus app once downloaded. Leave all settings as default for now.
4. Select Your USB Drive
Under "Device", select your connected USB drive. Double check you chose the correct one.
5. Choose "FAT32" for Partition Scheme
Under the Partition Scheme drop down, select "FAT32". Leave everything else as default.
6. Click Start
Click the Start button to begin formatting. This will take several minutes to complete.
7. Click Close When Done
Once formatting completes, click Close to exit Rufus. Your drive is now ready for use!
That‘s all it takes to properly format your drive for Firestick compatibility.
Next I‘ll go over some technical details on how storage expansion works behind the scenes. Feel free to skip this section if you just care about the steps.
Nerdy Details on How ADB Storage Expansion Works
This section is totally optional. But if you‘re curious about what exactly is happening during the ADB process, read on!
Here are some of the key technical details:
ADB Lets You Control Firesticks Remotely
ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge. It‘s a command line tool that lets you communicate with Android devices like Firesticks.
Using ADB commands, you can remotely control and modify your Firestick from your computer.
Connecting Requires USB Debugging Access
For security, you need to enable a setting called "USB debugging" on the Firestick before you can connect via ADB.
The ADBLink app does this automatically. But it‘s granting permission behind the scenes.
Drives are Partitioned into Sections
Your USB drive gets split into different partitions during the ADB setup.
A "mixed" partition divides the drive roughly in half – one for apps, one for media storage.
An "internal" partition uses the entire drive for apps.
Apps Get Installed to the App Partition
When you install an app via ADB, it gets placed on the partition designated for apps – never on the media storage partition.
This keeps your personal media files separate.
Package Names Identify Apps
Every Android app has a unique identifier called the "package name".
When moving apps over ADB, you specify the package name to tell it which app you want to transfer.
Hopefully that provides some helpful technical context without getting too deep in the weeds!
Now that your drive is prepared, let‘s move on to actually using it to expand storage.
Say Goodbye to "Storage Full" Errors!
Whew, we covered a lot of ground! Let‘s briefly recap the 4 main steps:
Buy an OTG cable and quality USB 3.0 drive (64GB minimum)
Format the drive properly to FAT32 (Rufus makes this easy)
Follow the steps to expand storage on your Fire OS generation
Enjoy all that breathing room for more apps!
No more will you ever have to deal with that dreaded "Storage Full" message.
I hope this guide gave you everything you need to painlessly expand storage on your Firestick or Fire TV Cube.
But if any questions come up, don‘t hesitate to ask. I‘m always happy to help!
Now get out there and fill up that newfound space. Happy streaming!