This comprehensive guide covers hidden Firestick settings and how to change them to improve your streaming experience. These hidden settings can be adjusted on any Firestick or Fire TV model to unlock the full potential of these powerful streaming devices.
If you own a Firestick or Fire TV, you may not be aware of all the customizations and optimizations available through these hidden menus and settings. Without adjusting some of these “hidden settings,” Amazon collects your data by default and your device‘s performance will slowly decline over time.
The settings outlined below will help resolve issues like buffering, lag, unwanted ads, and more. With Amazon rolling out their controversial new Fire TV interface on popular streaming devices, adjusting these settings is more important than ever to create the best streaming experience.
We’ll cover how to:
- Sideload apps and turn on apps from unknown sources
- Customize privacy settings
- Close resource-hungry background apps
- Change the user interface
- Boost VPN speeds by changing protocols
- Mirror your phone or tablet screen
- Expand internal storage
- Access developer options
- Optimize remote control
- Disable distracting sounds
- Enable sleep timer
These optimizations can be applied to any Fire TV model including the Firestick, Fire TV Cube, and Fire TV Edition televisions. While Amazon designs their software to be simple, they also hide many customizations that power users can unlock to get the most out of their streaming investment.
Let‘s dive in!
1. Turn On Apps from Unknown Sources (Sideloading)
One of the most popular Firestick features is the ability to sideload apps outside of the Amazon Appstore.
Because Fire TV runs on Android, you can install apps through sideloading methods like Downloader. This grants access to many more streaming apps, tools, and customizations not allowed in Amazon‘s walled garden.
Some of the most popular sideloaded apps include Kodi, Stremio, MX Player, FileLinked, Cinema APK, and much more.
To get started sideloading, you first need to enable apps from unknown sources in your Firestick settings. This option is disabled by default as a security measure.
Here‘s how to turn it on:
- From the Firestick home screen, select the Settings icon.
- Select My Fire TV > Developer Options.
- Turn on Apps from Unknown Sources and ADB Debugging.
With this enabled, you can now install our recommended sideloading tool called Downloader. This app can download and install any additional APKs you want.
Read our full guide on how to unlock the true potential of your Firestick through sideloading below:
2. Customize Privacy Settings
One of the first things you should do with any new streaming device is review the privacy settings. Firestick and Fire TV collect usage data by default, so disabling this is recommended.
You can restrict the following:
- Interest-based ads
- Usage data tracking
- App permissions
- Autoplay videos
- Device location
Here are the steps to access Fire TV privacy settings:
- Go to Settings > Preferences.
- Select Privacy Settings.
- Review and adjust each option to your preferences.
Restricting these settings helps stop targeted ads and protects your data. But remember, apps like YouTube still show ads that cannot be disabled completely.
For the full guide on maximizing your privacy, read our tutorial below:
3. Close Background Apps
Like most streaming devices, Firestick and Fire TV can slow down over time as you install more apps. This is often caused by background processes running unseen.
A great way to reboot your device‘s performance is by closing all background apps at once. The tool we recommend is called Fast Task Killer.
Fast Task Killer is available through the Amazon Appstore or via sideloading. Once installed, opening it will show all active background processes. With one click, you can close them all to free up memory and speed up performance.
We recommend using Fast Task Killer once per week or whenever you notice your device lagging. It‘s one of our essential Fire TV maintenance tools.
For step-by-step instructions, see this tutorial:
4. Change the User Interface
In 2022, Amazon rolled out a complete redesign of the Fire TV interface. While some enjoy the updated look, others find it annoying with oversized menus and ads on the home screen.
Luckily, you can customize the Firestick UI by installing a third-party launcher. These apps completely replace the stock Fire OS launcher for a new style and layout.
Two of the most popular options include:
- Wolf Launcher – Provides a clean, customized home screen and app drawer.
- Leanback Launcher – Mimics the old-school Netflix style menu.
Both are free to install from Downloader. Once installed, you can select which launcher to use through the Firestick settings.
For full instructions on installing and using Wolf Launcher or Leanback Launcher, use the guides below:
Also see our picks for the best Fire TV launchers.
5. Change VPN Protocols for Faster Speeds
One way to boost VPN performance on Firestick is by changing the protocol it uses. Popular VPNs like IPVanish allow you to switch between protocols like:
- OpenVPN (UDP)
- OpenVPN (TCP)
Each protocol has its own advantages. Generally, IKEv2 and WireGuard offer the fastest speeds.
The easiest way to change protocols is through your VPN‘s Firestick app settings. Testing different protocols can help find your optimal performance and stability.
For full details, see our guide on the fastest VPN protocols for Firestick:
6. Cast Your Screen
One lesser-known Fire TV feature is wireless screen mirroring. This allows you to cast your phone or tablet‘s display directly to your TV.
Firestick and Fire TV support Miracast, a wireless standard that works like Chromecast built-in. You can mirror your full screen or only certain apps for private browsing.
To enable screen mirroring, you need to install a free app from the Amazon Appstore. We recommend the HD Screen Mirroring app.
Once installed, launch the app on both your Firestick and phone or tablet to connect them. Your mobile device‘s screen will now display on your TV.
For step-by-step instructions and advanced casting tips, see our guide:
7. Expand Internal Storage
All Firestick models have limited onboard storage ranging from 8GB to 16GB. This fills up fast once you start installing apps.
Rather than constantly uninstalling unused apps, you can easily expand the storage using external USB drives.
First, you need a micro USB OTG cable which allows connecting standard USB drives. Then through your Firestick settings, you can migrate compatible apps over to the external storage.
Any flash drive over 32GB will work nicely. This gives you tons more space for large apps and games.
For step-by-step instructions and USB drive recommendations, check out our expansion guide:
8. Access Developer Options
Like all Android devices, Fire OS includes hidden developer options with advanced settings and tools.
You can access these through:
Settings > My Fire TV > Developer Options
Developer options include:
- Apps from unknown sources – Enable sideloading
- ADB debugging – Connect to computer for advanced app installs
- HDMI CEC control – Control TV power with Firestick remote
- Overscan adjustment – Fix screen cutoff issues
- OEM unlocking – Root access
Don‘t adjust anything unless you know what it means. But exploring these menus unlocks configuration options not available otherwise.
For an overview of key developer settings, see our guide:
9. Use the Remote App
The Fire TV Bluetooth remote works well but can suffer from lag, disconnects, and low batteries. An alternative is using your smartphone as the remote with the official Fire TV app.
This free app from Amazon transforms your phone into a touchpad remote with voice commands. You can install it on iPhone, Android, and Fire tablets.
- Faster typing with on-screen keyboard
- One-handed use
- Seamless voice search
- Take it anywhere
The app also allows controlling multiple Fire TV devices from the same phone.
Learn how to set up the Fire TV remote app with our complete guide:
10. Turn Off Annoying Sounds
Firestick makes tiny beep sounds for navigation feedback which can be distracting, especially in a quiet room.
Luckily, it‘s simple to turn these navigation sounds off:
- Go to Settings > Display & Sounds
- Scroll down and disable Navigation Sounds
You can also separately adjust the power on/off sounds if needed. Disabling these subtle audio cues delivers a more pleasant, distraction-free streaming experience.
For more sound settings like Dolby Atmos, consult our Firestick audio guide:
11. Put Your Firestick to Sleep
Unlike other streaming devices, Firestick doesn‘t have a true power off function. But you can temporarily put it to sleep to save energy.
The easiest way to sleep your Firestick is to long press the Home button on your remote and select Sleep from the quick menu. You can sleep it manually whenever your TV will be off for an extended period.
Firestick also supports automatic sleep timers in 15 minute increments up to 180 minutes. You can set this under Settings > Display & Sounds > Sleep.
Learn more about Fire TV sleep settings and schedules in our dedicated guide:
Hopefully this article gave you some new ideas on settings to tweak and tools to try for getting the most out of your Fire TV streaming experience!
Let us know in the comments if you have any other recommended tips. And be sure to bookmark TROYPOINT for the latest streaming news, app reviews, troubleshooting guides, and more. We add new tutorials almost every day.