If you own a Firestick or Fire TV, you‘ve probably noticed that internal storage is limited. With only 8GB or 16GB of onboard memory, your storage can quickly fill up with apps, games, and media files. The good news is there are several ways to expand storage on Fire TV devices like the Firestick 4K and Fire TV Cube.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll show you how to get more storage for your Firestick or Fire TV using external USB drives. With the right tools, you can easily increase storage space and get rid of annoying problems like constant app uninstallation or playback buffering. Read on to boost storage now!
Fire TV Storage Overview
First, let‘s look at the storage capacities for Amazon‘s various Fire TV models:
|Fire TV Stick Lite||8 GB|
|Fire TV Stick 3rd Gen||8 GB|
|Fire TV Stick 4K||8 GB|
|Fire TV Stick 4K Max||8 GB|
|Fire TV Cube||16 GB|
|Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen||16 GB|
As you can see, no model has more than 16GB of built-in storage. And the Firestick lineup only includes 8GB.
This limited space quickly fills up since the average app size is around 100MB. Top apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and YouTube take up over 1GB combined.
Video and music also eat up storage. For example, 1 hour of HD video requires 3-5GB. Storing 10 HD movies would use 30-50GB, exceeding the total space on any Firestick model.
It‘s clear why many Fire TV owners ultimately face storage limitations – there‘s just not enough onboard memory!
Benefits of Adding External Storage
Here are some of the key benefits you‘ll enjoy by adding external storage to your Firestick or Fire TV:
Install more apps without constant uninstallation to free space
Store entire media libraries with movies, shows, photos, music, and more
Prevent annoying playback buffering due to filled up internal storage
Use storage-intensive apps that typically show "not enough space" errors
Take your apps, settings, and media on the go without internet access
Reduce wear and tear on internal storage from constant read/write cycles
According to a 2021 survey, over 80% of cord-cutters say they‘ve faced storage limitations on streaming devices like the Firestick 4K. With external storage added, you‘ll get rid of this common frustration!
Comparing Storage Options on Other Streamers
It‘s useful to look at how storage expansion capabilities stack up across popular streaming devices:
|Device||External Storage Support|
|Fire TV Stick 4K||USB via OTG cable|
|Roku Streaming Stick+||MicroSD card|
|Apple TV 4K||No external storage|
|Nvidia Shield TV||USB drive and MicroSD|
|Chromecast with Google TV||No external storage|
The Firestick 4K and other Fire TV models have middle of the road expandability. Roku devices offer easy MicroSD storage. Meanwhile, Apple TV and Chromecast do not support external storage currently.
This comparison shows the Fire TV‘s USB storage capabilities are decent but could be improved. Nevertheless, USB expansion is possible and works well if set up properly.
Formatting a USB Drive for Firestick
The first step to expanding storage is formatting your USB drive properly for use with a Firestick or Fire TV.
To do this:
Connect the USB drive to your computer.
Right click the drive and choose "Format" on Windows or Mac.
Select FAT32 as the file system.
Check "Quick format" and click start.
FAT32 formatting is required for external drives to work with Fire OS. Quick formatting only takes a few seconds and will wipe all data from the drive.
I recommend using a USB 3.0 flash drive or compact external SSD for the fastest speeds. A 16GB, 32GB or 64GB capacity drive provides good storage expansion.
Connecting External Storage to Fire TV
With your drive formatted, you now need to connect it to your Firestick or Fire TV. To do this, use a compatible OTG (On-The-Go) cable.
An OTG cable has a micro USB connector on one end that plugs into the Firestick, and a standard USB port on the other end for your external drive.
When shopping for an OTG cable, get one that‘s at least 6 inches long for easier positioning. Look for braided nylon cords that resist tangling.
I suggest the CableCreation USB OTG Cable which has a durable design. With the proper OTG cable, attach it to your Firestick and connect the external drive to the open USB-A port.
The drive may take a few seconds to be recognized. You can reboot your Fire TV device to speed up detection if needed. Then you‘re ready to transfer data!
Using ES File Explorer to Manage Storage
Once connected, an app called ES File Explorer makes it easy to manage both internal and external storage. Here‘s how to use ES File Explorer:
Install ES File Explorer if you don‘t already have it.
Open the app and tap the menu button in the top left corner.
Choose "Tools" and select "Analyze" to scan your storage usage.
Review the results and look for any large files or apps you want to move.
Long press an item and select "Cut" to clip it for transfer.
Navigate to your attached USB drive in ES File Explorer.
Long press in an empty area within the drive and choose "Paste" to transfer the item.
With these steps, you can move photos, videos, apps, and other data to free up the Firestick‘s internal storage. Just be sure to move items you access less often for optimal speed.
Other Fire TV Storage Tips
In addition to using external USB drives, here are some other tips to maximize storage:
Turn off auto-app updates and instead update large apps manually. The update downloads temporarily use storage.
Use streaming apps to play media from the cloud rather than downloading locally when possible.
Frequently check for and clear any cached app data or temporary files using ES File Explorer.
Uninstall apps you no longer use. For example, remove unnecessary pre-installed apps to recover storage space.
Consider enabling "adoptable storage" on rooted Fire TV devices to format external storage to fully expand internal capacity.
With ES File Explorer and good storage hygiene, you can optimize both internal and external storage on your Firestick or Fire TV.
Troubleshooting External Storage Issues
If your Firestick won‘t detect the connected USB drive, try these troubleshooting steps:
Reboot the Firestick or Fire TV with the drive attached via OTG cable.
Attempt using a different OTG cable in case the current one is faulty.
Check that the drive is formatted to FAT32, then reformat it if necessary.
Test the USB drive by connecting it to a Windows or Mac computer to verify it works properly.
As a last resort, try reformatting the external drive as NTFS instead of FAT32.
If the drive has multiple partitions, delete them and reformat as a single FAT32 volume.
With some experimentation, you should be able to get external storage working reliably on your Firestick or Fire TV. Proper drive formatting and OTG cabling is key!
Adding Storage to Get More out of Your Fire TV
While Fire TV devices lack USB ports or SD card slots, external storage is still possible with some extra gear. Investing in a compact USB drive and OTG cable lets you:
Install 3x as many apps and games
Store 100+ movies or several TV show seasons
Have your entire music library always on hand
Eliminate constant "not enough storage space" errors
I hope these tips help you overcome storage limitations and get the most from your Firestick or Fire TV. With the right tools, you can take full advantage of all these streaming devices offer!