Do you feel like your Android TV box is getting sluggish and buggy? Want access to the latest features and security updates? Manually updating the firmware can give your device a major boost!
Updating your Android TV software is easier than you think. In this simple guide, I‘ll walk you through the entire process step-by-step. Equipped with the right instructions, you can upgrade your firmware in just 5 minutes with no technical expertise required.
I‘ll also answer common questions about the benefits of updating, what can go wrong, tips for troubleshooting, and much more. Read on to finally stop putting it off and freshen up your Android TV box with the newest firmware!
Why You Should Update Your Android TV Firmware
Android TV boxes are mini-computers optimized for streaming media and apps. They run the Android TV operating system based on Android. Like any gadget, the software periodically receives major updates.
Here are the key reasons it’s worth taking a few minutes to update your Android TV box:
Enjoy New Features
Google rolls out useful new capabilities with each Android TV update like:
- Improved recommendations
- Enhanced voice control
- Gaming additions
- Casting upgrades
- Visual tweaks
Manufacturers also bundle their own features tailored for their hardware like:
- Custom UI skins
- Dolby/DTS surround sound
- Hybrid tuners
- Built-in Chromecast
- Remote finder
Boost Speed and Stability
- Updates fine-tune the OS code to run faster and smoother
- They squash annoying bugs causing crashes and freezes
- System performance and longevity improves
Get Critical Security Patches
- Older firmware has vulnerabilities that get exploited
- Updates patch holes to keep your device and data safe
- Reduce risk of malware, hacking, and identity theft
- The latest apps may require updated OS to work properly
- Continued support for casting, mirroring, VPNs, etc.
- Firmware updates ensure connectivity with other devices
Neglecting to update for too long eventually results in a laggy, unstable, insecure streaming experience. Let‘s go over how to easily get your hands on the newest firmware.
A Quick Refresher on Android TV Boxes
Before we dive in, let‘s briefly recap what sets Android TV devices apart:
Dedicated streaming hardware – Unlike sticks, Android TV boxes are powerful media streamers. Top models feature robust internal specs optimized for smooth 4K playback.
Large app ecosystem – The Google Play store offers thousands of apps, games, and services designed for TV screens. Free streaming services like Plex, Pluto TV, and Tubi come preloaded.
Voice controls – Android TV remotes feature dedicated Google Assistant buttons. You can search for content, launch apps, control smart home devices, and more with voice commands.
Chromecasting built-in – Cast videos, music, photos, entire Chrome tabs, and phone screens directly to your Android TV wirelessly.
Home screen recommendations – Discover new movies, shows, videos and apps curated for your interests on the customizable home screen.
Now that you know the advantages of Android TV boxes, let‘s go over the step-by-step process to update yours.
There are just three things you need before getting started:
The Android TV box you want to update
A good internet connection (for downloading firmware file)
A USB flash drive (8GB or more recommended)
That‘s it! Let‘s move onto the first step…
Step 1: Check Your Current Firmware Version
It‘s important to check what firmware version is already installed so you know whether an update is available.
Here‘s how to check the current Android TV software on your box:
Turn on your Android TV box and launch the Settings app.
Select Device Preferences > About.
Scroll down and look for Build Number, Software Version, or Android Version.
Make a note of the firmware number displayed.
For example, it may show something like 9.0 or Oreo MR1. This is the current Android TV software version running on your device.
Next, let‘s find out if there‘s a newer update available to install…
Step 2: Find Latest Firmware for Your Device
Now that you‘ve checked your existing firmware version, it‘s time to see what the newest available release is:
Grab your Android TV box and look on the underside/back for the model number.
Visit the manufacturer‘s website and search for your model‘s support page. For example, search for "Nvidia Shield TV support".
On the support page, look for firmware downloads and check what‘s the latest available version.
Compare it to the version shown in Step 1 on your device.
If the website shows an Android TV firmware that‘s newer than what you currently have installed, great! That means you can upgrade to the latest optimizations.
Make a note of this newest firmware version number to download next. If the versions match, your box is already updated.
Step 3: Download Latest Firmware Version
With the newest Android TV firmware identified, it‘s time to download it:
On your device‘s support page, click the firmware link to download the update EXE or ZIP file.
Choose the correct region/variant if required.
Click Download and save the firmware package to your computer.
Take note of the file name and location that it gets saved.
Warning: Carefully choose the firmware meant for your exact Android TV box model. Flashing the wrong file could brick your device.
Once the download completes, next we‘ll transfer this firmware update to a USB drive…
Step 4: Format USB Drive and Transfer Update
To install the update on your Android TV device, it needs to be loaded onto a USB flash drive:
Insert a USB stick that‘s at least 8GB into your computer.
Format it to FAT32 by right-clicking and choosing Format > FAT32 > Start. This erases all data.
Copy the downloaded firmware file and paste it into the root folder of the formatted USB drive.
Safely eject the USB drive once the transfer finishes.
That USB stick contains the latest firmware release, locked and loaded for installation on your Android TV box!
Step 5: Connect USB and Initiate Firmware Update
At last, it‘s time to plug that USB stick into your Android TV box and initiate the firmware update:
Turn on your Android TV device and insert the prepared USB into one of the ports.
Open the Settings menu, go to Device Preferences > About > System Update.
Select Local Update then choose your USB drive from the list.
Confirm that you want to update from the chosen USB device.
Your Android TV box will start updating and display progress. Do not interrupt it until completely finished!
That‘s all there is to it! Within 5-10 minutes your Android TV will reboot with the latest firmware version installed. Continue reading for what to expect after updating…
Post Update: Enjoy New Features and Re-configure
That wasn‘t so bad, was it? Give yourself a pat on the back for successfully upgrading your Android TV box firmware!
After the update completes and your device restarts, here‘s what to do:
Browse around and enjoy any new capabilities added by the update. Check for changes to the home screen, settings, voice control, and more.
If apps disappeared, simply re-download them from the Play Store. Your files and media are all still safely stored.
Run through setup options like WiFi, accounts, and TV settings again. Make sure connectivity and controls are tuned to your preferences.
Check for app updates in the Play Store to complement the updated system software.
Make sure firmware auto-updates are disabled to prevent interruptions during movies. Only manually update when convenient.
With that, your Android TV box should feel like new again! Faster, smoother, and loaded with the latest features from Android.
Troubleshooting Guide: Solutions for Common Firmware Update Issues
Of course no process is completely foolproof. Here are some potential issues and fixes for manually updating your Android TV box:
Problem: Update gets stuck mid-installation
Fix: First wait 10-15 minutes in case it‘s still processing. If frozen, press and hold the power button 30 seconds to force reboot. The update should resume normally.
Problem: Apps disappear after updating
Fix: This is normal after a big firmware jump. Simply re-download your desired apps from the Google Play store.
Problem: Remote stops working after update
Fix: Use the power button to reboot the device, then re-pair the remote by holding down Home + Back buttons.
Problem: Cannot format USB drive to FAT32
Fix: Use a third-party formatting tool like guiformat to correctly format the drive before transferring the firmware.
Problem: Apps crash or won‘t open after updating
Fix: Delete app cache/data and reinstall from Play Store. Also perform a factory reset if issues persist across multiple apps.
Stuck on any of these issues? Let me know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions About Updating Android TV Box Firmware
To wrap up this guide, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Do I need to wipe data when upgrading firmware?
Most manufacturers recommend a factory reset after a major Android TV update. This gives a clean slate for new components to initialize. Backup your apps first.
What happens if the wrong firmware is installed?
Flashing incorrect firmware can completely brick the device. Carefully choose the right update file for your exact make and model!
Can I still use third-party launchers after updating?
Yes! Your preferred launcher app like Wolf Launcher or ATV Launcher will work just fine after updating the base Android TV firmware.
Where can I request new features to add to Android TV?
Google has a public Android TV ideas portal where you can suggest and vote on new features. Popular requests get implemented in future updates!
Is there a way to rollback firmware if I don‘t like the update?
Unfortunately, no. Android TV updates are one-way only. You cannot revert to a previous firmware version after updating.
Do I need to update apps after updating the system?
Most apps don‘t need updating after a firmware update. But check the Play Store for new versions that take advantage of updated OS capabilities.
How do I stop annoying auto-update notifications?
Under Device Preferences, turn off auto-updates and disable automatic update checking. Updates will no longer interrupt your viewing until manually initiated.
And there you have it! I hope this guide cleared up the entire process for manually getting the latest firmware on your Android TV box. Now you can enjoy new features, better performance, and enhanced stability.
Let me know if you have any other questions down below!