Amazon Fire TV USB Drive Not Working – Fix

The USB Port on the Amazon Fire TV allows you to connect a USB drive so that you can watch video directly from an external drive. Sometimes it takes a little troubleshooting to get the USB drive detected and working properly. If you’re having problems with the USB drive not working properly on the Fire TV, try these steps.

Compatibility Note

  • Firestick generation 3, and Lite models support moving apps to USB drive.
  • Firestick 4K, 4K Max, generation 2, and generation 1 do not support moving apps to a USB drive within the FireOS. A third-party app will need to be used for moving apps to a USB drive.
  • All Firestick models support using third-party apps like X-plore, ES File Explorer, and Downloader browse and open files on the USB drive or move app files to a USB Drive. However, some users may find the process to use these apps to be a bit too advanced.

Force Reset from Remote

Sometimes a quick reset will set thing right. To reset Fire TV from the remote:

Press and hold the Select and Play buttons on the remote simultaneously until the Fire TV resets. The screen should go black, then show the Fire TV logo. These steps reboot the Fire TV and will not clear any data from the device.

Alternately, you could go to Settings” ⚙️ > My Fire TV or Device & Software > Restart.

Fire TV remote buttons for reset

Ensure Drive is Supported

Be sure the drive you are using meets proper specifications. Some Fire TV devices will only support a USB drive that is USB 2.0 compatible and 128GB or lower in size. USB 3.0 drives should also work as they are backward compatible.

USB drives on Firestick 4K, generation 1 and 2 won’t work for app storage, but will work for watching videos and in file management apps like Downloader and ES File Explorer.

Firestick Lite and Firestick generation 3 will allow moving apps to a USB stick.

Format the Drive

If you intend to use the USB drive to watch video using the Fire TV Media player, it should be formatted. Use another device like a computer to format the drive to the FAT32 file system.

If you intend to use the USB drive to store Fire TV apps, it needs to be formatted by the Fire TV using these steps:

Moving apps are not supported on Firestick 4K or Generation 1 & 2 devices.

  1. Press the Home button to get to the Home screen of the Fire TV.
  2. Select “Settings” ⚙️.
  3. Select “My Fire TV“.
  4. Select “USB Drive“.
  5. Select “Format to External Storage“.

You may have to restart the Fire TV before you can move apps to the drive.

Note: When using a USB drive to store apps, ensure the USB drive does not have a “write protection” feature enabled. There is sometimes a small switch on the drive that controls this.

Turn ADB Debugging Off

The USB Port on the Fire TV won’t work with external drives connected if ADB Debugging is enabled. ADB Debugging is often used by Developers when writing apps for the device. Chances are, you probably don’t need to have it enabled. Check the setting and ensure it’s disabled with these steps:

  1. From “Settings“, scroll down and select “My Fire TV” or “System“.
  2. Select “Developer Options“.
  3. Toggle “ADB debugging” to “Off“. (Some devices may show as “USB debugging”)

Restart the Fire TV after turning this setting off, and you should be good to go!

Ensure Proper Power

When you add a USB drive to your Fire TV, it might require a bit more power. Ensure you are using a power block that will provide enough power to the Fire TV and the USB drive.

Recommended Power Supplies for Fire TV

  • Firestick (All Generations) – 5.25V, 1A, 5W
  • Fire TV Cube – 12V, 1.25A, 15W
  • Fire TV Box (1st Gen) – 6.25V, 2.5A, 16W
  • Fire TV Box (2nd Gen) – 15V, 1.4A, 21W
  • Fire TV (Pendant) – 5.2V, 1.8A, 9W

If you have tried multiple power blocks and you still experience problems, try replacing the power cable.

Ensure Apps Aren’t Conflicting (Moving Apps)

If you have an app installed on your Fire TV such as a file manager or video player, it may be conflicting with the built-in Fire TV USB functionality. The FireOS will not work with external drives if other apps can access the drive. Uninstall any apps that may access the USB drive to see if that clears the problem.

Once the problematic app has been removed, completely remove power from your Fire TV for 10 seconds then plug it back in. After the Fire TV has fully started, remove then reinsert the USB drive.

For me personally, ES File Explorer was causing a problem when trying to move apps. I had to completely uninstall it. Setting the app to deny permission to USB storage did not work. As long as ES File Explorer was installed, the External Space would display “No USB Storage Detected”.

Don’t Use Ethernet Connection

Users have often reported that the USB port doesn’t work if the Fire TV box is connected to a wired Ethernet network connection. In these cases, you may have to disconnect the wired network cable and use Wi-Fi instead.

This issue might stem from the Fire TV not receiving enough power to operate the Ethernet adapter. More research is needed.

I hope this guide has helped you solve the problem with your Amazon Fire TV not detecting your USB drive. If you still have problems, drop a detailed comment below and I’ll try to help out.

51 thoughts on “Amazon Fire TV USB Drive Not Working – Fix”

  1. I have no option for system under settings nor usb option just the other 2 debugging options, I have went through all the options and can’t find usb options

  2. It’s run the commands and remote adb sees the drive but the fire stick does not. I installed Firefox browser and in programs it shows as installed on the usb drive but I do not see the USB storage on the out firestck entry and the browse will not start.. Using USB 3/ SanDisk 128 gig

    • I used to play nes, Super nes, n64 games with the retroarch, but since mid july the fire stick doesnt recognize the usb, so I can’t acces the games.

  3. My experience is that if apps are installed prior to the USB being added, the option to move them to the External Storage doesn’t appear. However, apps installed AFTER the USB is added have the option to be moved to the External storage area.

  4. Firestick 3rd Gen. and OTG cable/s (2) bought from Amazon. Both Sandisk USBs (2.0 32G Cruzer Glide and 3.0 128G Ultra are formatted FAT32 but not recognized. Followed all of the instructions above but no luck. Numerous TouTube videos same result. Xplore app shows “Your device seems to be not rooted.”
    How can I ROOT (not “Jailbreak”) this thing? I’m fine with only external storage – I don’t use many apps…
    Appreciate any help.

  5. All of which begs the question “Is FireTv just bs ing us about this capability?”

    Is there anyone out there who has successfully moved bloating apps off to external storage?

    • I have a fire TV cube. It was working fine and as expected for awhile. Then it stopped. Now it looses the SSD whenever I turn off the cube. Only way I can get the USB/SSD accessible is to unplug it from the OTG then replug it.

  6. In my tv there are two hdmi port 1 for stb hdmi and another is dvi hdmi , so how can i connect fire stick in my tv? Fire stick and setup box only work on stb hdmi port so what can i do?

  7. I just put in a 256 gb micro SD using an OTG micro USB to micro SD dongle. Worked great. I now have 251gb of usable external storage. Super overkill, but I plan to put roms on it and apps that I don’t frequently use. I also intend to turn on the dvr function for my TV shows.
    Micro SD: Samsung EVO Select 256GB Price??? Forgot
    Dongle: bought on Amazon, OTG/USB Muti-Function Card Reader/Writer $7

    • What are you using for recording live tv ?
      What streaming app has a dvr setting that actually works ? Every one I have tried only works occasionally and then it stops recording part way through even though space isn’t an issue.

  8. I tried 3 different firesticks all on external power. And two usb sticks 64GB (2.0, 3.0) and one micro sd (32GB). ADB debugging off. Same negative results on all sticks.
    NO USB shows on “my fire tv”.
    I disconnected just the USB: “unexpected removal – go to my fire tv USB drive in settings”
    Hence, settings does not list USB drive…

  9. Have two 4k firesticks (one is brand new). They will not recognize USB external flash drives. No ‘USB’ or ‘External storage’ shows up in FireTV about menu after installed. Debugging is off. Have tried multiple SanDisk flash drives 32 and 64gb and 3.0 and 2.0 version. Formatted drives to FAT32 before installing. OTA cable is good. Power to drive is good. Tried resetting firesticks to factory default. Have spent hours of troubleshooting to no avail. My FireTV cube and 4k Max work perfectly with the external storage on my TV’s but not the 4k sticks. Any other ideas for a fix would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dear Cappy…’re living the same nightmare as me…..I can’t find any solutions despite scanning the internet until my eyes are bleeding. I’ve tried 3 Firesticks (3rd gen) and now the bastards got me to buy the 4K Max version only to get the same results….arghh!!!

      Please share any resolution, if any.

    • I too have this problem. I read somewhere that using an external USB to store apps is not supported by Firestick 4Ks (even though it is supported for Firestick 4k Max). So far, all evidence seems to indicate this to be true, and I’ve yet to see any real evidence of how this can be circumvented.

  10. I’m trying to use a retro game stick on my first gen fire tv. Came with the stick and a short cord mini USB plugs to stick and USB to tv. Supposed to be plug and play but I get nothing. Can’t even find any USB on my inputs section of tv. Just shows hdmi ports, antenna and media player. Tried you steps and nothing

  11. Same issue as most people on here with one fire stick 4k. Tried different otg cables, and multiple USB flash drives. No longer will recognize any external flash drives. I have another fire stick 4k that still works and yet when I switch with the same otg cable and the same USB flash drive from one 4k stick to the other, still nothing. I’m on software version It worked before. I used to watch media off of those same flash drives, so I’m clueless to why not now

  12. I think useing the USB as external storage for the 4K firestick is BS. Will not work. Has anyone got it to work on just the 4K yet?

  13. I had it working on two 4k’s. All of a sudden the option to move an app to USB is gone and under Settings, Storage it only shows internal storage now where it used to show both internal and external. My version is an update killed it so people would go buy the 4kMax. Just like the cellphone companies slow down their phones before the new and improved version comes out.

      • Searching on google for same problem here file explorer recognises my sc card but firsetick 4k no longer sees it. Google brings up a curt answer from amazon that the firestick 4k does not support external usb drives…

  14. New fire stick 4K max, sandisk 64GB USB 3.2, LG TV. USB formats ok but shows no option for moving previously installed apps or apps installed after USB add. Still waiting on anyone who has it working.

  15. I can only get certain apps to go to the USB DRIVE. It drive me crazy, have also tried different drives to no avail. Some apps that used to go to the usb drive, no longer do.????

    • Developers sometimes lock the capability to move their apps down. So the option does not appear for those apps. A lot of developers seem to have changed recently. Slack was one who recently made it where you cannot move it to a USB drive. It stinks!

  16. Hi. I have been using fire stick 3rd gen from september in the year 21.But now the problem is my fire stick could not detect flash drive 3.0.What I will do now.Please provide your valuable suggestion
    Thank You.

  17. I have 3 Amazon FireTV. I installed USB — the one recommended by Amazon. It didn’t see it for three month. Then suddenly one day it saw it. I reformatted as it suggested, and it immediately showed up as external storage. Only when I go to move old apps, there is no option to move them. When I download new apps they download to regular TV storage. When I go to them in setting, it see the USB, but on that apps the option to move simply isn’t there. I reformed a second and third time, same thing. No move option. Rebooting the tv doesn’t help.

    • Now it shows the option to move two (only two) apps – Paramount + and PBS. But when you shift them to the USB drive, then there is no accessing them, so you have to move them back.

  18. I had my cube connected to my laptop to see if I could update better firmware and to access the internal memory which I know you can do that with E explorer. I use it to transfer games to amazon cloud for my PlayStation emulator on the fire cube. So what I’m trying to do now is use my USB flash drive to plug into the USB port on my fire cube. At the moment I can only hold 5 games on the cube. Thank you any help is appreciated.

  19. Driving me crazy 4K and have tried all the suggestions to no avail saw somewhere else only usb2 will work so emptying and old one to see if that the problem.

  20. Google it and amazon themselves now say the 4k firestick does not support usb storage due to hardware limitations :)
    But they and brag how it has 8gb internal you can use…in other words we took out the option hoping nobody would notice so you would buy the more expensive version with more storage, so option is sell your firestick 4k brick to cash converters as I will be doing and never buy another amazon product…

  21. I’ve a new usb drive which is FAT32. So No Apps or data on it!
    Connected to Firestick with OTG cables. Started restarted, plugged unplugged a few times as well as also done exact what you advised. Power off , wait, restarted, unplugged & plugged!
    No show??
    Please oblige by advising how to resolve this matter.

  22. It seems like all of this is simply hopeless after reading peoples issues. I have gen 2 and only found out after buying a usb flashdrive 64g and OTG cable that it dont work on gen2 firesticks. How did I find out, a video on you tube, a lady explained if you have gen2 ver5 it wont work, you need 6 or 7. They only give you 6g on firesticks which gets used up fast, even though I removed some programs. It seems everything involves splashing out all the time money. So if I want mine with flashdrive I will have to upgrade.

  23. Wow I am sure glad I am not the only one stuck on WTF. 1st Gen 4k. OS 6 I guess you can’t force upgrade it ? After farting with mine for a couple of hours and doing ABOVE, plus put on a pie hat stood on the roof in a lightning storm no joy. I even put in a 5 volt 2.5 amp PSU. But my external is just a simple stick, heck my android tablet see’s it LOL. So as a work around I reinstalled ES file explorer and bingo. I can move files which is good but frustrating. I have another FS same genre I think I am gonna jail break it and see what happens, anybody try that method yet? Just asking since it appears there is no option.

  24. It’s truly extremely frustrating that something as simple as extending internal and external storage on an Amazon firestick requires to know secret handshakes and magic formulas.

    I tried countless devices… thumbdrives, SSDs, HDDs, anything between 64GB to 512GB on firesticks 4k with latest OS Total Commander always detects and loads the drive, but when it comes to having the firestick detect the drive to then add it as storage it never, I mean never happens.

  25. I hate the man. But he has us all by the ballsack. Gotta appreciate the irony, though. They produce an item that is supposed to support external drives, then you go and buy the extra crap ON AMAZON (no less), and THEN discover that nothing works!

    I can’t even return anything since I threw out all the packaging…

    Since they already have my ballsack, I’m gonna let them dine on it for dinner….

  26. I’ve added a Sandisk 128GB USB and when its formatted for internal storage, only certain app add ons install onto the USB. Is there a way to increase the internal storage on the Fire TV stick itself with a USB storage drive? I have a 4k Max.


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