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.
In This Guide
- 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.
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 (like this one). 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.
- Press the Home button to get to the Home screen of the Fire TV.
- Select “Settings” ⚙️.
- Select “My Fire TV“.
- Select “USB Drive“.
- 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:
- From “Settings“, scroll down and select “My Fire TV” or “System“.
- Select “Developer Options“.
- 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.