FireStick is probably the best streaming device presently. It is cost-effective, fast, and extremely user-friendly. The device works with a wide range of streaming platforms including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. Furthermore, it lets you easily download, install, and use various third-party applications.
Yet, there are many ways you can improve the overall experience with some small and useful tips and tricks. That’s what we are going to talk about in this post.
I have been using Fire TV devices for several years. I am a cord-cutter and the tips I have rounded up in this article have helped me make the most out of my device. I hope it would help you the same way.
Best FireStick Tips and Tricks for Cord-cutters
So, here comes my list of the top tips for FireStick. These are simple, safe, and easy to apply.
1. Jailbreak FireStick
Jailbreak your FireStick to make the most out of it. However, we are not talking about the conventional jailbreak process like you do with your phone. Jailbreaking FireStick is a simple, risk-free process. All you need to do is sideload some third-party, jailbreak apps.
When you jailbreak your FireStick, you allow yourself unlimited access to movies, shows, sports, news, and a lot more.
You do not require any technical knowledge to jailbreak your device. Even a layperson like me can do it within a few minutes.
Go through our step-by-step guide on how to jailbreak your FireStick and explore the endless world of streaming.
2. Use your phone as a remote control for FireStick
If you own an Android or iOS phone, you can use it as a remote controller for your FireStick. You just need to download the app Amazon Fire TV from Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Amazon Fire TV remote app has the same controls as your physical remote (except the volume and power buttons for your TV). In place of the navigation ring and Select/OK button, the remote app for mobiles has a touchpad. You can swipe the touchpad up/down or left/right to navigate FireStick as well as any installed apps. To click, just tap anywhere on the touchpad.
If your FireStick remote is not working or you simply want an alternative remote control, the Fire TV remote app can be quite effective. It works with FireStick 2nd Gen, Fire TV Stick 4K, as well as Fire TV Cube.
3. Install Mouse Toggle to navigate certain apps
Some APKs aren’t meant for TV or your FireStick. They are designed for touch devices, such as your mobile phone. You can still sideload them onto your FireStick/Fire TV device. However, it would be difficult – even impossible – to navigate such apps. Your remote navigation would just not reach certain sections no matter how much you try.
In such cases, you can install a third-party app called Mouse Toggle. This app displays a mouse pointer on your FireStick. You can navigate this pointer with your remote. This pointer can be used to reach and click those sections of the various apps where your FireStick remote won’t reach.
I recommend Mouse Toggle as one of the must-have apps. In fact, it also features in our list of Best apps for FireStick.
4. Calibrate the TV display to fit the videos
If you think the videos aren’t correctly calibrated to the size of your TV screen, there is a way to fix that. Whether the videos are shrunk or overshooting the screen, calibration will help you match the screen size. Thankfully, you don’t need to do it every time you want to watch something; you just have to do it once.
Here are the steps to calibrate the FireStick screen with your TV:
- Open the Settings on your FireStick (select it in the menu bar on the top)
- Click Display & Sounds
- Click Display
- Click Calibrate Display
- Press the Up or Down buttons on the remote to adjust the display
5. Use a VPN for a safer and better streaming experience
I believe that a VPN is a must-have for the cord-cutters. First, it keeps you safe. It hides your online identity while streaming and keeps you away from the prying eyes of government surveillance, hackers, third-parties, and even your ISP. A VPN becomes all the more important when you stream free content from apps like Cinema APK and Kodi.
Secondly, a VPN helps you get unrestricted access to the geo-blocked content on the popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, etc.
And, quite importantly, with a VPN you can avoid speed throttling and enjoy buffer-free streaming.
I use always use ExpressVPN on my Firestick and other streaming devices. It is a top-rated VPN and works flawlessly with remote-controlled devices. If you are not using a VPN already, I strongly suggest you to give it a try. ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can use it freely for the first 30-days and get a full refund if you don’t want to continue. Thanks to the special Holiday deal, it is also available at a 49% discount over its regular price.
Read: How to install and use a VPN on Amazon Firestick and Fire TV
6. Use Alexa for voice control and voice search
This could be a handy FireStick trick for the cord-cutters. You probably already know that your FireStick comes with a built-in, sweet-talking AI called Alexa. It can answer a lot of your questions, such as “how is the weather in Manhattan” or “Find me top-rated bakeries in Cincinnati”.
However, it can do a lot more than just answer your questions. Alexa can also open streaming apps for you – even look for a title. This means you don’t have to use your FireStick remote all the time.
Note that Alexa works only with the official apps from the Amazon Store. It won’t open third-party apps for you.
7. Connect Bluetooth headphones/speakers to FireStick
You can connect a Bluetooth headphone or speaker to your FireStick. If you want to watch a movie late at night and do not want others around you disturbed, you can connect a Bluetooth headphone. Or, if you are looking for a somewhat cinematic audio experience, you can pair your Bluetooth compatible external speakers with you FireStick.
Here are the steps to do that:
- Turn on your headphone or speaker. Turn on the Bluetooth and make sure it is in the ‘discoverable’ mode
- Open the FireStick Settings from the home screen
- Click the option Controllers & Bluetooth Devices
- Click Other Bluetooth Devices
- Click Add Bluetooth Devices
- Wait while the FireStick scans for the available Bluetooth Devices
- Your device will appear on your TV in a few seconds. Click your device to pair it with your FireStick/Fire TV
8. Reset apps (clear data/clear cache)
As a cord-cutter, you may have experienced that certain apps start behaving erratically for no apparent reason. This could happen to the Amazon Store apps as well as third-party apps.
You will often get the suggestion to uninstall and reinstall the problem app to fix the issue. In fact, this troubleshooting technique often works. However, before going through the long-drawn process of uninstalling and reinstalling the app, you may want to reset the app first (or even clear cache). This might save you some time.
When you reset the app, you restore it to the original, factory settings. Here is how you can do it:
- Go to the FireStick Settings from the home screen
- Click Applications
- Open the option Manage Installed Applications
- Choose the problem app from the list of the apps that appears on the next screen
- Click Clear cache (if you only want to clear the cache and not reset the app)
Click Clear data if you want to reset the app (this will also clear the cache)
- Click Clear data again (if you chose Clear data in the previous step)
9. Cast/Mirror videos onto FireStick
You can cast/mirror content from other devices onto FireStick. Mirroring works with mobiles, tablets, as well as computers.
The platform on which you are playing the video must support the cast feature for this to work. Also, your FireStick and the casting device must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
For example, YouTube supports cast or mirroring. If you are playing a YouTube video on your computer or mobile, click the cast option and choose your FireStick. The video will start playing on your TV.
Yes, that is all you need to do. I enjoy this feature as a cord-cutter. I can play many videos on various platforms that I can’t get on my FireStick.
10. Get an IPTV Subscription
This is probably one of the best FireStick tricks for a cord-cutter looking for a way to stream cable-TV channels at an affordable price.
There are some top-rated IPTV services out there that give you access to hundreds of satellite channels for a paid subscription. These services offer a cost-effective IPTV solution as compared to the other cable service providers.
Take a look at the list of the best IPTV service providers we have compiled. You will also find the link to the installation guides for each service.
Please note that we haven’t verified the authenticity of these service providers. Be a good judge of your actions and stream only from the legal sources. Always use a VPN to maintain your privacy and anonymity.
BONUS: Get Real Debrid and Trakt
Real Debrid and Trakt are two different services. Real Debrid is a premium hoster that works with various third-party apps and a number of Kodi addons. It gives you access to several new and high-quality streaming links when you request for the video playback (movies and episodes). In my opinion, Real Debrid is a must-have for the cord-cutters.
Trakt also works with a lot of third-party apps and Kodi addons. This service lets you sync your streaming data across various media platforms. It will sync your watch history, wish-list (or videos you have marked to be watched later), and more. If you use multiple streaming platforms on multiple devices, Trakt is a good option to have.
So, this is my list of best FireStick tips and tricks for cord-cutters. If I run into any new great trick, I will make sure it is added to the list immediately. If you happened to have discovered something awesome and it is not on this list already, please feel free to let me know through the comments section below. I will appreciate it greatly.