Amazon Fire TV 3 supports USB Peripherals via OTG Cable — Including USB Drives, Keyboards, Mice, FLIRC, Ethernet, Hubs, etc…

Much like the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2 before it, the new Amazon Fire TV 3 supports external peripherals through a USB OTG cable. This means that, despite not having any external ports, you can still connect things like USB drives, keyboards, mice, game controllers, ethernet adapters, and more.

The Fire TV 3 has USB OTG support enabled by default. This means that you can connect external USB devices without needing to root the Fire TV, like you had to do for the 1st generation Fire TV Stick. USB OTG is enabled because the Fire TV needs OTG in order to use the official Amazon Ethernet Adapter. That same adapter is also compatible with the 2nd generation Fire TV Stick, which explains why Amazon also left OTG enabled on that device as well.

Image: How to connect an OTG “Y” cable to a Fire TV 3 or Fire TV Stick 2

In order to connect external USB devices to the Fire TV 3, all you need is a compatible USB OTG “Y” cable that has a male micro USB plug, a female micro USB port, and a female full-sized USB A port. I know this generic OTG cable from Amazon works with both the Fire TV 3 and Fire TV Stick 2. To use it, connect the male micro USB plug on the OTG cable to the Fire TV 3, connect your external USB device to the female USB A port, and connect the Fire TV 3’s micro USB power cable to the female micro USB port on the OTG cable. With just the OTG cable, you can connect one USB device at a time, but if you connect a USB Hub to the OTG cable, you can connect multiple USB devices at once and use the simultaneously.

USB peripherals, including keyboards, mice, and game controllers, can be connected using an OTG cable. The USB receiver that comes with the Logitech K400 keyboard and touchpad, which is my personal favorite Fire TV keyboard, also works perfectly. The Fire TV 3 accepts multiple peripherals using a USB hub just fine without needing to configure any settings. Just plug them in and they work. The FLIRC IR adapter also works, which lets you control your Fire TV using any IR remote.

Image: 3rd-party Ethernet adapter from Monoprice that is compatible with the Fire TV 3 and Fire TV Stick 2

Using an OTG cable, you can also connect an external ethernet adapter. If you’re thinking it’s silly to connect both an OTG cable and an ethernet adapter when you can just use the official Amazon Ethernet Adapter, you’re right. If all you want to do is add an Ethernet connection, you’re better of just getting the official Amazon Ethernet Adapter. However, since the Amazon Ethernet Adapter is itself an OTG device, you cannot daisy chain an OTG cable to the official Amazon Ethernet Adapter in order to connect additional USB devices. If you want to connect an ethernet adapter and other USB devices, you’re going to need an OTG cable, a USB hub, and a 3rd-party ethernet adapter. I know this Monoprice Ethernet Adapter works perfectly with both the Fire TV 3 and the Fire TV Stick 2.

Where things, unfortunately, get complicated is with external USB storage, like a flash drive or hard drive. External USB storage does work with the Fire TV 3 when connected through an OTG cable, but there are some caveats. First off, you can only connect one external USB drive at a time, but you shouldn’t be surprised by that since that’s how all Fire TV models work with USB drives. Using a USB hub, it’s perfectly fine to connect one external USB drive and additional USB devices simultaneously. I connected a USB hub to an OTG cable on the Fire TV 3 and then connected the Monoprice Ethernet Adapter, the Logitech K400 keyboard receiver, and a flash drive to the USB hub simultaneously without any issues or configuration. They all worked perfectly.

The main issue with external USB storage connected to the Fire TV 3 via an OTG cable is that Fire OS 6 on the Fire TV 3 does not automatically mount the USB drive. This means that apps which do not have their own drive mounting procedure built in cannot directly view the USB drive. Kodi is such an app, so you cannot connect a USB drive to the Fire TV 3 and view its contents directly from Kodi or add a directory on the USB drive as a video source in Kodi.

Image: ES File Explorer screenshot showing a mounted USB drive on the Fire TV 3

In order to access files on an external USB drive that is connected via an OTG cable, you need to use a file manager that is capable of mounting USB drives. ES File Explorer is such an app. With a USB drive connected via an OTG cable, you can launch ES File Explorer on the Fire TV and it will immediately mount the USB drive and make it accessible. You can then browse the USB drive’s files within ES File Explorer and select to open them using other apps, such as Kodi.

Image: Total Commander screenshot showing a video file on a USB drive being selected and choosing Kodi as the media player to play the file.

Total Commander is also another app that can access external USB drives, as long as you sideload this plugin. Just like with ES File Explorer, you can browse the drive’s contents within Total Commander but not through other Fire TV apps. When you select to open a file, you’ll then have the option to use a different app to open the file. So if connecting a drive full of videos and watching them through Kodi is your goal, you can do that, but it’s obviously not as ideal as adding the drive as a video source within Kodi.

Image: Fire TV Stick 2 automatically mounting a USB drive that is connected via an OTG cable.

It’s worth noting that the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2 does not have this same limitation. If you connect an external USB drive to the Fire TV Stick 2 using an OTG cable, the Stick will automatically mount the drive and make it accessible to any app. This means you can browse the USB drive’s contents from within apps like Kodi as if the files were stored internally. I don’t know why Amazon decided to impose this limitation on the Fire TV 3 when it’s not limited on the Fire TV Stick 2, but I expect it has something to do with Fire OS 6. With any luck, a future Fire TV 3 software update will change the behavior and mount USB drives automatically, like all other Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices do.

Just like all Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models except the Fire TV 1, you cannot use external USB drives to store apps on the Fire TV 3. This means that there is no way to expand the device’s internal storage for apps.

Overall, for a device that has no ports, the Fire TV is actually quite versatile, thanks to its OTG capabilities. Just be sure you’re not hanging the weight of external USB devices from the Fire TV 3’s built-in HDMI cable. I suggest placing the Fire TV on a flat surface and connecting it to an HDMI cable using a female-to-female HDMI adapter if you plan to use an OTG cable.

USB devices I’ve personally tested and known work with OTG on the Fire TV 3 and Fire TV Stick 2:
Generic USB OTG Cable
Monoprice USB Ethernet Adapter
AmazonBasics 4-Port USB Hub
FLIRC USB IR Remote Receiver
Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad

Reader recommended USB devices to use with OTG from the comments:
USB OTG Squid Hub
Compact USB OTG Adapter
Sabrent 4-Port USB Hub
USB Air Remote w/ Keyboard & IR

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25 comments
  1. xnamkcor says:

    I almost read that as “Ethernet Hub”.

    • AFTVnews says:

      It would depend on whether the Fire TV supports the chipset that that thing uses. I tried this HooToo Ethernet Adapter + USB Hub and it did not work. I’m sure there is probably a combo adapter that is compatible, but, unfortunately, I can’t just buy a whole bunch to test. If someone is going to gamble on trying an unknown adapter, I would stick to USB 2.0 at least. I think that would improve the chances of it being compatible.

      • Bill says:

        thanks, i think ill just stick with your set up then. i dont know how a team would come up with this and think its a good design. probably (most likely) wont hurt an hdmi port, but just look at it! doesnt look good. looks like an accident waiting to happen.

  2. Grinder says:

    Seems like a poor upgrade from the AFTV2, then. Pass.

    • Tech3475 says:

      Main benefit Ive seen is that it can handle 4k@60fps, where as the ftv2 could only do 30fps.

      • AFTVnews says:

        Yup, 4K@60fps (vs at @30fps w/ Fire TV 2), HDR support, and it’s price are the main benefits over the Fire TV 2. If someone doesn’t care about those, they’re better off with the Fire TV 2.

  3. HeyNow says:

    How does this impact formats? Will NTFS mount using these apps?

    • AFTVnews says:

      Like all Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition television models, the Fire TV 3 can only mount FAT32 formatted drives. This is pretty much the case with all Android devices, unless you introduce 3rd-party apps, which often require root.

  4. JEHart says:

    I also recommend a CPPSLEE “squid”:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXOJU3W/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    This has a switch to allow charging and a built in 3xUSB hub. I bought several of these for aftv sticks.

    .then. for a few $’s more: I got an nvidia shield with usb 3.0 x 2, a game controller, remote control, the same cpu and gpu as a nintendo switch and added a sabrent usb hub and several 4tb hd’s. sweet!

    • cdlenfert says:

      Nice find! I got something very similar originally, but it only supported charging. No OTG. Cool to see there’s a switchable version now.

  5. Long says:

    For the new Fire TV 2017, Can the power adapter work with 220v outlet?

  6. Berto says:

    Hi, I tried this exactly to attach a MOUSE; however, it does not work. The system recognizes the mouse, you can move up and down but you CANNOT highlight something or click on it. It will not work. CAN SOME TRY IT OUT AND LET ME KNOW? As a result I returned the item.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Mouse support only works within 3rd party apps. This has been the case for all Fire TV models for some time.

      • TechyChris says:

        Hmmm…interesting, I have 2 FTV 1’s, I had two old HP wireless mice w/dongles that came with my 10 year old laptops, I plugged them in and they are fully functioning mice for over a year now, solid 10ft range too (on a full battery) they work flawlessly!

    • JEHart says:

      MOUSE seems to only work with AppStarter and most .APK apps which appear in the AppStarter Window: Kodi, T*** TV, Total Commander, MX PLayer, VLC, Firefox, etc. GOM player is difficult/impossible (for me) to use with the MS mouse I have. (Your mileage may vary).

  7. Charles says:

    At least Amazon was generous enough to add peripheral support. I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon sold its own OTG adapter. However mounting support needs to be fixed asap.

  8. Archy says:

    Working OTG solution available in UK ?

    The ones I have come across only provide power to attached USB device and the AFTV gets no power so cannot work.

  9. Richard says:

    Why not call it the Fire Octo with all the tentacles required.

    I would recommend a powered Hub. I need a port for a Flirc, a USB stick, a Logitech KB dongle, and NOW Eithernet. That’s a lot of juice.

    I am not happy with No HDMI port either. I plug into the back of an AV receiver. Rather than have all this junk stick behind it, I guess I’ll use my old longer cable with a HDMI coupler.

    Not impressed with engineering/design of this. Might with my rooted FTV1 and send this rat nest back.

    Wonder how long til the FTV “docks” hit the market with power, Ethernet, HDMI, and several USB ports.

    Geeesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rob Katz says:

      HAHAHA- That was great, man! It really is getting crazy. I have 1 Firestick (Gen. 2) and a cheap Android box I bought at the same time a year ago for the same price and it has 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, an Ethernet, an SD Card slot and 2 USB 3.0 ports. The Fire has a simple layout which is good for my parent’s (after I sideloaded a bunch of apps like App Starter & HALauncher) and it tucks away behind the T.V., but this new design is pushing it. It reminds me of the 80’s when women started wearing hula hoops for earrings.

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