Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K supports external USB drives and USB peripherals via an OTG cable

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K doesn’t officially support connecting anything to it except Amazon’s Fire TV Ethernet Adapter, but, using an inexpensive OTG cable it’s possible to use USB peripherals, such as keyboards and wired gamepads, as well as external USB drives. The support for USB drives, in particular, isn’t as thorough as the Fire TV Cube, which does officially support external storage, but it’s much better than the Fire TV 3 (pendant), which the Fire TV Stick 4K has replaced, so it’s a step in the right direction.

The Fire TV Stick 4K does support OTG USB cable splitters that allow you connect a USB device to its sole micro USB port, while still being able to power the device through the same port. You don’t need to root the device, as you did with the original Fire TV Stick, or anything special, for the OTG cable to work. It simply works with the cable right out of the box. If you want to use multiple USB devices at the same time, you can connect a basic USB hub to the OTG cable and use all of the hub’s ports simultaneously.

For basic USB peripherals, like keyboards, mice, a FLIRC, and USB gamepads, they connect right up and start working right away with the Fire TV Stick 4K. With a USB hub, you can use multiple peripherals simultaneously.

USB Ethernet adapters paired with an OTG cable also work with the Fire TV Stick 4K. If all you need is Ethernet, you’re probably better off using the official Fire TV Ethernet Adapter in case there are compatibility issues with 3rd-party adapters in the future. If you want to add Ethernet to the Fire TV Stick 4K but also want to connect other USB devices, don’t buy Amazon’s Ethernet adapter because it does not pass OTG connections through its micro USB port.

Instead, I recommend getting the UGREEN Ethernet Adapter with a built-in USB hub. Connected through an OTG cable, this adapter allows you to add Ethernet to the Fire TV Stick 4K, as well as 3 functioning full-sized USB ports.

When it comes to connecting USB drives, things aren’t as good as they could be with the Fire TV Stick 4K, but USB drives are supported more than they were with the Fire TV 3 (pendant). If you recall, USB drives were only supported on the Fire TV 3 through apps, like file browsers, that could mount the drive themselves. This severely limited your ability to use the drive because it did not appear in apps like Kodi and emulators. With the Fire TV Stick 4K, USB drives are properly mounted by the operating system, so the files on the drive are available to every app automatically.

The only issue is that USB drives are not fully supported in the Fire TV Stick 4K’s settings menu, like they are with the Fire TV Cube. With the Fire TV Cube, connecting a USB drive via an OTG cable will display a message asking if you want to use the drive for app storage or external data. This is not the case with the Fire TV Stick 4K. When you connect a USB drive to the Fire TV Stick 4K via an OTG cable, an empty notification appears in the lower corner of the screen and the drive does not show up in the device’s settings menu.

This means that you cannot use the drive to expand the Fire TV Stick 4K’s internal storage and transfer apps to it. There is also no way to unmount the drive safely, so you have to just pull it out and deal with any consequences, or pull it out while the Fire TV Stick 4K reboots to be extra safe.

While it would be great if USB drives were handled on the Fire TV Stick 4K the same way they are handled on the Fire TV Cube, it’s not that bad because at least the OS is properly mounting the drive automatically and making its contents available to all apps. When you connect a USB drive, it will be mounted under the directory /storage/####-####/ where “#” are alpha-numeric values that are specific to that drive. If you are using Kodi, the external USB drive automatically appears in the library menu and videos, as well as other media, can be played and accessed without any issues.

It would be great if a future update to the Fire TV Stick 4K added the Fire TV Cube’s external drive handling prompts, but, for now, the only thing really missing from the Fire TV Stick 4K is the ability to move apps to external storage. That’s pretty good for a device that technically doesn’t officially support 3rd-party USB devices.

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23 comments
  1. Flokic says:

    How come you’re recommending Ugreen and not Smays? Not compatible?

    • AFTVnews says:

      The Smays adapter connects via micro USB and not full-sized USB, like the Ugreen adapter does. This makes the Smays not ideal for the Fire TV Stick 4K because it means that you can’t use the stock power adapter that comes with the Fire TV Stick 4K. The Smays is great for the Fire TV Cube, because you don’t need to pass power through the adapter, but for the Fire TV Stick 4K, I think it’s best to use a regular OTG cable, the Ugreen adapter, and the stock power adapter.

      • AFTVnews says:

        I just checked and Smays now makes an adapter that uses a full-sized USB plug. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FXW4RNF/
        I haven’t tried it, but it should work just as well as the Ugreen adapter with an OTG cable.

        • TB says:

          FWIW, I tried my new Firestick 4k with that exact Smays powered USB Hub/Ethernet adapter. While it fucntioned as expected (USB ports worked and it recognized my hardwired network cable, I also experience frequent intermittent reboots of the Firestick 4k. After dealing with that for a few hours on my first night with the new Firestick I disconnected the Smays hub and went back to the psu that came with the Firestick, no reboots since.

          So, while the Smays unit will power a Firestick 4k, I don’t think the power pass-through circuit is robust enough to consistently deliver the expected power to the stick.

          • Flokic says:

            Interesting, so this new Stick needs more power than the Pendant and the previous Stick? I guess so cause people on the Smays product page on Amazon say it works great with those devices.

      • Flokic says:

        Hmm, I thought using the Smays 5V DC-in power cable that comes with the Smays adapter, plugged to the Amazon power adapter would do the trick. Smays writes on the amazon page of the adapter: “5V DC-in power cable – It’s an external power which is supply power to 3 hubs and TV stick”. But I get that even if it works, it’s probably more advisable to power the Stick directly instead of through the adapter.

  2. FlickFreak says:

    I would suggest the UGREEN USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Network Adapter (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LLUEJFU/) instead of the UGREEN adapter listed above. You won’t get USB 3.0 transfer speeds but you get upgraded to a gigabit ethernet port and you can approach 400Mb/s instead of being limited to the 100Mb/s on the USB 2.0 version above. Makes streaming 4K content over a wired connection much more reliable.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I haven’t verified that the USB 3.0 version works, so I didn’t want to mention it in case it doesn’t work with Fire TV devices.

      • FlickFreak says:

        I can confirm that it works just fine. I’ve used mine on both my Fire TV Stick gen.2 and my Fire TV Stick 4K. Works without a hitch and I get about 380 Mb/s with it versus about 95 Mb/s with a 10/100 ethernet adapter.

        • Gabriel Perez says:

          Can you show a setup of how you set up your ethernet adapter through the fire stick 4K TV I’m thinking of getting one and also did you use OTG cable and hooked.It up with ethernet adapter 3.0 on Wi-Fi right now it runs about 180 megabytes per hour wondering if it could increase with ethernet adapter

          • ShadowFalls says:

            Gabriel Perez, the only reason to not use Wi-Fi is if you are concerned about the reliability of your connection and if your router isn’t capable. Even the wifi chip in the original Fire TV stick could have handled 4K streaming if the rest of the device was capable.

        • Gabriel Perez says:

          Please could u give me a setup with ethernet hub 3.0 to run with fire 4k stick?? would like to set mine that way?

        • ShadowFalls says:

          Ya, but it only really matters if you are transferring data over the network. You don’t need even half of 100mbit/s to stream 4K content. So triple the speed there… does you nothing. I don’t see how you came to a conclusion it is difference maker when it comes to streaming media. A good many people these days don’t even have a 100mbit internet connection…

    • Nick says:

      I don’t understand how this product works. I purchased it but don’t see how you get power and Ethernet to the stick at the same time. What am I missing?

  3. Jeff says:

    Would have been nice if they would have increased the storage capacity of the 4K stick. As it stands now, it has even less available than the FireTV 3rd generation boxes and the previous FireTV stick

  4. Luthersman says:

    Is it still only drives formatted fat32?

  5. Chris Balfour says:

    Can anyone confirm if you have an option on the 4K stick to forget the Ethernet network like you do on the fire tv 3? I have a bug on my fire tv 2 where I can’t forget the network as the option isn’t there. I have a problem setting DNS and need to forget the network to set up from the start. Instead the Ethernet is just found immediately and then the changing of DNS through “configure network” isn’t working.

  6. JMR says:

    Has anyone successfully used a USB DAC to get analog audio output? I am able to connect my ODAC to my FTV2 through the nice, full-size USB port, and it works perfectly!

    When I try the same thing on the FireTV Cube through the microUSB using an OTG adapter, I hear a pop from my speakers, so I know it’s providing power to the DAC, but it doesn’t send an audio signal.

    I’m assuming the Fire Stick 4K will have the same problem.

    Seriously, how is it possible that my FireTV2 is still the best and fastest FTV three years after its release?

    • OG Charlie says:

      Amazon abandoned their delusion of going after the gaming market and pivoted to good enough devices priced to move maximum units. Similar to their tablet ambitions.

      Even the Nvidia Shield is 3 years old at this point with no hint at new hardware on the horizon.

  7. SIlverBlade says:

    Can the Fire TV Stick 4K read NTFS formatted drives? Fat32 is too limiting since it has a 4 gig limit.

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