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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56 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…

        • Sebastian Hincapie says:

          Hey thanks for letting us now that. Can you tell me please if you are using the UGREEN AC to DC Adapter to power it or you just plug an extra micro USB Host OTG adapter to pass thru the power from the Fire Stick’s power adapter? Ty for your answer, I’m trying to get a similar setup.

    • 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?

    • Jeremiah says:

      What otg cable would you recommend?

  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.

    • Richard says:

      Since you are not using it as intended I would think any attempt to do stuff like that would ruin the stick, and I for one would not comfortable giving advice that could hurt your equipment, and if its making a popping sound this means power is either not being distributed properly, or in less than appropriate amounts. If I where you, I would enjoy the product as intended and not in any why it was not. It’s foolish to try and do more than was intended by a device, engineers work hard to ensure it handles the load it was given and not more. In my opinion trying to get a Honda Civic to preform like a Ferrari, is silly and irresponsible. Please enjoy your firestick 4k and use it as it was intended.

  7. SIlverBlade says:

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

  8. HG says:

    Hummm, unable to get the System Info screen in your write up.

    The My Fire TV/About/Storage screen simply shows the Internal Space. Couldn’t get USB drive to show up. Ironically, when I UNPLUG said USB drive, a warning appears in the lower right about USB drive removed! Using the only available Explorer App (ES Explorer no longer supported in the Fire TV Stick 4k?), also not seeing any USB (FAT32) drive.

    To add to the frustration, with strong broadband speed (100+) and strong wi-fi signal (granted not 802.11ac), somehow cannot get Youtube to play @ 4k! Speed showing 25-37mbps but refuses to go beyond 2560×1440. I know it’s the Fire because all other capable systems (TVs, other boxes) plays Youtube at 4K with identical wifi.

    • TB says:

      I am having the same problem! I get warnings about the USB drive disconnected every time I plug it in. Sometime the drive will still work fine and be accessible by Apps (I use X-plore, sideloaded, as my file manager app) but other times I have to unplug and re-plug the USB drive multiple times until the Firestick will recognize it. I’ve tried this with multiple OTG adapters and USB hubs, and still experience this problem. Its not the USB drive’s fault either, I’ve seen the same thing happen with an air mouse and a USB gaming controller on my Firestick 4k.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t found a fix yet.

      • HG says:

        I assume you also do not get the “System Info – Storage” page (last diagram) in the above write up listing the USB drive? Something must ve gotten changed by Amazon from the release used in the article to the most current. Firmware? OS?

    • Richard says:

      First ES Explorer is fullly supported by firestick 4k, I use it all the time and with no issues. Why are you telling people something that is just not true. What is not supported is the Use of USB external drives, the EX Expolorer works fine. Any issues you are experiencing with ES Explorer may be from damage from trying to connect devices that are not supposed to be connected. Using a device in ways not intended by the engineers is fool hearty and this may very well be the issue you have with software now not working, as you damaged the internals and Es explorer now is having a hard time reading your internal memory and storage. I warn many for you pirate lords, that attempting to use this device to pirate and store mass media movies will not only get your equipment ruined, but a very big potential in going to jail. Amazon is learning from its mistakes in the past allowing mass media storage to work and they are now shutting that down as they do not want to promote piracy of copyrighted material. I for one do not blame them and hope they do in further and completely shut down all external storage. If the device is used as intended it has all the memory and storage needed. Next point, it was not intended to be used with youtube, since many people are trying to circumvent this by using a browser and then going to YouTube, well you get what you get, 4k is not guaranteed, if the browser you are using supports 4k well you might get it, considering firestick 4k does not support youtube, this would be a very large reason. I say again, used as intended firestick 4k, works very well and I have no issues using ES Explorer and other apps from working, I only use the device as intended, I suggest others follow suit and they will not destroy a very nicely put together unit.

  9. Mike says:

    I have the latest Fire TV Stick 4k, what it takes to mount a NTFS external hard drive for Kodi to recognize it ? I thought it was straight when i bought the stick but i realize i can’t find the hardrive after mounting it through OTG USB

  10. Mark Smith says:

    Hi everyone,

    Do you know of any restrictions or differences surrounding OTG support for the new Fire TV Stick 4K?

    I ask because I’m having problems with the OTG + Xbox Wireless Controller Receiver Setup that was working fine for me on the last gen product (diamond dongle 3g edition).

    Kind of annoying to upgrade and lose functionality!

    Thank you!

  11. Jimmy says:

    Does it matter if you use the ugreen 2.0 or can you use the 3.0 as well. I’m not fussy on Wi-Fi as an only option and would also like to hook up a wireless keyboard. So this looks like a good option just not sure on which model ugreen to use 2.0 or 3.0 thanks

    • cdlenfert says:

      Unless your goal is to get maximum speed on large file transfers, the 2.0 Ugreen device would be totally adequate and save you money. One scenario where going with 3.0 might be a good choice is if you plan to use the UGreen for other devices like computers as well, then you may be glad of the extra speed 3.0 can offer.

  12. Nick says:

    So I’m having an intermittent audio stutter problem. I’m using the 4k stick with the OTG cable and the UGREEN USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Network Adapter. I’m (obviously) running of an ethernet connection with this device (not wifi).

    Every so often (often enough to be annoying but not every time) when playing back a video (source doesn’t matter, happens on youtube, nbc news, cbs, A&E, etc.) the audio will begin to stutter. The video is fine, just the audio is messed up.

    Reboots and power downs haven’t fixed (permanently). A reboot will fix the problem but it comes back again eventually. Pausing the video for a minute (maybe more maybe less… I haven’t experimented yet with time) also fixes the problem and the audio is fine once play is resumed.

    Wondering if I have a bumb stick or something. :-(

  13. Jim Carter says:

    The description of the UGREEN Ethernet Adapter with a built-in USB hub mentions nothing about the pictured micro USB adapter shown in the picture included with this article. How can that product be obtained?

  14. Tom says:

    It sucks that some apps cannot access my USB drive to download files.
    I get the “Access denied” message, where it works fine with the same USB drive on the 2.gen Fire TV stick or the Total Commander app…
    I think its because of the Android 7.1 based OS…am not sure..
    Does it work for anyone? Any advice?

  15. Dan Duke says:

    What about if I connect a power adapter which is 5V and 3A using the OTG cable will this be ok for the firestick and also power my external usb harddrive ?

  16. Cory says:

    Has anyone addressed the format question or storage limits? What is the maximum capacity for external storage? Does this storage have to be in FAT32 format only?

  17. Fayyaz says:

    Hi there,
    I have an outlet powered external usb drive, and when connecting to the 4K fire tv stick using an OTG cable it powers up but isn’t recognised by the fire tv. When I use a regular usb hard drive in the same way it works but not with the external usb drive.
    Any suggestions

    • Sandra says:

      Hi.. I’m having the same issue but I didn’t understand the second part of your question… ‘When I use a regular usb hard drive in the same way it works but not with the external usb drive.” what did you mean by that? A regular USB?

      • Fayyaz says:

        Regular meaning my LaCie 1TB usb hard drive which works and is recognised when i use it with VLC player/Archos Media Player.
        The outlet powered external hard drive doesn’t get recognised when plugging it in.
        Hope you understand.

        • Sandra says:

          Hi Fayyaz, thanks for the reply. I understand what you wrote… Does the firestick recognize the LaCie HD? I guess I was trying to understand what was being recognized and if it was the aftv. I haven’t yet figured out how to get my 4k stick to recognize any USB drive. Your HD was recognized based on power source from what I gathe; was it Amazon by the Amazon firestick 4k?
          How this makes sense.
          S.

        • Sandra says:

          Hi Fayyaz, thanks for the reply. I understand what you wrote… Does the firestick recognize the LaCie HD? I guess I was trying to understand what was being recognized and if it was the aftv. I haven’t yet figured out how to get my 4k stick to recognize any USB drive. Your HD was recognized based on power source from what I gathe; was it Amazon by the Amazon firestick 4k?
          Hope this makes sense.
          S.

          • Fayyaz says:

            Hi,
            I’m using the 4K Fire Stick. My LaCie usb hard drive doesn’t get recognised by the fire stick like it used to with my Gen1 fire tv, where it would show up in settings. It does however show up in Es file explorer and the Archos media apps I use. My wall plug powered external hard drive does not connect, I think it needs more power and I’m only using a generic otg cable.

          • Sandra says:

            Hi Fayyaz, I was able to get my 4k fire stick to recognize my USB drive. I find that I needed to unplug and then plug it back in while I had the firestick in use. That’s all it took, very odd but I’m very happy as I was getting frustrated trying to figure out what was wrong! Sometimes it can be something so simple that we look right past it, hopefully this can help our anyone else who may be struggling with the same thing I was. I appreciate your help all the same. BTW, my USB drive is powered via the otg cable I believe? I have an Otg cable; one of the 3 cables on that go to the aftv and one to the external USB hub one and one goes to the power outlet. So far all is working very smooth! :)

  18. Narvaez says:

    I bought this micro usb hub for my Firestick 4k. Here is the link:

    https://www.amazon.com/TUSITA-Adaptor-Charging-Adapter-Raspberry/dp/B00LTHBCNM

    All are doing fine. My only concern it dramatically slows down the read/write speed of my Class 4 thumbdrive by 80%. Its so annoying that it takes time to load video file because of the read speed & it buffers a lot when the file is 4k. In terms of write speed, it only write at 1mb/sec & below but when using standard micro usb otg without hub, it will write the at 5mb to 6mb per second consistently and it will load a 4k video file fast without buffering. I also used this micro usb hub in my Galaxy J7, and it’s quite the same in read/write speed it decreases the speed by 80% & up. If i buy this ugreen micro usb hub, will it fix my concern? Thank you.

  19. Rick says:

    I have a Ugreen adapter and just got a wireless mini keyboard(i8 2.4GHz) with a OTG cable trying to connect both together but when I do the lan does not power up. The fire stick powers and works but is using wifi. Is there a solution you are aware of? Is it a power issue? If so what amp output adapter is needed?

  20. Ino says:

    I have 2 gen firetvstick I used OTG cable connected usb flash drive. Works well. ES Explore see it and so does Ares wizard from Kodi.

    Then I tried same on 4k stick and ES Explorer see’s drive but I get write error mSg in kodi Ares bachup? No go what’s going on?

    Thanks ahead of time.

  21. Sualdam says:

    It worked for me.

    Just bought a 4k Fire Stick to upgrade my original. It’s much, much faster when navigating the menus.

    I was disappointed at the (still) tiny onboard storage, but then I read about using an OTG adapter to provide external capacity. I bought one off Amazon (UK) for the equivalent of well under $10.

    The memory stick needs to be FAT32 formatted, and the Fire Stick offers to do it if it isn’t.

    Once plugged in, ES File Explorer and VLC Player (the ones I’ve used to date) see the storage and the files on it. You can also set ES to automatically use VLC when opening the various file types.

    USB support on the Fire Stick is clunky compared to a regular PC or laptop, but it works.

  22. jeff says:

    I followed the advice on this page about the UGREEN usb hub and after ordering it, along with the power supply, I was informed that it is not compatible with Flirestick 4k. What a waste of money. Why mislead people?

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