How to move and run Amazon Fire TV apps from an External USB Storage Drive

usb-external-app-header

This guide will show you how to mount an external drive to your Amazon Fire TV via the devices USB port. Either a flash/thumb drive or external hard drive will work. We will then show you how to move apps from the devices internal storage to the external drive, freeing up valuable internal storage space while leaving the app fully functional.

Before we get started, you should know that this guide does not move the entire app, but rather, it only moves the apps data/obb files. This is fine for most properly developed apps as the majority of an apps used space is taken up by data. Using GTA: San Andreas as an example, of the 2.47GB the game occupies, only 90MB is non-data and will be left on the Fire TV.

Prerequisite…

  1. Your Amazon Fire TV will need to be rooted. You can do so by following our guide.
  2. You will need a mouse for one of the steps.
  3. [OPTIONAL] If you are using a USB mouse, a simple USB Hub makes things simpler so that you can have both your mouse and external drive plugged in at the same time. Otherwise you will need to swap the mouse and the drive a few times.

First, install StickMount and mount your external drive…

  1. Download StickMount using the evozi APK Downloader
  2. Sideload StickMount onto your Fire TV.
  3. Plug your USB thumb drive or hard drive into your Fire TV
  4. Launch StickMount
    firetvscreenshot_20140615-194327
  5. Select “OK” to allow StickMount to download some helpful add-ons
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-124610
  6. Select the “Mount” menu option.
    firetvscreenshot_20140615-192342
  7. Grant StickMount permission.
    firetvscreenshot_20140615-192350
  8. StickMount will display a message indicating the drive has been mounted. Pay attention to the mount location. It should be “/sdcard/usbStorage/sda1”. If you miss the message, you can select “Unmount” and then select “Mount” again to re-display the message.
    firetvscreenshot_20140615-192357

 

Second, install and setup FolderMount and move the app…

  1. Download FolderMount using the evozi APK Downloader
  2. Sideload FolderMount onto your Fire TV.
  3. NOTE: The free version of FolderMount allows you to move 3 apps. To move unlimited apps, you must unlock the pro version via a $1.99 in-app purchase with the Google Play Store installed or by buying a license on the developers website.
  4. Launch FolderMount
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-175859
  5. Select “Grant” to give FolderMount root permission
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-175905
  6. Select “Apps analyzer” from the upper right menu to bring up a list of installed apps.
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-180128
  7. Select the app you want to move to external storage. We’re moving GTA: San Andreas for this guide.
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-185149
  8. Select “Create pair” next to the data type you want to move. For GTA: San Andreas it’s the top “data” option.
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-185211
  9. Select “NO” when asked if you’d like the destination folder created automatically
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-185229
  10. This is where you will need the mouse we mentioned in the “Prerequisite” section. Click the “Destination” field with the circle mouse cursor.
    (If you don’t have both a mouse and your external drive plugged in together with a USB hub, you will need to press the Home button, unmount the drive from StickMount, plug your mouse in, and return to FolderMount. Unplug the mouse and remount the drive once this step is complete as you will not need the mouse again.)
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-185251
  11. Open the upper right menu
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-185317
  12. Select “/ path”
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-185321
  13. Click “OK” to dismiss the warning
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-185328
  14. Navigate to the following directory:
    storage > emulated > 0 > usbStorage > sda1
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-182051
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-210120
  15. Select the Folder+ icon in the upper right to create a new folder on your external drive
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-210306
  16. Enter a descriptive folder name to identify the app being moved and select “OK”. This folder will house the moved app files.
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-210419
  17. Select the Check Mark in the upper right
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-210706
  18. Select the Check Mark in the upper right once again
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-210835
  19. Select “YES” to move the app files from your Fire TV internal storage to your external drive
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-211056
  20. IMPORTANT: AT this point, files are being copied over from internal storage to external storage even though there is no indication of this happening on the screen. It is important not to move forward until all files have been copied. For a large app like GTA, this will take several minutes. If your drive has an activity light, it should stop flashing once the transfer is complete. You can also verify that the file copy is done by seeing the list of files in the destination folder by running this command:
    adb shell ls -al /sdcard/usbStorage/sda1/gtasa/files/
    Replace gtasa with whatever you named your folder in step 16. This command displays a list of all the files (and their file sizes) in the destination folder. You may run this command as many times as you want. Once the file list and file sizes stop changing, then you know the file copy is complete.
  21. Once the files are all copied, use the upper left menu to head back and select “List of pairs”
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-190336
  22. Select the thumbtack icon in the upper right to mount your moved files
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-190353
  23. When mounted, the thumbtack icon will be green instead of white. When mounted, the Fire TV will think the files are still in their original location (/sdcard/Android/data/). This is how you “trick” the Fire TV into using app files from the external drive.
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-190405
  24. Your app data is now moved and the app should still be fully functional.

 

How to safely disconnect the external drive

  1. Launch FolderMount
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-175859
  2. Select the crossed out thumbtack to unmount the files (Thumbtack in list will turn white)
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-191101
  3. Launch StickMount
    firetvscreenshot_20140615-194327
  4. Select “Unmount”
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-191152
  5. You may now safely disconnect your external drive. You should not launch any apps moved to the external drive while the drive is disconnected or unmounted.

 

How to move files back to internal storage from an external drive

  1. Launch FolderMount
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-175859
  2. Select the crossed out thumbtack to unmount files
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-191101
  3. Highlight the app you want to move back, then press and hold select on the remote (i.e., long-press)
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-191346
  4. Select the trash can icon in the upper right
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-191357
  5. Confirm deletion by selecting “YES”
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-191407
  6. Select “YES” to move all files for this app from the external drive back to the Fire TV’s internal storage
    firetvscreenshot_20140623-191413

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43 comments
  1. KillerJoe says:

    Whats the point of How to safely disconnect the external drive?

    What happens with we don’t do this and just unplug the drive? Or just unmount with stickmount?

    Thanks for the guide. Very helpful

    • AFTVnews says:

      When both StickMount and FolderMount are in “mounted” mode, there are reference in the Fire TV’s file system to the external drive. If you just pull the drive without unmounting, those references are still in place but now don’t work. It might be fine to just pull the drive, but I wouldn’t recommend it or risk it.

    • Lennie Paz says:

      I’m trying to mount a 32GB flash drive from Microcenter, and when I click on mount, I get the message saying the drive is mounted. When I go to storage in ES File Explorer, the drive isn’t showing up. I have tried formatting it to NTFS and FAT32, and I am rooted. Any idea why this isn’t working for me?

  2. DR says:

    Thanks #fireTVnews, much awaited one! Thanks again for helping the FTV community.

  3. Stephen says:

    Another great guide! Thanks for putting it together. I’ll will be trying it out tonight. With GTA, MC4, and Asphalt, the internal memory is already maxed out so this is a nice way to boost it back up.

    I think my Fire TV is almost completely setup now, just following the guys over at XDA about getting a sideloaded apps on the homepage (without the llama technique) and it looks like they are making lots of progress. Thanks again for the guide.

  4. hdmkv says:

    Great guide, detailed steps. As for prerequisites however, is it necessary to install SuperSU and BusyBox? I rooted via towelroot in order to push a custom icon for XBMC. Didn’t need to install SuperSU and BusyBox, so wondering if they’re needed for above? Thanks.

    • AFTVnews says:

      It’s generally a bad idea to root a device and not instal SuperSU. Without SuperSU, any application is free to gain escalated privileges. But to answer your question, no, SuperSU shouldn’t be needed. I don’t think StickMount or FolderMount are dependent on BusyBox, so this should work without that either. BusyBox is often assumed to be present with apps that require root, so I could be wrong. I’d love to hear your results if you try this without either app.

  5. Mike says:

    Do you know if the upcoming update will undo all of this?

  6. Shawn says:

    Does the external drive need to be powered?

    I have a 500GB drive with USB power only and it mounts no problem, but when trying to create a directory to move apps, I get a permission denied. I’m stuck and any ideas would be appreciated.

  7. Kevin says:

    Why don’t all the installed apps show up? For instance NBA2k14 is installed and takes up 786 mb but when I run foldermount apps analyzer it shows as 0B for the size and will not let me move it to the external storage.

    Great site keep it up!

    • AFTVnews says:

      It appears that NBA2k14 stores all of it’s files as “Application” and not “Data”. You can verify this by going into Settings > Applications on the Fire TV and scrolling down to NBA2k14. You will see two sub-sections under “Storage” for each app. Unfortunately, you can only move “data” with this method.

  8. John Merrill says:

    I’m not really interested in moving apps. I would like to use an external HD with FireTV XBMC. I have been using a thumb drive for this and it works great. If you use audio pass-thru to a receiver the DTS quality is amazing. Kills my Plex/Mac Mini setup. And fast!

    So I would like to use a HD to add more storage. How well would a USB powered device work? Am I better off with a powered one?

  9. CYOUTH858 says:

    You need to update directions to reflect the fact that the original directories need to be manually removed to actually free up the space on the FTV.

    • AFTVnews says:

      That’s incorrect. When you select “Yes” in step 19, the files are moved and deleted from the Fire TV. When you mount the files in step 22, the files will appear to be back on the Fire TV, but they actually are not. There is no need to manually delete files from the Fire TV.

  10. Chris says:

    folder mount won’t work on the installed Play Store as it says it is not compatible with the device. The Play Store installed on the Amazon Fire has VERY limited number of available apps

  11. Chris says:

    Had to use 1Mobile to download the FolderMount as Google Play is pretty useless on the Fire Tv as it has such limited apps on the store available to the Fire Tv. There is no point in installing the Play Store, you can get pro version through 1Mobile which have 3 times the content of the Play Store because Play is just so damn limited to Fire Tv.

  12. Chris says:

    Does not work. It doesn’t add any addons and when I click mount the light on my USB drive turns on but nothing happens. when I click it again it says mount server is busy, please try again later, but nothing ever happens. Have it formatted to FAT32

  13. Chris says:

    God Stickmount working but Foldermount Pro won’t detect my USB drive. I’m running the latest pro version. When I click the setting part on the upper right the path option is not there.

  14. jose says:

    doing all the step by step guide, I can put my movies in mkv format and save them on xbmc?

  15. chris says:

    great guide thanks! i have a nfs share setup in my place and am not planning to connect storage to the firetv. can i use this to install apps to a nfs share. firetv has full r/w access to it.

    cheers!

  16. Matt says:

    Thanks for tutorial everything is working great. I’m not sure if you ran into it but I ended up buying the license for FoulderMount and placed the license into the proper directory. I attempted to validate but it keeps on failing. Did you have this issue as well? I’m thinking it’s b/c I don’t have google play installed but I’m not sure.

  17. Nabeel says:

    Thank you for your thorough guide. i have moved my XBMC as pr your guide to the external storage but have noticed no change in the AFTV intenal storage capacity. is that normal? the remaining storage is the same before and after moving XBMC.
    Please advise.

    thanks once again,

    • AFTVnews says:

      How are you determining that no change in storage has occurred? Apps which check available storage will usually report incorrect values due to how FolderMount tricks the Fire TV. However, moving an app should result in the “Storage Capacity” value increasing under Settings > System > About. Remember, only the “Data” files of XBMC will be moved. The “Application” and “Cache” values will stay on the Fire TV.

  18. Nabeel says:

    well, it did not. All data shows in the application in my case,
    The data still remained on APP as 1.45GB
    That was before and after moving XBMC.
    Is that right?

    thank you,

  19. Tom says:

    I need help. Foldermount app won’t pair with my xbmc at all. How can I fix pair problems? Let me know. Thank you

  20. Susanne says:

    I get to step 8 and then I’m stuck, as all my apps are showing 0 file size, except XBMC. Any ideas why?

    • AFTVnews says:

      Under Settings > Manage Applications, check to see if your apps store their files as “Data”, or “Application”. The method in this guide can only move app files stored as “Data”. If an app stores all of its files as “Application”, then it will show up as 0 size in FolderMount.

  21. Nabeel says:

    Reference to my last post. Every thing was perfect as far as Stickmount.
    The stickmount was working perfectly with my Toshiba usb hdd (FAT32) mounted as (sda1) with power usb hub, but on Sat and suddenly xbmc crashed with black screen. tried to launch it again and again with no luck, i uninstalled xbmc and reinstalled it again but the Stickmount is not mounting the HDD. All i get now is (sda). can you help me to fix this problem please?

    Thank you,

  22. t says:

    ok guys heres the problem with usb drives. they need power to run properly, and the aftv box may also not let it run if it needs too much power. we need to use power external usb drives or use powered usb hubs. powered usb hubs seems to be best option. my aftv box can see usb thunb drives and external powered usb drives. but no go with 2 T seagate external hard drive. get powered usb hub to start. all these drive problems go away!!!

  23. t says:

    its not the file format type. i have drives formatted to different partition types, not the case… get the power usb hubs!!!!!!!!!

  24. Dusty says:

    I followed all your instructions. For now I am using a 4 gig flash drive for the storage. I had xbmc installed and the data portion was approximately 100 megs. as It runs and downloads apps/skins and scans music, movies and photos this will grow until I get a critical low memory error from the FTV, hence me wanting to do this. The trouble is after following your instructions when I launched XBMC all my video and movie sources are gone, my data is down to 22kb but all my artwork doesnt show up and It is now running and taking up space again on the ftv, Any suggestion

  25. coops says:

    I got a bit of a problem here.
    I extracted two .obb folders with FolderMount to my usb drive and then set my aftv (running pre-rooted 51.1.4.0_514006420) back to factory settings + did wipe cache, data and dalvik in recovery.

    all runs fine except I can not enter the usb drive.
    stickmount shows it is mounting “sdcard/usbStorage/sda1″ but I can not access it, neither in ESFile Explorer nor FolderMount.
    sdcard/usbStorage/sda1 is showing the two empty .obb folders and I can not change them.

    I just reinstalled the .zip 51.1.4.0_514006420 from recovery but saw there is a lot of junk left + the same problem with the usb drive.

    how can I safely wipe to a totally clean 51.1.4.0_514006420 ?

    thank you for your great site!
    best

  26. SCal says:

    Actually i had to reboot my aftv after activating the pairs in foldermount. Also I think it is good to mention that fat32 is the best working solution as a file system. I tried ext4 and both stickmount as well as usbotghelper had problems mounting the partition.

  27. Brian says:

    Just curious if anyone has run into an issue on instruction 16 where FolderMount says “Create folder failed. Permissions issue?”

    Powered USB hub.
    128Gb SSD formatted EXT4.

    Should I create the folder myself outside of the app?

    • Ray says:

      Having the same issue

      Tried using just foldermount, worked well without issues but then when launching the game, it wanted to download data, so StickMount is a must.

      Hopefully Elias can shine some light on this for us (I’m running latest RBox firmware on 1st gen and USB drive was formatted by the FTV itself)

  28. Iggy says:

    Is there a way to do this with the new update without root?

  29. Bob says:

    Do I need foldermount if I’m not pushing over app’s but just want to store movie’s on the drive? Can I just use mount? TY

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