Amazon Fire TV & Stick can now monitor data usage and alert you when you’ve reached a data cap

The new software update has just started rolling out to all Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models and, apart from bringing the new interface to older devices, it adds a new option to monitor data usage on the device. In the Preferences section of the device settings is a new Data Monitoring menu that displays the system wide data usage, as well as data usage by app. You can set a data cap value to be alerted when it’s reached and a day of the month when your data monitoring should be reset.

The new data monitoring option is disabled by default. You’ll need to go into Settings > Preferences > Data Monitoring to enable it. Once enabled, you’ll have access to video quality settings, data alert settings, and a list of data usage by app. Video quality options are Best, Better, and Good. I’ll investigate video quality in a separate post.

When you select the Set Data Alert option, you’re prompted to enter a data limit in GB and the start day of the month that your monthly bill starts. Fractions are accepted when entering a data limit value, so you aren’t limited to 1 GB increments. The idea is the Fire TV will track how much data it uses from the start of your billing cycle to the end. On the day of the month that you enter for the start of your bill, data tracking will automatically reset and start again from zero.

When the Fire TV has used the data amount you’ve set as a limit, a message telling you so will be displayed. The Fire TV will not disable itself or do anything different once the data limit has been reached. This is strictly a notification only, so it’s up to the user to decide to stop using additional data. I don’t believe the message will reappear again until the next time the data limit is reached during the next billing cycle.

Once a data limit is set, a bar chart showing total system data usage during the current month will appear. This allows you to easily see, at any time, how much data has been consumed during the current billing cycle.

Selecting the Monthly Top Data Usage menu option will display a list of data consumption used by each app. In addition to displaying data usage by apps you’ve installed, the list also shows data usage by Amazon Video, Prime Photos, the Fire TV Home interface, the Fire TV System, and the Amazon appstore.

While home internet data caps are thankfully not too common in the US, they are fairly common in other countries. With the Fire TV expected to launch in additional countries soon, being able to monitor its data usage will be more necessary.

  1. HeyRadar says:

    This would only be useful if it could retrieve the data from my router.

    • Richard says:

      Since it can’t retrieve that data, you are indicating it’s not useful at all?

      I know for my dad at least, who only does email on his computer, yet recently blew through his (grr comcast) data cap solely from using fire tv (between him and his brother, who share a house)… I’d find this super helpful. For no other reason than to convince them to stop leaving hulu or netflix running when the leave for the day.

      I agree a router-based service that monitors all traffic is the best… of course at least comcast gives you this info on your account page–not sure about other providers.

      But I’m not knocking amazon for giving us this helpful info,

  2. Richard says:

    I’m MUCH more interested in the “set video quality”… is that new too?

  3. D G says:

    Seems like this is something that should be turned off if you are running KODI and alike. Just saying

    • Eugene Stilianopoulos says:


      • D G says:

        It is keeping track of your stats per app, and if you think that will be private, well.. If you sideloaded any questionable app to copyrighted movies, they got you. Oh yeah you just use Kodi and alike for a media center, right

  4. 2WhlWzrd says:

    It’s a shame that in America, we have to have features like this because
    of the fleecing by Telcos and ISPs.

  5. Lisa says:

    This is probably a Rookie question but I just noticed my data usage skyrocketed. If I put it on sleep mode does it still eat data?

    • Diane says:

      I read that putting it in sleep mode would stop the data usage, but pressing any button on the remote would wake it up and that the high usage was due to Amazon downloading things you might like. They said to either put it in sleep mode or just unplug the stick from the power source. Unplugging from the power source means completely disconnecting ALL the parts of the stick: the part that plugs into the tv, the part that supplies the power (the longer part(power adapter, extender cable,micro-usb, etc. I just unplugged it from the tv and my t-mobile hot spot still showed it was connected to the hot spot. When I unplugged all the parts, it disconnected from the hot spot. Inconvenient, but stopped my data usage to the tune of 30GB per month. I did this as it was likely that someone would wake it up by accident.

      • Nicole says:

        So I’m sure this is a dumb question but by pressing ” ANY button to wake up” from sleep mode include the tv power button?

        I at first didn’t think it would but we end up blowing thru our 100gigs within 2 weeks. So, I bought an extension cord that has a button on it to either put on the floor or on my tv stand which will turn the power off to the fire stick. I mainly used it previously for my Christmas tree lights but thought it would be better used for the power supply to my fire stick. That way I don’t have to go thru the trouble of plugging and unplugging it from my tv. ** This is an easier option for those people in this situation **

  6. Tiff says:

    How fast will 1gb of data run out? New to this

  7. Michael Robinson says:

    What a hassle unplugging the amazon fire TV every night from the surge suppressor strip . I went to settings for sleep mode and set it to never but am still leery about running the usage up with our Antietam broadband service in Maryland We also had a Telco charge on one our credit cards . Our data usage went from 10 mbps to 400 mbps the first month of having this new TV

  8. Deborah Zoe Fellows says:

    Does the fire stick continue to uses data even when the TV is turned off?
    Does it continue if the TV source is set to DirecTV or a DVD player and not the internet?

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