Fire TV gains new web-based virtual remote and keyboard for quick and simple control from anywhere

The latest Fire TV software update has made some annoying changes, but it has also made some good changes. One of those changes is the addition of an extremely easy to use virtual keyboard and basic remote that can be accessed by any web browser. While the Fire TV mobile app has existed for quite a while to serve as a virtual Fire TV remote, it can be cumbersome and slow to use, especially if all you want to do is type a single long password. While the new browser-based alternative keyboard/remote isn’t as capable as the Fire TV Remote app, it makes up for it in speed and simplicity.

When the Fire TV on-screen keyboard appears, a new QR code now appears next to it. You can ignore the QR code and continue using the on-screen keyboard as usual, but if it bothers you, you’re out of luck because there doesn’t appear to be any way to close or remove it. Scanning the QR code with your phone’s camera or a QR code app will load a webpage in your phone’s browser under the keyboard.amazonfiretvapp.com domain.

The webpage that loads will immediately be able to control your Fire TV, as each QR code is unique to each Fire TV. There is no need to log in on the website or enter a verification code of some sort like you must do when using the Fire TV Remote app for the first time. Just scan the QR code to load the corresponding website and you’ll be controlling your Fire TV with your phone within seconds.

The unique URL encoded in the QR code can be copied and pasted to any device with a browser and it will work. If you have a laptop or desktop computer near your Fire TV, you can bookmark the URL and open it in a browser tab anytime you want to control your Fire TV using your computer’s mouse and keyboard. Controlling the Fire TV through the website even works if the device loading the URL is not on the same home network as the Fire TV. If a non-tech savvy friend or relative needs help with their Fire TV, you can bookmark their QR code URL and control their Fire TV over a video call with them from anywhere.

As mentioned, this new virtual remote isn’t as capable as the full-fledged Fire TV Remote app in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It only has directional up/down/left/right buttons and a select button. Unfortunately, it’s missing the Back, Home, and Menu buttons that are fairly crucial to effectively navigating around apps and the Fire TV interface. If the on-screen keyboard is being displayed on the Fire TV, a text entry field will be present on the virtual remote website for easy text entry using your phone or computer’s keyboard. You can even paste text into the text field to easily enter things like long passwords or URLs.

It’s unclear what you would do if someone who you don’t want to have control manages to scan your QR code since there doesn’t appear to be a way to revoke or disable control. Restarting the Fire TV doesn’t change the QR code and the URL I bookmarked on my computer a day ago can still be used to control the Fire TV, even when it is asleep. While it’s highly unlikely for someone truly nefarious to use this to attack or exploit your Fire TV, I can easily see roommates, friends, or family members using this to prank and annoy each other.

While the Fire TV Remote app is great if you need a full-fledged remote control replacement, this new browser-based keyboard and simple remote is handy and better for things like quickly copying and pasting a password or filling out a one-time form. I don’t know if the unique QR code URL that controls each Fire TV ever expires and, therefore, needs to be rescanned periodically, but, if it does stay functional for a while, it’s handy enough to keep bookmarked for when you need to quickly enter some text. I’d just like to see more navigation buttons added and a way to manually revoke control.

Update

It does appear that the QR code, and associated URL, do stop working and change over time. This means you cannot simply bookmark the URL and control the device indefinitely.

21 comments
  1. xnamkcor says:

    Finally. Just what I wanted. A new hole in my security.

  2. Jeff says:

    Awesome! Too bad it hasn’t worked every time I’ve tried with my phone.

  3. Matt Rizzo says:

    Since the new Amazon update breaks the mouse toggle capability, would this new feature here allow me to open up the webpage on my phone or tablet where I could complete those mouse toggle functions?

    Thanks.

  4. Rik Emmett says:

    The remote app also triggers the find my remote feature for the Pro remote which is a great feature.

  5. Raymond says:

    I am lazy I would prefer if when I open the app the keyboard would pop up by itself without me having to tap to make the keyboard appear

  6. Martin says:

    Whats the point? the blooming app has a remote so if you have your phone, you have a remote!

  7. eyloiw says:

    This is great with the saving of URL part. I use vysor whenever I need to reconfigure kodi or do a lot of typing. This will let me skip that and just use my keyboard.

  8. fire_user says:

    Saw this 2 days ago and loved it! Finally!

  9. James Gauthier Jr. says:

    Works great on Fire TV Gen 3 Pendant. Fire TV Stick 4K Max Gen 2 never connects . It sticks at “Connecting” Fails with Ethernet or WiFi connection. Both devices on same network, accessed by Samsung Galaxy A53 5G. Took pictures of the code three timesand got the same URL.

    Am I missing a setting I should change?

    • Joana says:

      Have you attempted to initiate a reboot of your Fire TV Stick 4K Max Gen 2? Typically, the act of restarting proves efficacious in resolving issues of this nature.

  10. Ian King says:

    This would be wonderful, if it accurately appeared on my FireTV Cube. But it does not.

    Also, the keyboard on my iPhone FireTV iPhone app does NOT appear on my iPhone. Why?

  11. James L. Gauthier Jr. says:

    Thanks for your suggestion. Reboot had not helped. The problem turns out to be the OTG cable which connects a USB hub and ethernet to the FTV stick 4K Max Gen 2. It works just fine WITHOUT the OTG cable.

    I also found it works fine on FTV Stick 4K Max Gen 1, but not on the older 4K stick. Looks like I’ll leave the Max Gen 2 on WiFi without the hub.

  12. David Stewart says:

    I don’t get the QR code on my Fire TV.

  13. bajjohn says:

    I can’t remotely paste text into the text field to easily enter things like long passwords or URLs.

  14. Zank says:

    Wish they at least made an API available for mouse since the ADB bridge update killed legitimate paid mouse apps such as Zank Remote that could’ve been updated to work using it instead of the ADB hacks…

    • Mustafa Nassef says:

      I have an idea for mouse toggle but I am not a developer to execute it.
      Silk browser already has that circle mouse function like the one used by mouse toggle, what if there is an app that can have the same like silk browser and can work on other apps, the original app would be in background and its circle i flying over the screen over any app.
      There has to be a way to bypass local adb because this is really annoying, it rips many apps functions.

  15. Mustafa Nassef says:

    I have an idea for mouse toggle but I am not a developer to execute it.
    Silk browser already has that circle mouse function like the one used by mouse toggle, what if there is an app that can have the same like silk browser and can work on other apps, the original app would be in background and its circle is flying over the screen over any app.
    There has to be a way to bypass local adb because this is really annoying, it rips many apps functions.

  16. Chuck333 says:

    It seems that the QR code doesn’t appear anymore in neither my Firestick nor my Fire TV. :-(

  17. It looks like Amazon removed this! I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I wish they’d stop with all these updates. They’re shooting themselves in the foot lately.

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