Fire TV Smart TVs, like those made by Toshiba, Insignia, Pioneer, or even Amazon’s own Omni and 4-Series TVs, can end up in a weird limbo situation where the remote control isn’t fully paired but most remote functions still work. The result is a remote that works but feels strangely slow or delayed. A symptom, for example, is pressing and holding a direction button to scroll through a long list, but instead of quickly zipping through the list, the Fire TV steps through each item slowly, one by one. Here is how to figure out if your remote controller is in this limbo mode and how to fix it.
Unlike stand-alone Fire TV remotes, like those for the Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube, the remotes of Fire TV Smart TVs can wind up in an IR-only mode, which causes the sluggish behavior described above. The preferred mode is a Bluetooth+IR mode, which results in full functionality and regular snappy behavior. IR-only mode exists because the remote needs to be able to turn the TV on when the TV is fully off, like when it first gets plugged in, which can’t happen through Bluetooth. Sometimes, the remote ends up reverting back to IR-only mode.
The simplest way to determine if your Fire TV Smart TV remote is in IR-only mode, is to press the Alexa / Microphone button at the top of the remote while your TV is turned on. If nothing happens, meaning, a blue light bar does not appear on the screen when the button is pressed, then the remote is in IR-only mode. This is because the remote needs to be connected via Bluetooth for the Alexa / Microphone button to work.
To get your remote out of IR-only mode, you need to pair it to your Fire TV Smart TV. This is done by navigating to Settings, which is the gear icon at the end of the main navigation menu. Don’t use the Settings (gear icon) button on your remote, because that loads a different settings menu. If, for some reason, your remote is so unresponsive that you can’t navigate to Settings, one trick is to connect any USB keyboard to the USB port on the back of the TV and use the arrow and enter/return keys to navigate through the Fire TV interface.
One in settings, select the “Controllers & Bluetooth Devices” menu. Then, select the first option for remotes and then select the “Add New Remote” option. Follow the onscreen instructions for pairing your remote, which involves holding the HOME button on your remote for 10 seconds. Once your remote is paired, press the Alexa / Microphone button to verify that it is connected via Bluetooth.