Fire TV Stick 4K Max fully supports External USB Storage with ease

One big unadvertised but significant difference between the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the original Fire TV Stick 4K is how each one handles external USB storage. With the original Firestick 4K, you can connect a drive using an OTG cable and access files on that drive through 3rd-party apps, but the Fire TV operating system ignores the drive entirely. With the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max, external drives are fully supported, meaning, you can mount, format, and eject the drives. Most importantly, you can also use external drives to expand the device’s internal storage and move apps to the external drive.

If you connect a USB drive formatted with FAT32 to the micro-USB power port of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max using an OTG cable with micro-USB power, the device will mount it and add a notification declaring that the drive has limited device access. This just means that you can’t store apps on the drive in its current state, but the drive will be mounted and accessible by 3rd-party apps. Amazon labels this as a drive for “External Storage,” as opposed to a drive for “Internal Storage” which I’ll get into more further below.

FAT32 formatted drives mounted as External Storage will appear under the Fire TV Stick 4K Max’s Settings > My Fire TV > USB Drive menu. From there you can see how much of the drive’s available storage is used. You can also use this menu to safely eject the drive and can choose to format it for use as Internal Storage.

Apps, like Kodi, will be able to access any files stored on the USB drive. As mentioned, the drive must be formatted with FAT32. If you connect a drive that is not FAT32, the Fire TV will ask if you want to format it for External or Internal Storage. Selecting External Storage from the prompt will erase the drive and format it with FAT32. Like all past Fire TV models, NTFS formatted drives are not supported.

If you select Internal Storage from the formatting prompt, or you go to Settings > My Fire TV > USB Drive and select “Format to Internal Storage,” then the drive will be erased and formatted to allow Fire TV apps to be stored on the drive. Once formatted for Internal Storage, the drive cannot be used for anything else unless it is first formatted back to FAT32 or some other file system format. The Fire TV will provide a new option under the USB Drive menu to “Format to External Storage” when a drive formatted for Internal Storage is connected.

With a drive formatted for Internal Storage connected to the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, certain apps will now have a “Move to USB Storage” option in the Manage Installed Applications menu. It is up to the app developer to decide whether their app can be moved to USB storage, so many apps will not have the option. Additionally, it’s important to note that only the apps “Application” files will be moved and not the “Data” files. In the image above, you can see that Kodi is using 153 MB of “Application” storage, which can be moved to USB storage, but the 103 MB of “Data” storage must remain on the Fire TV’s internal storage.

Once an app has been moved to USB storage, a USB icon will appear next to the app in the Fire TV’s management menu. You can also filter the list of installed apps by only those stored internally or externally. An app can easily be moved back to internal storage using the same app management menu. If a USB drive with apps on it is disconnected, those apps will not be accessible until the drive is reconnected.

If you connect a USB hub to the OTG cable, or, better yet, a USB hub with OTG capabilities built-in, you can connect multiple USB devices. The Fire TV does not handle multiple USB drives too well, since the settings menu only shows the last drive you connected, but it is possible to mount and access more than one drive at the same time, as shown within Kodi in the image above. You can also connect USB peripherals, like mice and keyboards, as well as Ethernet adapters, all simultaneously.

One limitation, however, is that you cannot connect both a drive for Internal Storage (for apps) and a drive for External Storage (for media) simultaneously. The Fire TV can’t handle that and just makes the External Storage drive accessible. This means that, if you want to store apps on a USB drive, you can’t also access files on a second drive at the same time.

44 comments
  1. Patrick says:

    Why does it take them years to support such a simple feature and then they continuously improve slowly piece by piece. Just support it already it’s not hard. It’s a feature that’s been available in android for years. And it’s still supporting trashy archaic fat32.
    Has anyone tested exfat? At least that’s better than fat32.

  2. Wade N. says:

    Wonder how it will react to a mixed use USB drive, i.e. one that has one partition formatted for internal storage and one partition for external storage using exfat. I’m about to find out very shortly.

    • Wasabi says:

      Keep us posted!

      • Wade N. says:

        The 4K Max will only recognize the external partition of a mixed use USB drive, but connecting an additional drive using a compatible USB hub, allows for the formatting as extended internal space with the USB option under the My Fire TV section in settings. I wound up with two USB drives in the hub, yielding 32 GB extended internal space and 256 GB external space formatted as exFAT in order to accommodate large movie files (>4 GB).

        • DrakenFX says:

          Wait a minute, does that means 4k Max supports / recognize exFAT by default?

        • Bruce says:

          Hi Wade, I just got the 4k MAX and was wondering if there is a video for this or step by step instuctions? Also wouldnt the Max recognise the partition using adb commands? Thanks!

          • Wade says:

            You can get tutorials on expanding Firestick storage at Troypoint or TechDoctorUK. Troypoint has a more deliberate, evenly paced presentation. For a deeper dive, use TDUK but make sure you put on your seatbelt first.

        • Tom Wooden says:

          silly question? so I formatted my 64 GB USB storage to 50/50 internal and external space. So now when a check on the storage space on my FS max using manage applications external storage is listed and 30 something gigs but internal space is still listed as 3.2 space? That number did not change to 33.2 or whatever. My question is even if the internal space # did not go up, is the extra internal space There or not? Thank you in advance.

    • Ashvetenry says:

      The original Firestick 4k handles this very well- been doing it for age!

      • Coder Gee says:

        I am struggling to get this setup on my 4K.

        Some have said that the latest os update blocks the use of external storage.

  3. Luthersman says:

    What is the biggest drive it will except? Will it work with a 5tb usb powered drive or a similar size powered?

    • Wade N. says:

      FAT formatted drives will only accept a file size up to 4 GB, which many movies exceed. Using the exFAT format removes that limitation. % TB drive should work, but recommend using a compatible powered USB hub rather than an OTG cable.

    • Katie says:

      My seagate 2tb hdd back up slim plus does not connect to my 4k max no matter what I do! I have a otg cable, u green hub adapter, micro otg adapter. Curiosity Cafe on YouTube said all this equipment would work but it does not. No one gives real information on YouTube or online on exactly what to do with settings, equipment, apps that should not be running in the background or just anything like that. It’s hard and frustrating not to mention expensive and getting quick vague info like from curiosity cafe. Well he said to just connect 4k max to micro otg cable then to firestick an that does not work at all wish someone could help me for real or tell me what items I should of bought or something. I really wanted large storage but will have to maybe get a tiny drive but unsure if that can work an what steps to take. I have seen lots of different channels on YouTube most are way too complicated or vague as all hell. Not too many on 4k max anyways. I have reset and restarted the stick I got it to work briefly through xplore but it went kazoo after that so I don’t know what to do.
      I am CONFUSED
      HELP!!

      • Patrick J Foran says:

        I’ve been experimenting with this storage idea. Hers what I found out.
        Max internal is 128 gig. So that blows the idea of 1 terabyte!
        But
        You can install a 2 terabyte thumb drive!!
        It will be EXTERNAL storage only.
        And you can’t fake it by making the partition only 128 gig because the OS sees the whole drive and formats to total size. So 128 gigs is very acceptable.

      • phil says:

        Katie, you have a hardware issue, ill bet you anything. I almost lost my mind figuring the same issue out, and now it works perfectly. eliminate the u green hub adapter, try your hd directly plugged into the otg adapter. If that doesn’t work, try a different usb cable from the hd to the otg. My issue resolved itself when i simply tried a different usb cable that I had lying around. Im running a 3.5″ 2tb seagate barracuda in a: “UGREEN External Hard Drive Enclosure for 3.5 2.5 Inch SATA SSD HDD USB 3.0 to SATA III Hard Drive Case with UASP 12V Power Adapter Compatible with WD Seagate Toshiba Samsung Hitachi PS4 Xbox” the usb cable works fine on my computer, but 0% on my firestick 4k Max- Good luck, hope this helps

      • Bret Rossetter says:

        Watch Troypoint.com videos and YouTube channel he gives links for the right equipment to buy that definitely works for the USB Hub and ethernet adapter, etc…OTG cables. He’s very informative and step by step!

  4. Rik Emmett says:

    I wonder if the APK file for an app could be edited to allow it to be moved to USB storage.

  5. Peter says:

    Interesting. My Fire TV Stick 3rd 2020 never had that issue when it comes to detecting external drives formatted with FAT32. In fact my OS picked it up without any issue. Moving Apps to External Storage without 3rd party was never an issue. Now, it would be nice if we got native NTFS support, but I guess that won’t happen anytime soon.

  6. J.T. says:

    My 4k max formatted my usb drive successfully but in the My Fire TV section it indicates that it does not detect the usb drive at all. WTH do I do now!

    • Squirrel says:

      Did you ever figure this out? I get the same results. I am using a 128GB Samsung USB Flash drive. Everything appeared to go fine. After it finished formatting I don’t see the new storage anywhere.

      • Tom says:

        I’m having the same problem. My 4K Max FS said it formatted the Samsung Bar Plus 128GB as internal storage. When I look under My Fire TV > About > Storage….External Space shows as “No USB storage detected.” Still cannot find the answer.

        • ashvetenry says:

          I see no sign of my new storage either, but the adb command confirms it is there and I have successfully transferred Kodi to it via further adb commands. I now have a usb symbol by Kodi in Manage Installed Apps section.

          • Tom says:

            The Samsung Bar Plus is a partitioned usb stick. Why it comes like that I’m not sure. Maybe someone more tech oriented can explain. I tried to format it as internal storage on the 4K Max, which I thought is FAT32. It never worked. Sometimes it said ‘formatting is complete’ and the drive would show in the Fire Stick menu for a matter of seconds before it disappeared. Other times it told me the drive was not recognized and could not be formatted. Eventually, I plugged it into an iMac, erased the drive and the partitions, and formatted it as exFAT. I tried formatting it to FAT32 first by the same process on the Mac, but it wasn’t recognized by the 4K Max. On the 4K Max, I tried to format it as internal storage again as exFAT and it formatted, showing 126GB free. I thought these drives had to be formatted as FAT32 to work on the 4K Max, so I’m confused. It’s been working fine, and *knock on wood* haven’t been having any issues. I hope this helps some of you.

  7. David says:

    I am having a bit of a problem connecting my Firestick max with ethernet and usb storage. What may be the problem with my connection. With the wifi, no problem recognizing the usb drive.

  8. Tim says:

    Hi David, just went thru this with my 4k stick. Shut down any wireless connection, then using a otg cable with Ethernet, plug it into the stick and do a restart. the wired connection should be recognized.

    If and only if, this does not work, you would need to do a Factory Reset.

  9. Tom Wooden says:

    hello everyone. so i am confused here. I have a brand new 4k max FS. I have a new 64 gb samsung usb 3.0 storage. I want to download Tivi mate and use the usb sick for recording using TVmate app. So which to I set the usb stick up for, internal or external storage please.

    • Wade says:

      The 4K Max will not recognize a partitioned drive, so if you just have the one USB drive format it as internal, create a folder for recordings and point it to record there. In my own setup, I have two USB drives in a USB hub – one formatted as internal and on as external storage so I can go to either one. The file system is FAT32 so you can only capture up to a 4 GB file.

      • Tom Wooden says:

        Thanks Wade. so I did all that except for create a folder for recordings , don’t know what that is.or how to create it. Help please

        • Wade says:

          A couple of ways to do this:

          Install a file manager ( like Xplorer or MiXplorer) on the firestick which will allow you to do all the folder and file maintenance on the device itself.
          OR
          Plug the USB drive into a computer, do the file management there and re-plug it into the firesick.

          You’ll find tutorials on all this on Troypoint, TDUK, or YouTube.

      • Ashvetenry says:

        The changes are very frustrating. My old 2nd gen firestick recognised my Western Digital 1TB hard drive no worries, but couldn’t extend internal storage. My 4k will not recognise this drive at all, but does recognise a partitioned usb drive with a mix of internal/external storage and now the 4k max wil not…….

  10. Tom Wooden says:

    Thank you once more Wade. found it,did it, it works. heres the lind for everone else interested.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59_Kr8EjmzU&ab_channel=TROYPOINT

  11. daniel says:

    Does anyone know if the fire stick 4k max will be able to output dolby atmos from movies that are stored on the external drive (assuming the file offers dolby atmos)? If it can, what would be the your suggested program/app to play the file?
    Thanks!

  12. Katie says:

    My problem is I have 4k Max and just bought 2tb hdd drive to expand storage. I have a ugreen 3.0 hub adapter, otg cable adapter, and micro USB otg adapter.
    I have no idea how to store movies I download through 3rd party apps onto the fire stick 4k (via the 2tb drive) ~ please help!

    • Wade says:

      You can copy the downloaded file from the internal storage on the firestick to the large drive which has been set up as external storage via a file manager like MiXplorer of XPlore. See Troypoint or Tech Doctor UK for tutorials on this.

  13. David says:

    Need some help… want to buy one of this to play some files from an external hard drive (10-15GGb) obviously it isn’t FAT32, will it read them?

    I don’t need to increase the internal storage, just read those files.

    Thanks!

  14. Kai says:

    I have the same issue as many on this thread. The latest “Troypoint” link shared is dead already. If anyone knows of a good link please share. I just bought the new 4K Max stick so I can add USB storage. Here is my setup…4K Max stick, Samsung 64GB USB 3.0, OTG cable and the Amazon Ethernet adapter. Power into to Ethernet adapter first, then OTG, OTG into Firestick. It will NOT recognize the drive at all. As stated in on this web site the Firestick “should” find it and format it but it will not. I have two questions..

    1. Will an OTG cable with external USB work with the use of the Ethernet adapter? Not sure if that is the issue.

    2. Does the USB drive HAVE to be formatted first?

  15. john bell says:

    using remote ADB SHELL DID AS IT TOLD ME INSTALED MY USB DRIVE BUT WHEN I DOWNLOAD APS IT DOES NOT GO ON USB STICK WORKED WELL ON MY 4K FIRETV BUT ON MY FIRETV 4KMAX NOT WORKING HELP PLEASE

  16. Ira says:

    4K Max (2022 if that matters) with latest OS 7.###.

    Q1. How do I select which internally formatted USB drive to mount (in OTG hub)?

    Q2. Anyone ever resolve issue where X-Plore does NOT see their USB drive (formatted for internal storage that has apps working ok)? I somehow believe the problem is connected with X-Plore reporting that the drive is NOT ROOTED. I can not resolve the not rooted issue.

  17. Rob says:

    I have 3 Firesticks with USB expansion. They periodically loose access to programs installed on the USB drive. The only option is to reinstall ADB. Is there a way to fix a USB drive so it works again?

  18. Ira Lieberman says:

    I’ve learned answers to my own quests, above.

    A1. I believe you remove one drive then insert the other.

    A2. Unroot message is not an issue. X-Plore shows USB drive formatted for External Storage. USB drive formatted for internal storage is shown as apps in Internal Storage folder in X-Plore. It was all my misunderstanding of what I was viewing with X-Plore.

    At this moment I have a wireless Keyboard and Mouse USB Receiver in one port of the OTC, A 32GB Sandisk 3.1.2 USB formatted for Internal Storage and a 125GB Sandisk 3.1.2 USB formatted for External Storage. Both USB’S are visible in X-Plore as explained at A2, above.

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