Amazon is rolling out new software updates to Fire TVs and Firesticks that add a capability customers have been wanting for a very long time. It is finally possible to lower and raise the volume of Bluetooth audio devices, such as Bluetooth ear pods and Bluetooth soundbars, using the volume buttons on the Fire TV’s remote. Fire TV devices gained the ability to connect audio over Bluetooth in 2015, but the feature has been crippled by the inability to adjust the volume unless the Bluetooth device itself had built-in volume controls. That shortcoming is finally being addressed with the latest Fire TV software update.
This new capability requires no additional setup or configuration. Once your Fire TV has the feature, simply pair a Bluetooth audio device, such as headphones or a speaker, in the regular Bluetooth menu, which you can quickly get to through my Bluetooth Loader app. While a Bluetooth device is connected, pressing the volume buttons on your Fire TV remote will make the volume louder or softer. You can also press the mute button to, you guessed it, mute and unmute the Bluetooth audio.
One glaring issue with the new feature is that, unfortunately, the volume of your TV still also gets changed over IR when pressing the volume buttons while a Bluetooth device is connected. It’s not a big issue, since audio isn’t actually coming out of the TV when a Bluetooth device is connected, but you might find that your TV is at an unwanted volume level when you’re done using the Bluetooth device. The simplest way to avoid this is to not point the remote at your TV/soundbar when changing Bluetooth volume, but, hopefully, Amazon will correct this odd oversight in the next update by disabling IR volume commands while Bluetooth devices are paired.
There are 15 different Bluetooth volume levels that the Fire TV can use. You can press and hold the volume button on the remote to gradually increase or decrease the volume, but I found that since there are only 15 levels it is more precise to just tap the volume buttons repeatedly until you achieve the volume level that you want. Pressing and holding the volume button could also leave your TV at a ridiculously high volume, due to the issue I just mentioned, so tapping the volume button makes it easier to avoid that.
So far, I’ve been able to confirm that the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube is getting this capability in software update version 18.104.22.168 and the 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick is getting it in software update version 22.214.171.124. I do not know if other models will be receiving this feature as well. If your device gets the feature, please let everyone know in the comments what model device and what software version it is on. Big thanks to TechyChris for first noticing this new feature and letting me know about it!
7/23/21It appears that this features behavior is not consistent across Fire TV models. While my 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick has 15 volume levels and does continue to change the TV volume while BT headphones are connected, others have reported that the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube has 30 volume levels and does not continue to change TV/Soundbar volume while BT audio is connected. Additionally, it seems as though this update also displays a volume bar on the screen when volume buttons on BT audio devices are pressed. However, it does not display the volume bar when changing the volume with the Fire TV remote.