How to add External USB OTG Storage and Move Apps on the Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Stick 3, and Fire TV Cube


In Amazon’s current lineup of Fire TV models, the 2020 Fire TV Stick Lite, 2020 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick, and the Fire TV Cube (both 1st and 2nd-gen) support expanding their internal storage through the use of an external USB drive. Doing so allows you to move supported apps onto the external storage device to free up space on the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube’s internal storage space. The Fire TV Stick 4K, while it does support external USB devices to some extent, does not currently support moving apps to external storage. Here are what accessories you need for external storage, instucritions for how to configure your Fire TV device correctly, and how to move apps off of the internal storage.

Requirments

USB Drive
Even though the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube’s USB ports are only USB 2.0 ports, it is recommended that you use a USB drive capable of USB 3.0/3.1 speeds. This is because USB 3.0/3.1 drives tend to perform better than USB 2.0 drives, even when connected to USB 2.0 ports. Connecting a poorly performing USB drive to your Fire TV will result in very slow load times for apps that are stored on the drive. It’s best to use a USB 3.0/3.1 Flash Drive from a reputable brand, such as this compact Samsung drive or this compact SanDisk drive. The storage capacity of the drive is up to you.

OTG Cable
To connect the USB drive to the Fire TV, you will need a micro USB OTG cable. For use with a Fire TV Stick, you will need a “Y” cable that includes a power cable, such as this DSYJ OTG Cable or this 2-Pack of AuviPal OTG Cables, both of which I have personally used successfully. For the Fire TV Cube, you can use either a “Y” cable and ignore the extra power cable portion or you can use a straight micro USB OTG cable, like this Monoprice Straight OTG Cable or this 2-Pack of UGREEN Straight OTG Cables. Alternativly, for less cable clutter, you can use something like this AuviPal 90-degree Right Angle OTG Adapter with either a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube, but be aware that it does restrict the size and placement of the USB drive a bit.

Prepare USB Drive

  1. First, connect your OTG cable to your Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube and power on the device WITHOUT the USB drive connected.
  2. Once the Fire TV is powered on and at the Home screen, plug the USB drive into the USB OTG cable. You do not need to format the USB drive to a specific file system format ahead of time. The Fire TV will be formatting the drive for you.
  3. If your USB drive was not formatted with the FAT32 file system, you will be asked what you would like to do with the drive. If you want to use the drive for storing apps, you need to select the “Device Storage” option. Your drive will then be erased and formatted to store apps. Note that this means you will not be able to use the drive for anything else unless you later erase/format the drive.

    If your USB drive was formatted with the FAT32 file system, you will not see the above prompt. Instead, you need to navigate to Settings > My Fire TV > USB Drive and then select the “Format to Internal Storage” option.

  4. Confirm that you want to format the dirve by selecting “Yes” on the prompt. Once formatted, all files on the drive will be erased. This also means the drive cannot be used to store anything else while it is formatted for Fire TV app storage.
  5. Depending on the size and speed of the drive, formatting it can take several minutes. Just be patient.

Move Apps

  1. If you’d like, you can verify that your USB drive is prepared to accept apps by navigating to Settings > My Fire TV > USB Drive. If the option to “Format to External Storage” is present, then the drive is prepared correctly. If not, repeat the prepare steps above.
  2. To move apps to USB storage, navigate to Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications and be sure that the option at the top is set to “Show All Applications.”
  3. Scroll down and select the app that you want to move to external storage. To free up the most internal storage space, select an app that has a large “Application:” value. The portion of the app listed under “Data:” or “Cache:” will not be moved to external storage.
  4. If the app can be moved, the option “Move to USB Storage” will be present. If the option is not there, then the app cannot be moved and must remain on the device’s internal storage. Not all apps can be moved. Select “Move to USB Storage” to begin moving the app.
  5. The app may take several minutes to move depending on the size of the app and the speed of your USB drive. Just be patient.
  6. Once moved to USB Storage, pressing back to return to the app list will show a USB icon next to the app name, indicating that it is now on external storage. If you install a new app that can be moved to external storage while you have your USB drive connected, the new app will automatically be installed to your external USB drive. Ejecting or removing the USB drive while apps are installed on it will cause those apps to disappear from your Fire TV. When you reconnect the drive, those apps will automatically return. If you need to move the app back to internal storage, repeat this guide but select “Move to internal Storage” during step 4.

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33 comments
  1. Jack says:

    “AuviPal 90-degree Tight Angle OTG Adapter” – Oh boy, do I need one of those. Did you mean “Right Angle?”

    Seriously, this a great feature of the two new Fire Sticks. Elias, as usual is the first to highlight this feature.

  2. Bob says:

    Great article. Will this also work for the Fire TV Pendent?

    Thanks!

    • No, it won’t. This guide only works for the 2020 Fire TV Stick Lite, the 2020 Fire TV Stick 3, the 2019 Fire TV Cube 2, and the 2017 Fire TV Cube 1. The 2014 Fire TV 1 and the 2015 Fire TV 2 also support moving apps, but it’s slightly different from this guide.

    • Nice, those are a great price. There are a bunch of different OTG adapters/cables. I only wanted to include the ones that I know personally work for sure with Fire TVs, but I expect most will work without any issues.

      For anyone else, note that Charlie’s linked adapter will only work for the Fire TV Cubes, not the Fire TV Sticks, since they don’t accept power.

  3. Charlie says:

    I also have three port hub with gigabit Ethernet adapter. I have used this with the Cube for gigabit Ethernet. I assume I can use this for the USB drive.

    https://www.amazon.com/TeckNet-Aluminum-Converter-Ultrabooks-Notebooks/dp/B0178HOTOU/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=USB+3.0+to+RJ45+Gigabit+Ethernet+Internet+Adapter&qid=1601747939&s=electronics&sr=1-4

    • I’ll be doing a comparison soon between the Amazon Ethernet adapter and a few others, including that exact Gigabit adapter. The release of the new Sticks threw my schedule off, but I’ve already got the various adapters sitting here waiting to be tested. I even picked up a Power-Over-Ethernet adapter with a power splitter that I’m hoping will work for a single Ethernet cable to provide both power and connectivity to the Sticks.

      • David says:

        I’m using a Ugreen USB3.0 hub with ethernet with my Fire Cube 2nd Gen. This is better than using the supplied Amazon ethernet adapter as it also allows for 3 further USB inputs. I can even use an Rii 8 mini 2.4Ghz wifi keyboard with this as well as a USB dongle. Still have 1 port left. Now what else can I connect…..?

        • Adrian Kemp says:

          How about a USB drive for either just data (the movies you own) or just system expansion (for sideloaded apps) or a combination (best of both worlds). 128GB 50:50 partition has performed well for me on a UGreen hub since February.

          • David says:

            Yes. I agree. At the moment I have extended memory to allow me to move apps from internal to external storage. I could use a further dongle to store movies but I already use a NAS. It’s nice to have spare capacity though.

      • Charlie says:

        It will be interesting to see if there is a difference in the quality of the download speeds and not just the numbers of megs.

  4. LTM says:

    The Fire TV’s are really underrated as a media player when used with external storage. An OTG cable, an app like vimu player or kodi along with a bunch of tv and media files on a good size Flash drive formatted to FAT32 and you’re good to go. Excellent for travelling when you don’t have the good kind of internet access, but still have access to a tv. Using my 4K stick connected to a 512GB external flash drive full of TV’s shows and movies is a compact way that has allowed me to bring a good amount of media with me while traveling….way back when travelling for business was such a thing. I’ll never get rid of my Fire TV 2’s, even though I’ve switched my boxes to Nvidia Shield’s because the USB ports on the Fire TV 2’s also work really well with usb storage playback.

    • Jack says:

      Yep. I’ve had a Fire Stick 2 with an OTG Cable, Hub, 128GB Flash Drive and Wireless Logitech Keyboard connected to my main TV for 3 years. KODI is sideloaded and this setup does everything I want.

  5. JIm Carroll says:

    Hi Elias,

    So great to have you back.

    What is the max drive size, do you know?

  6. clocks says:

    Anyones cube get messed up after todays update? I can’t get any video/sound. Tried both MRMC and Prime. Rebooted a few times, and it hangs for 7 seconds or so on a black screen before finally displaying the desktop.

    • clocks says:

      So it appears the update broke auto frame rate switching for me. I had to disable in both the FTV settings and the MRMC settings, and now things mostly seem to play fine.

    • Adrian Kemp says:

      @clocks Mine is still claiming it’s downloading System Components after more than a day.

      It’s currently sitting on FireOS7.2.1.6 (1582).

      After your alert, I have tried to block it using a TechDoctorUK tool. This tool is not guaranteed — it let in the current 7.2.1.6 as a FireOS update. The previous block was the first use of the tool, designed for FireOS6 device, on the FireOS7 device but got defeated. That resulted in everything in the unused / unwanted Amazon bloatware becoming fully rebloated.

      Yesterday, YouTube stopped playing videos after a country obfuscation which I did with IPVanish, in order to hear news from Malaysia blocked for the US. It had worked as expected from previous experience and played the relevant vide. It wouldn’t repeat the feat after. I tried clearing cache without success. but managed to restart video playback by casting a video in YouTube for iOS to YouTube on the Cube.

      • clocks says:

        My 4k sticks on my other TVs seem fine after the update, even with auto match frame rate on. But on the cube, it def seems to be causing some odd issues after the update. I guess I will leave frame rate matching disabled in the settings and in MRMC for now, and hope it gets patched in the next update.

  7. Adrian Kemp says:

    @Jim Carroll Formatted in FAT32, the max volume size is 2.2TB or common solide state drive size 2TB.

    This would need to be reformatted (if required) on a special formatting utility since Windows operating systems through Windows 10 create new FAT32 volumes only up to 32 GB in size, however.

    You certainly shouldn’t let FireOS7 attempt to reformat it.

  8. Asha B says:

    Thanks for another great article! Is there any way to move the data?

  9. Cc says:

    I have a 4k firestick whats the best way to update the apps after they are moved. When I try and update the app is started then comes back with an error of not enough memory. So I end up uninstalling and reinstalling the app. but its a pain.sobwhats the best way to update them?

  10. Darryl G. says:

    I’m ‘floored’, you’re saying that the 2019 4K stick won’t let you expand the memory this way. Another disappointment in my stick; not sure I’m getting Atmos to my Sony receiver and now this. Is there any other differences in the 2019 & the 2020 5”4K sticks? Nice article, thanks.

  11. Walter says:

    Is there any way to partition the usb drive on the Firestick lite so both apps and data can be stored externally

  12. Mick says:

    Great tutorial. Many thanks

  13. Conrad says:

    IMPORTANT QUESTION: could you recommend a USB flash drive SPEED that will at least MATCH the speed of internal storage of the Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen?

    I would LOVE to add external storage … but don’t want the external storage to be slower than the internal storage, causing the whole cube to slow down!

    Thanks so much for this article!

  14. Bob Taylor says:

    So I’m using an app that allows me to record tv shows to INTERNAL / DEVICE storage. This feature doesn’t help since the INTERNAL / DEVICE storage really isn’t expanded. All that’s going on here is that another external drive is being observed by the Fire Stick. This is not at all helpful to my situation and is sorta mis-leading if you ask me.

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