How to force an app to be moved to External USB Storage on Fire TVs when the option isn’t available

With most Fire TV Stick models still offering only 8GB of internal storage space, of which less than 5GB is available for your own apps, storing apps on an external USB drive connected via an OTG cable is crucial for people who want many apps installed. However, many Fire TV apps are configured by their developer in such a way that prevents them from being moved to external storage, which is why the “Move to USB Storage” option under settings is missing for many apps. However, there is a way to override the developer’s wishes and force any app to be moved to external storage.

Before starting, know that there might be a very good reason that some app developers don’t want their app moved to external storage, so forcing such an app to be moved may cause the app to work poorly or stop working altogether. If you force an app to move and it starts acting up, just uninstall the app and reinstall it on internal storage.

Guide

  1. To follow this guide, you need to be able to run ADB commands on your Fire TV. You can learn to do so through this guide.
  2. Determine the package name of the app you want to move. This can be done by running the following ADB command and looking through the list of installed apps that are listed:
    adb shell pm list packages -3
    The package name is the portion after “package:” but if you’re having trouble determining which of the packages listed is for the app you want to move, then you can follow this guide for a different way to determine the package name.
  3. Determine the ID of the USB drive connected to your Fire TV. With the drive connected and mounted, run this ADB command to determine the ID:
    adb shell mount | grep -o '/mnt/expand/[^ ]*' | awk -F'/mnt/expand/' '{print $2}'
    You should see the ID printed out, which will be something like:
    81c78731-54a3-46b4-8194-18eb23f621b5
  4. Now that you have the package name and the drive ID, use them to run the following command:
    adb shell pm move-package [PACKAGE NAME] [DRIVE ID]
    For example, to move Sling TV, which has a package name of “com.sling” the command would look like this:
    adb shell pm move-package com.sling 81c78731-54a3-46b4-8194-18eb23f621b5

8 comments
  1. Kirk Skorzak says:

    *** Caution *** Once you use a flash drive in a Fire Stick and format it as it instructs the flash drive is no longer usable in another device. I used a 4 GB flash drive via an OTG cable but decided to replace it with a larger flash drive. When I went to use the 4 GB flash drive I removed from the Fire Stick it would not be recognized in either my desktop or laptop computer. Not even an indication it was attached to either one. It was useless.

    I found the best solution to having the apps I like most readily available was to simply replace the Fire Stick that Amazon has loaded with 3 GB of their unwanted and irremovable nuisance apps was to toss it in the garbage and replace it with a non-Amazon box with 32 GB memory. All the apps I enjoy are immediately and readily available for use without having the trouble of having to move things back and forth/to and from the active program storage to the inactive programs storage. Nor am I bombarded with a constant stream of ads for Amazon’s programs and movies whenever I turn on my TV

    • tech3475 says:

      I just did a test with one of mine.

      When formatted for internal it uses some uncommon FS (‘Android extended’ I think Gparted said), but both Partition Wizard on Windows and GParted on Linux still saw the drive, also with a small FAT32 partition.

      When I reformatted as external storage on the Fire Stick (you should still be able to do this from a PC though) it appeared as a regular FAT32 drive.

      It sounds like either you just need to reformat the drive or there’s an actual fault with the drive.

      • Nop says:

        I have experienced the same. I had to I had to use a third party partition tool.

        • tech3475 says:

          I haven’t tested it, but possibly the disk management utility or ‘diskpart’ (a cli tool) could work if one is inclined/forced to.

          A more comfortable way though may be to either reformat it on the fire stick to external storage (what I did) or something like gparted (Linux, also available as an iso) or partition wizard free (windows).

    • Pop says:

      The only issue I have is finding the right android box that passes jellybean streaming tests and can play 4K content without lag or jitter. Plus Android boxes get very hot and unstable. The Nvidia Shield is outdated now and doesn’t have the juice and codecs to run a lot of 4K content. Finally, Android decent boxes cost over $100 USD. Most are around $200 that don’t crash under 4K load.

  2. John117 says:

    what is the maximum size of USB drive that can be used with the Fire TV Stick?

    • Ehpares says:

      I have a 250go format with my firestick 4K Max and work fine for more than a year with an OTG cable. I have now a Fire Cube with the same 250go connected directly in the USB port and working fine since 6 month without any issue. The only thing in both case it can’t record more than 4go do to limitation of Fat32 format

  3. User says:

    The process is deliberately made overly complex. Only a Linux enthusiast would dive into this daunting task. Additionally, as anyone who isn’t a sophist can understand, recognizing your Firestick and accessing it on Windows are two entirely different challenges. What’s necessary is accessing the Firestick through a USB hub or HDMI connection; otherwise, failure and frustration are almost certain.

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