How to save recordings in TiviMate to External USB Storage in Fire OS 8 on the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K & 4K Max

This guide walks you through the steps of setting recordings in the TiviMate app to be saved to an external storage USB drive connected to a 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick 4K Max running Fire OS 8. The stricter file access permissions of Android 11, which is what Fire OS 8 is based on, prevent some apps like TiviMate from accessing external USB storage, so the system picker Files app must be used to grant access. While this guide is specific to the TiviMate app, the general process should be similar for granting most apps access to external USB storage drives.

  1. To follow this guide, you need to either be able to run ADB commands from an external device, like a computer or Android Phone, or have a keyboard connected to your Fire TV, either through Bluetooth or through a USB hub that is connected through an OTG cable, since you need both the USB keyboard and the USB drive connected simultaneously. You cannot complete this guide using only a remote, a mouse, or by entering ADB commands in the “Remote ADB” app running on your Fire TV. Either set up your external ADB connection now or connect a keyboard now.
  2. Clear the data of the Fire TV’s pre-installed “Files” app by navigating to Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications, selecting the “Files” app from the list, selecting the “Clear data” option, and selecting “Ok” to confirm the action. This ensures the system picker opens in its default state, which makes it a little easier to navigate.
  3. Open TiviMate and navigate to the Recording Settings by going to the main Recordings page and selecting the gear icon in the upper right corner.
  4. Select “Recordings folder” in the menu.
  5. Select the “Select folder” option.
  6. Select “System picker” on the right.
  7. Follow this guide for instructions on how to navigate in the System Picker Files app to select a directory on external USB storage.
  8. The “Folder path” value should now be filled in and it should start with the text “content://…” Be sure to press “OK” to save the new folder setting and you’re done.

  1. terry Knapper says:

    Thank you Elias.
    I just did the “set up”.
    All seems good.
    I am just recording a UHD show to see if it goes the the
    external USB stick.
    Is this a one time thing?
    An interesting thing happens(to me) when I use(ed) my shinny new
    USB Keyboard.
    The remote does not do some of it’s functions.
    I will not leave the keyboard plugged in unless I need it again.
    Thanks again,
    Terry K

    • Yes, it should be a one-time thing. The only reason I can think of for needing to redo this is if the ID that the Fire TV assigns to your USB drive changes. The ID is the “####-####” portion right after “/tree/” in the path that you can see in the last step. I assume that, if you switch out your USB drive with a different one or maybe change how everything is connected, the ID might change and you’ll have to redo the setup, even if the directories on the new drive are identical to the old one. Disconnecting and reconnecting the same drive does not change the ID, so that’s fine to do.

  2. terry Knapper says:

    I just recorded a UHD show.
    I can tell by the space used on/in my 256Gb USB stick that the
    show recorded.
    But, I can’t watch it, either with the TiviMate player on an
    external player like MX player.
    Terry L

  3. terry Knapper says:

    I stand corrected again.
    The NEW 4KMax (pain in the ass ) seemed to be in no mans land
    about 45 min ago.
    It kept rebooting , updating and other BS.
    I finally got MX Player sorted out.
    And magically all worked, even the internal TiviMate player.
    Terry K( not L)

  4. Pierre Sangan says:

    Is Amazon going to fix this so it works the same as previous versions of Firesticks?

  5. Kevin says:

    Can you give a link to the older Amazon OS version of instructions ? Some of us inherit older devices and want to get them working on external USB and tvmate.

  6. Tom says:

    I appreciate all you have written, but seems a little above my paygrade. Could I do all this through my laptop or desktop?

    It was so easy with 1st generation FS 4k. I thought it was me and have done about 4 TIVIMate reinstalled and one reset on the Firestick.

    • terry Knapper says:

      Tom, the “System Picker” set up works great and relatively easy to do, even for an “ultra novice” like my self.
      Pick up a cheap USB keyboard and then you can navigate to the places you need to get to in “System Picker”
      Your OTG cable will have to have a place for your External storage device AND the USB key board!
      You can still use your “External” storage device that you used with your
      1st gen 4KM FS.
      Elias’s above mentioned setup is EXACTLY what is required to get you up and running.
      Terry K

  7. terry Knapper says:

    On an entirely different subject; I don’t now how to create a new subject,
    has any one been using “Smart Tube”
    My question is, should I sign in, since I have a “You Tube” account?
    Terry K

    • Tom c says:

      I have been using the SmartTube APK for as long as I can recall (probably a year and a half) with my YouTube credentials and have had zero issues, problems or emails saying I should stop.
      I know YouTube is cracking down on ad-blocking, but they’re probably targeting apps that are created just for that as a ‘stand-alone/piggyback feature to use with your YouTube account.
      This is a YouTube fork (modified clone) this is YouTube but with the piggyback APK built-in.
      With all the ad-blocking apps out there, and new ones popping up every day, I’m thinking it will be a long time before they even start to come after SmartTube. And if they do, I’ll just use a new email and find another SmartTube alternative.
      I hope this helps.
      PS – I can see my history on both SmartTube and YouTube, making it easy to go back and forth between them.

      • terry Knapper says:

        “Tom C”
        The Smart Tube is working good.
        I am still used to the orig You Tube for navigation.
        All is good.
        Thanks again for the info.
        Terry K.

  8. Tom says:

    Bought small keyboard for the Firestick and followed all the suggestions and Voila, recordings going to USB stick.

    Thank you all

  9. James Hudson says:

    I am at a complete loss with this TiviMate recording thing! I think I’ve watched a the videos. I’ve followed all the instructions, although some are laid out as though ‘we all’ know how to get from 1 stage to another. Sorry, We don’t A know! The system picker won’t g beyond it’s opening page. I can see the USB Drive, but cent navigate to it to open it or get any further! I installed ‘File Xplore’. Again, I can see the drive but am not sure. Actually I just don’t know where I am going wrong in making new extension folders. ie, TiviMate/Recordings etc. Am I correct? The app cannot b on the USB and record to it as well? Any clear info/advice wi b very welcome. Thanks

    • terry Knapper says:

      When you allow your 2nd gen 4KMax to format your external storage device, in my case a 256Gb USB drive, to EXTERNAL storage, NOT INTERNAL, the 4KMax sets up some file folders.
      You can just choose one to send your recordings to.
      The rest goes EXACTLY as described by Elias.
      You also need a OTG cable with at least two ports.
      One for your new external storage device and one for, as in my case, a USB keyboard.
      You CAN NOT maneuver around the places you need to get to in system picker with out, as in my case, a key board.
      Terry K

      • James Hudson says:

        Thanks for taking the time to reply, Terry. Quick couple of further related questions if u don’t mind. Will the keyboard on the downloaded Firestick app do the job? Also. Will u confirm r otherwise. That the app should not/cannot b installed on the USB (as extendable storage capacity) if it’s to b used for recordings. Lastly (for now). How come the System Picker won’t navigate past the Home Page? It’s as if it freezes at that point and I can only get out of it by either the ‘Return Button’ r the ‘Hime Button’ on the remote?

        • terry Knapper says:

          James, !st, forget the remote to navigate through the system picker.
          The OTG cable that I use has one USB port. Good enough to plug in a external storage device.
          Trouble is, you need a second port for your USB key board, if you decide to use one.
          You DO NEED a key board to navigate through system picker.
          Elias explains exactly how to use the key board with system picker.
          I use a, sort of, hub with three USB ports. I plug this into the OTG cable giving me , in my case, one port for my external storage and one for my USB key board.
          You do have to ALLOW the 4KMax to format your external storage device to EXTERNAL storage.
          The 4KMax will ask you if you want to format your external storage to INTERNAL or EXTERNAL storage.
          Like I mentioned, once your external storage device has been formatted to EXTERNAL storage, it will have a bunch of file folders. You can just pick one, through system picker, to send your recordings to.
          Terry K

          • James Hudson says:

            Thanks, again, Terry. I’ll have to get an OTG cable with 2 r 3 (like what u have, Terry). I have a cable ok, but there’s just 1 port on it. Actually, I’m intending to buy an ethernet connector for the Firestick. Probably don’t need 1. But they seem to b recommended on certain sites. Thanks again, Terry.

          • terry Knapper says:

            The “hub” that I use is a UGREEN model 20265.
            Terry K

          • James Hudson says:

            Hi Terry. Just by way of FYI. I had a hub that I connected t the OTG cable and I used a Bluetooth keyboard that I have for the computer (as a once off, to see f things would work out). Would u believe? After hooking everything up and went to the record section of TiviMate, and went to search for folders etc. There was NO System Picker visible. It had vanished. Anyway. To make a long story short. I somehow managed (without the need for the keyboard) to create a folder path for recordings, by following and selecting folders within TiviMate. I have a photo to send, but I don’t see any means of attaching it. (Earlier today I recorded a live program and 2 later programs on different channels. I have further recordings scheduled to see if it still works. I know that because it worked earlier. The settings have to b right. Hopefully it wi work again. Thanks for all the info and particularly you patience.

          • terry Knapper says:

            James, I am assuming that you are using a 2nd gen 4KMax FS.
            If so, check to make sure that your recordings did NOT go to INTERNAL storage of the Fire Stick.

          • James Hudson says:

            Mmm’. Interesting, Terry. I’ll check this out tomorrow. I still have a recording on the stick (I hope). I suppose the only way I can check it will b to eject the stick and the check the recordings folder? BTW. Any thoughts on what or why System Picker vanished form my device/TiviMate?

          • terry Knapper says:

            James, I never even noticed system picker until I got my 2nd gen 4KMax.
            Then, when I went to select folder, there it was.
            I don’t remember seeing that on my old 4KMax, although it should have been there(I think).
            If you eject your external storage device and you can watch your recordings, there is the answer.
            When I was checking this out originally I would notice the amount of storage left on my INTERNAL storage, record a sport thing in UHDF and see if the INTERNAL storage dropped.
            Crude but effective.
            Terry K

  10. James Hudson says:

    Hi again, Terry. The last time I was chatting with u, I was as happy as a ‘pig in muck’ as they say. I really thought I had cracked this recording thing. It seemed to have worked to a certain extent. I told u that it seems I was able to set up a folder path without System Picker. I think I may have used XPlore app. Anyway. I did manage to record 3 programs on 3 different channels at 3 different times. U said to check that they actually went to the USB. They did. They used over 4 gigs of space. But. And there is a but. I cannot access them.

    And now. However it happened. The System Picker has magically appeared again. It needn’t have bothered tho. Because it doesn’t work! I can’t navigate at all in it! It shows the USB Drive but I can’t move to it. In fact I can’t get beyond the menu! It seems as tho it freezes. The only way out of it is the return key or sometimes. The home key.

    I wish there was some way of maybe attaching a photo to show where in at. Or where I’m going wrong. At the mo. Even tho there is stuff on the drive. I can not access it. A message comes up on the screen. Also. When I try to record something. It fails!

    Where am I going wrong? I am in the process of buying an ethernet adapter. I have the org cabble with 1 port. But I have a spare USBC hub with 4 USB3 ports, plugged not that. I if everything else was good. The equipment is fine? Sorry for being a pain. But it is 1, probably the nai reason to go premium with TiviMate. Thanks for your patience. J

    • terry Knapper says:

      You need TiVimate Premium.
      I will take a few pics later so you can see where i was in the
      system picker.

      • James Hudson says:

        Just a quick line in reply to your last, Terry. Just to confirm. I have TiviMate premium

        • terry Knapper says:

          I just reviewed Elias’s post at the top of this post, again.
          If you follow his post exactly as he says, you will get to where you have to be.
          I was going to post some pics, but, his post shows, better than me, all the screen shots I believe you need.
          Don’t forget you need two ports. One for your external storage device and one for your USB keyboard if you choose to use one.

          • James Hudson says:

            Hi again Terry. I’m frustrated and embarrassed that I’m still asking questions about this. It’s true. Elias spells it out very clearly with the photos as backup. My problem is; unlike the situation that Elias describes. The system picker does not open when I choose TiviMate. Or have I gone wrong on that already? As I stated before. System picker is there as an option in the choose a folder part. If I click on the system picker. The page opens ok. Only the menu (top left) and the USB Drive is visible on the left also but no fokders. It’s a blank page. Whether I use the remote or enter on the keyboard to click on the menu. It greys out as if something else is going to happen, but nothing does. It’s as if the screen freezes. I cannot navigate to the USB drive. At that point, the only way I can exit that page is to press the home button on the remote. I am near the point where I say; ok, you won! I followed all the prerequisites. Clear data etc. I have a USB hub plugged into the OTG cable. Bu System Picker doesn’t open by default (nothing does). If I open it manually. It shows the drive ok, but I cannot navigate into the drive. The app seems to freeze at that point! (I’m pulling my hair out at this stage!) Thanks for all your help tho, Terry (and your patience!)

          • terry Knapper says:

            Is your external USB drive formatted (in/on your 4KMax FS) to external storage. If so you should see the folders that the “formatting” created.
            All I can tell you is what worked for me James.
            I started with my UGREEN hub model 20265.
            I plugged in my 256Gb USB drive.
            I formatted the USB to EXTERNAL storage on my 4KMax.
            Then I plugged in my USB keyboard.
            Then I followed Elias’s above post.
            It worked for me.
            Terry K

  11. terry Knapper says:

    All I can say James is what I did.
    I plugged my UGREEN “HUB” model 20265 in to my OTG adapter.
    I plugged in my 256Gb USB drive.
    I formatted the USB drive to EXTERNAL storage.
    Then I plugged in my USB keyboard.
    Then I followed Elias’s post to the letter.
    It all worked for me James.
    P.S. When you format your External storage device the 4KMax formatting will set up folders.
    Terry K

    • James Hudson says:

      Hi, Terry. I am answering this only by way of courtesy. I don’t expect you to give any more of your time to this. But by way of FYI. I have to tell you that either something is wrong with the Firestick or the USB that I use/d (I tried two of them, both with the same results, ie NO Result. when I was getting nowhere up to yesterday. I decided to give up. But before I did that. I tried one tried formatting the drive to internal and then back to external. Unplugging and plugging back in, in between. When I put in the USB and went to storage. It was showing as being an External drive. It seems the drive is stuck on external. It still didn’t launch the system picker. So that was that. I then put the drive into my computer to get it back to being used on the computer. Lo-and-behold. the computer. While ‘dinged’ when I plugged it in. It didn’t/doesn’t show on the computer. I can no longer access the two USBs it seems. As a last throw of the dice. I wonder if doing a factory reset on the Firestick 4k Max might help.

      • terry Knapper says:

        James. a factory reset will set all to zero, sort of speak.
        You will have to redo your TiviMate set up though.
        Good luck James.
        I hopped to be more help, but, I am not very computer savvy.
        Following Elias was my last hope. lucky for me all worked out.

        • terry Knapper says:

          Just thought of something James.
          As soon as my 4KMax formatted my 256Gb USB drive I
          ejected it and put in my laptop.
          I saw the files the 4Kmax set up with the formatting.
          It was one if those folders that I eventually sent my recordings to when I put the USB drive back into my UGREEN hub.

      • E.B. says:

        Hi James,

        When you format a drive as “internal” it does specify that this drive will not be usable on any other device. When you reformatted as external afterwards it formatted it in a format that Windows cannot mount automatically which is why you don’t see the drives anymore when connecting it to a PC.
        To fix that, you would have to reformat the drive once again while it’s connected to your PC. If your drives are bigger than 32GB (which i suspect they are) you cannot use Windows built-in formatting tool. You have to use Rufus freeware to reformat it.
        I suggest following this video to reformat your drives …

  12. Kevin says:

    Have given up on fighting to use USB storage. Am now using a NAS for storage via SMB2. This is after a year of fighting for consistent USB results. The NAS is either a USB3 drive on a cheap router, or a USB3 on a win10 box. Either is a much better solution.

  13. Alexander Leon says:

    I may be wrong but isn’t there a 4gb limit on recording to a usb fat32? This may make recording a long movie or sporting event not feasible.

  14. Kenneth Lamontagne says:

    When I click on system picker I don’t get the same connection to the USB drive that you do. Mine always comes up to aftkrt

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