Got the Fire TV update? Cord-cutters can make the most of it with these tips
The update significantly changes the look of the Fire TV home screen, and while it already launched in December for Amazon’s latest Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite, it’s now arriving on the Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, and pendant-shaped Fire TV. (Support for the second-generation Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Edition smart TVs is coming later this year, but it sounds like Amazon’s leaving the original Fire TV Stick and Fire TV boxes behind.)
While the new Fire TV experience is an improvement overall, it might take some getting used to, and it has some new features you might not notice right away. Once you’ve got the new Fire TV experience up and running, these tips should help:
Get the update
If your Fire TV device is eligible for the upgrade and you’re not seeing any big changes yet, head to Settings > My Fire TV > About, then select “Check for Updates” or “Install Update.” This may trigger the update on your device, but it’s also possible that Amazon hasn’t rolled it out to your device yet. In that case, you’ll just have to be patient, as there’s no way to force the update on devices that haven’t received it.
Rearrange your apps
To change the order of apps on your Fire TV home screen, click the apps button on the home screen, which looks like a set of three squares and a + sign. From there, select the app you want to move, hit the menu button on the remote, and select “Move” or “Move to front.”
Choose your top apps wisely
While rearranging apps, note that the six apps you put on top gain special status. They’ll appear at the top of your home screen, and some of them will even suggest things to watch as you scroll over them. This is a great way to get quick recommendations from some of your favorite video sources. (Not all apps support these “app peek” recommendations, but I’ve found that Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, and Paramount+, HBO Max all work well.)
View previously installed apps
Here’s a long-overdue improvement in the new Fire TV interface: Amazon no longer lumps current and previously-installed apps into a single, ungainly menu. Instead, only your installed apps will appear when load the full apps list.
That doesn’t mean your master apps list is gone, though. Just click on “App Library” at the bottom of the all apps menu for a list of everything you’ve installed before.
Set up family profiles
Profile support is a key part of the new Fire TV interface, allowing each user to have their own favorite apps list and recommendations. You can also create kid profiles with age appropriate content and an optional PIN to keep them penned in. To switch profiles or add a new one, just click the profile icon at the far left side of the toolbar.
Access quick commands
As with the previous Fire TV interface, you can still long-press the home button to access quick commands, including your full apps list, sleep mode, screen mirroring, and settings. This even works while you’re using another app. The only difference now is that you can switch profiles from this menu as well.
Sift through suggestions faster
One of the biggest Fire TV annoyances is the way it recommends content on the home screen without listing the source. Too often, you’ll click on a movie or show only to find that it requires a rental fee or additional subscription.