When you get a new shiny piece of tech, it feels like it runs at lightning speed. It’s often not long before it starts to feel laggy, though, and you can be unsure whether the slow-down is real or your imagination. There are other times when you know something is wrong. What do you do if it is your Fire Stick that is running slow?
There are lots of reasons why your Fire Stick might start running slowly, but it all comes down to the CPU not having enough RAM to do what it needs to do. Remember, most Fire Sticks only have 1.5GB of RAM. While this is more than enough to do what it is designed for, there isn’t much extra.
In this article, we’ll take you through the steps to ensure that there is nothing eating up processing space and therefore causing your Fire Stick to move slowly.
This is not a problem only on Fire Sticks, and you can follow the same instructions for other Android TV boxes (though the menu system might be different). Occasional slow running is not a negative reflection on the device, and it is still one of our top recommended streaming devices.
Read our recent review of the best Fire Stick here.
Reboot – Have You Tried Turning It Off & On Again?
If your Fire Stick is running slow, one of the first things you should do is turn it on and off again – the age-old advice. Why? Often apps running in the background that you are unaware of are slowing down your device. Turning your device off and on again will force these apps to close and free up space.
This can be a good solution if you know your Fire Stick has been working for a while, but if it is slow every time you boot it up, this won’t be effective for you. You will still probably want to reboot your device after following any of the other fixes below, though.
In this situation, you will want to reboot from the settings menu. So head there, choose My Fire TV, and Restart (rather than Sleep) to ensure everything gets rebooted.
Remove Unwanted Apps & Disable Automatic Updates
It is so easy to download an app onto your Fire Stick, use it once, and forget about it. The reason this is a problem is that when an update becomes available for that app, your smart device will update that app automatically. If you have lots of apps on your device, these updates can eat up your operating power in the background.
It is always good practice to delete apps that you don’t use; besides, you can always reinstall them if you change your mind. You can do this from the App menu.
If you find you are only left with a couple of apps on your device that you use a lot, you will probably want to leave automatic updates on. If instead, after a purge you still have quite a collection of apps, you will probably want to turn automatic updates off to stop this from slowing down your device.
Head to the Settings menu, go to Applications, and then AppStore. There you will find a toggle that enables you to disable automatic app updates.
In the same menu, you can also disable app notifications. This uses a bit of space as well, but not much. If you don’t pay any attention to these notifications when they come up, though, why not disable them while you are here?
Once you have done this, you can also clear up a little bit of space by clearing the cache for your remaining apps. Again head to Settings, then Applications, and choose to Manage Installed Applications. Select the app that needs to have its cache cleared and go ahead and hit clear. You can do this for all of your desired apps from here.
Be aware that if you have Kodi installed, it is probably using up a lot of space. Find our advice for installing and maintaining Kodi on Fire Stick here.
Update Your System
The one thing that you will want to make sure is always completely up to date is your system. Outdated commands could be the cause behind your Fire Stick moving slowly. Updates to deal with malware and glitches are released all the time, so it is worth checking that you are using the most up-to-date version of your system.
Head to Settings, then My Fire TV, and you will see options to check for or install available updates. If there is nothing to install, your screen should tell you that too. Make sure you have closed all of your other apps before performing this type of update.
Turn Off Services
The Fire Stick comes with a lot of in-built services that you might not even know about. Some of them are useful, and some of them not so much. While they aren’t designed to use a lot of space, if there are other things draining your processing power, disabling these might make a difference.
The first thing to turn off is App Usage Data, which allows apps to improve their services by understanding how you use them. This is not a bad thing, but to deal with a Fire Stick that is slow to respond, head to Settings, Preferences, and Privacy Settings, and you should see a toggle to turn off this option.
The next thing to do is remove Prime Photos and Whispersync if you don’t use them. Prime Photos lets you backup your photos to the cloud, and there is free storage for Prime members. Even if you use this, you probably aren’t backing up photos from your Fire Stick but rather from another device, so you can disable it.
Whispersync lets you sync things such as your game scores across Amazon devices; again, a service that most people don’t use. Even if you disable this, you don’t lose your principal syncing of things such as music and purchases.
Head to Settings, Applications, and Prime Photos, and disable both Allow Guest Connections and Access Prime Photos to disable these services.
Finally, you can disable autoplay of video and sound. This is what enables ads and previews to play while you are browsing. Maybe you like this feature and you want to keep it, and maybe you don’t and you would prefer the space. It’s up to you. Head to Settings, Preferences, and then Featured Content. Here you will find toggles to allow or disable autoplay of this type of content.
Once you have followed all the steps above, you will want to reboot your device and see if it has made a difference. If it hasn’t, then it might be time for a more drastic factory reset.
To do this, head to Settings, then My Fire TV, and you will find an option to reset to factory defaults. Bear in mind that you will lose all of your data and you will need to set up your device from scratch if you do this, but maybe that is exactly what you need if your Fire Stick takes a long time to load.
Usually, if your Fire Stick is running slow it is because there are programs active in the background that are eating up your CPU. Uninstalling unnecessary programs and disabling automatic app updates can do a lot to speed up your device.
If you have completed troubleshooting on your Fire Stick and can’t figure out why it is still running slowly, it might be time to look at your Wi-Fi. Check the quality of your connection, and check that there is nothing blocking the connection between your Wi-Fi router and your Fire Stick to ensure that your problem isn’t laggy Wi-Fi.
While most Fire Sticks only come with a 90-day warranty, they should have a lifespan of at least two years. You may want to upgrade sooner to get access to new features, but your device should still be functional for that period of time.
It can be frustrating when your Fire Stick is slow and you might wonder if it is time for a new device. The Fire Stick is a lightweight device with just enough operating power to get the job done, though, so it could be little things that are causing your device to move slowly, and the fixes might be equally little tweaks.
If you are asking yourself why your Fire Stick is running so slowly, start by following our step-by-step troubleshooting guide to see if it helps. If not, it might be time for a factory reset.
Of course, if you do decide that you want to invest in a new Fire Stick after all this, we recommend the new Fire TV Stick 4K Max.