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An Amazon Firestick is the ultimate TV to Smart TV conversion. It’s simple to operate, very affordable, and features a very simple setup.
The Firestick is a heavy competitor with Roku, Apple, and Google but, like the latter three, it sometimes has its own quirks and inadequacies, especially when its time is nearly up.
There are several warning flags an Amazon Firestick device will throw out there if it’s on its last legs. These might include the following: randomly turning off, fading Bluetooth connectivity, WiFi connection issues, sound cutting off, and inability to open apps.
There are more warning signs than we can list in a single paragraph, but you get the point. What you’re basically looking for is stuff that’s out of the ordinary—in such a way that standard fare issues are probably not the culprit.
6 Signs Amazon Firestick needs replacing
1. Bluetooth Quits Working
This one is first because it’s a more subtle issue that crops up when things are starting to look bleak for the old Firestick.
Since it connects to the remote control and headphones/speakers via Bluetooth, you’ll notice increasing degrees of interruption, eventually leading to no connectivity.
You can always eliminate whether it’s just a regular connection issue by utilizing discovery on your Firestick through the TV.
- Go to Settings by selecting the three horizontal line icon on your Firestick remote
- Scroll until you find “Remotes and Bluetooth Devices”
- Check to ensure your Firestick remote has batteries and is on
- Look to see if it’s discoverable on the screen
It’s also a good idea to eliminate the remote control by pairing and testing it with another Amazon Firestick. If it works just fine on that Firestick, you know it’s the original Firestick that’s failing.
If you have a pair of wireless earbuds, Amazon’s Firestick will pick those up in discovery so you can stream content with the audio diverted to your earbuds. Simply put your earbuds into pairing mode. If your Amazon Firestick fails to pick them up, that’s an indication that Bluetooth (at the very least) is failing on your Firestick.
2. Micro-USB is No Longer Working
The Firestick features a male HDMI connector and a female, micro-USB port. The micro-USB port is the power supply for the Firestick, though newer Firesticks don’t need them and draw their power from the TV.
If the micro-USB port is failing, the Firestick will no longer be able to operate. No power? No fun. There is a tiny, LED indicator on the Firestick that will let you know when it’s drawing power through the micro-USB.
If you plug it in and there is no LED light, it’s not getting any power. The first thing you need to do is try a different USB to micro-USB cable. You want to rule out the cable as a culprit and that’s the best way to do it.
The Firestick is universal when it comes to micro-USBs, so it doesn’t have to be the micro-USB that arrived in the box with the Firestick.
Also, check the port itself. Make sure there is no dirt or debris clogged in the port, which will keep the circuit open and block power to the device.
3. Failure to Run Any Apps
At the very beginning of this downward cycle, the operating system of the Amazon Firestick (a truncated and slightly modified version of the primary, Android OS) will act sluggish. You may click an app and wait forever for it to open or the entire experience may be sluggish.
Eventually, you’ll start getting errors on your screen or the apps just won’t open at all. Like any of the symptoms of failure, it may not be the Firestick failing at all, so it’s important to rule out any other factors before you pay for a new one.
There are a number of things you need to do to ensure it’s the Firestick and not something else.
Check Storage Availability
- Go to the main screen by selecting the House icon on the remote
- Scroll over to Settings (Gear icon in the upper, right-hand corner)
- Select “My Fire TV”
- Select “About”
- Select “Storage”
- The screen will display how much you’ve used and how much is still available
If you have a few MBs of data available, it’s time to start deleting some apps because that could be your problem.
All apps, whether on your phone, on a tablet, or on a Firestick, build up their own “cache” over time. This is basically tiny bits of information that Amazon keeps up with so they know what your preferences are—such as how often you watch horror movies or action shows.
Sometimes, the cache is more than enough to make the app start acting up.
- Return to the “Gear” icon to access the Settings
- Go to “Applications” and select it
- Select “Manage Installed Applications”
- Scroll down to the app that’s giving you a problem and select it
- Scroll down and select “Clear Cache”
Now, go back to the home screen and select the app to try and open it. If it opens smoothly, your Firestick still has life left in it and the problem was with the app.
Force Close an App
This is the last thing you need to rule out before you know it’s the Firestick giving you the problems. Sometimes apps just freeze up and won’t do anything but there is a way to force close them.
When you do this, you will have to log into the streaming app when you open it again, as if you just downloaded it for the first time.
- Select the “Gear” icon on the Home Screen
- Select “Applications”
- Select “Managed Installed Applications”
- Scroll down to the problematic app and select it
- Select Clear Data
- Select Clear Cache
- Select Force Close
4. Sound Cutting In and Out
The sound cutting in and out usually starts with a garbled sound, rather than just cutting in and out altogether. If the Firestick is failing, it will only get worse from there. Of course, if you are using external devices, it’s a good idea to rule them out before you sling your Firestick in the trash can.
Check all the wiring of any external speakers and, if you are using Bluetooth connections for external audio devices, ensure that the Firestick is locating them in discovery mode and that they are all functioning properly.
5. Firestick Randomly Turns Off
This one is pretty blatant and obvious, especially if the TV itself and all of the connected devices are just fine and not turning off as well. There is the possibility that the Firestick just needs a restart since that’s such a common fix.
You can do a reset by simply unplugging the Firestick from its power source and leaving it that way for a full, two minutes. Turning it off for two minutes is the most effective way to reset it, though you can also try a hard reset, assuming the device remains on long enough for you to do that.
6. The TV Doesn’t Register the Firestick
You can eliminate the TV as an issue by plugging a separate HDMI device into the same HDMI port you’ve been using the Firestick with. If anything else you plug into that port works just fine, you know it’s the Firestick that has the problem.
You can also try plugging it into a second or third HDMI port (if applicable) to see if the Firestick will work in one of those. If not, it’s time to pony up some cash to purchase a new Firestick, assuming it’s outside of its warranty or return window.
All Things Considered
You probably noticed a pattern throughout the 6 potential issues here. Any one of these 6 issues could be something other than the actual Firestick. You may have much more time with the Firestick than you think so don’t jump to conclusions if something goes wrong. Fortunately, a new Firestick is very affordable.