How to Fix Buffering Issues on Your FireStick Device

With this article, I will be explaining how to eliminate the buffering issue on FireStick. The steps provided below will help you fix the buffering on any Fire TV device including Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick Lite, FireStick 4K.

The Amazon FireStick is part of the widely used streaming devices on the market. It is also convenient as it is effortless to put together and then use – you also have these articles that provide helpful guides for almost every issue you may face. Its amazingness extends to the fact that Amazon FireStick also supports applications from the Amazon Store and third-party applications.

However, even though FireStick is excellent, many users complain about buffering issues. There exists a small percentage of users that have these problems, but it is an issue. That is why I came up with this article that has a list of solutions to different reasons why your FireStick may be buffering.

If you are also facing buffering issues or you want to know what to do in that case, keep reading this article and find out why your buffering may be happening and how to fix it.

The steps provided in this guide will be helpful for any user of FireStick 4K, Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Cube, and older versions of the Fire TV devices.

The Reasons Behind the Buffering Issues on FireStick

Before we learn how to solve the issue, we should know the factors that cause it. I will list the usual reasons why below, and explain how they create buffering issue on FireStick TV:

  • ISP throttling: ISP can legally decrease the speed of your internet connection if they see that you go past a limit of data usage for online streaming.
  • The speed of the internet connection: The main reason behind buffering is the low speed of your internet connection. To have a pleasant streaming experience, you should have a minimum speed of 10 Mbps for resolution of 1080p and at least 20 Mbps for streaming in 4K.
  • Insufficient space on RAM: FireStick TV may not have any more space on RAM due to having many useless apps that run in the background without you knowing.
  • Long-distance between the modem and the FireStick: Just like with every device, the further your device FireStick is from the modem, the weaker your signal’s effectiveness will be. This distance will cause a lot of buffering.
  • Old FireStick software: Buffering issues also come from working on an old OS of FireStick.
  • Overheating of the FireStick device: If your device might be overheating for various causes, that will cause buffering issues.
  • Low space on storage: Also a common thing with FireStick users, with the device only having 8GB worth of storage. Users have limited room to use according to their preferences because the OS takes up the majority of it.

Stopping the Buffering Issue on FireStick

Below starts the list of solutions that can fix buffering on FireStick:

Checking Your Internet Speed

Your internet plan probably has high internet speed and high-speed broadband, so you would think to skip this provided solution. Many users’ experiences have shown that it can be a problem even though your internet plan tells you otherwise.

This control is an effortless thing to do. Conversely, if it shows that you have a low internet speed, a quick call to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) responsible for your internet connection would help you figure out the source behind your buffering – you can look for another internet connection or update your plan. How do you know when your internet has the right speed? Anything over 10 Mbps is more than enough to stream in 1080p resolution max. On the other hand, you would need a minimum of 20 Mbps for 4K streaming. The required speed is dependable on the resolution that your device has.

If your device is not getting the expected speed, here is what you could try to do to fix it:

  • Check your WiFi signal strength and improve it

Your signal’s effectiveness and strength have a crucial role in your streaming experience. Usually, this signal strength is stronger the shorter the distance between your FireStick device and the modem is, and the opposite is true for when this distance is longer. So, first and foremost, if you have not already, try minimizing the distance between your FireStick device and your modem.

Moving on, from Amazon FireStick you can follow the procedures mentioned below to check the strength of your signal:

  • From the home screen, choose Settings (the gear sign on the right).
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  • On the window that appears next, select Network.
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  • Select your WiFi address/the name of your WiFi by pressing the play/pause button.
  • Your Signal Strength will show on the top of the displayed window.
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If below Signal Strength shows Very Good, your WiFi signal is proper; if it shows Weak or Poor, you have a problem with your signal. For better performance, your modem should have a maximum distance of 30 feet from your FireStick for the most outstanding performance. If this is not possible for you, buying a WiFi Extender would be a wise decision. As you probably already figured out from the name, a WiFi Extender spreads the coverage area for your modem and provides a more effective connection on a wider area. Other precautions include raising the modem as high as possible for more excellent signal coverage (ideally 6 feet or more) and ensuring no electrical equipment close to your modem could cause signal interference.

  • Setting a Wired Connection through an Ethernet Cable

An Ethernet cable would make your internet connection be wired instead of wireless, and therefore would increase the speed of your internet. Why is it different, though? A wired connection would eliminate the distance issue because the Amazon FireStick device will be directly connected to the modem via Ethernet cable. Furthermore, the fear of having many electrical items as an obstacle would fade, and there would be no reason to lessen the WiFi signal.

Through a wired connection, you can manage the buffering issue on your FireStick device. I suggest buying an Ethernet adapter via Amazon.com that is suitable for Amazon Fire TV devices and comes with great reviews. By purchasing a device like that, you would take the internet wire (LAN) and the power cord of your FireStick TV power adapter and put them in the Ethernet adapter. After that, just a single line will go into the FireStick device from your Ethernet adapter.

Anyway, keep in mind that you are not required to purchase the Ethernet adapter in case you have enough speed coming through your WiFi connection. It is a suggestion if you are having problems with speed.

Restarting the FireStick device

Often the solution is as obvious as a quick restart to your device for it to work as if nothing has happened. So if you cannot find the definite reason your FireStick is buffering, try this simple method. It is the elementary troubleshooting way on how to fix many of your problems. Therefore, for many of your issues, you should try this method with the offered steps below.

  • Go to Settings on your FireStick device.
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  • Select My Fire TV.
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  • Choose Restart.
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  • Choose Restart once again to confirm.
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Free up space on your FireStick RAM

Amazon FireStick has a small memory that tends to get full too quickly. The FireStick 2nd Gen has 1 GB worth of RAM, while FireStick 4K has 1.5GB. It is still sufficient for a streaming device, but it tends to get packed due to many background apps.

Low space in RAM is a common reason for buffering issues that you might be experiencing. You might not be aware that a few apps continue to take up space in RAM even after you shut them down – they keep working in the background.

You could clear up this RAM capacity by closing the applications that are running in the background. In what way would you find out the apps that are working in the background? You would think of just forcibly shutting down all the installed apps, but that would take a lot of time and would be nerve-wracking.

Fortunately, an app can help you find what apps are working in the background so that you can shut them down. It is a free app on the Amazon Store, and it is called Background Apps and Process Lists.

The following steps will help you install the Background Apps and Process Lists app and apply it to close the apps that are working in the background:

  • From the home screen, go to FIND and then select Search.
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  • Search the Background Apps and Process List application and follow the instructions given on the screen to download it.
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  • Click to launch the app, and the following prompt will appear.
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  • Make sure to uncheck the square next to ‘Open app on boot’ so the app does not open each time you start your FireStick device.
  • Select the Got it! option.
  • A complete list of applications that are working in the background will appear in front of you. Select the CLOSE ALL APPS button in the left corner of the top of the display.
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  • The following display will appear once you select the first application on the list. Choose Force Stop.
  • Once you complete the above-mentioned step, go back through the back button on the controller.
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  • Similar options will appear for each app listed once you select it, so go and choose Force Stop for each of them. Repeat this step until you have closed all the apps running in the background.

Reminder: Force-close all apps except the VPN app (ExpressVPN if you took my advice). The VPN app is supposed to run in the background to ensure your privacy protection. They take very little space, and the forced shutting would disconnect you from your chosen VPN server and make you a victim of outside throttling.

Change the privacy settings

Amazon has recently released an update that has changed the privacy policy and now can collect information about your data usage with the justification of improvements and marketing. This change is bound to interfere with your privacy, and I am sure you would not like any company – no matter who they are – to access your data.

For Amazon to constantly be informed about your data and collect it, your FireStick OS must keep specific processes continually work in the background. This background activity could be a reason why your FireStick is slowing down and experiencing buffering.

The good thing is that the new update allows you to disable the monitoring and collecting of data, and this is how you do it:

  • Open the Firestick home screen, and from there, go to Settings.
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  • On the window that opens, choose Preferences.
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  • Choose Privacy Settings.
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  • You have to make sure you Turn OFF the following: Collect App Usage Data and Device Usage Data.
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  • Return to the previous window by pressing the button on the remote that takes you back once and choose Data Monitoring.
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  • Now, Data Monitoring should be turned off as well.
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Clearing the Cache/Data of Streaming App

Streaming apps usually have many caches, and it is good if you take some time to clear it every once in a while. When you clear the cache, it helps a lot with the buffering on your FireStick device. Users of third-party apps like BeeTV, Ola TV, Cyberflix TV, etc., report that they have worked better after clearing the cache. Because there are not many individual configuration changes, you could also delete the app’s entire data and fully reset it to factory defaults. Here is how you can do that:

  • Find Settings in the FireStick home screen.
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  • Choose Applications.
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  • Click Manage Installed Applications.
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  • All of the installed apps will appear in front of you.
  • Find the streaming application that is having buffering issues and click it.
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  • On the right side of the display, you can find the information about the app data and the cache data 

There are two options for you here:

  • Clear the app data: Choosing this option will completely delete the app’s data and reset it to its primary (factory) settings (removing the sign-in information and the cache).
  • Clear the app cache data: If you would rather keep your data and all the changes you have made, you may choose to delete only the cache and not interfere with the rest of the data.
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Avoiding the Overheating of FireStick

Overheating is a serious issue that can cause permanent damage and severe device malfunction. One problem that can come from your FireStick device overheating is buffering. Therefore, you need to take precautionary steps to prevent that from happening. There exist many guides online on how to fix your heating problem if it is severe, but I will mention the easiest ways which are also effective. FireStick is able to run for a very long time with no problem, but it is good that you find time and let the device rest whenever you can. For example, unplugging it from the power source before going out or overnight. Also, if you believe that your device has overheated, try unplugging it and leave it for 30 minutes at least.

There are other actions that you can take as well. Clearing the cache, using an HDMI extender, closing background apps, deleting APK files after installing a third-party app are just some of them. The article that I provided in that beginning explains all of them. 

Using Real-Debrid for Third-Party Apps

What is Real Debrid? It is a multi-hoster and probably the best in the market that provides users with access to streaming sources that other users cannot get in. Since free add-ons and apps connect to public servers, it is not uncommon for them to face traffic and proceed with slowdowns, downtimes, buffering, and other malfunctions. 

Real Debrid is a hoster that you have to pay, and as one, provides servers with better speed and performance – worth every penny you spend for the subscription. Keep in mind that it is not an add-on, so you have to own an add-on before downloading Real Debrid.

All in all, Real Debrid will solve your buffering problems while simultaneously giving you access to servers that other users cannot access, making your experience ten times better.

Using a VPN (for privacy purposes and increase of speed)

A VPN would help prevent buffering issues, increase internet speed – therefore improve streaming performance, and protect your privacy from ISP throttling and government monitoring.

For ISPs, it is something very common to do internet throttling. As I mentioned above in the article, your ISP has the legal right to decrease the speed of your internet speed when your streaming activities go beyond a specific limit of data downloaded. Due to the decrease in speed, you might experience buffering issues.

Luckily, this is an issue that you can solve by downloading a VPN for your FireStick device. The usage of a VPN does not only stop the ISP throttling and increase your internet speed, and it will also benefit in other ways like:

  • Hide your streaming activity from outer components (ISP, government).
  • Anonymously download torrent.
  • Keep personal information secured from hackers.
  • Allow you to access geographically-restricted content (Netflix, Hulu, HBP, etc.).

Due to personal experience, I would suggest downloading ExpressVPN since it is the best VPN for FireStick. It is the fastest VPN – this a verified fact – and it uses the best encryption technology. With these features, ExpressVPN is the best VPN in the market at the moment.

Lucky for you, ExpressVPN is currently giving discounts on its annual subscription. And common qualities that it has is giving you three free months with the annual plan, and allowing you to get your money back if you are not pleased with its work within 30 days.

Through the steps provided below, I will teach you the process of installing ExpressVPN and how it will help you with your buffering issue.

  • Select Search.
  • Search ExpressVPN and choose it from the suggestions provided. Proceed with the instructions provided on the screen to install the app.
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  • Once the installation is complete, open the app. Use the account detail you made on the registration step to sign in.
  • Start streaming your preferred content right after you connect with the VPN of your choice – now with your privacy protected.

Update Your FireStick OS

A rare cause of your buffering issues is owning an older model of FireStick OS.

Your FireStick device will update automatically every time there is a newer OS model available, but sometimes for whatever reason, that is not the case. So, here, I will show you how to check the status of your OS and, if necessary, install an update:

  • Go to Settings from the home screen.
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  • Click My Fire TV.
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  • Choose About.
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  • Go to Check for Updates.
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  • In a few short seconds, you will see the information about your OS’s status in front of you. It will also show if there is a necessary update.
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Closing Thoughts

I hope you will find the solution to your buffering problem on your FIreStick device through this guide. I tried to explain all the scenarios and possible solutions that I could find, coming from different users’ experiences and my own experience. Through the provided information, I hope to have a pleasing experience while streaming content on FireStick. If you are still facing issues or questions, freely write them down in the comments.