How to Stop Buffering on Fire Stick

Stop your Fire TV Stick from buffering and get it running faster

What to Know

  • To stop buffering on Fire Sticks, disconnect other devices from the Wi-Fi network.
  • Update the Fire Stick operating system and apps and ask your ISP if it's restricting Fire Stick streaming.
  • As a last resort, download videos in the Amazon Prime Video app and cast them to your TV.

This guide will walk you through a series of proven solutions for how to fix buffering and slow streaming or loading on Amazon’s Fire TV Stick streaming devices, including the Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Fire TV Stick 4K Max streaming stick models.

How Do I Fix Slow Streaming on Fire Stick?

If your Amazon Fire Stick keeps buffering or stopping while trying to stream a show or movie, there are several strategies that you can try.

  1. Disconnect other devices from your Wi-Fi. If too many files are being downloaded at once, your internet speed can slow to a crawl.

    Check your Xbox and PlayStation video game consoles to see if they’re downloading a massive video game or system update. Some updates can be well over 50 GB in size.

    Windows 11 internet settings with WiFi On switch highlighted.
  2. Note the days and times that you experience Fire Stick buffering. If streaming slows to a crawl around the same time every day or every week, your internet service provider is likely being overwhelmed. You may want to call their customer support and complain though it may be time to switch to a faster and more reliable internet service if one’s available.

    5G home broadband can sometimes be faster than traditional internet connections depending on where you live, so make sure to ask about various options when switching to get the best internet service for you.

  3. Select Settings > My Fire TV > Install Update to update your Fire Stick operating system to the latest version. Your Fire Stick may require an update to better connect to Amazon’s servers and improve streaming.

    If you don't see a prompt to install an update, this means that you already have the latest version of the operating system installed.

    Amazon Fire TV Stick update screen.
  4. Update your Fire Stick apps. The app you’re using on your Fire Stick could need an update.

    Amazon Fire TV Stick app screen.
  5. Restart your internet modem. The process of restarting your modem or router hybrid device will make a new connection to your internet service provider that can often be much faster than the one you were initially on.

  6. Restart your Fire Stick. To do this, press Select and Play on your Fire TV Stick remote until the device turns off. It should automatically turn back on after a few seconds.

    Alternatively, you can also restart your Fire Stick via the Settings > My Fire TV menu.

    My Fire TV settings menu with Restart option highlighted.
  7. Ask your internet service provider if there are limits on media streaming. If your internet works fine while doing other activities and only slows down while streaming content on your Fire Stick, it’s possible that your service provider might be placing limits on how fast you can access certain websites and services.

  8. Adjust your VPN. If you use a VPN, try switching to another location to see if this increases your internet speed. If this doesn’t fix your Fire Stick streaming problems, experiment with turning the VPN off entirely while streaming media.

  9. Check your storage. Select Settings > My Fire TV > Storage to ensure that you have some free space still available on your streaming stick. If you don’t, you may want to delete some apps or transfer them to a connected USB stick.

    A lack of free space can affect how apps run and can cause a lot of buffering.

    Fire Stick storage screen.

How Do I Improve Fire Stick Streaming Quality?

You can use several tricks and tips to improve the video and audio quality of a TV show or movie on Amazon Fire TV Sticks.

  • Upgrade to a 4K Fire TV Stick. To view 4K and HDR content, you’ll need to own a Fire TV Stick 4K or a Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The regular Fire TV Stick and Lite models only support 1080p HD.  
  • Invest in a 4K TV. Even if your Fire Stick supports 4K, you won’t be able to see the improved image quality if your TV doesn’t support 4K resolution. Likewise, you’ll also need a TV with HDR support to view HDR content.
  • Use the 4K HDMI port on your TV. Most 4K TVs only feature one or two HDMI ports that support 4K media, so make sure that your Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is plugged into one of them and not a regular one.
  • Use a high-speed HDMI cable. To send 4K media and high-quality audio to a TV and speaker system, you need to use an HDMI cable that’s designed for such data. Such cables are usually referred to as high-speed or 4K HDMI cables.
  • Watch 4K Amazon Prime Video content. Unfortunately, not all content on Amazon Prime Video is available in 4K, and discovering films and series that are is notoriously tricky. There are several strategies for finding 4K content on Amazon Prime Video that you can use, though.
  • Disable your TV’s image filters. To get the sharpest and most pure image quality on your TV, head into its image settings and disable any features that resemble motion smoothing, noise reduction, and edge enhancement or sharpening. You may also want to switch the color profile to Normal and manually adjust the colors and brightness levels to your liking.

Is There a Way to Stop Buffering?

If you’ve tried all of the above suggestions and you’re still experiencing a lot of buffering on your Fire Stick, there is something else that you may want to try.

Open the Amazon Prime Video app on a Windows, iOS, or Android device, download the content you want to view, and then cast it to your TV.

iPhone Amazon Prime Video app with Cast icon highlighted.

Amazon’s Fire Stick devices sometimes experience buffering as they stream media directly from Amazon’s servers instead of downloading complete files before playing them. With the movie file fully downloaded on your computer, tablet, or smartphone beforehand and then being sent to your Fire Stick to play, you shouldn’t experience any buffering at all, even if you’re on a slow internet connection. 

How Do I Make My Fire Stick Faster?

All of the above tips are proven to increase the speed and functionality of Amazon Fire TV Sticks. Beyond these tips, though, there’s no way to upgrade an existing Fire Stick to a new model or enhance its processing power as you would on a gaming PC.

For example, if you want to view 4K Fire Stick content and have a regular Fire Stick, you’ll need to buy a Fire TV Stick 4K or 4K Max model.

  • How do I stop Kodi from buffering on a Fire Stick?

    If you use a VPN, enabling this service might reduce issues with buffering due to bandwidth throttling from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). You can also use Kodi add-ons such as Ares Wizard to clear and optimize your Kodi cache to reduce buffering.

  • How can I reduce YouTube buffering on my Fire Stick?

    Check your internet speed; Amazon Fire devices require at least 3Mbps for standard content and 25Mbps for 4K content. You could also reduce the video quality by selecting Up on your remote > More (three vertical dots) > Quality. If you're having trouble with YouTube or YouTube TV not working on your Fire Stick, restart the apps or clear the cache from Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications.

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