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Your Firestick is made to be online, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless when the internet goes out. In this guide, I’ll show you what your Firestick can do without the internet or Wi-Fi, including how to watch your offline movies or play games on your Fire TV.
Do You Need Internet for Firestick?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is primarily used for streaming movies and TV shows, which requires high-speed internet access. You can still access all of your Firestick’s apps without the internet, but only a few of those apps (like Kodi and some games) are usable offline.
When you first get your Firestick, you’ll need internet access to set it up and connect to your Amazon account. You’ll also need the internet to download any new apps from the Amazon app store.
Do You Need Wi-Fi for Firestick?
Without extra equipment, Firesticks can only access the internet via Wi-Fi. Unlike some other streaming devices, they don’t have a built-in ethernet port.
That being said, Amazon sells an ethernet adaptor that allows you to connect your Firestick directly to your router. If your Wi-Fi is unreliable or slow, I’d recommend picking one up.
Can You Connect Firestick to a Hotspot?
When your Wi-Fi network is down, you could connect Firestick to a mobile hotspot. However, it’s not a great long-term solution.
Streaming HD video requires 1.5 GB of data per hour, and 4K video takes 7 GB per hour. That takes an intense toll on the average data plan.
You’re better off using Wi-Fi or an ethernet connection. If you do end up on a hotspot, I suggest avoiding HD streaming if possible unless you have an unlimited data plan without data throttling.
How to Use Firestick Without Internet
When your Firestick is offline, you won’t be able to launch apps from the home screen. You’ll instead be met with a message saying that your “Home Screen is Currently Unavailable.”
To get to your apps without the home screen:
- Go to Settings -> Applications -> Manage Installed Applications.
- Select the app you want to use.
- Click Launch Application.
Most apps will tell you immediately that they require a network connection, but there are a few types of apps that retain at least some functionality while offline.
Watch offline movies and shows with Kodi
Kodi is a complicated and highly-customizable app. Its core feature, though, is its ability to play media files over a local network. You can store your movies, TV shows, and music on a desktop computer or network-attached storage and stream them over Wi-Fi to your Firestick.
You’ll need internet access to download new shows to your Kodi server. After that, you’ll have access to them even when you are offline.
You can find a ton of movies to get your collection started by looking in the public domain. There are over 10,000 public domain movies available for free, legal download, as long as you don’t mind sticking to the classics.
Play Android video games
Amazon’s Fire OS is a modified version of the Android operating system. That means that virtually any Android app, including a ton of games, can be used on your Firestick.
Most of these games won’t be particularly remote-friendly, so I’d suggest getting a Bluetooth game controller if you want to play anything other than the most casual games.
Some Android games require internet access in order to work. Generally, that’s going to be true of any game that relies heavily on multiplayer as a core feature. But you’ll find plenty of games that work just fine while you’re offline.
Need some ideas? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Final Fantasy VII
- Fallout Shelter
You may not find some of these Android games in Amazon’s app store. That doesn’t mean they aren’t playable, though. It just means that you’ll need to follow this guide to sideload them instead.
Mirror your phone, tablet, or computer to your Firestick
You can mirror content from any mobile device or computer to your Firestick. Combine that with some downloaded videos or a mobile internet connection, and you can stream movies on your Fire TV even if the Firestick itself doesn’t have internet.
Make sure your Firestick and your other device are on the same Wi-Fi network. From there, the process for mirroring will depend on your device.
How to mirror a Windows computer to Firestick
- Activate mirroring on your Firestick by going to Settings -> Display & Sounds -> Enable Display Monitoring.
- Open the Windows action center at the bottom, right of the screen.
- Select Project. You may need to click Expand to see this option.
- Click Connect to a wireless display.
- Select your Firestick from the list of devices.
How to mirror an iPhone or Android phone to Firestick
You’re going to need a third-party Firestick app to mirror your smartphone to the Firestick. I suggest AirScreen for its simplicity and because it’s free (my favorite price).
Once you have AirScreen installed and running on your Fire TV Stick, you just need to scan the on-screen QR code using your camera. That will give you the option to either mirror a single app or the entire phone screen to your Firestick.
Firesticks are versatile. You can use a Firestick on a non-smart TV or a smart TV. You can move your Firestick between TVs. You can even combine Firestick with Roku on a single TV. But take away its internet access, and your Firestick is limited—although not entirely useless.
Your best bet, though, is just to get your internet back fast. Often, resetting your Firestick can help with that, assuming the problem is with the Firestick and not your router.