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Amazon Fire tablets are great value and offer an incredibly affordable way to watch movies, play games, and surf the web on a bigger screen than your smartphone. But they can be slow, there is no way to avoid it. A big part of that is just the budget-level hardware Amazon powers its cheap tablets with, and unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about it; after all, we can’t just unload more RAM. But there are a few steps you can take to make things better, and we legitimately believe they’re worth taking.
We are not miracle workers, of course, and these steps will not turn your tablet into a high-end device, but there is a good chance that you will then see a noticeable difference in performance.
Clear the cache partition
The first step in improving performance on a Fire tablet is to clear the cache partition. If you’re not familiar with it, the cache partition is the space Android gives apps to store temporary data. Normally you don’t need to manually erase this partition, but it generally makes a difference on Fire tablets, especially ones that have been around for a while.
First, turn off your Fire tablet by pressing and holding the power button. Once it is off, press down the power and volume down buttons. Once you see the Amazon startup logo, you can release the power button, but hold down the volume button until you enter the recovery screen (pictured below).
On the recovery screen, scroll through the recovery menu using the volume buttons until “wipe cache partition” is selected, then press the power button to enter. Be sure not to select the factory reset option by mistake. Then you will be asked to confirm your choice.
Once you are returned to the recovery screen, scroll down to “shutdown” and select it. Then press and hold the power button again (without pressing any volume buttons) to turn the tablet on again.
Uninstall apps you don’t need
This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning explicitly – remove the apps you installed and no longer need. Most pre-installed apps can’t be removed (and disabling them can cause problems), but you can still review the apps and games you’ve downloaded.
Disable telemetry reporting
By default, Fire tablets send data about how you use your device to Amazon. While disabling them won’t result in a noticeable increase in speed, there will be fewer services running in the background, and it’s nice to cut down on Amazon’s personal data collection. Here you can find the options:
- All versions of the operating system: configuration application> Security and privacy> Marketing
Application usage data
- Fire OS 5: Settings app> Security & Privacy> Collect app usage data
- Fire OS 6: Settings app> Apps & notifications> Collect app usage data
Install Google files
If you have had your Fire tablet for a while, you have probably accumulated a lot of junk files – downloads, game folders that you deleted years ago, etc. Files by Google is a useful application that can find and clean junk files, all in a few taps.
While cleaning up unused files doesn’t have a direct impact on performance, Android starts to slow down when it runs out of internal storage. Files by Google is great for finding the kinds of leftover and junk data that can quickly fill up your tablet storage.
If you’ve already installed Google Play Store on your Fire tablet (maybe with our guide?), You can download Google Files from the Play Store. If you don’t have the Play Store, you can still grab the APKMirror Files app.
Do not install apps on an SD card
Most Fire tablets don’t have a lot of internal space, which is why many device owners choose to put in a microSD card. Older Fire tablets allow you to move some apps to the microSD card, but if you have one of the newer Android 7.0 Nougat models (like Fire 7 2019 or Fire HD 8 2018), you can use an SD card as an extension for Your internal storage.
However, moving apps to your SD card actually slows down your Fire tablet. As we’ve covered in detail, even the fastest microSD cards are slower than the internal storage used by modern phones and tablets. We tested this 16GB SanDisk A2 microSD card (A2 cards are supposed to be best for applications) with a seventh generation Fire HD 8, and the random read speeds were 3 times slower than internal storage, with speeds of even worse random write. In other words, Even one of the fastest microSD cards is twice as slow as the Fire tablet’s internal storage.
Disk benchmarks in internal storage (left) and microSD Class 10 A2 (right)
As a more extreme example, we also tested an older Class 10 (not A1) microSD card with an 8th generation Fire HD 8. These are among the lowest grade SD cards you can still buy, and as you can see from the screenshots below, the random read performance was approximately 6 times slower than internal storage. Random write speeds were unusable, 35 times slower than internal storage.
Disk benchmarks in internal storage (left) and microSD Class 10 (right)
It’s important to put attention on SD card speeds don’t matter if you only use them for data storage. If you just want to save Netflix movies for offline use, or keep a massive music collection on your tablet, any SD card will work fine. Running applications directly from an SD card is what will dramatically reduce performance.
If you Really need additional storage for apps, get an A2 rated card like this SanDisk model. Your applications will continue to run more slowly, but they will not be as slow as they could be.
Turn off Alexa
Some people have reported that disabling Alexa voice assistant can help troubleshoot performance issues and drain your battery, so if you don’t mind Alexa, it’s something you can try. Open the Settings app from the home screen (or swipe down from the top and tap the settings icon), select ‘Alexa’ from the list, and turn off Alexa. Easy.
If you’re still having issues with slowdowns / battery drain, you can try enabling Parental Controls from the Settings app, preventing Alexa from running. I couldn’t notice a difference between that and just turning off Alexa normally, but maybe you will see different results.
Nuclear option: set a process limit in the background
If your Fire tablet is still slow, there is one more option you can try: Android has a hidden setting to limit the number of apps that can run in the background. Android will typically shutdown apps in the background when it runs out of available RAM, but you can configure it to be more aggressive. This will not affect push notifications and other tasks that normally remain in the background, only apps that you opened and then closed.
Also, this option is not available in child profiles on Fire tablets, only the primary user.
First, you need to enable the Developer options menu, if you haven’t already. Open the Settings app, select ‘Device Options’ and keep tapping’ Serial Number until the message ‘Now you are a developer’ appears. A new ‘Developer Options’ menu will appear in the Device Options section.
Once you have access, open the Settings app, select ‘Device Options’, tap ‘Developer Options’, hit ‘Background Process Limit’ (it’s near the bottom) and set it to 2 processes.
Now your Fire tablet will only keep two apps running in the background, at most. If you want to disable this later, just go back to the option and set it to ‘Standard Limit’. Settings are usually reset after a reboot as well, so if you notice your tablet slowing down, check to see if it’s still enabled.
You can’t get around the barrel bottom processors that Amazon puts on your tablets, but hopefully some of these steps have helped speed up your tablet a bit.