Goodbye Chrome, Hello Silk! Amazon’s Silk browser is my go-to browser now when surfing the net on the Fire TV Stick. That wasn’t the case a few months ago. Back then (in September 2017) I wrote instructions on how to download and install Google Chrome browser (and mouse .apk) for the Amazon TV Fire Stick. I also wrote an accompanying article on how to get around with Chrome. Well, things have changed.
Recently (November 2017) Amazon released an updated Silk browser that is compatible with the Fire TV Stick. Wait, let me clarify. It’s compatible with the first and second generation Amazon Fire Sticks. It is not compatible with the newer 3rd generation or 4k TVs (which is fine by me because I’m using the second generation Fire Stick).
‘Net Surfing: Silk Browser + Fire Stick
I’ve installed the new Silk browser and it resolved some of the annoying issues and workarounds I endured using the Chrome browser. Namely, I had a heck of a time signing into some of my premium websites. I’m talking about the sites that require a username and password. I was having such a tough time that I almost locked myself out of several of them. Before totally booting myself out (3rd out of 4 tries), I’d give up and use an actual computer or mobile device to access the account. Once logged in I’d sign out and try again another 3 times with the Fire Stick, but no luck.
I guess it makes sense that Amazon’s Silk browser works better with Amazon devices. Chrome wasn’t made for Amazon Fire Sticks, and neither were Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari. They all allow you to surf the net, but why not use a browser that was made specifically for the platform.
Initial Pros of Using Silk Browser for Amazon Fire Stick
There are several things I like about the Silk browser:
- Easy to install: Unlike Chrome (or some of the other browsers), I didn’t have to use an app like Downloader or ES Explorer to download it. All I had to do was log into my Amazon account, add the Silk browser to my cart and tell Amazon where I wanted it to go. No need to download .apk files or anything.
- It comes with its own built-in mouse. I didn’t need to download the mouse.apk as I did with Chrome. It’s a lot easier to navigate around in Silk than in Chrome (it’s even easier to get around if you happen to have a mini keyboard).
- Web pages seem to load faster in Silk than in Chrome. Chrome was the only other browser I loaded onto the Fire Stick so I cannot say how quickly the other browsers loaded. Having said that, the first time you access the browser there’s a little bit of a lag before the website appears. Afterwards, things seem to move along swimmingly.
- It’s compatible with Alexa voice commands. I can access websites or search for information without typing. Just for grins I did a voice search for Matt Lauer and came up with even more disturbing information about the fallen newscaster. Using Alexa voice commands with Chrome, however, kicked me out of the browser and back to the Amazon program. BTW, for the search function to work (whether you use Alexa or type commands), you must first press the Amazon remote menu button (the one with the three lines). Then press the large round select button to bring up the on-screen keyboard. Once you see the keyboard, you can either speak or type your instructions.
Few Tips on Browsing the Fire Stick with Silk
- Surfing the web with Silk on the Fire Stick is great because the TV screen is large and easy to read (I can read things without my reading glasses). However, use caution when surfing. Unless you live alone and never have visitors, be mindful of logging into and signing out of accounts. Anyone with the Amazon remote in hand can visit any site on the web using the Silk browser. If you’re not in the habit signing out of accounts, Mary S. Visitor is able to access unprotected sites. In other words, check your bank balance, private emails and other sensitive information on your private phone or computer, not the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
- Periodically clear the cache. Okay, this is just one of my grandmotherly habits. I like to have my devices as clean and efficient as possible. The Fire Stick doesn’t have as much space as my computer or phone. I like to periodically clear out space absorbing files. I consider the web browser cache file to be one of them.
Enough about What the Silk Browser Does – Let’s Install It
- Go to Amazon and put them to work. While logged into your account, search for the Silk browser (here’s the browser link to make things even easier). Select the device you want to download Silk to and let Amazon do the rest. Give them a few minutes to download the file to your device.
- Locate the browser on the Fire Stick. Go to the Your Apps and Games row on the Home screen and scroll all the way to the right. Click on See All at the end of the row. You can either open the Silk browser from there or move it to a more convenient location for future use. To move Silk to another location, press the Options button on the Amazon remote to invoke the submenu that appears in the lower right-hand corner of the TV screen. That submenu (Move to Front, Move, More Info and Uninstall) allows you to change Silk’s location. Once it’s situated where you want it, open it and begin browsing.
If you’ve previously used Chrome to browse the Internet on the Fire Stick, you’ll find using Silk to be easier. If you’ve never searched the web on the Fire Stick, it will take a little getting used to. It’s not exactly the same as browsing on your computer or mobile device, but it gets the job done (Silk saved me when I couldn’t use TerrariumTV).