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Update your Kindle and Kindle Fire HD devices



While Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s iPad are among the best tablets, you still can’t go wrong with Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle Fire HD tablets and e-readers. The Kindle allows you to download and read everything from books to magazines and even newspapers. At the same time, the Fire is perfect for those already deep in the Amazon ecosystem looking for a tablet that takes advantage of it. The Fire HD and HDX have all the reading capabilities of the Kindle, but also provide access to the web, video streaming, and more apps than you can count.

Like other tablets, the Kindle, Fire HD, and Fire HDX all receive occasional updates that add new features and improve security. These updates usually happen automatically, but in some cases they don̵

7;t, which means you have to start the update yourself or apply the update manually on your device. Neither process is particularly difficult or lengthy, but it helps to know exactly what to do to keep your devices up to date. That’s where we come into play. Below we’ll show you how to update your various Kindle and Fire HD devices, including which software version to use and what to do if the update doesn’t install correctly.

Amazon Fire HD 8 kiosk
Steven Winkelman / Digital Trends

How to Update Your Fire HD and Fire HDX

Check your software version

Before each update, check your current software version to make sure the update is not already installed. You can check this by doing the following:

Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap Settings> Device options> System updates. At the top of the screen it should say, “Your device is running Fire OS XXXX” At the time of writing, the current version of Fire OS is 7.3.1.7.

Update automatically

When your Fire HD / HDX is connected to Wi-Fi, the device will normally update automatically without any user input when a new update is available.

Starting the update manually

  • If the update is not automatically downloaded and applied, you can activate it yourself by going to Settings> Device Options> System Updates> Check / Update Now. The last option appears if the update has already been downloaded.
  • Your device will reboot to apply the update. After restarting, you will get a message saying “Installing system update”.

Update with your Mac or PC

  • If you are using a Mac with OS X 10.5 or higher, you will need to download and install Android File Transfer first.
  • Go to the Fire and Kindle Software Update page. Scroll down until you find your specific device; Click It. Download the software update from the device page.
  • Turn on and unlock your device, then connect it to your PC or Mac with a USB cable.
  • On your computer, open the device drive named ‘Fire’. Or, if you’re on a Mac and have Android File Transfer installed, the program should open automatically when you connect your device. Drag the software update file you downloaded earlier and move it to the internal storage folder of the drive. Do not place the software update in any other folder on the Fire drive.
  • When the file transfer is complete, disconnect your device. On the device, swipe down from the top of the screen, then tap Settings> Device options> System updates> Update to start the installation process. Your tablet will automatically reboot and then you will receive a message saying “Installing system update”.

Update your Kindle (Kindle Oasis, Voyage, Paperwhite, etc.)

Check the software version

Like the Fire HD and HDX, you should check your Kindle’s software version before attempting to update it as the update may have been applied without your knowledge. Start with it House menu and tap Menu > Settings> Menu> Device info. At the time of this writing, the current software and firmware version is Kindle 5.13.4 or 5.12.2.

Update automatically

When your Kindle is connected to Wi-Fi, the device will usually update automatically without any input from the user when a new update becomes available.

Starting the update manually

Of the House menu, go to it Menu > Settings> Menu > Update your Kindle> OK. After you decide to start the update, you will see the message “Your Kindle is being updated.” When the update is complete, the device will reboot automatically.

Update with your PC or Mac

  • First, visit the Fire and Kindle Software Updates page. Find your Kindle device, click on it and download the update on the page.
  • Connect your Kindle to your computer with a USB cable and drag and drop the aforementioned update file to your Kindle drive. Specifically, place the file in the root directory and not in any other folder on the drive.
  • When the transfer is complete, disconnect the device from your PC. On your Kindle, starting from the House screen, tap Menu > Settings> Menu icon> Update your Kindle> OK. You will see the message ‘Your Kindle is being updated’ and your device should reboot and apply the update.

Troubleshoot Kindle Update

Problem: Update your Kindle option is grayed out, or there is an error

When you try to trigger the update manually or after transferring the update file, the update option is grayed out and unresponsive, or you receive an error message after tapping Updating.

Possible solutions:

  • You may have already installed the latest update. Check your device software and firmware version to see which OS version you are currently using.
  • This could also be due to the update file being placed in the wrong location on the drive of the device or the file not being transferred correctly. Connect your Kindle or Fire HD to your computer and make sure the file is in the root folder instead of any other folder on your device. If it’s in the wrong place, move it.

Problem: The update starts but does not complete

After the update starts, the process will start as expected, but will fail before the installation is complete. For some, the update doesn’t start at all.

Possible solution:

This particular issue is most likely caused by the update file being misnamed or by having duplicate update files. Check your computer and Kindle device and delete all update files. Repeat the installation process described above and be careful how you choose to rename the update file. According to Amazon Device Support, the file name “cannot contain spaces or characters, such as (1), after the file name”.

Annoyance: The previous software version number is kept after the update

After installing the update, the software version number has not changed from before the update.

Possible solutions:

  • If the installation was done automatically over Wi-Fi, the update will be completed when your device goes to sleep. When you turn it back on, the version number will be updated to reflect the change. Try turning it off and on again.
  • If you applied the update using the PC or Mac method mentioned above, please run the update again as it may not be installed correctly.

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