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How to update your Kindle and Kindle Fire HD devices

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Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

While Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s iPad are among some of the best tablets out there, you still can’t go wrong with Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle Fire HD tablets and e-readers. With the Kindle, you can download and read everything from books, to magazines, and even newspapers, while the Fire is perfect for those already deep in the Amazon ecosystem looking for a tablet that takes advantage of that. The Fire HD and HDX have all the reading capabilities of the Kindle, but also provide access to internet browsing, 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 don’t, meaning you’ll need to start the update yourself, or manually apply the update to your device. Neither process is particularly hard or lengthy, but it helps to know what, exactly, you need to do when it’s on you to keep your devices up to date. That’s where we come in. Below, we’ll detail how to update your various Kindle and Fire HD devices, including what software version you should be on, and what to do in the event the update doesn’t install properly.

How to update your Fire HD and Fire HDX

Check your software version:

  • Before any update, check your current software version to make sure the update hasn’t already been 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 read “Your device is running Fire OS X.X.X.X.” At the time of this writing, the current version of Fire OS is 5.3.1 or 5.3.1.1.

Update automatically:

  • Normally, when your Fire HD/HDX is connected to Wi-Fi, the device will update on its own without any input from the user when a new update is available.

Starting the update manually:

  • In the event that the update isn’t downloaded and applied automatically, you can trigger it yourself by going to Settings > Device Options > System Updates > Check Now/Update. The latter option will appear if the update has been downloaded already.
  • You device will restart in order to apply the update. After the restart, you’ll get a message saying “Installing system update.”

Update using your Mac or PC:

  • If you’re using a Mac with OS X 10.5 or later, you’ll 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 and click it. Download the software update found on the device page.
  • Turn on and unlock your device, then connect it to your PC or Mac using a USB cable.
  • On your computer, open the device drive called “Fire.” Or, if you’re using a Mac and installed Android File Transfer, 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 on the drive. Do not put the software update in any other folder located 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 begin the installation process. Your tablet will restart automatically, and afterward, you’ll receive a message saying it’s “Installing system update.”
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