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18 major Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

The Kindle Fire range has been a success story for Amazon. It all started with the original Kindle Fire, but Amazon has upgraded and overhauled its Android offerings since then. The Kindle Fire HDX comes in two sizes (with a 7-inch or an 8.9-inch screen) and it plugs you directly into Amazon’s world of content.

More: 12 helpful tips to improve your Kindle Fire HDX

Feedback on the devices has been generally positive. However, even the most popular products have a downside and, beyond being limited to Amazon’s content offerings, there are a few Kindle Fire HDX problems you may encounter. We also deal with some common Kindle Fire HD problems. Below are solutions and workarounds to try and help you get past them.

Issue: Kindle Fire stuck on logo

Quite a few people have run into issues with their Kindle Fire HD tablet refusing to start up properly — it gets as far as the logo and gets stuck. Restarting the device simply takes you as far as the logo again. There are forum posts about this problem going back a few years now and some of our readers recently asked about it in the comments.

Potential solutions:

  • Plug your tablet into a charger and let it charge for at least 15 minutes. Now, keep it plugged in, and press and hold the Power button until it restarts and see if it works normally. You may need to hold it down for 40 seconds or more.
  • Try plugging it into your computer and see if the device is recognized.
  • If it still won’t progress past the logo, then it’s probably a good idea to contact Amazon support.
  • You could try and see if you can get into the recovery menu. Turn the tablet off, then turn it on and press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons simultaneously. Sadly, some tablets require you to use the Power and Volume up buttons, however, so if Volume down doesn’t work, then try Volume up. If you manage to get into the recovery menu, then you can use the volume keys to highlight options and the Power button to select them. You could also try performing a factory reset via wipe data/ factory reset, but be aware that it will wipe everything on your tablet.

Problem: App won’t load or keeps crashing

This issue has cropped a few times in forum posts like this one. If you have a recurring problem with a specific app on your Kindle Fire tablet — perhaps it won’t load, or it keeps crashing or freezing — then here’s what to do:

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Apps & Games > Manage All Applications and find the problem app. Then, tap Force stop and Clear cache.
  • If that doesn’t work, then try uninstalling the app via Settings > Apps & Games > Manage All Applications > [App name] > Uninstall. Restart your device by holding down the Power button for 40 seconds, and then reinstall the app.
  • You can find some additional advice in Amazon’s help section.

Glitch: Stuck on “Optimizing system storage and applications”

Some of our readers have found that their Fire HD tablet gets stuck on the message, “Optimizing system storage and applications,” or keeps showcasing the message repeatedly. This is a fairly common problem, which has been raised in the Amazon forums here and here.

Potential solutions:

  • Plug it into the wall using your original cable and charger, and give it half an hour or so to complete.
  • If it’s still not working, then try holding down the Power button for 40 seconds to force a restart.
  • There’s also a chance that this problem is related to your MicroSD card. If you have a MicroSD card in your tablet, then turn the tablet off and remove it, and then test to see if the issue is resolved. If your MicroSD card is causing the problem, then try plugging it into your PC or another device, copy your files, and wipe it. Afterward, copy them back over before reinserting it into your Fire tablet.

Issue: MicroSD card not recognized or not working

Many of our readers have been having issues with their Fire tablets not recognizing their MicroSD card. Content on the MicroSD card may become inaccessible permanently, or simply intermittently. This issue has also cropped up at the Amazon forum.

Potential solutions:

  • Start by fully charging your Fire tablet with the original cable and charger, then hold down the Power button for 40 seconds to perform a force reset. Connect to a Wi-Fi network and leave your tablet alone for a while — it should automatically download and install any available updates. You can also do this manually on your PC or laptop by visiting the Amazon’s Fire & Kindle Software Updates page.
  • Turn your tablet off and remove the MicroSD card. Afterward, replace it carefully and try again.
  • If you have a case on your tablet, then try removing it. There’s a slim chance that it’s pressing on the card and causing the issue.
  • Visit the Amazon’s Manage Your Content and Devices page on your PC or laptop and sign in. Take a look at the listed devices and make sure that your device is registered. You can also make sure you’re registered on your Kindle Fire by swiping down from the top of the screen and tapping Settings > My Account > Register. It might also be worth trying to Deregister — you can Register again after restarting your device.
  • You could try looking in Settings > Storage > SD Card and toggling some content categories. However, they should be on for the MicroSD card by default.
  • If nothing else works, then turn your tablet off, remove the MicroSD card, and slide it into your PC or laptop. Afterward, back up your files and reformat the card. In Windows, you’ll want to right-click on the SD card and choose Format, then pick FAT32 or exFAT.

Annoyance: Highlighted buttons and voice descriptions

If you find that there’s a yellow line around some of your onscreen buttons, or that a voice describes what you’re tapping when you try to navigate around, then you may have inadvertently turned on the Accessibility mode. It’s designed to help people with disabilities use their Fire tablet, but, thankfully, it’s easy to turn off. A couple of our readers asked about this one, so here are the instructions you need to turn it off.

Solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility and turn off Voice Guide.
  • If you have Explore by Touch or Screen Reader turned on, then swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers to open the Quick Actions menu. Then, tap Settings and double-tap the screen to open the Settings menu. Tap Accessibility and double-tap the screen to open the Accessibility menu. Tap Off next to Screen Reader, double-tap the screen to confirm, tap Continue, and double-tap the screen once again. This should disable both Screen Reader and Explore by Touch.

Problem: Keeps shutting down

If you find that your Kindle Fire HD keeps turning off by itself, then you’re not alone. This problem has been posted in the Amazon forum here and here. There are a few different reasons that this might happen.

Potential solutions:

  1. You’ll want to start by making sure that the battery is completely charged.
  2. Try resetting the the tablet by holding down the power button for 20 seconds, waiting a few seconds, and then pressing the power button again. You can also just hold down the power button continuously for 40 seconds to force a restart.
  3. If the problem is just that the screen goes off, then go to Settings > Display > Screen Timeout and set it to be higher or Never.
  4. It might be overheating. If it feels very warm to the touch, then try removing any case that might be on it, and give it time to cool down before you turn it on again.
  5. Try using a different charger and cable to make sure the battery is being properly charged.
  6. Your penultimate option is to back up all your files and perform a factory reset. Go to Settings > Device > Reset to Factory Defaults > Reset.
  7. If nothing has worked, then it’s time to contact Amazon.

Problem: Keyboard typing erratically

Some owners have reported a strange issue with their Kindle Fire tablet where it fails to type correctly. It may produce a random collection of characters rather than what the user is typing, sometimes it may delete words, or skip pages by itself. The discussion about it on this Amazon forum post goes back a few years.

Potential solutions:

  1. First, you should try cleaning the touchscreen using a microfiber cloth. Make sure that any case you are using is fitted correctly, and check there are no air bubbles if you’re using a screen protector.
  2. Try holding down the power button for 20 seconds to turn it off and then press the power button to turn it on again.
  3. Make sure your Kindle Fire is fully charged and repeat step 2.
  4. You could try a factory reset, but you’ll lose all of your content, so backup first. Swipe down from the top and tap Settings > Device > Reset to Factory Defaults > Reset.
  5. If you still experience the problem after factory resetting, then it’s time to contact Amazon.

Glitch: “An internal error occurred”

A number of people have been getting the message, “An internal error occurred” when trying to load certain apps, possibly followed by, “This can be caused by a lack of network connectivity. Please make sure you have a good network connection.” Here’s an Amazon forum post about it.

Potential solutions:

  1. Turn your router off and on again.
  2. Hold down the power button on your Kindle for 20 seconds and then turn it on again.
  3. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap More > Applications > Installed Applications and find the app that won’t load. Tap Force Stop and OK, then tap Clear Data and OK.
  4. Make sure that the date and time are correct by swiping down from the top and tapping More > Date and Time.
  5. Try deregistering your Kindle Fire HD by swiping down from the top and tapping More > My Account > Deregister. Now register it again and see if that worked.

Problem: Connecting to PC

A lot of people have trouble connecting their Kindle Fire, HD, or HDX to their desktop PC. You might be trying to move files over and encounter the message “The device has either stopped responding or has been disconnected.” Perhaps you can’t get it to show up under Computer as a drive, so there’s no way to drag and drop files. You can find a discussion of this one at the Amazon forum.

Workarounds:

  • Use an app like Dropbox to wirelessly transfer files.
  • You could also email files to yourself if you don’t have many and they aren’t very large.

Potential solutions:

  • First of all, try turning both your Kindle (hold down power for 20 seconds) and your PC off and on again.
  • Make sure that your Kindle Fire tablet is fully charged.
  • Try using a different USB cable.
  • If you have another spare one, then try plugging it into a different USB port.
  • If you’re using a Windows XP or Vista PC then make sure you have the Media Transfer Protocol Porting Kit installed.

Problem: Purple or blue haze on the screen

Some people reported a purple or blue haze around the edges of the Kindle Fire HDX screen, which is particularly noticeable when the background is white. It seems to vary in intensity on different devices. If you have a major problem, then it’s down to a manufacturing flaw, so you should be able to get a replacement. Here’s an Amazon forum post about this problem and a YouTube video highlighting it.

Solution:

  • Contact Amazon or use the Mayday service and report the problem. If it is clearly noticeable, then you should be able to get a replacement. There’s a distinction between a slight blue tint, which is considered normal, and a major haze around the edges, as some people have encountered.

Amazon did post a clarification about its use of blue LEDs which stated, “As a result of using these blue LEDs, you may notice a very narrow, faint blue tint around the edge of the device when looking at items with a white background, such as books or web pages. All displays have some level of light emission around the edges, and the light on the Kindle Fire HDX 7″ is blue due to the technology used to render perfect color accuracy.”

Malfunction: Overheating

Some users have reported issues with the Kindle Fire HD overheating while playing games, watching movies, or surfing the web. In extreme cases, the overheating even causes the tablet to shut down. You will probably find the problem is worse when you have a case on your device, so try removing it and check to see if it makes a difference. All tablets get warm in use, but if your Kindle Fire HD is getting uncomfortably hot or automatically shutting down when in use, then you may have a faulty piece of hardware. Here’s an Amazon forum post about it.

Potential solutions:

  • It’s possible that an app you have installed is causing the problem. Try uninstalling apps one by one and testing to see if the problem is gone, or back up everything and perform a factory reset.
  • You may have to contact Amazon and get a replacement tablet.

Annoyance: Email is not working or not updating

A number of users have struggled to get their email accounts working correctly on the Kindle Fire HD. Several reports suggest that the email will work for a small period of time and then inexplicably stop working and others report that they cannot get it to work at all. This seems to be a common problem for Verizon and Comcast customers, but it has cropped up for people with other ISPs as well. This is possibly caused by a problem with the native email app on the Kindle Fire HD because some people have reported that installing a third-party app worked for them. Here’s an Amazon forum post about this issue.

Workaround:

  1. Try a free third-party email app such as K-9 Mail or Kaiten Mail.
  2. Buy a third-party email app such as Enhanced Email.
  3. If you can’t get your email to work at all, then check out Amazon’s help page for further advice.

Glitch: It won’t start up or freezes during use

Some people encounter freezing when they’re using the Kindle Fire HD or HDX, and others report that the tablet won’t power on. There are many posts about this issue at the Amazon forums, including here and here. If your Kindle Fire won’t turn on, here’s what to try:

Possible solutions:

  1. Try rebooting the device by holding down the power button for 20 seconds and then tapping the power button again to turn it back on.
  2. Try holding down the power button for 20 seconds and, when the device is completely off, plug in the charger and press the power button again to turn on the device. If you think the battery might be dead, then leave it to charge for an hour before you turning it back on.
  3. There’s a slim chance that your battery is dead and the charger or cable is faulty, so try plugging your Kindle Fire into a different outlet with another charger and cable to see if it makes a difference.

Problem: Device won’t charge

Various battery-related problems have been raised by Kindle Fire HD owners. Issues range from a complete refusal to charge, to a partial charge, to a very slow charge. There are a few things you can double check and try before contacting Amazon. Remember that charging with Amazon’s cable and the optional charger should take four hours, while charging it using the USB plug on your computer will take 13.5 hours. You can read more about the problem in this Amazon forum post.

Possible solutions:

  1. Hold down the power button for 20 seconds to power off and then try plugging in the charger.
  2. Make sure you are using the cable that you got with your Kindle Fire HD. If you didn’t buy the Amazon Kindle PowerFast for Accelerated Charging which costs an extra $20 then you need to check the rating on the charger you are using. A full charge should take 4 hours using the Amazon charger and cable. Many other device chargers will work just as well, here’s an example from PowerGen that’s only $10 (although if you use the dual charging feature it will charge more slowly). If you are using another charger with a lower rating, then it will work, but it might take a lot longer and it can cause synchronization problems with the battery monitor, so it might not display accurately how much power the battery has left.
  3. Try the charger with another device to make sure it is working.
  4. If the charging light doesn’t come on (it should be orange when charging and green when charged), try pushing the cable in more or try gently moving it. Some Kindle Fire HDs have loose ports, and if that’s the case, you’ll want to contact Amazon and get a replacement.

Glitch: It won’t connect to Wi-Fi

There are all sorts of reasons that your Kindle Fire HD or HDX won’t connect to a Wi-Fi network. If you find that you can’t connect to Wi-Fi, then there are a couple of things to try. Make sure you don’t have Airplane Mode on and that you do have Wi-Fi on via the notifications bar More > Wireless. Here’s an Amazon forum post about this issue.

Possible solutions:

  1. Try holding the power button for a second and when, “Do you want to shut down your Kindle?“ pops up, tap “Shut Down.” Turn off your router. Now turn both of them back on again.
  2. Try rebooting the device by holding down the power button for 20 seconds and then tapping the power button to turn it back on. You can also just hold down the power button for 40 seconds until the tablet reboots.
  3. Before you start, make sure your Kindle Fire HD is fully charged and that you have backed up any precious files. Reset the Kindle Fire HD to its factory settings by pulling down the notifications bar and tapping More > My Account > Deregister. Then, read the text and tap Deregister to confirm. You can also do this on your computer by logging into Amazon, going to Manage Your Content and Devices > Your Devices, selecting your tablet, and choosing Deregister within the Actions column. Bring the notifications bar down again and hit More > Device > Reset to Factory Defaults, read the text, and tap Erase Everything. Keep in mind that you’ll have to set up your Wi-Fi network again from scratch.
  4. Download the free Wi-fi Analyzer app and make sure that busy channels are not your problem. This will also reveal any signal strength issues.

If you still can’t connect, it might be because your router is unsupported or you have the router set to the wrong channel. It is best to refer to your ISP and check what else you can try.

Problem: No sound through speakers or headphones

Quite a few people have reported issues with the audio coming through the speakers or the headphones on both the Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets. There are probably a few separate issues going on here, so here are a few things you can try. You can read more about this problem in this Amazon forum post.

Potential solutions:

  • It’s obvious, but start by trying the volume rocker on the side of the tablet and check in Settings > Display & Sounds.
  • If the speakers aren’t playing any sound, then try plugging in your headphones and unplugging them again, or reboot the tablet by holding down the power button for 20 seconds until it turns completely off, then tap the button again to turn it back on. This could be caused by unplugging your headphones when the tablet is asleep, so it erroneously believes your headphones are still plugged in and doesn’t play sound through the speakers.
  • If you’re having a problem with the headphones and you have a case on the device, then try removing the case and plug the headphones in. Some cases appear to have a cut-out for the headphone jack, but it may, in fact, be too small; or, due to the design of the plug, it might prevent good contact.
  • It is also possible you have a faulty jack or speakers. If you hear static or distortion, or you find that gently jiggling the headphone jack produces audio, then you might want to contact Amazon and find out about getting a replacement.

Glitch: Screen flicker

There have been several reports of flickering Kindle Fire HDX screens. Some people have encountered this issue with specific apps or games, while others are suffering from it constantly. It may be a pulsing flicker or a fast temporary flickering. Here’s an Amazon forum discussion about it and a YouTube video showing the glitch. You can try a couple of things to solve this issue.

Workarounds:

  • Pull down the notification shade and tap Brightness and then turn Auto-Brightness to Off.
  • Hold down the power button for 20 seconds and then tap it to bring the tablet back to life and the problem may be resolved temporarily.

Potential solutions:

  • If you have a case or cover then perhaps it is interfering with the brightness sensor. Try removing it and see if there’s a difference in behavior. You can also try manually setting the brightness to a specific level.
  • Try the Mayday feature to contact Amazon and arrange a replacement, some people report encountering the same problem on a replacement tablet, but there’s a good chance you won’t.

Problem: Silk browser crashing or not starting

A lot of Kindle Fire HDX owners have run into issues with the pre-installed Silk browser. Here’s an Amazon forum post about it. It is criticized for being slow and for an unfortunate tendency to freeze and crash a lot.

Workarounds:

  • Try the usual reboot, hold down the power button for 20 seconds and then tap it again to turn back on.
  • Go to Settings > Applications > Manage All Applications and then choose All Applications > Silk Browser and tap Clear data.

Potential solutions:

  • If Silk won’t start it might be because you have Parental Controls on (this blocks access by default). You can check in Settings > Parental Controls.
  • Try an alternative browser like Maxthon Mobile or Dolphin Browser.

More Kindle Fire HD problems

That’s it for now. If you have any other Kindle Fire HD problems or solutions, please post a comment and share them. Remember that you can access some help on the device itself by dragging down the notifications bar and tapping More > Help & Feedback.