How to update your Kindle and Kindle Fire HD devices

Amazon Kindle Oasis
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.”

How to update your Kindle (Kindle Oasis, Voyage, Paperwhite, etc.)

Check the software version:

  • Like the Fire HD and HDX, you should check the software version of your Kindle before attempting to update it, as it may have applied the update without your knowledge. To check, start from the Home menu and tap the Menu icon > Settings > Menu > Device Info. At the time of this writing, the current software and firmware version is Kindle 5.8.2.1.

Update automatically:

  • Typically, when your Kindle is connected to Wi-Fi, the device will update on its own without any input from the user when a new update becomes available.

Starting the update manually:

  • From the Home menu, go to the Menu icon > Settings > Menu icon once more > Update Your Kindle > OK. After deciding to begin the update, you’ll see the message “Your Kindle Is Updating” and when the update is finished, the device will restart automatically.

Update using your PC or Mac:

  • Start by going to the Fire and Kindle Software Updates page. Locate your Kindle device, click it, and download the update found on the page.
  • Connect your Kindle to your computer using a USB cable, then drag and drop the aforementioned update file to your Kindle drive. Specifically, place the file in the root directory and not in another folder found on the drive.
  • When the transfer is finished, disconnect the device from your PC. On your Kindle, starting from the Home screen, tap the Menu icon > Settings > Menu icon > Update Your Kindle > OK. You’ll see the “Your Kindle Is Updating” message, and your device should restart and apply the update.

Troubleshooting the Kindle update

Problem: Update Your Kindle option is grayed out or there’s an error message

When you attempt 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 Update.

Possible solutions:

  • It’s possible you already have the latest update installed. Check your device software and firmware version to see which version of the OS you’re currently running.
  • This could also be a result of the update file being placed in the wrong location on the device’s drive, or the file not transferring correctly. Connect your Kindle or Fire HD to your computer and make sure the file is in the root directory, instead of in another folder on your device. If it’s in the wrong spot, simply move it.

Problem: Update begins, but fails to complete

After triggering the update, the process begins as expected, but fails before installation is complete. For some, the update doesn’t begin at all.

Possible solution:

  • This particular problem is most likely caused by the update file being renamed incorrectly, or duplicate update files existing. Check your computer and Kindle device, and delete all update files. Repeat the installation process detailed above, and be careful regarding how you choose to rename the update file. According to Amazon Device Support, the file name can have “no trailing spaces or characters, such as (1), after the file name.”

Annoyance: Previous software version number remains after updating

After installing the update, the software version number has not changed from what it was prior to the update.

Possible solutions:

  • If the install happened automatically over Wi-Fi, the update will finish when your device enters sleep mode. When you turn it back on, the version number will have 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, redo the update, as it may have installed incorrectly.
Mobile

The Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, so now you can read it in the tub

Amazon released a new version of the Kindle Paperwhite ebook reader, boasting improved software, more storage, and a feature that customers have been asking for: Waterproofing.
Mobile

Find out how to keep tabs on your phone with these helpful tracking tips

Need to keep tabs on the location of your cell phone or smartphone? Consult this guide for tips and tricks on how to track a phone, whether you're currently rocking Android, iOS, or something more old-school.
Deals

Save energy and money with a $45 discount on the Nest smart thermostat

If you were looking for a smart thermostat, Amazon is offering up to $45 in savings on the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Use stainless steel thermostat to the keep your home warm and cozy this fall and save energy by scheduling the…
Music

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Mobile

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…
Mobile

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

It’s about time! A USB-C magnetic charger for the Apple Watch has finally arrived

While most of the buzz surrounding Apple has been about the iPhone XR, the company also introduced a new Apple Watch accessory. Starting October 24, a USB-C magnetic charger will be available for purchase.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Product Review

Amazon’s child-friendly tablet is the complete package

Kids are tough on electronics and it’s difficult to police screen time and manage what they’re doing. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition could be the affordable answer to your prayers, with a rugged case and worry-free warranty.
Mobile

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. P20 Pro: Which 2018 Huawei flagship is best for you?

If you're tempted by Huawei's latest flagship, the Mate 20 Pro, but you're uncertain how it differs from the P20 Pro which Huawei released earlier this year, then we have you covered. Find out exactly what sets these two phones apart.
Product Review

Simple, smart, and affordable, Google’s USB-C earbuds are a must-buy

Google’s follow-up to its wireless Pixel Buds are the wired Google Pixel USB-C earbuds. It’s the simpler route, but the earbuds are still smart, deliver good sound, and -- best of all -- they’re affordable.
Mobile

Strapped after your latest smartphone purchase? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Project Fi.