Common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Amazon Fire tablet problems

The Kindle Fire lineup 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. With its most recent Fire tablets, Amazon has dropped the Kindle name altogether.

While feedback on the devices has been generally positive, even the most popular products have a downside and, beyond being limited to Amazon’s content offerings, problems can arise, whether you have a Kindle Fire HDX, the old Kindle Fire HD or a newer Fire tablet. Below we have some possible solutions and workarounds to try and help you get past them.

Problems with battery drain, storage optimization, MicroSD card, and more

Problem: Massive battery drain

Some Fire tablet owners have run into issues with sudden and unexplained battery drain. There’s a big discussion about this in the Amazon forum. Thankfully, there are several things you can try to alleviate the problem.

Potential solutions:

  • Press and hold the Power button for 40 seconds or more until it restarts and see if it works normally.
  • There’s a good chance that one of the apps you’ve installed is causing the issue. You could go to Settings > Apps & Games > Manage All Applications and try uninstalling apps one by one and testing to see if you can find the culprit. Or you could factory reset the device and install apps selectively, watching out for any changes in battery drain. If you do decide to factory reset, then make sure to back up any precious photos or other files first, as this will wipe your tablet, then go to Settings > Device Options > Reset to Factory Defaults.

Workarounds:

  • Get into the habit of turning your tablet off when you aren’t using it. Hold down the power button until the Power off box pops up and then tap OK.
  • If you don’t want to turn it off completely when you aren’t using it, then pull down the notification shade and tap to turn on Airplane mode. You can also go to Settings > Power and toggle on Automatic Smart Suspend.
  • Another option for squeezing more battery life from your Fire tablet is Low Power Mode, found in Settings > Power, but it will dim your display. You can also set it to turn on automatically.

Glitch: Ebooks disappearing or not working

It seems that some people are losing their downloaded ebooks after rebooting their tablet, and for others, they’re not working offline, discussed in Amazon forum threads here and here. There are a couple of different ways to tackle this.

Potential solutions:

  • If you have the Google Play Store installed on your Fire tablet, then it could be the source of your problem. Open the Play Store app, find the Kindle app page in it, and choose Uninstall. Now go back to the main Play Store page and tap the three vertical lines at the top left, then scroll down to choose Settings and tap Auto-update apps > Do not auto-update apps. You can still update apps manually by opening the Play Store tapping the three vertical lines at the top left and choosing My apps & games, then the Updates tab. Tap Update next to the individual apps you want to update, just avoid updating any Amazon or Kindle apps here.
  • If you don’t have Google Play Store, then try syncing your books and then press and hold the Power button for 40 seconds or more until it restarts and see if it works normally.
  • You might also try going to Settings > Apps & Games > Manage All Applications and find the Kindle app. Then, tap Force stop and Clear cache.

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. 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.

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 several times in the Amazon forum. 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 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 this in the Amazon forums 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 are some Amazon forum posts 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.
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