How to Manually Update Your Kindle

If you want the latest Kindle features right this second (or you missed a past update), the best way to get an immediate update for your Kindle is to do it manually. Read on as we show you how to easily update your Kindle.

As a general rule, Amazon’s over-the-air updates are usually hiccup free (even though they might take upwards of a month to slowly roll out to every Kindle across the globe). But maybe your Kindle stopped updating for no reason (like ours did), or maybe you’re just in a rush to get the latest and greatest features. Whatever your reasons, you don’t have to wait for Amazon to roll that update out.

Step One: Identify Your Kindle Model

Although we’ll be updating a second generation Kindle Paperwhite in this tutorial, the same technique we’ll guide you through works on all the different Kindle models. The first and foremost step is that you identify which Kindle you have in order to ensure you’re comparing the right software version for your model and downloading the appropriate update.

Rather than squint at the tiny model number on the back of your case and then Google the model number, the simplest method is to check the serial number as the first four alphanumeric characters indicate the model/generation of your Kindle.

RELATED: How to Jailbreak Your Kindle Paperwhite for Screensavers, Apps, and More

If your Kindle is linked to your Amazon account ,simply log into your Amazon Content and Devices dashboard and click on the “Your Devices” tab. Select the Kindle you want to update and read the notation beside it, like so:

In the case of the Kindle I’m interested in updating today, the first four characters of the serial number are B0D4. You can also find the serial number by turning your Kindle on and looking in the Settings > Device Info menu. Once you have the first four characters, you can reference the following list to determine exactly which model you have. Save yourself some time and use Ctrl+F to search for the character string.

  • Kindle 1 (2007): B000
  • Kindle 2 (2009): B002, B003
  • Kindle DX (2010: B004, B005, B009
  • Kindle Keyboard (2010): B006, B008, B00A
  • Kindle 4 (2011): B00E, B023, 9023
  • Kindle Touch (2012): B00F, B010, B011, B012
  • Kindle Paperwhite 1 (2012): B024, B01B, B01C, B01D, B01F, B020
  • Kindle Paperwhite 2 (2013): B0D4, 90D4, B0D5, 90D5, B0D6, 90D6, B0D7, 90D7, B0D8, 90D8, B0F2, 90F2, B017, 9017, B060, 9060, B062, 9062, B05F, 905F
  • Kindle 7 (2014): B001, B0C6, 90C6, B0DD, 90DD
  • Kindle Voyage (2014): B00I, B013, B053, B054
  • Kindle Paperwhite 3 (2015): G090
  • Kindle Oasis (2016): G0B0
  • Kindle 8 (2016): B018

Once you’ve double checked your serial number against the list, it’s time to grab the actual update files.

Step Two: Download the Update

Armed with the version number of your Kindle—in our case, confirmed by the serial number, the Paperwhite 2—head over to the Amazon Fire & Kindle Software Updates page. Scroll down until you get to the Kindle section and then match up the Kindle you have with the appropriate model. Remember, there may be multiple versions of the same model—this is why we went searching for the serial number in step one.

Once you’ve selected the model, you’ll see a download link with the current version number listed. Take note of the version number but don’t download it just yet.

Before you download the update, confirm that version number is higher than the current version on your Kindle. On your Kindle, navigate to Menu > Settings > Menu > Device Info. You’ll see a screen like the following one.

Clearly, the firmware version we have on our Paperwhite  (5.6.1) is behind the most recent version as of this writing (5.8.5). Somewhere along the line, we got the summer 2016 update but missed out on the big fall 2016 update that ushered in the new home screen layout. Now, with the discrepancy between the most recent version and our version confirmed, we can download the update file. Click on the link “Download Software Update [version number]”. It’ll save the update as a .bin file.

Step Three: Copy the Update to Your Kindle and Install It

Once the download is complete, attach your Kindle Paperwhite to your computer with a USB cable and copy the update .BIN file to the root directory of your Kindle Paperwhite. The file must be in the top level folder, so if your computer mounts the Kindle as the F drive, the path to the coped update package should be F:/update_kindle_[version number].bin

Once the file is placed in the root directory of your Kindle device, right-click on the Kindle’s drive and choose Eject to unmount it from your system. Go ahead and unplug it.

Now, you simply need to instruct the Kindle to update via the Kindle’s menu system. On the Kindle, navigate to Menu > Settings to enter the settings menu, then tap the Menu button again from within the settings menu and select “Update Your Kindle.” Press OK and then wait. (If the “Update Your Kindle” option is grayed out, that means the Kindle was unable to locate the .bin file; confirm you placed it in the root directory and try again.)

After your Kindle reboots (don’t be concerned if it takes a minute or longer to finish rebooting and updating), repeat the version check process by looking in the Device Info menu. You should see an updated version number, and, with newer Kindle operating systems releases, you can even read the release notes right on your device by tapping the “More Info” button:

Your Kindle is now up to date with the latest features and you didn’t have to wait for the device to automatically update over the air. While we hope your future OTA updates are smoother, it’s easy (once you know where to look) to manually grab an update and refresh your Kindle to the latest version.

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