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How to update your Kindle

Kindle update in process
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

Figuring out how to update your Kindle, to get the latest version of the Kindle operating system, is supposed to be easy. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. We learned this with Amazon's latest update, version 5.13.7, which the company announced would be going out to the 8th Gen Kindle and above, 7th Gen Kindle Paperwhite and above and Kindle Oasis e-readers.

So no matter which of the best Kindles you've bought, you may run into the same problem we did: our Kindle Oasis just never got the update. We don't know why, and we found it odd. Days later, we found the way to manually update it, to get the new-look home screen, which primarily does two key things to your home screen. It adds a (much needed) Library button on the bottom of the screen, and makes the search field larger.

How to update your Kindle the easy way

Your Kindle should just get the new update as long as it's connected to the internet. But if that doesn't work, there's an easy way to find the system update setting on your Kindle. 

1. Tap the Settings button in the top row.

A Kindle Oasis with "Settings" highlighted

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

2. Tap All Settings.

A Kindle Oasis with "All Settings" highlighted

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

3. Tap Device Options.

A Kindle Oasis with "Device Options" highlighted

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

4. Tap Advanced Options.

A Kindle Oasis with "Advanced Options" highlighted

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

5. If you can, tap Update Your Kindle. As you can see here, it's grayed out, and we can't. Time to move to the hard way.

A Kindle Oasis with "Update Your Kindle" highlighted and grayed out.

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

How to update your Kindle the manual way

This is how I updated my Kindle Oasis, as the normal update protocols did not work. So if you are waiting and waiting for the update to just happen, you can force it to happen with this process.

1. You need to identify your Kindle model (we explain more about this here).

2. Visit this page for the Kindle E-Reader Software Updates.

Amazon's Kindle update page

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Find your model and click the "Download Software Update" link next to it to download the update.

Amazon's Kindle software updates page, with the Kindle Oasis update link highlighted

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

4. Connect your Kindle to your computer via USB cable.

A Kindle Oasis with a microUSB cable plugged in

Not pictured: the other end of the USB cable plugged into my computer. (Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

5. In your file manager, drag and drop the update to the Kindle's drive. Wait for the transfer to complete.

Dragging the Kindle update on macOS

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

6. After the transfer has completed, eject the Kindle drive from your computer.

Ejecting the Kindle update on macOS

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

7. Disconnect your Kindle from your computer. Now, we're going to repeat some of the first steps to open the Advanced Settings menu.

8. Tap the Settings button in the top row.

A Kindle Oasis with "Settings" highlighted

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

9. Tap All Settings.

A Kindle Oasis with "All Settings" highlighted

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

10. Tap Device Options.

A Kindle Oasis with "Device Options" highlighted on the All Settings screen

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

11. Tap Advanced Options.

A Kindle Oasis with "Advanced Options" highlighted on the Device Options screen

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

12. Tap Update Your Kindle. It should no longer be grayed out. 

A Kindle Oasis with "Update Your Kindle" highlighted on the Advanced Options screen

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

13. Tap OK, and wait for your Kindle to restart and process the update. 

A Kindle Oasis with "OK" highlighted on the Update your Kindle screen

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

After a while, your Kindle should be updated! Congrats!

Kindle Oasis

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

How to update your Kindle on version 5.13.7 or later

So, if your Kindle is on version 5.13.7, and you still want to update it (or see if an update is available), the steps have changed ever so slightly.

1. Tap the three dots button in the top-right corner.

A Kindle Oasis with the three dots button highlighted.

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

2. Tap Settings.

A Kindle Oasis with "Settings" highlighted.

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

3. Tap Device Options. This should look familiar, and I bet you can guess the next steps. 

A Kindle Oasis with "Device Options" highlighted.

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

4. Tap Advanced Options.

A Kindle Oasis with "Advanced Options" highlighted.

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

5. See if you can tap Update Your Kindle. Repeat the steps under "How to update your Kindle the manual way" if the option is grayed out, but you know an update is out there.

A Kindle Oasis with "Update your Kindle" grayed out.

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

Now you know how to update your Kindle in two ways, and we hope you only need the easy one. That said, the manual method didn't take a whole lot of effort, we just needed to find a microUSB cable.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.