Amazon gives Kindle e-readers a rare user interface overhaul

Andrew Cunningham

Ars Technica

  • The new Kindle home screen ditches the top row of buttons in favor of a large search bar and a two-tab design that toggles between the Home screen and your Library. [credit: Andrew Cunningham ]

Amazon's Kindle e-readers get new software updates regularly, and they're mostly of the nondescript, invisible "performance improvements and bug fixes" variety. But the most recent operating system update (version 5.13.7) is rolling out now, and it refreshes the device's user interface for the first time since 2016 or so. Amazon says that redesigns for the Home and Library screens, which are mostly untouched in the current Kindle update, will be coming "later this year."

The software update that enables the new interface began rolling out in August, but because Kindles only install updates automatically when they're charging and connected to Wi-Fi, it will be a few weeks or months before all supported Kindles will have a chance to grab the update (mine only installed it over this past weekend). To help you navigate the changes, the gallery above gives a brief tour of everything that has changed.

The new update is available on most Kindles released in or after 2015, including the 7th- and 10th-generation Kindle Paperwhite, the 8th-, 9th-, and 10th-generation Kindle Oasis, and the 8th- and 10th-generation standard Kindle. Older "7th-generation" Kindle devices like 2014's Kindle Voyage don't appear to be supported. If your Kindle hasn't installed the update, the link above will give you instructions for installing it manually.

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