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Top 7 Things to Do After Firing up Your Kindle Fire

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Like millions of people who pre-ordered the Amazon Kindle Fire, I got mine a day early and for the most part enjoyed using it. Now that I’ve played with it for a couple of days, there are a few things I’d recommend doing to get the most out of the new 7″ Android-powered tablet.

Set a Lock Screen Password

Because you can buy content and items from Amazon using their 1-click – Amazon’s buying feature where you just click buy and it instantly charges your credit card – you will want to set a Lock Screen Password as soon as possible.

To do so, tap on the settings icon in the upper right hand corner. Then choose More… and Security. Switch Lock Screen Password from OFF (default) to ON. Enter your password twice and choose Finish. From now on, whenever you press the wake button on the bottom, your Fire will request this password. Pick a good one that you can remember, but that won’t be easy to crack. I make up words and numbers. You don’t want to select a word in the dictionary.

Lock Screen Password on Kindle Fire

Add Email Credentials

I don’t love the email app on the Fire, but it can be useful for firing off a quick missive to friends, family or co-workers. Open it up and at the bottom you will see the menu button. Tap it and choose Add account. You’ll see a list of popular providers. Select yours or choose Other if you don’t use one of the included providers.

Add an Email Account

In this example I’m adding my Gmail account. It will ask for a username and password. Since typing on the Fire isn’t great, your might want to enable the Show Password feature. Do this only if you are in private and no one can see you screen.

Once you get your credentials entered, tap Next and tell it whether you want POP3 or IMAP access. You will have to enable this in Gmail’s settings. I prefer IMAP since it stores everything on Google’s servers and lets you keep in sync.

The next screen, if you use IMAP will ask for some technical data which you can find here. For POP3 use these settings with Gmail. The next screen asks for SMTP settings, which you will also find at the previous links. Finally, tell the app if you want to manually check this email account, or use the other options which include every 15/30 minutes or hourly. I chose manually.

Hit Next and then enter your display name that you want others to see when they get mail from you. Also add your account name, like “Gmail” and put a check mark in the box to make this the default account for sending mail. Pick View your inbox to see your email in that account.

Repeat the process if you want to add other accounts.

Customize Settings

You may like to use your Amazon Kindle Fire just like Jeff Bezos thinks you should, but I prefer to set things up to my liking instead. So tap the settings icon in the upper right corner and choose More… to view all of the settings. We already covered setting up a Lock Screen Password above. Other settings include the following:

  • My Account – Lets you deregister your Fire but also shows you what your Fire’s email address for sending documents to the device, like Word files
  • Sounds – configure notification sounds and volume level – change notifications if you want a different sound to play when you get email or some other system notification
  • Display – change the brightness level or amount of time it takes to turn the screen off by default
  • Security – aside from setting the password, other security for enterprise settings
  • Applications – manage applications and see what’s running – tap an app name to uninstall it or clear the data without uninstalling
  • Date & Time – change the date, time or time zone
  • Wireless Network – configure your Wi-Fi network or turn Wi-Fi on/off
  • Kindle Keyboard – change whether pressing keys makes a sound or not, turn on/off auto-capitalization and turn quick fixes on/off – last two help you to have to type fewer key strokes but if you don’t like words to be auto-capitalized or don’t want to auto correct spelling turn it off
  • Device – gives device info – key thing here is to turn on the Allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources – lets you side-load apps that aren’t in the Amazon App Store

The other settings here are legal notices, terms of use and the help screens.

Install Key Apps

Everyone has a different idea of what apps are essential. We have a list of the most important apps you will want to install. But here’s a quick list of what I think are the top apps to get installed right away.

Unfortunately, the Netflix apps does a disappearing act for some people. I had to search for it a few times before it showed up.

To install these tap on the Apps tab on the main screen and then choose the Store link at the upper right.

Buy a Case

You don’t want to ding or damage your new toy, so get some protection in the form of a nice case. I like the idea of a folio style case that gives you a book feel. I found one from M-Edge called the Inline Jacket which has nice red leather cover and micro fiber lining inside. The fire slides in to the case along one side and when closed a magnet keeps the cover from flapping open. It has grooves so you can use the case as a stand for when you want to view videos.

M-Edge Inline Jacket Case for Fire

We have a list of other great Kindle Fire cases, covers, sleeves and skins compiled by our editor, Josh Smith.

Upload Music to Cloud Drive

If you haven’t already done so, upload your music collection to Amazon’s Cloud Drive so that you can stream it to your Kindle Fire. You get 5GB of free storage and any music you purchase from Amazon will automatically be added to the drive without taking up any of your allotted storage space. You can get more storage for a fee. See their info page for more details.

Sign Up for Prime

You get a free month of Amazon Prime with your Kindle Fire. After you’ve checked it out, you might want to go ahead and sign up for  a year for only $79. You will get access to the free content, like some older movies and TV shows. You also get free 2-day shipping and 1-day shipping costs only $3.99. Student and parent accounts are not eligible for the free videos with the Fire. Learn more about your free month at Amazon.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

28 Comments

  1. Finewine831

    11/19/2011 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for that info.  Just what I wanted.  I agree with you about choosing apps.  Please post that list of apps you think are necessary.  This article is bookedmarked by me.  I get my Fire this week and I’m looking forward to it.

  2. linny200

    11/23/2011 at 11:50 am

    yea i just got my kindle fire and im hopeing i wont be dissapointed when i open it

  3. Hoejoe2211

    11/26/2011 at 7:40 pm

    do you recommend turning the wi-fi off when not in use,like overnight.as I have wi-fi in my home and it is always on.

    • Nihilist's Guide

      12/09/2011 at 11:35 am

      Leave WiFi on, but charge it overnight. 

      Unless you don’t care about email or notifications or updates, that is. 

  4. Nihilist's Guide

    12/09/2011 at 11:34 am

    8. Side-load Google framework and Google apps.
    9. Side-load Go Launcher EX.
    10. Wait patiently for someone to figure out how to customize wallpaper without rooting.

    • Wtresq

      12/27/2011 at 2:29 pm

      how does one side load google framework and apss?

  5. c s corbet

    12/17/2011 at 1:30 pm

    can i import all of my music from itunes?  i just got a kindle fire as a present, but i have a couple hundred $ in itunes music and dont want to have to buy it all over again

    • Genavalles

      12/23/2011 at 7:24 pm

      yes, just connect your kindle to pc with a usb cable and it is as easy as copying and pasting albums…i had a hard time doing it throught the amazon site so this is an alternate route

  6. Scottandjulie

    12/26/2011 at 8:43 am

    is it possible to transfer music from my zune to my KF

  7. chris

    12/31/2011 at 11:15 am

    I love my kindle fire its awesome but there’s one promblem it freezes lot then u have to turn it off then back on. I like for the best part

  8. SMYLEE

    01/04/2012 at 10:36 pm

    CAN I UPLOAD MY APPS I BOUGHT FOR MY KINDLE TO MY NEW IPHONE 4S?  CAN ANYONE HELP ME HERE ??  THANKS

  9. Mary Ann

    01/12/2012 at 1:19 pm

    My gmail account automatically opens up on my Kindle.  Can I change that so a password is required?

  10. Java Geeks

    01/17/2012 at 10:22 pm

    Kindle fire is too bad. I have to give it back.

  11. Jay White

    02/22/2012 at 2:48 pm

    Sounds like a lot of the Top 7 things you think I should do with my Kindle Fire is buy more shit for it. No thanks. The first thing I did was download a tonne of free books and start reading the classics. And I got my friend to sew me a case for about 50 cents worth of material.

    • marjory moore

      12/26/2012 at 4:14 am

      how do i download free books, all the books i’ve looked at are chargeable

      • Mel

        02/28/2013 at 1:06 am

        Do a search on Amazon for “free kindle books.” Many are classics, but there are also a lot of really great current books that change daily, so check frequently. You can also find at least four free books a day on pixelofink.com along with deeply discounted books.

        I’ve gotten probably 200 books for free these two ways. Most of them have been fantastic. The downfall to free books is sometimes you’ll get self-published pieces that would’ve been better off left on the author’s computer, but overall, I’ve been quite happy with my downloads.

  12. Raehart

    02/22/2012 at 5:43 pm

    We just bought a Kindle Fire for our grandaughter, she is 9. We also bought an amazon gift card so she could purchase items. The question is, how do we make sure the gift card is used and not the credit card? We don’t think the password protection from the onset would make any difference in her case.

    • marjory

      12/26/2012 at 4:17 am

      When you go to checkout, where you’d choose your credit card, click new card and add the gift card

  13. Kindle Fixer

    02/26/2012 at 5:30 pm

    You cannot disable Auto-Correct in the Kindle Fire.
    Disabling “Quick Fixes” does not work. But this does: go to http://FixKindleBug.com

  14. Sujatamkar

    03/08/2012 at 7:52 am

    Can a game I am playing on the KF be concurrently played on my iphone when I am away from my KF

  15. corey

    05/29/2012 at 5:12 pm

    i just got my kindle and i got a coupple of apps that i dont want, so i deleted them but they are still in my cloud how do get them off my cloud but not back on my kindle

    • pagan

      07/12/2012 at 7:31 pm

      You cant get them out of the cloud and notice if u click on that app it sends u to the appstore.

    • Dave

      08/27/2013 at 9:04 pm

      They have made it possible to delete from cloud. Either go to amazon.com or web browser and look for MANAGE MY KINDLE. Hope that helps.

  16. shawn

    06/15/2012 at 3:05 pm

    if anyone can help.my kindle fire starts up but when i click the power button to turn on the screen it a light only pops not the background or the slide to unlock.so can anyone help thankx….

  17. summer smit

    06/30/2012 at 5:06 am

    MY CELL# +639192616111—-SMS ONLY

  18. BigBob

    08/03/2012 at 2:08 pm

    Got me a Kindle Fire ordered today, do we have to purchase everything or do we get any good free stuff with it? Startin to sound like an expensive toy? not LOL

  19. madisonmiler

    08/13/2012 at 9:56 am

    i get to purchase mine at walmart this saturday!!! sssssooooooo excited

  20. Ronald Price

    09/26/2012 at 8:36 pm

    great article. Thanks!

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