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How To Set Up Your New Kindle Fire

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Did you get a Kindle Fire for the holidays? Awesome! You have your hands on one of the most popular multimedia machines right now and I’m sure you’re ready to get started. If you’re unsure what to do beyond the basics (or are a little unclear on the basics), we’ve got you covered.

I’ll walk you through setting up your new Kindle, updating it, adding content, and finding the best apps.

For those of you who’ve done all that and are looking for more advanced tips, check out Kevin’s post on the 7 things you should do once you’re set up.

This guide will get you set up and using the Fire like a pro before the day is out. Then you can impress everyone with your Kindle prowess. Or just have fun.

Set Up The Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire Wi-Fi screen

You only need two things to get started here: a Wi-Fi connection and an Amazon account. No computer required.

If you don’t have an Amazon account already, I suggest you create one via the web and add your credit card(s) before connecting it to your Fire. Why? Because typing in all the necessary information on the tablet will take longer and prove tedious.

Once you account is set up, connect to Wi-Fi by tapping the Quick Settings icon, finding your wireless network, and entering the password (if required). Once you’re connected the Fire will prompt you to register using your Amazon account.

Next, set up a 1-Click payment method under Manage Your Kindle. Here you’ll choose which credit card will be charged when you purchase books, apps, and video.

For more detailed step-by-step instructions go to Amazon’s help page.

Update The Software

Kindle Fire Update Software

Amazon recently issued a software update for the Kindle Fire that improves performance and adds some nice tweaks. Depending on when your device was purchased, it might not have the update out of the box.

You can wait until Amazon pushes the update to your device (it will arrive over the air (OTA) when you’re connected to Wi-Fi), but I recommend updating right away if possible.

There are two ways to do this: with a USB cable or downloading the file yourself. The first method is less complex, but since the Fire doesn’t come with a USB cable in the box it may not be possible.

Good news is that any microUSB cord will work. If you have one for another gadget — your Android phone, a Kindle eInk eReader, MP3 player, etc. — it will work with the Kindle Fire.

Otherwise, you can download the update and install it from the Fire itself.

Click here to read our How To on updating the Kindle Fire for full instructions.

Add Content To Your Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire Content

If you already have an Amazon account and have bought books, music, or video then your Fire will automatically list them in the library. Amazon stores your media in the cloud. Some you can stream to the device, like music or video, and some you’ll want to download, like eBooks.

Music purchased from Amazon recently is stored in the Cloud Drive automatically. And you can add music that you didn’t purchase from Amazon by uploading it there directly. All music in the Cloud Drive is streamable to the Fire.

If you have non-Amazon video you’d like to watch on the Fire, you can transfer them to the tablet with a microUSB cord (if you have one — if you don’t, they’re very inexpensive to buy). However, to ensure that the videos will play, download Miro, a free media player that can convert video to a format playable on the Fire.

You can read more than books on the Kindle Fire — it will do documents, too. Supported file formats include: DOC, DOCX, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, PRC, and MOBI. You can transfer files tot he device with a USB cable, but it’s not necessary. In the Docs area you’ll find an email address just under the header. The address is unique to each device, but it will end in @kindle.com.

In this way you can also add non-Amazon books to your device. There are some eBooksellers and public domain libraries that allow users to download books in PDF, PRC or MOBI format. As long as they don’t have DRM, you can load and read them on the Fire.

Find Great Apps

Kindle Fire Apps

The Kindle Fire is a tablet, which means you can download apps. Just head tot he App Store on the device to check out what’s available.

If you’re at all familiar with Android the apps on offer will be familiar as the Fire is technically an Android tablet. However, by default you’re limited to the apps in Amazon’s store. There are ways around this.

There is a decent selection of free and paid apps available. Plus, every day the company offers a paid app for free for 24 hours. Often these apps are really sweet and definitely worth grabbing.

There are hundreds of apps to choose from, but only a few really worth your time. Check out our list of 20 Must Have Kindle Fire Apps to get you started.

That’s just the beginning (but probably enough for day one). Want more getting started tips? Click here for 7 More Things to Do After Firing up Your Kindle Fire.

K. T. is a lover of technology, gadgets, and all things geek. She has the enviable job of playing with evaluating mobile tech and apps all day. Follow K. T. on Twitter @KTBradford, on Google+ and Tumblr or email her via her website, KTBradford.com.

27 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    12/23/2011 at 11:14 pm

    First two things I suggest.
    1. Buy a Targus stylus for typing from Walmart
    2. Side load Opera mobile to use as your default web browser.

    • Bigloser99

      12/25/2011 at 8:59 am

      Maxton browser in the Amazon app store is a better browser than the silk browser. If side loading is not your thing, give maxton a shot.

  2. slbailey2

    12/25/2011 at 4:28 pm

    There is a major problem with the Amazon Kindle Fire and this problem will trigger a lot of returns.  I have already voiced my displeasure on the Amazon site and over the phone with Amazon.

    The problem is that you must tie a credit card to an Amazon account.  You cannot just use Amazon gift cards.  If you contact Amazon, they will tell you if you do not want to use a real credit card, get a pre-paid Vista or Mastercard or get a Vista or Mastercard that can be refilled.  A generated credit card that was created with Shop Safe will also work – I used a Shop Safe generated credit card to setup my nephew’s Kindle Fire with a $20 balance that expire in 12/12.  My nephew received Amazon gift cards for Christmas that totals $50.

    Once a credit card is tied to your Amazon account, the balances in you gift cards are used first and then the credit card.

  3. Charles Russell

    12/26/2011 at 2:53 pm

    I was looking for the specific steps for connecting to my wireless router that I have had for ~1 year.  The above info is USELESS to me (it’s like reading an ad for the Kindle Fire).

    • K. T. Bradford

      12/29/2011 at 10:32 am

      I’m sorry the steps to your specific router were not contained in my general post. Have you tried looking at the instructions for your router for clues?

  4. Susandesorbo

    01/09/2012 at 5:39 pm

    i can’t remember the password for my wi fi-so i can not connect my Kindle.  What do i do?

    • K. T. Bradford

      01/09/2012 at 6:00 pm

      I take it you don’t still have the instruction manual for your router? Try searching for it online so you can find instructions on how to reset your router so you can choose a new password. 

    • Prophecyjeremiah29

      03/09/2012 at 3:47 am

      click on front screen of the laptop your wifi,button at bottom rt side….,then right click on the name of your wifi-connect—go to properties –click show characters– it will show your password….

  5. Marieo Williams

    02/13/2012 at 7:56 pm

    I need to set up some kinda word office for typing my papers for school but I don’t know the web sit or is there another name for it…??? N if someone knows can u pleez email me the web site

  6. mary allen

    06/08/2012 at 11:23 am

    I just got a kindle fire, and am having trouble setting it up – no instructions came with it and I don’t know what to do. Please help asap.

  7. Carol

    06/30/2012 at 9:08 pm

    I am having the same problem as Mary Allen. No instructions came with my new Kindle Fire. How can I get instructions to set it up?

  8. Shena Galka

    08/01/2012 at 6:00 pm

    Hi there. I was thinking about adding a backlink back to your site since both of our websites are primarily based around the same topic. Would you prefer I link to you using your site address: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/12/23/how-to-set-up-kindle-fire/ or website title: How To Set Up Your New Kindle Fire. Please let me know at your earliest convenience. Thank you

  9. Chevy

    08/01/2012 at 7:59 pm

    I just bought my wife a kindle fire , and I am having trouble setting it up- no instructions came
    with it and we dont know what to do!!! What kind of merchant sells you a $200.00 product
    with NO instructions at all??? What should a Buyer do to show unhappiness and anger???
    I know, RETURN IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Barbara Protheroe

    08/05/2012 at 3:45 pm

    I too need help with setting up my new Kindle Fire…as others have indicated no instructions come with it.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.
    Barbara

  11. denis beckwith

    10/26/2012 at 5:37 am

    I too have just recieved my kindle file with no instructions whatoever. First I am told that I need a powerfast accelerated charger or other USB power adaptor. Why for goodness sake are these not included in the package, or at least tell us at the out set that the charger will have to be purchased seperately. I am also informed that I need to connect to a Wi-Fi network, which I have no idea how to do. I am on broadband and thought that this would suffice but I have to enter a password that is long forgotten. At 81 I thought it would be the answer to my buying loads of books which I have to give away afterwards, but it seems to be yet another piece of unfathomable technology.
    As with those above any help will be appreciated

    Denis

  12. denis beckwith

    10/26/2012 at 5:55 am

    just followed the advice of prophecyjeremiah above and it worked!! I am now on wifi. Now I am stuck on connect facebook and twitter, both of which I certainly don’t want but I can’t seem to get off the page. Even the connect later icon does nothing, any ideas

    Ta

    Denis

  13. tony walker

    12/02/2012 at 7:30 am

    how do I set up I player on my fire

  14. trish

    12/04/2012 at 8:20 pm

    instructions are included they are just preloaded on the kindle… saves paper… u can charge it without the seperate fast charger thru computer with the cord it came with, just takes longer and has to be off… the other charger allows wall charging and is faster and u can still use while charging…u can use broadband, just need wireless router hooked to modem ….forgotten password on router use another computer that is on it already and show characters under network properties to view your password or reset router and create new one…usually small button u got to use small pin to push in n reset

  15. janice

    12/25/2012 at 6:20 pm

    i just received a kindle for xmas and i have a mac laptop but i forgot my wifi password i have the apple airport extreme router now do i need to put a cd that i got with my router to to make a new password?

  16. juls

    12/28/2012 at 4:26 pm

    To anyone with Comcast…the serial number (SN) on the back of my router was my password for Kindle wi-fi.

  17. tom

    12/28/2012 at 8:00 pm

    when I search for books and after I get results I try to click on books but nothing happens is there a reason……whenever I click on recommend books it works . what should I try

  18. Lisa mckinney

    01/26/2013 at 2:32 pm

    Does anyone know if it is possible to set up the kindle fire so a person needs to enter the password every time they
    want to buy an app? We have had problems with our kids being able to buy multiple apps at a time.

  19. kelly

    02/15/2013 at 8:11 pm

    How do you get started with games like one click paymeant

  20. Priscilla

    02/16/2013 at 10:26 am

    how do I setup my calendar so I can ent\
    er events

  21. marge

    04/29/2013 at 7:35 am

    reading in sunshine is difficult. is there a special setting / Basic kindle is great in sun.

  22. Hannah

    06/09/2013 at 7:02 am

    I just bought a kindle fire and I can not find settings on it. Any help?

  23. Cathy

    09/03/2013 at 3:10 pm

    all my books are in condensed version how do I reset this?

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