Amazon Fire Tablets: May 2017 Updates

I’ve written before about how much I like my Amazon Fire tablets and how to choose which one might be right for you. In this post, I’m sharing an update, a tip, and a deal for those who already own a Fire tablet and those who are considering getting one.

Fire OS 5 now available for 4th generation tablets

Apparently this actually happened about 6 months ago, but I’ve just discovered it myself. Previously, only generation 5 and 6 tablets had the most recent operating system, but in November 2016 Amazon rolled it out to 4th generation tablets, which include the HD 6, HD 7, and HDX 8.9 models.

The biggest benefits of the updated software are that these tablets now work with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant, and you can install the Google Play Store on them, giving you access to the larger library of Android apps.

Learn more about how to get the Fire OS 5 update for your tablet. >>

Tip: Fix wireless connectivity problem

My go-to tablet is the 6th generation Fire HD 8, but earlier this year for some reason it kept disconnecting from my Wi-Fi network. On the tablet’s Wireless settings page, the connection would say “saved” instead of “connected.” And after I would reconnect it, it would disconnect within a few seconds. Talk about frustrating!

I contacted Amazon Support and after a couple of attempts at simple fixes, they suggested I reset my tablet to factory settings. I really didn’t want to do this because I have a TON of apps, but eventually I reached the point that I was willing to take on that inconvenience to solve the problem. And it worked… for a little while. But after a couple of weeks, it started happening again.

This time when I did a Google search, I found a thread on the Amazon Customer Forums that I hadn’t seen before where a number of people were experiencing the same problem and sharing the solutions that worked for them. For me, the one that ended up working was instead of connecting to my network manually by entering a password, I used the WPS option. This is where you press the WPS button on your router and select that option in your Wi-Fi connection settings to automatically connect the two devices. (NOTE: On your tablet’s Wi-Fi settings, you need to click the menu icon at the top right and select Advanced to see the WPS option.)

I did this a few months ago and I’ve only had a couple of disconnects since then and those automatically reconnected within a few seconds. So as far as I’m concerned, I file this under “problem solved.”

I’m not sure which models are affected by this issue and which solutions might work for each, but if it’s happening to you and the WPS option doesn’t solve it, check out this thread and see if any of the other suggestions work for you.

WiFi problems with Kindle Fire HD 7″

Time-limited deal on 16GB Fire tablet

If you’ve been looking at the current base model of the Fire tablet but thought that 8GB just wasn’t enough memory, there’s good news. Right now you can get the 16GB version for just $10 more (usually it’s $20 more). I have no idea how long this promotion will last, so if it’s something you’re interested in, you should check it out now!

Elizabeth Kricfalusi

View Comments

  • I found this article while looking for a solution to another problem; HOWEVER, I have also been having the connectivity issue as well. Thanks. I'll try this when I get home. I have the new Fire HD (2017).

    The issue I was researching is, I have many documents stored on my device that I both use, crea, and edit. This new Gen Fire does much more than my old Gen 3. Problem with my documents is that when I open the Docs, swipe from the left (to expose the menu), then select "Collections", all I get is a black screen, and the back button becomes unresponsive. This is the collections stored on my device, NOT the Cloud Collections. I have called customer service a gazillion times. They say it is a "known issue we are working on." They are always very polite, but I've almost memorized their script and routine. 2 months later, nothing. My posts on the Amazon Fire forums seem to be ignored.

    Has anyone heard of this or had a similar issue?

    • Hi David.

      I had never used Docs before your question but I've just been playing around with it and it is definitely poorly designed. One thing to note is that when you click on Collections, it opens the Kindle reading app (you can tell when you click the Recent Apps icon) and this seems to be the reason for the blank screen. If you wait until the Kindle app opens -- which happens in the background and takes about 5 seconds -- the word Collections will appear and a + sign will appear at the top right of the screen so you can create a new Collection and add the docs you want to it.

      If you close the Kindle app and click on Collections in the Docs app again, you'll see you have a blank screen again for that same amount of time. But if you leave the Kindle app open, there should be no delay.

      I've tried this on a couple of different Fire models and it worked the exact same way, so hopefully it will solve the problem for you as well.

      - Elizabeth

      • But, hold the phone.... I actually re-read your specific instructions and accessed the Docs through the ""Your Recent Items" and my screen of collections appeared.. YIKES! I have goosebumps! It is still a flaw in the software. It worked correctly for the first few days, then one morning it stopped, only a black screen. CS even remoted into my device and replicated the problem. At least now I have a work-around. Thank you so much!

        • That's great news. Thanks for the tip about Your Recent Items. I'm adding this topic as a future blog post to help others.

      • I've tried this, in fact, I selected "collections" and have left it on the blank screen now for several minutes. I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope they come up with a fix. I could just return it, but instead of offering that as an option when calling CS yesterday, I received a sermon on patience from a fellow, I'm certain I'm at least twice his age.

        What about organizing my documents into sub-folders within the documents folder using ES File Explorer? Would that work?

Recent Posts

T4L Monthly Update: February 2019

CES 2019, FaceTime bug, streaming the Super Bowl, Wi-Fi calling for Android phones.

4 years ago

Top Tech Stocking Stuffers

Big-ticket electronics get all the attention, but these little extras are always appreciated.

5 years ago

Four Ways to Access Control Panel in Windows 10

Microsoft is doing its darndest to hide the classic Control Panel from Windows 10 users.…

5 years ago