Yeah, yeah, you don’t need to charge a real book — but you also don’t need to update a book’s software, and that’s also often true for Amazon’s Kindle, which rarely gets a software refresh. But now, our trusty Kindles remind us that they’re actually Wi-Fi connected, electronic devices capable of change as Amazon unveils a significant design upgrade for the first time in years.
To simplify navigation, the new look adds a two-tab bar to the bottom of the home screen, letting users easily toggle between the “home” and “library” screens. To access frequently used features, Kindle introduced an arrow on the top of the screen. When tapped, it reveals buttons to access airplane mode, bluetooth, dark mode, sync, or the rest of the settings menu. There’s also a brightness slider.
Amazon notified customers about the update on Friday and says it will roll out in the coming weeks, but many users with eligible devices — Kindle (8th Gen and above), Kindle Paperwhite (7th Gen and above), and Kindle Oasis — have already downloaded the upgrade. If you’re not sure what kind of Kindle you have, you can check here, but if your Kindle is from 2015 or later, you’re probably eligible. If your Kindle is connected to Wi-Fi, the update will install automatically, but you can manually download it here.
The company says it will continue to improve the home and library screens later this year — users will be able to swipe left on the home page to see recently read books from their library. Then, the library screen will introduce new filter and sort menus, a new collection view, and an interactive scroll bar.
This is the biggest design update that Kindle has released since around 2016 — but if you noticed that the user interface felt outdated while you wrapped up your summer reading, now you know that Amazon noticed too.