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Learn about helpful features, also the less popular ones, of the free Kindle app for iOS.
It’s amazing how a single app can change the way we enjoy books. Kindle app for the iPad and iPhone has many unique features that make it the most versatile book reading environment.
The reason is not only how the app is designed. It’s actually simpler and easier to use than other book-reading applications.
Kindle app for Apple’s mobile devices is so powerful and gives so much pleasure in reading because it’s the tip of the huge and highly advanced digital content ecosystem built by Amazon.
Below, you’ll read about the app’s most helpful features, accompanied with simple step-by-step guides.
The guide includes advice for ebook newbies, for instance, how to import Kindle books from another device. You will also find more advanced – and less known – features, naming only the ability to save articles for later reading, or book discovery tools.
An updated overview of the best iPad cases and accessories from around the web, including cases for iPad 9.7 2017, and iPad Pro 2017 models: 10.5 and 12.9.
Kindle app for iOS – tips and tricks
Import ebooks from your Kindle
Many users who consider buying a tablet or smartphone from Apple ask a question: “How to put Kindle books on my iPad and iPhone?”
Do you fear you’ll have to spend hours trying to back up your Kindle and then upload all the ebooks directly to the iPad?
Keep calm. You can make it happen in minutes, using the free Kindle app.
How to put my Kindle books on the iPad and iPhone
1. Download Kindle app for iOS
On your iPad or iPhone, go to the App Store – the app with all applications available for the iOS (iOS is an operating system of the iPad and iPhone).
Use the search feature to find the Kindle app. Tap “Get” button, and wait until the download is complete (see screenshot above, on the left).
2. Register the Kindle app with your Amazon account
Type the email and password combination you are using to sign in to your account in the Amazon online store.
If you have more than one Amazon account, make sure to choose the one you’re signed in on your Kindle e-reader. You used this account to buy the Kindle in the Amazon store.
When your Kindle e-reader and Kindle app for iOS are connected to the same Amazon account, all your Kindle books are synced via Amazon servers, just like all your Gmail messages are synced via Google servers, no matter which computer you choose to connect to it.
You never registered your Kindle with the Amazon? It may happen if you bought Amazon’s e-reader from a third-party seller. If you have the account on Amazon, I strongly recommend registering the Kindle with it.
Registering all your devices with the same account is the most comfortable way to manage and sync all your Kindle books. What’s more, there is no way to use the Kindle app on the iPad and iPhone without signing up.
3. Import only the books you want
Are you afraid that the moment you start syncing your Kindle and Kindle for iOS, all your Kindle ebooks will download automatically and take too much of your iPad’s memory? It won’t happen.
When you open the Kindle app, you’ll see two tabs at the bottom: “Cloud” and “Device.”
When you tap the Cloud button, you’ll see all the books that are stored in your Kindle cloud library.
The list includes all the books that you have added to your Amazon account:
- the ones you bought in the Kindle Store,
- the ones you sideloaded to your Kindle or a Kindle app on another device – these personal documents are synced between devices, too
Although you see these books in your Kindle app for iPad or iPhone, they are not downloaded to the device yet. You can do it easily, by tapping the book (see the screenshot above, on the left).
Your Kindle app comes with just one document that is pre-downloaded. It’s a simple guide with a few tips to get you started.
Once you download any book from the Cloud tab, it will appear in the Device section. Every book available in the Device tab can be accessed offline, which means you open and read it even when your iPad is not connected to the internet.
I suggest you don’t import all the books to the Kindle for iOS. There is no need to do that. Download only the titles you are reading right now or going to read next (plus the custom dictionary, if you are using it).
It could be a few of them, even a few hundred, but think twice before packing the Kindle app with thousands of ebooks you’re not going to read anytime soon.
Save web articles for offline reading
Did you know you can use Kindle app for iPad and iPhone the same way as read-later services?
If you are not familiar with read-later platforms, such as Instapaper or Pocket, here is a quick explanation. These services let you save articles you find on the web so that you can access them later. This solution gives three main advantages:
- you’ll keep all interesting articles in one place, and access them when you have more time for reading,
- you can access the saved articles even when you are not connected to the web,
- you will see the article in a clean read-only view – without elements which distract from reading: banners, widgets, social media sharing panels, or navigation bars.
You can achieve the same using the Kindle app on the iPhone and iPad. It’s possible thanks to the new feature called “Send to Kindle.” It lets add content directly to the Kindle app, using the iOS share menu.
How to use Kindle for iOS as a read-later service
1. Find the article you want to save
Which app or apps are you using to read news and blogs on the web? There are a lot of possibilities. You may read in Safari or Chrome browser. You may use Feedly. Or news aggregators such as Apple News or Google Play Newsstand.
No matter which app is your favorite, all of them support the iOS share menu, which helps send the content, its part, or a link to services such as email, text message, or notes app.
2. Open share menu and select Send to Kindle
When you find an article you can’t read immediately (but want to keep for later), you can use the share menu to add it to the Kindle iOS app.
Different apps have the share icon placed in different positions. Usually, the icon shows the arrow coming up from the box.
In Safari browser, the share menu icon is located in the bottom bar, right in the middle (see the screenshot above, on the left). Tap it, and the share menu will slide from the bottom edge of the screen.
In the upper row, you should see the “Send to Kindle” icon. It looks the same as the icon of the Kindle app. If you don’t see it, scroll the row to the right. If you still don’t see it, tap “More” icon and switch on the Send to Kindle option.
3. Choose options and send the article
After you tap the Send to Kindle button, a simple panel appears with a few things to customize:
- you can change the title and source of the article,
- you can choose where you want the article to be sent – a Kindle library or a single device.
By default, Save in Kindle Library is checked on (see the screenshot above, on the left). If you don’t turn the option off, the article will be sent to your Kindle cloud library, and it will be available shortly under Cloud tab in the Kindle for iOS app.
If you turn Save in Kindle Library off, you’ll need to choose the destination device. If you have more than one device connected to your Amazon Kindle account, make sure to pick up the iPad or iPhone you’re using right now. The article will be sent only to this single device and won’t be synced via your Kindle library.
I only use the second option as it makes it easy to delete the read articles (and I’m saving a lot of them to the Kindle app).
Download free Kindle ebooks
Once you install the Kindle app on your iPhone or iPad, it will become the easiest way to download and read ebooks from different sources.
There are several sites on the web that offer free ebooks to download in a variety of formats compatible with almost any device.
What’s very important, all these sites offer publications completely legally, as the books come from the public domain, and it means they can be freely reused and shared.
Below, we’ll guide you through the process of adding free ebooks to your Kindle app.
How to add free ebooks to Kindle for iOS
You can find free ebooks in the Kindle Store, but there is no way to add them directly from within the Kindle for iOS app. Well, you can add them – but only partially, as free samples.
Instead, you can explore Amazon website in a dedicated Amazon shopping app or a web browser like Safari or Chrome.
And, since you are in a web browser, you can also check out other sites which offer free ebooks. Our favorite ones are Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Europeana, and DPLA.
Let’s visit Project Gutenberg. This site is optimized for mobile devices, so you can easily browse it also on a smaller screen.
1. Find the book file in a browser
When you open the mobile version of Project Gutenberg on your iPhone or iPad, you can easily find the most popular titles. Pick up the one that you want to download and tap it (see the screenshot above, on the left).
2. Select the right format
When you are on a page with book details and download options, it’s important to pick up the file format which is supported by Kindle e-readers and apps.
On Project Gutenberg, it’s simply named “Kindle.” On other sites, make sure to find formats called “mobi” or “prc.” You can also download the pdf file, but it’s not as flexible as mobi. For instance, you won’t be able to increase the font size, adjust margins, or turn on the night mode.
Project Gutenberg gives the option to select the Kindle file with or without pictures (see the screenshot above, on the right).
3. Open the file with the Kindle app for iOS
When you tap the download link or button, the dialog window will appear asking you to decide what to do with the file. Tap “Open in Kindle” link (see the screenshot below, on the left).
The ebook will open in the Kindle app, and you can start reading it instantly. Enjoy!
Optimize the reading experience
One of the biggest benefits of ebooks is the possibility to adjust the settings of the book reading app, to make the text appear exactly how you want it.
The settings in the Kindle for iOS app are simple and easy to use. Some apps offer more options, that’s true. On the other hand, the Kindle app has everything you need to personalize the look of the text.
How to customize the look in Kindle for iOS
When you tap the screen, the view will change to reveal the full interface. To adjust the settings, on the top bar tap “Aa” icon (see the screenshot below, on the left).
In the settings panel, you can change:
- level of brightness,
- background color,
- size of the font,
- line height,
Adjusting the font
Some people love reading books with a gentle serif typeface. Others prefer a bold font, especially after reading for long hours.
The size and type of the font can be changed instantly in the Kindle app for iOS. Therefore you can adjust the look of the text to what your needs are here and now.
My preferred typeface is Bookerly, the modern font designed from scratch exclusively to be used in Kindle e-readers and apps. It is easily readable when its size is small, and it’s not too heavy when you increase it.
If you need a heavier typeface, you can always pick up the original font from Kindle e-readers – Caecilia. Amazon has also added a bold face, addressed to readers with vision problems. The font is called Ember Bold, and it’s on top of the list of available typefaces.
Adjusting the background
Many book-reading apps offer a selection of backgrounds so that users can pick up the one that suits them most.
In the Kindle app for iPad and iPhone, you can select one of the three background+font color schemes. Besides White, you can set Sephia, a color scheme designed to ease the eye strain and resemble the look of the page from an old print book. This option is not good, however, if you want to read ebooks outside.
The Black color of the background is combined with white font. It’s the night mode – perfect when there is no external source of light. The screen doesn’t emit as much light as in White or Sephia mode, and you can read longer without causing eye strain.
Learn more about the book
Besides standard reference tools, such as a dictionary, Google, or Wikipedia, Kindle app for iPad and iPhone has a few extra features that will allow you to learn more about the book and its author, better follow the plot, and discover the most valuable passages.
The easiest way to access all features is via Menu (see the screenshot above, on the left). We’ll have a closer look at About This Book, Popular Highlights, and X-Ray.
About This Book
About This Book is a card with all essential info about the book and its author. You can not only access it from the Menu list. An even quicker way is to tap Info icon in the top right corner (see screenshot below, on the left).
When you open About This Book card, you will see the following sections:
It includes the title and author, accompanied by the average rating and the number of reviews. Below, there is a book blurb from a book detail page on Amazon.
Here, you will also find a share icon, which you can use to spread the word about the book you are currently reading.
Typical Time to Read
The information about the number of pages is available in the main view at the bottom, but in this section of the About This Book you’ll also find out what is the average time needed to finish the book.
About the Series
If a book is a part of a series, you’ll find the relevant info here: what is the name of the series, and which volume of the series the book is.
About the Author
You’ll read here information about the author pulled out from the author’s page on Amazon. Below, the covers of other popular books written by the author can be found.
The section includes also a Follow button that will connect you with the author on Amazon.
A short information with the number of the book’s passages that were highlighted by other users, and how many times it happened.
Popular highlights are not listed in the About This Book section. If you want to find out what passages have been highlighted by other readers, tap the Menu icon and then Popular Highlights section (see the screenshot below, on the left).
When you open the window with the most popular highlights from the book, you’ll see the favorited passages accompanied by the information about how many times they were highlighted.
The feature that shares what others like in the book I’m currently reading is an inspiring way to compare your point of view with the others. It is also a great and convenient way to reread the most valuable parts of the book (besides the passages you’ve highlighted, of course).
X-Ray is a unique featured available for some books in the Kindle Store. In Amazon’s own words “X-Ray lets you explore the bones of a book.”
What is X-Ray? It’s an advanced reference tool that helps track what’s happening in the book and analyze the dynamics of the plot. It’s a reading companion which comes extremely handy when there are too many characters in the book, and you got lost who is who.
You can access X-Ray in two ways:
- from the Menu – just like other features described above (see the screenshot below, on the left),
- in the top bar via the dedicated X-Ray icon (the screenshot below, on the right). This icon will be seen only in the books that have the X-Ray enabled.
X-Ray is an all-in-one guide to characters, locations, and terms used in the book. When you open X-Ray while being on a specific page, it will show on top the descriptions of characters and terms that are found on this page (see the screenshot below, on the left).
In the X-Ray list, the character is represented by the profile icon. You can narrow down the results to characters by tapping “People” tab on top.
Everything else, for instance, locations or historic events mentioned in the book, comes under “Terms.” The icon looks like an opened book.
When you tap the entrance, you’ll see the detailed description. If it’s a character, the card opens with a one-sentence description of the character and a simple bar showing the presence of this character throughout the book.
Beneath, you will find all instances when the character was mentioned in a book. This feature is a fantastic tool if the book has many characters and you don’t want to get lost in who they are and how they are connected.
The card presenting the terms is similar to characters but it includes the extended description from Wikipedia and a link to the full article. A bar with the presence of the term in the plot can be found under the description.
X-Ray is a great way to analyze the plot, and see how it develops: how characters evolve, and where the action takes place.
Find new books to read
Although you can’t buy ebooks directly in the Kindle for iOS, you can find the app surprisingly helpful when it comes to discovering new books to read.
The most important thing to remember is that while you can’t buy the entire book, you can always download a free sample.
In no time you can get free samples from as many books as you want. And there is no better way to check out whether the book is worth buying than reading a couple of first pages.
How to discover new books with Kindle for iOS
There are e few ways Kindle app will suggest you free samples to download from the Kindle Store.
When you search the library
If you are in the Library view (see screenshot below, on the left) and use the Search feature to find the book in your Kindle library, the app will also suggest the books from the Kindle Store that answer the search term you entered.
For instance, when you type “Harry Potter,” on the list of results you will see all the Harry Potter books you’ve bought – and underneath, in Kindle Free Samples section, you can find the books from the Kindle Store that match your search (see screenshot below, on the right).
Each suggested book comes with the average rating. When you tap the cover or title, the free sample will start downloading.
Free samples are not synced between devices, so it will stay only in your Kindle for iOS app until you delete it.
When you finish the book
Is there a better time to find the new book to read than after you finish the one you loved?
When you come to the end of the book in the Kindle for iOS app, a “Before You Go” card will pop up (see the screenshot below, on the left).
The card includes the following sections:
- an invitation to review and rate the book,
- more books by the same author,
- more books from the same category,
- recommendations based on which books were bought by customers who bought this book.
When you tap the book cover in Before You Go section, a short description will appear, together with the average rating, and a button to try the free sample (see the screenshot above, on the right).
The Before You Go card is also available right in the Menu list in the top left corner.
In About This Book section
If you read a book from an author you didn’t know, you can always check out the About This Book section and find more books by the same author.
Enjoy enhanced ebooks
iPad is a fantastic multimedia companion. The book lover who owns the iPad sooner or later will try reading an enhanced ebook.
The first destination to check out interactive and enhanced books is the App Store. The Books category lists many ebooks that are sold as standalone applications.
Did you know you can also use the Kindle app to read ebooks enriched with multimedia, animations, and interactive elements?
Kindle Store offers two kinds of enhanced ebooks:
- Kindle Edition with Audio/Video – the format is available for users since 2010. Users were able to play videos and audio tracks embedded in the text of the book,
- Kindle in Motion Edition – a new format, introduced in 2016. It’s more flexible and versatile than Kindle Edition with Audio/Video.
One of the best examples of how far you can amplify the reading experience on the iPad or iPhone is the Kindle in Motion edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
What to expect from Kindle in Motion ebooks? Take a look at the list of features:
- animated illustrations – just like animated gifs, they play in an endless loop,
- animated book cover – the cover of a book is displayed as an animation not only when you open the book in the Kindle app, but also on a book detail page on Amazon,
- videos – they are embedded in the content of a book,
- custom page backgrounds – they can be still images or gif-like animations.
The best part of the Kindle in Motion ebook is that it can also be opened on devices that can’t play animations or sound. Yes, you can read such books on the Kindle e-reader, the media elements just won’t be displayed.
What’s more, when you read the Kindle in Motion ebook on your iPad or iPhone, the enhanced content is optional. You can instantly switch it on and off with a tap of a button.
Listen to Audible audiobooks
Unlike the Android version, the Kindle for iPad or iPhone doesn’t provide a text-to-speech feature.
There is, however, a way to listen to the Kindle book you have bought. It’s possible thanks to an advanced feature called Whispersync for Voice.
What is Whispersync for Voice? It’s service that lets seamlessly switch between reading a Kindle book and listening to its audiobook version.
As you’ve noticed, you’ll need also to buy an audiobook companion to the Kindle edition you have, to enable the Whispersync for Voice. Be prepared for an additional cost between $0.99 for the classic title to even $15 for the current bestseller.
There are over 60,000 Kindle books that come with audiobook narration. How to find them? Amazon provides a clever feature that will let you find out which of the Kindle books you own have the Audible narration. You can find your match beginning at the Audible narration home page.
How to enable Audible narration on Kindle for iOS
Once you add the Audible narration to the Kindle book, follow the steps below to enable Whispersync for Voice.
1. Open the Kindle book that has the audiobook companion
When you open this book in the Kindle app on the iPhone and iPad, the message about the availability of the audiobook will appear at the bottom of the screen (see the screenshot below, on the left). Tap the text saying “Tap to Download” and wait until the download is complete.
Make sure to be connected to the Wi-Fi network as the audiobook file can have more than 100 MB.
2. Switch between reading and listening
Done! From now on, when you open a Kindle book with Audible narration, the icon of the headphones will appear in the bottom right corner of the screen (see the screenshot above, on the right).
Tap the headphones icon to reveal the audiobook bar and play the audiobook. While you hear the voice, the matching parts of the text are being highlighted.
The magic of Whispersync for Voice is the ease of change between the reading and listening, and the beauty of delving into the story in different ways.
Kindle for iOS – useful links
If you want to learn more about using the Kindle app on the iPhone and iPad, make sure to check out the links below:
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In this article, we used the screenshots from the following books:
The Atlantis Gene (The Origin Mystery, Book 1)
A thought-provoking technothriller about global genetic experiments, ancient conspiracies, and the mysteries of human evolution. Its complex characters and historical and scientific details will stay with you long after you finish.
This fast-paced adventure is the first book in The Origin Mystery Series (now in development at CBS Films to be a major motion picture).
⇢ Kindle $3.99
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Illustrated [Kindle in Motion]
J.K. Rowling, Jim Kay
A specially designed Kindle in Motion edition of as illustrated by Jim Kay.
Prepare to be spellbound by this dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and its much-loved characters in this exclusive Kindle in Motion edition of one of the world’s favorite books.
Brimming with rich detail and humor that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.
⇢ Kindle $10.99
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