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How do I get my Kindle to show color?

If you own a Kindle e-reader, you may have noticed that the display only shows black and white text and images. While this is great for reading, since it mimics printed books, you might find yourself wishing your Kindle could show color from time to time.

Kindle Display Technology

Current Kindle models use electronic ink display technology, often referred to as E Ink. This technology relies on reflectance and pigments to create text and images on the screen. Without a backlight, Kindle screens look very similar to a printed page.

Here are some key advantages of the Kindle’s electronic ink display:

  • Mimics printed books with high contrast and paper-like readability
  • Very energy efficient since it doesn’t use a backlight
  • Thin, lightweight, and durable
  • Works well in direct sunlight due to reflectance

However, E Ink displays can only show black, white, and shades of gray. To produce color images, displays require either a color filter or backlight, which E Ink lacks. This limitation is why all Kindle e-readers have monochrome displays.

Do Any Kindle Models Have Color E Ink Displays?

Amazon has not yet released a Kindle model with a color E Ink display. The technology for color E Ink is still in development and has some limitations:

  • Limited color range – can’t match LCD or OLED displays
  • Slow refresh rates leading to ghosting
  • Higher production costs

Color E Ink displays are available on a few niche e-readers from other companies, but reviewers find the color quality disappointing. The consensus is that the technology just isn’t ready for mainstream use.

Here is a table comparing monochrome and color E Ink displays:

Display Type Monochrome E Ink Color E Ink
Color Depth Black, white, gray Limited palette
Refresh Rate Fast Slow, ghosting
Availability All Kindle models Niche models only

While color E Ink technology will likely improve in the future, for now Amazon seems reluctant to use it in Kindle devices. The drawbacks still outweigh the benefits for most ebook reading purposes.

Using Color Filters or Backlights

Some companies sell physical screen overlays and filters that can add a color tint to your Kindle’s screen. These work by filtering the light reflecting off the E Ink display. They come in different colors like red, blue, yellow and so on.

Adding a colored filter can reduce eye strain in some cases, but it cannot produce a full range of colors. The filter is also visible when the screen is off.

Another option some users try is to place a makeshift backlight behind the Kindle to illuminate the screen. However, the E Ink display is not designed to be backlit, so the results tend to be disappointing. Areas of uneven lighting and glare often appear.

Neither colored filters nor backlights provide a true color experience on Kindle devices. At best they offer modest enhancements to the existing monochrome display.

Using Kindle Fire Tablets

The real solution for seeing color on a Kindle device is to use one of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. These devices have full-color LCD touchscreens like most other tablets.

Here are some of the Kindle Fire models that offer color displays:

  • Kindle Fire 7
  • Kindle Fire HD 8
  • Kindle Fire HD 10
  • Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
  • Fire HD 10 Kids Edition
  • Fire 7 Kids Edition
  • Fire HD 8 Plus

One downside is that LCD displays emit more blue light than E Ink, which some find uncomfortable for long reading sessions. But the ability to view magazines, comic books, and other color content is a major advantage.

Using a Kindle Fire also gives you access to millions of Android apps and games from Amazon’s appstore. Plus, you can still access your Kindle ebook library as well.

Differences Between Kindle E-Readers and Fire Tablets

When deciding whether an E Ink Kindle or Fire tablet is right for your needs, consider these key differences:

Kindle E-Reader Fire Tablet
Display Monochrome E Ink Color LCD
Eye comfort Excellent, paper-like Potential for eye strain
Battery life Weeks per charge Hours per charge
Weight Light Heavier
Glare None Potential for glare
Capabilities Reading ebooks Apps, games, video, etc.

As you can see, both types of devices have pros and cons. E Ink is best for long reading sessions, while LCD opens up more versatility. Choose the one that fits your needs and budget.

Jailbreaking Your Kindle

Some technically inclined Kindle users have found ways to “jailbreak” their devices to add new unauthorized capabilities. This includes adding primitive web browsers, custom screensavers, and other hidden functions.

However, jailbreaking is a complex process that carries certain risks. It may void your Kindle’s warranty. Also, future software updates from Amazon may undo any jailbreaking modifications.

While jailbreaking can enable more font colors and custom themes, it cannot transform the fundamental monochrome nature of your Kindle’s E Ink display. At best you may get access to a few more grayscales.

Unless you are prepared to tamper with core functions of your device, jailbreaking a Kindle is not recommended just to get limited color capabilities.


In the future, improved color E Ink may finally make its way to Kindle devices, opening up exciting new possibilities. But for now, the only real way to view color content on a Kindle is to use one of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets.

Kindle e-readers will continue to excel at long-form reading in black and white. When you need versatility and color, reach for a Fire tablet instead. With both types of devices, you can enjoy the best of both worlds!