Mailbag: Kindle Fire Internal Memory, Wallpaper & Reset

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If you took advantage of the Pixar movie sale that’s currently going on in Amazon’s Instant Video store and downloaded a bunch of ’em to your Fire, that could explain your Fire’s ‘memory full’ error, right there.

Once again, I’m tackling questions I’m seeing on Facebook, Amazon discussion groups and here on the DMM site.

Q: I’m getting an error message on my Kindle Fire when I try to download something. It says “Internal Memory Full”. What does that mean, and what can I do about it?

A: Different Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD models have different amounts of built-in memory (it’s listed right in the product title, like “Kindle Fire HD 7″ 16MB”, meaning that model has 16 megabytes of on-board memory), and since none of them accept memory cards they’re limited to storing however much content (e.g., apps, books, videos, music, etc.) can fit in their built-in memory. The error message you got means just what it says: your Fire’s on-board memory is all used up, and you must delete some stuff to free up space before you can download anything new.

Like the iPad, the Kindle Fire is designed more as a content delivery system than a content storage system. You’re supposed to store your library of content somewhere else (Amazon’s Cloud for Kindle devices, your iTunes library for Apple devices) and then connect to your library as needed to stream or download content when you actually want to use it. When you’re done with content you’ve downloaded you’re supposed to delete it from your device, but doing so does not delete the original copy of that content, which remains stored in your content library.

This isn’t a bad thing, when you think about it; after all, why do you still need insta-access to books you’ve already read, audiobooks you’ve already listened to, or even a video you’ve already watched or a game app you’ve already beaten? Anytime you want to revisit them, they’ll still be there in your content library, ready to be streamed or downloaded from your Fire’s various Cloud menus (e.g., Books > Cloud, Apps > Cloud, etc.).

All content that’s been downloaded to your Fire’s memory will be shown on the various “Device” menus on your Fire: Books > Device, Music > Device, Videos > Device, etc. To delete any kind of content from your Fire or Fire HD, locate its icon, long-tap on the icon (tap and hold), and select “Delete from device” from the pop-up menu. Remember, this ONLY deletes the content from your Fire, the original copy will still be there in Amazon’s Cloud until or unless you purposely delete it from the Cloud (this DMM post includes instructions for deleting content from the Cloud).

Also see this DMM post, which explains how to prevent Kindle books you buy from being automatically sent to your Kindle or Fire, which is what happens by default unless you change that setting when you buy a Kindle book:

Kindle Book Refunds And Storage

The Room is a gorgeous, immersive app that invites the user to solve a steampunky puzzle box. It’s a bestseller in Amazon’s App Store and has an average review rating of 5/5 stars across over 1500 reviews, and I would personally rate it 5 stars, too. But it’s much bigger than the typical app: it takes up 154 megabytes of memory. Compare that to the 32 megabytes taken up by Angry Birds.


Q. What kinds of content take up the most memory when you download them?

A. This can vary pretty widely, so much so that it’s not really possible to say that any app you download will definitely use up less memory space than any video. But there are some general rules of thumb that apply most of the time:

Full-length HD movies take up a lot of memory, and also take the longest time to download. Next in line are full-length, standard definition movies. As you’ve probably already guessed, HD and standard-definition TV episodes are also pretty memory-hungry, but less so than full-length movies.

Audiobooks can be pretty big files, containing many, many hours of audio, so they’re next on the list.

Ebooks, Music, Apps and Newsstand items (e.g., magazine and newspaper issues) are generally going to be smaller files, but there are some exceptions. Heavily-illustrated magazines and ebooks (like graphic novels) are usually much larger files than text-only ebooks.

While apps are generally designed to be very small files, since they’re also supposed to run on smart phones, there are some apps that are pretty huge. When this is the case, there will usually be a warning right on the app’s product page to indicate it’s an unusually large file and will take longer than usual to download.


This wallpaper app is listed as compatible with several Fire models, but the Fire owners who’ve tried it seem to disagree with that assessment in their reviews of the app.

Q. Can I set a different background, or “wallpaper”, on my Kindle Fire than the black background that’s there behind the Carousel?

A. You can try, but it probably won’t work.

There are some apps available for this in Amazon’s App Store, but none of them have consistently good reviews and all of them have users complaining that they’re buggy. This isn’t surprising, because the Fire isn’t really designed to have custom wallpapers. After all, on the home screen your carousel uses up pretty much all the available space, and once you select a type of content you can’t see any background images anyway.


Q. I had to reset my Kindle Fire and now it seems like all my game progress, personal files and settings are gone! What can I do to get them back?

A. Unfortunately, nothing. What’s gone after a reset is gone forever. But you could have prevented the loss by backing up before you did the reset. Read all about it in this DMM post:

Surviving A Kindle Fire Factory Reset – With Most Of Your Stuff Intact


Feel free to add your own questions in the Comments section below, and I’ll do my best to answer them!


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  1. Comment by Maria A.:

    I really don’t like the carousel. I know I can access shelves of different things, which is okay, but I’d love to have a front screen like my iPod with the things that I want where I want them. I hate that they move around all by themselves all the dang time. Is there a way to make them stay put?

  2. Comment by Leslie:

    On kindle fire trying to watch online feeds but adobe flash is not compatible? Brings up different links for a ‘Linux’ but when I try to add nothing happens. Am I just out of luck on watching these on my kindle…Am able to view ‘you tube’, just not certain things. Thank you.

    • Comment by Mom:

      Essentially, the problem is that Adobe stopped supporting Flash for Android devices in 2012 and the Kindle Fire is an Android device. If you still want to try it see this Amazon Discussions page, where one of the moderators addresses the issue in detail and provides a sort of backdoor workaround for running Flash on your Fire. But be warned: the workaround requires some tech savvy, and involves sideloading apps. If you have no idea what “sideloading” means, you are probably not tech-savvy enough to attempt the proposed workaround.

  3. Comment by Judy Miller:

    Thanks for the link to deleting content from the Kindle Cloud. But I know all that! :o) I’ve owned five different Kindles since 2008 … and I’ve binged from time to time on free or bargain priced books. I’ve also read many, many of them. But … now I have over 600 books in my Cloud … and probably would like to keep perhaps 50 of them. With the described method, I would need to process over 550 entries, one at a time. There is no bulk delete feature. And … the screens re-write after each deletion … necessitating re-locating my position on the page after each deletion. Is there ANY other way to shrink this awesome process down to a manageable size?

    • Comment by Mom:

      There is no bulk delete feature on Amazon’s site or the Kindle device. Also, while there are ways to access your Fire’s memory banks and files directly, like you do with a file manager on your regular computer, deleting stuff from your Fire doesn’t delete it from Amazon’s Cloud.

      Personally, this doesn’t bother me because I look at it this way: if I collected hundreds of hard copy books and later decided I didn’t want most of them, I’d have to go through the books one at a time to find and set aside the ones I wanted to keep. Even without a bulk delete feature, the winnowing process is a lot faster on a computer screen than it is when you’re dealing with actual shelves of actual books. 🙂

  4. Comment by Nancy Gray:

    tthis is probably rudimentary, but how do I delete books from the device after I’ve read them?

  5. Comment by Len Menzies:

    How do I access things in internal memory of my Kindle Fire?

    • Comment by Mom:

      You need to connect the Fire to a computer using a USB cable. It will show up as “Kindle” in the My Computer area. Then you can double-click to “open” it and access the files just the same as if it were a folder on your computer.