Mailbag: Kindle Fire Internal Memory, Wallpaper & Reset
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:
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.
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:
Feel free to add your own questions in the Comments section below, and I’ll do my best to answer them!