Tips & Tricks: Taking Care of Your Kindle Fire

Belkin Screen Cleaning Kit

You may have paid only a third as much for your Fire as you would’ve paid for an iPad 3, but it’s still a substantial investment and it’ll perform better and last longer if you take good care of it.

A Clean Screen Is A Happy Screen

First, whether you’ve applied a protective film to your Fire’s screen or not, you should invest a few bucks in a quality screen cleaner kit, like this one from Belkin (avg review rating 4.5/5 stars across 29 reviews, $9.62). Finger smudges are not only annoying, but over time the oils from your hands can make the Fire’s sensitive touch screen less responsive if you don’t clean it regularly.

What you want here is a soft, ideally microfiber cloth (to cut down on lint) and a spray cleaner specifically made for electronics or eyeglasses. Don’t just grab the window cleaner you’ve already got in the kitchen: it contains ammonia, which is dulling and harsh on sensitive screens, and will often leave streaks, too.

Don’t Neglect Your Cover!

If you’ve invested in a leather cover, like this one from Poetic, be sure to apply a leather protector / waterproofer to it before you slip your Fire into it. Doing so will protect your cover (and the Fire inside of it, to some extent) from spills, scuffs and fingerprint spots, make it easier to clean if anything does spill on it, condition the leather to maintain its texture and help it wear longer, and if you use a protector with UV blocking, it can even keep the color of your case from fading.

Don’t just go with Scotchgard (which is fine for imitation leather, cloth, neoprene and other types of cases), because it will apply a water resistant sealant to your cover but won’t condition the leather underneath and may actually dry it out as the sealant cures. Just about any leather protector / waterproofer made for leather shoes will work, but if you don’t have anything on hand a good one to try is Kiwi Universal Super Protector (avg review 4/5 stars across 4 reviews, $6.99).

Be sure to spray whichever protector you’re using in a well-ventilated area, and if your cover has an elastic strap turn it to the underside of the case before spraying. Apply a base coat, let it dry, then apply a second coat for good measure. Be sure the case is totally dry (leave it overnight if you can) before inserting your Fire.

Besides taking care of these external items, you need to give a thought to your Fire’s battery and inner workings too if you want it to perform as well as possible for as long as possible.

Maximizing Battery Life

Your Fire has a rechargeable battery with a limited number of recharges, generally somewhere between 1,000 – 3,000, depending on the Fire’s condition, use and environment. You can ensure your Fire’s recharge count will be closer to the upper end of the range in a few different ways.

First of all, when you don’t need the wifi connection, turn it off. When it’s on, the wifi connection will constantly scan, or “poll” for the strongest available connection and this takes some battery power.

Second, when turning off your Fire, if you don’t intend to turn it back on in just a few minutes, press and hold the power button down to bring up the screen that asks if you want to shut down your Fire, and then select “Shut Down”. Just doing the quick button press puts your Fire into a sleep mode that’s similar to the sleep mode on a computer. Sleep mode makes the Fire start right up very quickly when you turn it back on, but the whole time it’s “sleeping” it’s also drawing some battery power.

Third, don’t recharge your battery every time it’s at less than 100%, but don’t let it ever fully drain if you can help it, either. Rechargeable batteries are most efficient when the device they’re powering is running somewhere between 25-75% of a full battery charge, and their recharging mechanism is designed to work most effectively when the battery is drained to somewhere between 15-25%. If you find it makes you too nervous to let your Fire’s battery get that low, even just waiting till it’s at 50% capacity before recharging will be better than charging it every time it’s below 100%.

Protect Your Fire From Its Environment

It should go without saying that you should keep your Fire in a protective case or cover to shield it from spills, scuffs and even offer a degree of shock protection if you should drop it. Many covers also offer varying degrees of functionality as a hands-free stand, and you’ll find it’s a nice feature to have.

Weather, water and sun are not your Fire’s friends. Try to avoid leaving your Fire in full sun or extreme cold, where it can heat up or freeze to a point that the delicate electronics inside could be damaged. This doesn’t mean you can’t have it outside on a cold or even snowy day however, because the device itself will heat up to a degree while it’s in use. On a hot or very sunny day, try to keep your Fire in the shade. If you’re taking your Fire to the beach or on a boat, better safe than sorry: store it in a waterproof bag (like a Ziploc bag) whenever you’re not using it. Avoid getting liquids of any kind on your Fire, and clean up any spills promptly.

It’s also a good idea to periodically clean any lint or dust out of your Fire’s mini USB port with canned air. This will keep the port and cable free from contaminant buildup, which can make them non-functional over time, and will also maximize charging efficiency by keeping the contacts in the port and charging cable clean. You can find a variety of canned air choices anywhere electronics, computers, or hobby equipment is sold.


2 thoughts on “<b>Tips & Tricks: Taking Care of Your Kindle Fire</b>”

  1. Thanks for the tips, I try to keep my Kindle Fire screen clean but wasn’t sure how to clean the case.
    Also, I’m having problems getting the charger to stay in the port. Any suggestions?

    • Judy – regarding cleaning your case, that depends on what the case is made of. If it’s leather, use the same kind of leather cleaner that’s appropriate for shoes. If it’s cloth or nylon, use the same thing you’d use to clean upholstered furniture. If it’s vinyl or imitation leather, a cloth dampened with warm water should do the trick. As for the charger, ensure the port and charger tip are both clean. Canned air sprayed into the port should clear any debris, and a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab can be used to clean the charger tip—just be sure to remove any stray strands of cotton that might’ve been left behind by the swab before using the charger again. Hope this helps! 🙂

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