Jailbreaking you Kindle is not as hard or dangerous as it sounds. In comparison to Jailbreaking an iPhone it’s child’s play! However performing a Jail Break on your Kindle isn’t nessessarly something you need to do, infact you may not even want to, but if you do read on!
The main reason that people JB their Kindles is to import custom screen savers, as nice as the standard set of screen savers is they aren’t to everyone’s taste. A Jailbreak also allows you to import custom fonts for foreign books, but I will focus on the simple Jailbreak and Screen Saver modification.
The Kindle automaticly backs up your books to the Amazon Cloud, but if you have custom collections / anotations / custom books / etc that you would hate to loose then you should do a quick backup first. Although I havn’t read that anyone has lost anything by performing this Jailbreak, in my experience all my books / etc were still present afterwards.
Unlike Apple who like to hit Jailbreakers with big sharp sticks, Amazon have actually actively released the source code for all versions of the Kindle. This has allowed the Jailbreaking community to develop modifications without having to guess at everything. If you want to read about Amazon’s release of the code you can do so on their site here.
Plug your Kindle into your PC with the USB cable and browse to it in Explorer (or your computers equivalent). In windows you will need to navigate to “Folder Settings” and set it to display all files (see here for instructions@@@). You should then see a window like the one to the right.
Once you can see all four folders, you should select them all and copy them somewhere for safe keeping. That way should you have a problem you will at the least have a copy of your collections / annotations / etc. On a side note, if you copy / email extra documents and books to your Kindle it is a good idea to regularly take a copy of the “documents” folder so that if you loose or break your device you can restore the documents to another one!
Now you need to download the Jailbreak, I have bundled up the copies that I used to Jailbreak my Kindle today. Those copies should be fine for any Kindle currently in circulation, but if you are reading this some time in the far future you may wish to google for a more recent copy. You can download my bundle from here (an advert will show, sorry). The bundle contains several different versions of the firmware for different Kindles. The files are named according to the type of Kindle, for example “update_jailbreak_0.6.N_k3w_install.bin” is for a Kindle 3 Wireless edition where as “update_jailbreak_0.6.N_k3gb_install.bin” is for a Kindle 3G UK edition. Please ensure you pick the correct firmware.
Once you have chosen the correct BIN file copy it to the root of your Kindle (the main folder), then safely remove your Kindle and unplug it. You now need to tell the Kindle to install the Jailbreak, you do this with the following key presses “Menu >> Settings >> Menu >> Update Your Kindle.” The Kindle will take anything from a few seconds to a few minutes to install the update, then you should be presented with your Kindle as normal.
You are now Jailbroken, easy wasn’t it! There isn’t much different about your Kindle at this point as you haven’t installed any modifications.
In the same download from earlier you will find the modification for custom screen savers, the files are named much in the same way as the initial Jailbreak (“update_ss_0.20.N_k3w_install.bin” for my Kindle 3 Wireless edition).
Re-attach your Kindle to your computer as you did in Step 1 and copy the relevant BIN file to the same directory as you did in Step 2. Again safely remove your Kindle and perform the same update as you did in Step 2 (Menu >> etc).
Now that you have successfully installed the Jailbreak and Screensaver mod you can put some new screensavers on your Kindle. Once you re-atttach your Kindle to your computer you will find a folder called “linkss” has appeared, within that folder is another called “screensavers” any JPG or PNG that you put in there will be used as a screensaver.
Valid Kindle Screensavers are JPG or PNG format in 8-bit Grayscale sized as 800×600. You can create them via Photoshop with the following settings:
You can of course use any image editor to create the files, I just like to use Photoshop. Other options are to download pre-made screensavers from one of the many sites you can find on Google, or to take a look at my custom screensavers!
Once you have copied a screensaver (or more) to the Kindle you need to safely remove it and restart it via “Menu >> Settings >> Menu >> Restart”. It will take a few moments to perform the restart, but then your new screensavers will be active!
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