Kindle Firmware Update 5.12.4 Drops Hints About New Contrast, Screensaver Features

Things are about to get interesting again for Kindle owners.

Amazon just rolled out a new firmware update for the Kindle. The official notice for the update doesn’t give much in the way of details, but a hacker combed through the code and found a few clues that hinted at new features.

Here’s what Amazon told us:

Here’s what’s new:

Aa Menu: Over the next couple of weeks, you will see an updated Aa menu that makes it easier to access all font, layout and reading options without leaving your book.

Performance improvements, bug fixes, and other general enhancements.

That’s not even close to being worth writing about, but the stuff Amazon left out, now that is another story.

JHowell posted over at MobileRead earlier today that he has already taken apart the firmware update, and found references to a couple new features:

  • Options to control features like “Popular Highlights”, “Word Wise”, and “PinYin” moved to the Aa menu.
  • Contrast setting with 5 choices: -2, -1, 0, 1, 2
  • “Set the cover of the title you are reading to appear on your lock screen”

Using your book cover as a screensaver will be fun, but I think the contrast setting could be the most useful. If understand it correctly, Amazon is going to give users the option of adjusting the contrast between the white, black, and shades of gray displayed by the Kindle.

We’ll be able to make the whites “whiter” or “grayer”, depending on the setting chosen. The lighter shades of gray will also be affected, but black will not be affected at all.

This won’t help much with text, but it should prove useful with images in an ebook.  Adjusting the contrast should bring out additional detail in images that would otherwise be indistinguishable.

Now that is going to be useful, IMO.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. DavidW20 February, 2020

    I think that the contrast setting will be most helpful in pdfs, manga and comics and I assume that font setting in books is probably already equivalent to +2.

    I’m really excited about this much anticipated change to screensavers. Awesome!

    I also appreciate making it easier to change font settings. I don’t care for use those font themes and don’t like how many clicks it takes to change settings.

  2. Marilynn Byerly24 February, 2020

    This is a software, not a hardware question, but has anyone had a recent problem with the Kindle eReader app, it’s installed on my Android Nook, refusing to show a book in portrait? It just started this week, and I’ve done everything I can from both the Kindle and the Nook side of things. Nook books don’t do this.

  3. […] way of The Digital Reader, we learn a number of undisclosed Amazon Kindle screen enhancements are hidden with the latest […]

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  5. Kirit8 May, 2020

    Where is the option to use book cover as screen saver?


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