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kindle app for iosAs I’m an avid user of the Kindle app for the iPad and the iPhone, I eagerly look forward to version updates. I’ve been using the app ever since its initial release back in 2009 How To Use The Amazon Kindle Reader For The iPhone & iPod Touch How To Use The Amazon Kindle Reader For The iPhone & iPod Touch Read More , and have written reviews comparing it to Apple’s iOS e-reader app, iBooks Kindle iOS vs iBooks 3: An Intro Of Their Newest Features [iPad] Kindle iOS vs iBooks 3: An Intro Of Their Newest Features [iPad] Whatever criticism is being made about the latest iPad mini, many users like myself will be using it as their main e-reading and e-book device. And two of the leading iOS e-reader apps–Kindle for the... Read More .  Although the latter app has always been more feature-rich, the latest updates of the Kindle for iPad and iPhone include some much-needed features that users should know about.

Last week, Amazon released the 3.6 version of its Kindle app which now includes multi-color highlights, a Wikipedia-like feature that helps you learn more about notable characters, places, and terminology used in the book, and a few “Book End Actions” for rating and reviewing Kindle books. Previous updates include some useful book management features, and a few minor enhancements to the Brightness Control.

Multi-Color Highlights

Finally after three updates, the Kindle app now includes multi-color highlights—a pretty simple feature available for quite some time in iBooks Why Apple's iBooks Is The Best E-Reader For Making Annotations Why Apple's iBooks Is The Best E-Reader For Making Annotations Read More , and in a few PDF reader apps like iAnnotate and GoodReader How To Turn Your iPhone Into A PDF Reader & Text Document Viewer How To Turn Your iPhone Into A PDF Reader & Text Document Viewer Read More . Now after you highlight a piece of text, you can tap on the highlight and a small menu bar will pop up for choosing one of four highlight colors (red, blue, yellow, and orange), a button for deleting the highlight, an icon for writing notes, and a Twitter and Facebook sharing feature Amazon Adds Social Integration To The Kindle App [News] Amazon Adds Social Integration To The Kindle App [News] In what is sure to disappoint many avid Kindle users, Amazon, in accordance with Apple's new rules for its iOS devices, removed the links to its online store which appeared on the last page of... Read More added in a previous version of the app.

kindle app for ios

For students and non-fiction readers, these multi-color highlights are long-overdue. It has been quite frustrating to only have a single yellow highlighter for annotating Kindle books. With the additional colors, users can, for example, use different colors to categorize their highlights.

The highlight feature is simple to use, but as with iBooks, the last color you use will become the default color for the next highlight you make. So you have to tap again to change back to say the yellow highlight. The multi-color highlights makes it easier to find particular highlights in the app’s small pop-up window that includes all of your Notes and Marks. And fortunately your multi-color annotations get shared across devices, including the desktop version of the Kindle reader.


X-Ray For Books

In the 3.5 update of Kindle, Amazon introduced a feature called X-Ray for Textbooks, which is like a built-in encyclopedia for defining important terms and concepts in a textbook. This feature is now available for non-textbooks, including novels.

amazon kindle ios

Amazon sees X-Ray for Books as the “bones of the book,” in that it defines notable characters, places, phrases, concepts and terms found in a book. It’s like having a custom glossary for Kindle books. After you tap on the X-Ray button in the Kindle menu bar (of the iPad version – for iPhone it’s found in the Books and Notes area) it will use search results from Shelfari and Wikipedia to define names and terms either on a page, in a chapter, or the entire book. This is a pretty handy feature that may reduce the need to Google names and terms in a separate app.

X-Ray for Books is only available for Kindle books you actually pay for and download to your reader, and the search results appear instantly. This feature however is only compatible so far with English titles, and it requires iOS 5 or later.

Book End Actions

For Kindle users who like to share the books they’re reading, the 3.6 update includes a nifty feature for writing, reviewing, and sharing a Kindle book you just finished reading. The “Book End Actions” page will pop up when you turn to the last page of the book. The feature also includes Amazon suggestions for similar books, and a prompt for writing a customer review, which must be a minimum of 20 words.

kindle app for ios

This feature is a nice little time saver, for it keeps you from having to go online to write a customer review.

While the multi-color highlights and other new features for the Kindle app are some worthy improvements, I can think of at least 10 other features found in similar e-reader apps that are long-overdue – including a better way to organize downloaded books into categories, and a larger window for user notes and annotations. If you are an avid Kindle app user, let us know what you think of the new updates.

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  1. Iain
    March 23, 2013 at 4:38 am

    You wrote "fortunately your multi-color annotations get shared across devices, including the desktop version of the Kindle reader." On my iMac I'm not yet seeing multicolour highlights - the highlights sync over, but they're all in yellow, no matter what colour they are on the iPad or iPhone. Are you getting the same thing, or am I doing something wrong?

    As you say, the multi-colour highlights are brilliant for students - I just wish I could also have them on the desktop. That application hasn't been updated for a number of months, so I hope it's coming in an update soon.

    • James
      April 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

      as of today (5 april 2015) I still don't see the multi highlight on the mac kindle app :(

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 7, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Iain, I have haven't used the Mac version of Kindle in a while. I'm wonder if they simply have not updated it to sync the highlights across? Thanks for letting us know.

  2. George Hardy
    February 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I wonder if you can also now upload your highlights to ? I sorely miss this functionality on the ipad and resorted to using my old Kindle so that I can use to organise my notes.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      February 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      Hey George, thanks for sharing the link to ClippingsCoverter. I didn't know it about. And yes, it would be great if you could upload from the iPad, which is where I read all my Kindle books. I'm surprised you can't just download your annotations from your online Kindle account. Is that possible? I have clipped my archived annotations to Evernote so that I could view them offline on my iPad.