If you have a Kindle with Special Offers, then you’re forced to view an annoying advertisement (that’s usually completely unrelated to your reading preferences) on the lockscreen every single time you turn your Kindle on and off or happen to glance at the screen while it’s turned off.
To me this is simply unacceptable. I don’t know how anyone can put up with the constant shameless advertising if you’re using the device on a frequent basis.
Even more annoying is how they force you to swipe the screen to turn the device on, which is only required on ad-supported Kindles to force you to look at the ad before being allowed to go back to your book.
Normally Amazon charges $20 to remove the ads (in fact removing them is as simple as going to the Manage Your Devices page at Amazon and clicking a few buttons), but if you are really stingy and don’t want to pay extra there are a couple of ways to avoid ever seeing screensaver ads on a Kindle, and it doesn’t cost a dime extra or require any complicated hacking.
Unfortunately there’s no cheat code to get rid of the banner at the bottom of the homescreen on Special Offers Kindles, aside from paying the extra $20, but it’s entirely possible to never view the lockscreen ad if you really don’t want to.
I posted about this first trick way back in 2011 and it still works to this day. With this option you can view a blank screen instead of a screensaver advertisement.
No Lockscreen Ads
You can avoid seeing the lockscreen ad on Kindles by holding the power button down for about 10 seconds and choosing Screen Off.
The only downside is the extra time required to hold down the power button. On the plus side no ad appears on the sleep screen and when you turn the Kindle back on it returns right back to reading without having to swipe the screen.
Disable Sleep Screen
Another little-known trick is to disable sleep mode on your Kindle.
Just type ~ds into the Kindle’s search bar and hit enter. Now the screen won’t turn off even when you hit the power button (you have to hold the power button for 10 seconds to restart the Kindle to get sleep mode back).
Obviously this option can drain extra battery power if the frontlight and Wi-Fi are left on, but it can be a useful option nonetheless depending on your reading style.
You can also text chat with Amazon customer service and ask them to remove the ads because you find them annoying. They will do this for you “as a one time courtesy”, so choose the device you want ad-free carefully.
Has that actually worked for you Amy?
Maybe I’m just getting unlucky, but I’ve tried that with 3 different chat people now and I get absolutely nowhere. They just dig in and offer over and over to give me the URL of the page where I can pay to remove the ADs.
It almost feels like they are working off a script and that perhaps this has been a point of emphasis from their superiors at this point?
Maybe the word got around that people online were suggesting this approach and they are trying to curtail it?
or have I just gotten unlucky maybe?
Sportbike Mike says
I’m pretty convinced there’s a higher up from Amazon that reads this blog.
I’ve done that with each Kindle I’ve bought.. probably at least 5 times. Each time they removed the ads… do not ever pay an extra fee to remove Kindle ads, especially after buying the super expensive Oasis, which I’ve bought each new model.
What do you actually say to get them to remove the ADs?
What do you say when they tell you that you can pay to remove them and they give you the weblink to go do that?
That’s what’s happened to me 3 times now.
Thx for any tips
I just got a paperwhite during the black Friday sale. I simply told them I picked it up for my child and was receiving inappropriate book ads. Told them I had other kindles and never had ads, must be something new. They immediately told me they can help remove them and they did, free of charge. Good luck.
Thanks, that worked for me. And in my case, it was actually true. My older Kindle actually had tailored ads for stuff I’d be interested in. The new one just bombards me with annoying romance story ads.
Sportbike Mike says
Years ago my dad taught me how to decide if something was worth paying someone to do. It was essentially, how much do I get paid per hour versus how many hours it would take me to do this task. For him, tire rotations are worth doing, but at the $20 the shop down the street charges for an oil change, that isn’t worth doing yourself. Laying tile worth it. Painting the house, not worth it. Obviously, any free time you have can’t be used to make money, nor would you want it to, but this seems a good way to calculate value.
Using this logic, its easy to justify paying the $20 rather than hold the button for ten seconds because those seconds add up, especially if you use your Kindle in the in-between times, while standing in line, riding the bus or on your work breaks.
I think it would be worth $20 not to do the nonsense this article said to do.
However I agree with the responses. I called customer service and they removed ads from both of my kindles. I guess it helps if you are a prime member who spends lots of money on amazon, but probably not required.
This is sound logic and I use a similar approach myself. It always amazes me how much time some people are willing to put into saving a few bucks. To me it’s usually not worth the time. But in this instance I have like 5 Kindles laying around and I don’t want to pay $100 to get rid of ads. And the thing is it seems like I just paid to remove the ads on the Oasis 2, and now the Oasis 3 comes along and I have to pay again, and I could care less if the Oasis 2 has ads now. Once you pay to remove ads it’s something you can’t get back or transfer to another model. Frankly I just hate the whole concept. I wish we could just have book covers on the lockscreen instead of cowboy holiday romance ads that I would have no interest in in a million years.
Sportbike Mike says
The last three Kindles I bought never had ads. The Oasis is the 4glte model so that makes sense. The 1st Gen Paperwhite I gifted a friend was used,so someone else probably took them off. But the 10th gen basic that I leave in the car surprised me. It has no ads and I have no clue why. I’m not complaining though.
I’m seriously fascinated when anyone cares about the Kindle ad screen or spends any time or money trying to avoid. I use my Kindle daily and first got one with ads about 5 years ago. I never look at them. To me it’s a random picture on the screen that you can completely block out and just swipe past. Keep your $20 and your extra seconds folks!
Sportbike Mike says
If that works for you, it works for you. It doesn’t work for me. Too many ads catch my interest and I use my Kindle mainly for school. The ads often turn into procrastination.
I'm Reading Moby-Dick says
I have ADHD. While I’ll never buy the romance novels they spam me with, I’ll never stop noticing how them, and it’s distracting. I’m very easily distracted and don’t need my books undermining me. It’s the reason I genuinely hate YouTube. There’s no way to prevent recommended videos, in their software (I use NewPipe, which lets me disable recommendations, but it has lots of issues).
So I agree with Sportbike Mike. As for me.
Or you could just buy a Kobo. Right out of the box they have no ads. I like that I don’t have to pay extra or waste my time trying to contact amazon.
Flo Adar says
Is there a way to get rid of ads on Kindle Fires. I tried what you suggested above, but it doesn’t work. I run Go Launcher on my 2 Kindle Fires so that I have more control of the apps on my home screen. But I still see the ads. Some of them are actually very beautiful, but some I would rather not see–like the ads for Amazon Coins and the ads for playing slot games. I wonder if I can get them to turn off the ads. I think asking $20 to do so is scandalous. I bought their ereader. And I buy their ebooks. Not enough?
There’s no easy way to avoid them on Fire tablets, but it’s only $15 extra to remove the ads on them for some reason.
I used the support chat to remove the ads on my Fire HD8. I told the rep that I was extremely annoyed at all the garishly colored gaming ads. I told them I wasn’t a gamer and I hated the ads. They remotely turned them off and I haven’t seen an ad on my Fire since.
I did pay the $20 to get them off my Oasis because I didn’t want to push my luck and they weren’t garish gaming ads.
Keith Peters says
Or you could just buy a regular Kindle without special offers. You made the choice, knowing full well what you were getting, and accepted the $20 discount. And then you say it’s “simply unacceptable” when you see the ads. Too much outrage over little things in today’s culture.
I don’t think it’s really outrage. This blogger is calmly explaining his opinion and offering a simple and legal tip to those who have the same opinion. He has run this blog for years to offer e-reader information to consumers, so I can see why he gets all types of readers to test and compare, even those which don’t have his favorite UX. I don’t agree with all his opinions, but I appreciate how comprehensive he is in gathering this info.
I agree with you both. There are four or five ads in this very blog post, including “Ads by Amazon,” but they are tastefully done and fairly unobtrusive. Kindle Special Offers are just obnoxious.
If you buy a Kindle from anywhere other than Amazon, you get no choice, you get the one with ads whether you want them or not, it’s not as simple as choosing the ad-free version at purchase. Considering Amazon is a company that dodges paying taxes where they can and treats workers badly, why should I have to pay extra just to use a device I paid for without adverts being shoved in my face?
Luke G says
There’s another way too.
If you have the wifi off for more than about a week or so (7 full consecutive days), it goes back to showing just a non-advertising wallpaper because it can no longer verify the ads it’s showing you over the internet, so it defaults back to non advertising to make sure it’s not showing you ‘outdated’ content.
That’s assuming you never need wifi on Kindle. If you turn it on even for a minute or to sync, the ads come back for at least a week. I sideload everything anyway, so wifi is always off. Saves a ton of battery and no ads. You can even continue buying stuff from Amazon using your computer, and choose the manual sideload option at checkout.
I discovered the same thing by accident. I usually leave my Oasis in Airplane mode to preserve battery life and after a while the lockscreen ads just go away.
Tina Hamaker says
What is in place of the ads? I keep my kindle in airplane mode all the time unless I am downloading content, or perhaps checking a word through translate or Wikipedia. I have never seen the ads go away.
Alexander Wang says
maybe you did not turn it off for 7 consecutive days?
My PW has a vertical-flip cover and tapping the unlock button as I fold it back is so automatic that I rarely even get a glimpse of the ad. Without the cover I can see how the ads would be much more annoying. But the cover has saved it half a dozen times when it got dropped or bumped off a table…
Name (required) says
I just received my new Kindle with special offers. When I go to the Kindle site, my Kindle is there but when I select action, there is no option for special offers, only deregister and view device content. Of course I can’t find any mention of this error anywhere online. Any ideas?
H. Honest says
Easily remove the adds for free on amazon.com.
Log in –> Go to ‘Help’ –> Go to ‘Need more Help/Contact us’ –> Choose ‘Devices – FireTablet, FireTV, Echo etc. –> Choose your device –> In the ‘Tell us more’ menu choose ‘Device Set-up/Regstration or Deregistration’ then ‘Register and Set-up a device’. After that scroll down the page and choose ‘Chat’. Just start by asking “Can you remove the ads for me?”, the representative will ask for the serial number and they will remove the adds for free!
This wouldn’t work for me on amazon.de or amazon.nl, because on there they won’t give the opportunity to use Chat, so I chose to use the amazon.com site instead. So if you’re in a country where they don’t provide the Chat function, just login on amazon.com (same inlog).
Allison Liebowitz says
H. Honest – You rock!!! To be clear: while the path to get CHAT on the Amazon website was a little different and when it came to choosing my device it didn’t have my Oasis so I had to backtrack and get to Chat by working through Help contact us a little more, it worked! I called Amazon FIVE DIFFERENT TIMES including three discussions specifically with Kindle people and NOT ONE OF THEM had a clue about how to get rid of the slide screen which, being disabled, is a pain for me. NO ONE CONNECTED THIS WITH ADS. Finally took your advice and went into chat and explained I was disabled and asked them to remove ads as I thought this would help … and it did! Slide screen gone and they said they would charge me for removing AND THEN REFUND ME. So be aware they did the charge but I have a promise in chat that there will be a refund in 3-5 business days, so if they don’t do it I have it in writing. YOU ARE THE BEST. Thank you.
Yep, this completely worked. Thank you.
Thank you, this worked for me as well!
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
I came across this comment and got around to it right away. They granted my request so I’m so thankful! It was a refurbished unit and the ads were in a language I couldn’t understand which was annoying. This was a HUGE help. Have a wonderful day ahead. You deserve it.
“pay to remove ads” shows a dishonest & unscrupulous behaviour by Amazon.
Yes they do have the option to remove it when you buy & it is reasonably clear – but they are exploiting the poor & playing a game of temptation on the weak willed. The device itself is simply an expensive ticket into their bookshop. Is that guaranteed income not enough? You have to exploit too?
The fact this even exists leaves a bad taste in my mouth & I haven’t even bought a device yet. I expect I will get a Kobo instead, on principle alone.
Most devices have some form of advertising regardless. Kobo at least puts recommendations on a separate Discover tab and not directly on the homescreen, but they’re still there and you can’t turn them off. At least with Kindles you can turn off home screen view and disable ads entirely.
Sabrina L Hoffman says
what if i paid to take them off, but put them back on. will i have to pay again.
I don’t know, never done that before.