Changing Screensavers on the Kindle Paperwhite

kindlecustomscreensaverblog

I recently wanted to add my own screensaver to my new Kindle Paperwhite. Unfortunately this isn’t possible without jail breaking the Kindle first and then installing the screensaver hack. The process was pretty painless but I had to do some searching around to find all the resources so I thought I’d try and pull everything together in one place.

You’ll need to follow the following steps in order

  1. Identify your firmware version
  2. Downgrade firmware to 5.3.1 if requires
  3. Install the jailbreak
  4. Upgrade the firmware
  5. Reinstall the Kindle developer certificates and the rescue pack
  6. Install the screen saver hack
  7. Create a screen saver
  8. Upload your screensaver


Required Files
Firmware version 5.3.1 (if you need to downgrade from a later firmware)
The jailbreak
The latest firmware version (Currently version 5.3.3)
The developer certificates
Kindle Python
The screen saver hack

1. Identifying your firmware version

To determine your software version, from Home, tap Menu, then Settings. From Settings, tap Menu, then Device Info.


If you see a version later than 5.3.1, proceed with the steps below to update your Kindle to the latest software.

2. Downgrading the firmware to 5.3.1 if required

This jailbreak cannot be installed on newer firmware versions newer than 5.3.1.  You have to downgrade to an older version (e.g., 5.3.1) first before installing the jailbreak, then update to the new version. The jailbreak as such will survive the update, but you have to reinstall the Kindle developer certificates and the rescue pack.

1. Download version 5.3.1 software: Download firmware version 5.3.1

2. Transfer software to your Kindle: Turn your Kindle on and connect it to your computer using the USB cable. Drag and drop the new update file from your computer onto the Kindle drive. Do not drop the file into one of the folders within the Kindle drive.

3. Monitor file transfer and disconnect: Check your file transfer progress to ensure file transfer to your Kindle is complete before disconnecting. After the file has transferred successfully, eject the Kindle to safely disconnect your Kindle from your computer. Disconnect the USB cable from your Kindle and your computer.

4. Start the software update: From Home, tap Menu, then Settings. Tap Menu, then Update Your Kindle. (This option will be greyed out if the most recent update has already been installed or if the file transfer was not successful.) Tap Ok if you want to perform an update. You will see Your Kindle is Updating.

5. Once the update is complete: Your Kindle will automatically restart.

 

3. Installing the jailbreak

(Original thread here)

Now that you have version 5.3.1 installed the Kindle is ready to have the jailbreak applied.

1. Copy the "jailbreak.sh" and "MOBI8_DEBUG" files directly to the root directory of the attached drive (i.e., not into "documents" or any other directory).
2. Copy the "jailbreak.mobi" file into the "documents" directory on the Kindle.
3. Safely eject the "Kindle" drive, and disconnect the device.
4. You will see a new document called "Paperwhite Jailbreak". Open this document. Make sure that you are viewing it in portrait mode.
5. Follow the instructions in the document.

There’s a good you tube video of running the jailbreak here

 

Note that this jailbreak installs four components,

The actual device jailbreak, i.e., the certificate which allows to install custom update packages.
The Kindle developer certificates (re-installation required after firmware update!)
The jailbreak bridge (enabling the jailbreak to survive the firmware update)
The Rescue Pack. (re-installation required after firmware update)

 

4. Update the the firmware back to 5.3.1

Now that the Kindle is successfully jailbroken the firmware can be updated back to the latest version (currently 5.3.3). The process is the same as for downgrading.

Download version 5.3.3 software: Download firmware version 5.3.3

2. Transfer software to your Kindle: Turn your Kindle on and connect it to your computer using the USB cable. Drag and drop the new update file from your computer onto the Kindle drive. Do not drop the file into one of the folders within the Kindle drive.

3. Monitor file transfer and disconnect: Check your file transfer progress to ensure file transfer to your Kindle is complete before disconnecting. After the file has transferred successfully, eject the Kindle to safely disconnect your Kindle from your computer. Disconnect the USB cable from your Kindle and your computer.

4. Start the software update: From Home, tap Menu, then Settings. Tap Menu, then Update Your Kindle. (This option will be greyed out if the most recent update has already been installed or if the file transfer was not successful.) Tap Ok if you want to perform an update. You will see Your Kindle is Updating.

5. Once the update is complete: Your Kindle will automatically restart.

 

5. Reinstall the Kindle developer certificates and the rescue pack.

Reinstalling the developer certificates: Upload the update_combined-dev-certs-20121002_install.bin file to the root directory of your Kindle. Now, eject your Kindle, and from Home, tap Menu, then Settings. Tap Menu, then Update Your Kindle. It should take a couple dozen of seconds.

Reinstalling the rescue pack: Upload the update_rescue_pack.bin file to the root directory of your Kindle. Now, eject your Kindle, and from Home, tap Menu, then Settings. Tap Menu, then Update Your Kindle.

 

6. Install the screen saver hack

(Original thread here)

To install the screen saver hack you’ll firstly need to install python for kindle and then the screen saver hack itself.

Installing Kindle Python

Upload the update_python_0.3.N_install.bin file to the root directory of your Kindle. Now, eject your Kindle, and from Home, tap Menu, then Settings. Tap Menu, then Update Your Kindle.

Installing the screen saver hack

Upload the update_linkss_0.7.N_install.bin file to the root directory of your Kindle. Now, eject your Kindle, and from Home, tap Menu, then Settings. Tap Menu, then Update Your Kindle.

Once this has installed,  again connect your Kindle with the sync cable. The root directory should have a folder labeled /linkss/.

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If you don’t see this folder that doesn’t mean the screensaver hack failed to install. You may need to do a hard reboot. Reboot your Kindle by navigating from Home, tap Menu, then Settings. Tap Menu, then Restart. Reconnect your Kindle and check the root directory once the restart is complete.

The inside of the /linkss/ looks like below. The /backups/ folder contains the original screensavers from the default screensaver pack.

The /screensavers/ folder is where you’ll upload your new screensaver images. The screensaver hack provides several options for shuffling and randomizing screensavers. Read the readme.txt documentation in the screensaver hack for full details.

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7. Create a screen saver

Kindle Paperwhite screen savers are 758x1024. When creating images for either device you want to work in 8-bit grayscale and save the images as .PNG files.

8. Upload your screensaver

Once you’re with your custom screensaver simply add it to the  /linkss/screensavers/ folder. That’s it! Enjoy your custom screensaver and be the envy of your friends :-)