How to read Kindle books on your Mac, iPad or iPhone

How to read Kindle books on your Mac, iPad or iPhone
Mac Tip #524, 22 February 2012

The Kindle from Amazon is a hardware device for reading ebooks. And ebooks are becoming increasingly popular. They’re usually very cheap and delivery takes only a moment. But you don’t have to own a Kindle device to read Kindle books. Instead free software for your Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch (or other devices) is all you need.

This Tip explains how to find and install the free software and use it for reading Kindle ebooks.

Quick Start

  1. Go to the iOS or Mac App Store on the device you’re using.
  2. Find and install the free Kindle app.
  3. Follow the instructions on screen to ‘connect’ your device to the Kindle Store.
  4. Go to and find a book in the Kindle format.
  5. Either send a sample to your Mac or iOS device or buy a whole book and send it to the device.
  6. Open, read and enjoy.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.


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Find a free Kindle reader app

On your iPad or other iOS device tap the icon for the App Store. When the App Store opens tap one of the buttons on the Toolbar at the bottom.

On the iPhone tap the Search button.

On the iPad tap on Featured, Genius, Top Charts, or Categories.

A Search Field appears at the top of the screen. Type in Kindle and then tap the Search button on the on-screen keyboard.

To search for the Kindle app on your Mac either open the App Store… from the Apple menu or visit the Free Kindle Reading Apps page at Amazon.

Searching an App Store may find several apps related to the Kindle. One is simply named Kindle and displays the Kindle logo of a person reading beneath a tree, with a blue background.

Kindle app listed in an App Store.

Kindle app listed in the App Store on my iPad. I already installed it, as the highlighted area shows.

Download and install a Kindle reader app

The Kindle app is free so if you found it through an App Store tap on the the button labelled Free. The button changes to say Install App. Tap on the Install App button to download and install the app.

Now on your Mac look in the Applications folder, and on an iOS device look on the pages of apps on screen to find the installed app. Tap to open the app.

Sign in to Amazon

When you first open the Kindle reader app it asks for your Amazon account email address and password. Enter these.

When you enter your Amazon account info the text Register this Kindle appears on screen. Tap that text to continue.

After registering you may see various notices on screen, such as one informing you how to read other documents on your Kindle. Tap the Close button once you’ve read the information.

Now you should see a Home screen which will list any books or book samples you’ve downloaded.

Obtain a Kindle book

There are very many Kindle books that are free of charge. There are also many others, such as my own 22 Tempting Timesavers for Mac Users (US$4.40) for which you must pay.

When you buy my book you help support MacTips and make it easier for me to write more and better Tips.

22 Tempting Timesavers for Mac Users.

22 Tempting Timesavers for Mac Users — the first Tip.

However, whether you must pay for a book or not you can always download a sample, so you can see if the book is right for you.

In each case you must visit with your web browser to find and obtain books or samples.

Visit any page at and use the book Search to find a book that interests you. May I suggest 22 Tempting Timesavers for Mac Users?

Some books are available in various formats, such as hard cover, paperback, Kindle, or other. If necessary, click on the link to the Kindle edition.

Warning: in my experience Amazon sometimes shows me books that actually I am unable to buy. It’s only when I begin the send sample or purchase process that I find this out. Read my blog post Dear US authors, from us readers, in the rest of the world for more about this.

Sample or buy the book

When you’re viewing the page for a book look at the right-hand side. You’ll see two boxes that help you either buy or sample the book.

If you’d like to sample a book look in the Try It Free box. If you’ve registered more than one device with Amazon you must choose which device the book sample will be delivered to. Then click the Send sample now button.

Within moments the sample is sent to the device you selected, using Amazon’s own Whispernet network. There is no cost to you for this — each author pays a small fee to Amazon out of their royalties to cover book delivery.

Buying a full book works the same way, but of course there are extra steps to handle payment.

Kindle books on my iPad.

Kindle books on my iPad. The two highlighted books are both by me. (Co-author on the WordPress book was Maria Langer.)

Read a Kindle book on your device

After obtaining a sample or a full book open the Kindle app on your device. From the Home screen you may need to tap a Refresh button (usually a pair of circular arrows), or the device may sync automatically.

In a few moments the book will appear on screen with a New tag and perhaps a Sample tag. Tap on a book to open it and start reading.

Tell us in the Comments online how this Tip helped you.

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