New owners often seem confused about turning off WiFi on Kindle Paperwhite. I see the question asked on KBoards and on other Kindle user forums. I think it’s confusing because when browsing the Settings, there’s nothing under WiFi about turning it off.

For all the things Amazon does well for a new user experience, this one is counter-intuitive. You don’t actually turn WiFi off. What you do instead is turn Airplane Mode on.

So yes, turning an option on turns something else off. Perfectly clear, right?

Just in case you find yourself needing to help a friend (or do it yourself–we won’t judge you if you haven’t figured it out yet), here’s the instruction, with screen shots.

Turning off WiFi on Kindle Paperwhite

Access the Settings by tapping the menu icon in the top right corner (the one that looks like three vertical lines). About halfway down the screen, you’ll see Settings. Tap that to bring up the next menu.

airplane mode on kindle paperwhite

See the Airplane Mode line? In this picture, I have Airplane Mode turned on, which means WiFi is off. You can switch it back and forth using the toggle. If you read the instructions, you’ll see why it’s confusing. “Turn off … to enable wireless.”

Why do they use that terminology instead of giving a Wifi on/off option? Airplane mode is what you need when, well, riding in an airplane, and I’ve heard anecdotal stories of attendants giving people a hard time when the little airplane icon (visible at the very top of the second screenshot) wasn’t visible. A lack of cell or WiFi icon wasn’t enough. The attendant wanted to see the little airplane to be certain wireless was off.

So just remember, Airplane Mode On means wireless is Off.


  1. Thanks for the instructions.
    I’m pretty sure it’s counter-intuitive on purpose. Like most device manufacturers, Amazon want you to be online as much as possible for various reasons.

    “Convenient” backups, syncs and anything else they come up with. (ie easier to control)

  2. Thank you so much. Reading the directions on the kindle user guide was very confusing to me as is a lot of things. I know that the battery will last longer if the wifi is turned off. I just want to read until I want to download!

  3. To be fair, early Kindles did it the obvious (engineering) way.

    Then airplane mode was introduced (my Kindle Fire 2 let you switch Wi-Fi off either way).

    That confused people too.

    Hence the /current/ mix up.

    Read the diatribes by people who were charged for Amazon Prime if you want to study those who don’t read their “Welcome to Prime” emails and don’t read before they post either.

    Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames

  4. Even with aeroplane mode ON ( Wifi off ) every time I am in range of a certain high street book retailer, the kindle will switch modes to enable sync etc ( Amazon snooping ). It’s a shame I don’t own my device and control the settings and sync’s it seems I am leasing the device to have my data harvested! Guess I should have read the smallprint !

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