How to change device name in FreeTime on the Kindle Fire Kids Edition

TLDR

To change the device name as it appears under FreeTime on a Kindle Fire Kids Edition:

1. Install the Easy Go app on the tablet.
2. Enable the app for your child’s profile.
3. Log in as the child on the tablet via FreeTime.
4. Install and run the “Easy Go” app.
5. Click the “Setting” shortcut icon inside the application.
6. Go to “Device Options.”
7. Tap “Change Device Name.”
8. Rename and save.
9. IMPORTANT! Disable the app for your child’s profile.

Credit for the steps above go to this creative commenter.

The Details

My kids all have Kindle Fire Kids Edition tablets. They are inexpensive, adequate, and come with a warranty. Amazon also offers the FreeTime service — a fantastic facade app and subscription service that helps keep the device content to a subset of curated content suitable for children.

Kindle Fire Kids Edition, by Amazon

These devices are excellent. But one annoyance I had was that the device name that the device would display within FreeTime was a calculated value. The moment FreeTime would run for the first time on the tablet, the software would set a device name based on the profile selected at the time. So if “Bob” were the name of the child’s profile, the device would thus be christened, “Bob’s Fire.” And there was no apparent way to change that.

A couple of challenges with this.

First: FreeTime is a cloud service, so if you have multiple Kindle Fire Kids devices, profiles are available on all devices. If FreeTime runs for the first time on a second device, and the profile selected is “Bob,” then the device would thus be christened, “Bob’s 2nd Fire.” When you load another profile afterward, the device name will still say “Bob’s 2nd Fire,” even if the child’s name is “Lisa.” (Sorry, Lisa.)

Second: Changing the actual device name through Amazon doesn’t make a difference because the device name the tablet displays within FreeTime isn’t the real device name. FreeTime is akin to a second, higher level runtime, with distinct Kindle settings. The Kindle sets the device name that FreeTime displays within these settings. Unfortunately, the FreeTime Kindle settings are hidden by the FreeTime application, out of reach. (Sorry, parent.)

I have six children, five of them with tablets. And the device names are all over the place within FreeTime because I didn’t know how Kindle determined the device names. And changing the actual device names, while possible, doesn’t help as much because these device names are visible within FreeTime. Remember, Kindle displays the FreeTime-defined device name during FreeTime sessions.

Google searches weren’t very helpful. They mostly pointed to changing the base Kindle device name, which as I said doesn’t help.

But today I was insistent. The kids were complaining again about it (they like to use the device name to know which device belongs to who) so I did my typical rounds of Google searches. And I read deep into user driven knowledge bases and comment sections.

And then I ran into this gem. If you notice, the comment is down deep within the post. But, it does work, as evidenced by my own experience and the 41 likes (as of this publication).

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t use Amazon’s comment rank system to find pieces of content that might make a particular article valuable. I’m writing this blog post to both bring attention to the comment (through my linking to it), and to also present the information as top-level data (rather than a buried comment).

Why does this work? Because when you try to access device settings via usual means, Kindle will require an adult profile log in. The sentiment is logical — children should not be changing device settings, typically. But the settings the device shows you are the base Kindle device configuration, not the FreeTime device settings. The Easy Go app uses low-level APIs to go straight to the tablet configuration. When running from within the FreeTime app, the APIs return the FreeTime device settings and thus lets you change the device name from FreeTime’s perspective.

To do this, you have to give one of the FreeTime profiles permission to use Easy Go. Remember to revert this action afterward, and you should be good. The biggest risk to this process is leaving access to Easy Go after you rename the device. An innocent child could wreak havoc, so be careful.

Although I haven’t researched alternatives, I’m fairly confident Easy Go is not the only app that can do this function. If you don’t like Easy Go, search the Amazon app store for a device settings app similar to Easy Go. Then just follow the steps same as mentioned at the top of this article.

Enjoy.