By using Show Mode on your Fire tablet, you can turn it into a smart home hub with full-fledged Alexa voice controls. Here’s how to use it.
Amazon’s Fire tablets are solid entry-level devices for doing things like watching movies, reading books, and playing games. But did you know they can also double as an Echo Show?
If you own an 8-inch or 10-inch Fire tablet, there’s a feature called Show Mode that can turn your tablet into an Alexa-controlled smart home display, eliminating the need to go out and buy a separate Echo Show.
But here’s a question: how you do enable it? In this guide, we’re going to show you how to turn it on, which devices are supported, and what you can do with it once enabled.
What is Show Mode?
Show Mode, originally released in 2018 as a free software update, lets you use your Fire tablet like you would an Echo Show. Using Alexa, you can ask it questions, play content, or control smart home devices with your voice just like you would on an Echo Show without having to go out and buy one. Amazon launched the feature with a special Show Mode Charging Dock that gives you a place to keep your Fire tablet while using Show Mode, but it’s not a requirement to use the feature.
Which Fire tablets support Show Mode?
Before jumping down the rabbit hole of trying to find Show Mode on your Fire tablet, you’ll want to check to make sure that your tablet is supported. Amazon currently lists seven different Fire tablets as supported by Show Mode.
The list includes:
- Fire HD 8 (7th Generation) with software version 188.8.131.52 or later
- Fire HD 10 (7th Generation) with software version 184.108.40.206 or later
- Fire HD 8 (8th Generation) with software version 220.127.116.11 or later
- Fire HD 10 (9th Generation) with software version 18.104.22.168 or later
- Fire HD 8 (10th Generation) with software version 22.214.171.124 or later
- Fire HD 10 (11th Generation) with software version 126.96.36.199 or later
- Fire HD 8 (12th Generation)
If your tablet isn’t on the list, you’re out of luck. But if it is listed, let’s move on.
How to enable Show Mode on Fire tablets
There are three ways to enable Show Mode on your Fire tablet
Method 1: Use Alexa
- On your Fire tablet, say Alexa, switch to Show Mode. The interface will then switch over and you’ll be greeted by Show Mode.
- To exit Show Mode, say Alexa, exit Show Mode.
Method 2: Use the shortcut in quick settings
- On your Fire tablet, swipe down from the top of the display twice to reveal the quick settings panel.
- In the list of settings, there’s a toggle called Show Mode. Tap it, and Show Mode will spring to life.
- To exit Show Mode, do the same double-swipe gesture and tap the Show Mode toggle again.
Method 3: Use the Show Mode Charging Dock
If you own Amazon’s optional Show Mode Charging Dock for your Fire tablet, you can enable a feature that will automatically switch to Show Mode every time you dock your tablet.
- Go to the Settings app on your Fire tablet.
- Find the Show Mode section, then tap on it.
- Find Automatic mode switching and toggle it on.
Once that’s done, all you’ll have to do is dock your Fire tablet when you want to use Show Mode and it’ll switch automatically, no additional steps required.
What can you do with Show Mode on Fire tablets?
After you enable Show Mode on your Fire tablet, you’ll notice that it feels very familiar to other smart home displays. That’s because it’s just that – Amazon basically took the interface of its Echo Show and built it into a separate experience for Fire tablet users.
That means you can do everything you can with Alexa on a traditional Echo Show like ask about the weather, sport scores, use Skills, play music, watch something on YouTube or Prime Video, and more. Each response is greeted by rich visuals to show you more information, and you can customize what’s shown and what’s not in the settings app.
Show Mode also lets you place calls with Alexa, control your smart home devices with your voice, and follow along with cooking tutorials.
Of course, the experience isn’t a 1:1 comparison with an Echo Show. Fire tablets don’t have the same dynamic microphones as Amazon’s Echo device line does, nor do they produce the same sound quality. Show Mode can also feel a bit sluggish compared to regular Echo Shows depending on your internet connection and the type of Fire tablet you have. Still, it’s a handy feature to have if you don’t want to shell out extra money for a smart home display.
For more on Amazon’s Fire tablet, check out our comparison of the latest models.