Why Kindle Screen Ghosting Isn’t a Cause for Concern

 Minute Read
May 11, 2023
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I’d imagine the reason why you’re reading this is that you’ve noticed some faint lines or text in the background.

Well as the title would suggest this is not a cause for concern and is more of a quirk of not just Kindle, but ereaders in general.

Let me explain!

Why does Ghosting Happen on Kindle?

[ TLDR ]
Due to e-ink technology some of the microcapsules do not move all of the particles resulting in ghosting of the previous page. However, Kindle will refresh the page a few seconds later to remove this.

Ghosting on a Kindle screen, or any e-ink display for that matter, is a byproduct of how e-ink technology functions. The phenomenon of “ghosting” refers to faint traces of text or images of previous page that can sometimes be seen on the screen when you turn the page.

A (Very Brief) History of E-Ink

E-ink displays work by using thousands of tiny microcapsules per pixel, each containing positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles suspended in clear fluid. When an electric field is applied, it causes either the white or black particles to move to the top, forming the text or images you see on the screen.

When you turn the next page, the device applies an electric field to rearrange these particles to form the new text. However, not all of the particles move to where they should. Some of them may remain stuck in their previous position, creating a faint pixel of the previous page text or images.

Ghosting tends to be more noticeable when viewing non-native documents such as pdfs, in particular when zooming in or out of a page.

Can You Fix This?

To reduce this effect, Kindle will occasionally perform a refresh, where it turns the entire screen black and then white again to ensure all the particles are reset. This usually happens several seconds after you turn the page. Once the device is sure you’re settled it will refresh the current page.

Can I reduce Ghosting Effect on Kindle?

You can in fact increase the frequency of a page refresh.

By default, this is after turning several pages, but you can change this in Settings to every page turn.

Go to Settings > Reading Options > Enable Page Refresh

Just be aware that by doing this you will slow down the response in which the Kindle device can flick through several pages.  

One other way to reduce the frequency of ghosting is to reduce the font size of the text so there are more words on the screen to read. However, I am aware that some readers have to increase the size of the text due to visual impairment.

Does Ghosting Happen on All Ereaders?

As I mentioned previously, ghosting is feature on all e-ink devices.

Although this may change in the future, as the technology improves, we may get to a position where all of microcapsules move to their desired position, eliminating the need for a page refresh.

Non-Ghosting Alternatives

If ghosting is a deal-breaker, I would suggest you consider reading using a phone or tablet, as both devices use LCD or LED display technology that does not suffer from this issue. However, non e-ink devices come with their own problems with regards to glare on the screen from sunlight which may be more distracting than ghosting itself.

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Dave is our resident tech expert with a 25-year track record as a hardware design consultant and specializes in E-ink and battery management design. He holds a bachelor’s degree BEng in Electronic Engineering and is a member of the IET,
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