Amazon Kindle on a pile of books
dean bertoncelj /

Kindle “Popular Highlights” appear as underlined text in your ebook when more than ten people have highlighted that passage. It sounds like a nice feature theory, but in practice, it can get annoying. Here’s how to turn it off.

Popular Highlights appear in lots of Kindle books. You’ll come across underlined text while you’re reading, along with a little note saying that there are “386 Highlighters” or something. There are a couple of problems with this:

  • Popular Highlights break your immersion. If you’re reading your favorite book, you might not be interested in seeing that a sentence has been highlighted by lots of people.
  • Popular Highlights direct your reading and stop you from thinking independently. Sure, a passage might be important but you should find it out for yourself as you read; what’s important to you might not be to others and vice versa. Plus, a teacher telling a single high school class to highlight a particular passage is enough to highlight it on every copy of that Kindle book in the world.
  • Highlights beget more highlights. Once a section is a popular highlight, more people just highlight it and ignore other, possibly more relevant, passages.

So, here’s how to turn them off.

Turn Off Popular Highlights on Kindle

Amazon has standardized the process for turning off Popular Highlights across Kindle e-readers and the app for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Fire devices. It’s a straightforward process, but you’ll have to do it for each book separately.

First, open the book you want to turn off Popular Highlights on.

Open a book on Kindle.

Next, tap the screen to bring up the menu and select the “Aa” button.

Select "Aa" from the menu.

Switch over to the “More” tab and toggle off the switch for “Popular Highlights.”

Toggle off "Popular Highlights" from the "More" tab.

That’s it! You’ll no longer see the underlined text while reading. Popular Highlights sound like a good idea but, in reality, you’re usually better off creating your own if you want them.

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