How to Sideload a Kindle file to iOS: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

  • Sumo

If you sideload a .MOBI to to your iOS device, you’ll be disappointed; functionality and appearance are terrible.

In fact, you don’t sideload a .MOBI. What you want is a file with the . AZK extension (book.azk).

It’s a mildly convoluted task. Here’s what you need:

  • iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) with Kindle App installed
  • computer with Kindle Previewer installed (get it here)
  • computer running iTunes
  • USB cable
  • an .EPUB or .MOBI file, or the content.opf from an EPUB package

Here’s what to do:

  • Launch Kindle Previewer. Under Settings, choose Kindle for iPad or Kindle for iPhone from the dropdown menu:


Sidenote: if you have a file open within Previewer already, choose Devices from the Menu and select Kindle for iOS.


  • Drag an .EPUB, the content.opf of a package, or a .MOBI into Kindle Previewer. Wait a second, and you’ll see this screen:


  • Click on “here,” or browse to the file on your computer. It is usually placed in the same work folder as the .MOBI, source .EPUB, or content.opf.
  • Note: you will not usually see an actual preview in Previewer; the screen will remain white. You might see a preview if your book includes media files (a video, for example).
  • Tether your device to your computer running iTunes.
  • Open iTunes.


  • Find your device (top)
  • Choose Apps (middle)
  • Browse down to File Sharing (bottom); find the Kindle App
  • Drag the .AZK file into Kindle Documents
  • The book will be available on your device.

11 Responses to “How to Sideload a Kindle file to iOS: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch”

  1. Tiffani says:

    Hey! I should say thank you for the post. I like this article.

  2. […] devices (iPad, iPhone). You need an .azk file, which you can create with Kindle Previewer. Here’s a guide on that describes how to move it to those […]

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  4. You are a life saver, thank you!!!!!!!! xxxxx

  5. Ram says:

    Thanks Kevin! Looks like a great post!

  6. Anne-Marie Concepcion says:

    Kevin, does this get the ebook into the Kindle Cloud so it’s available on all devices, synced? Or do you know how that would be done?


  7. Anne-Marie, it’s device-specific; you’re only uploading to a single device. I would imagine the only way to get a book onto the Kindle Cloud is to purchase it from Amazon.

  8. Okay, so now I see what the .azk file looks like on the iPad, what do I send to the client to upload to the Kindle store? The mobi or the azk?

  9. Kevin Callahan says:

    Mobi. Amazon will extract whatever files it needs to distribute to individual purchasers. The Mobi contains the elements to serve up device- and app-specific files.

  10. Very helpful article. Being a book designer I always ended up by explaining this to my clients. Now I send them this article and they understand what to do.

  11. David says:

    Is this going to be updated at any stage? It’s now out of date now that there is no iTunes. I’ve been searching everywhere for a solution but can only find outdated information.