Kobo eReader hacks

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This is a list of software modifications that can be made to kobo e-readers that are poorly documented or not publicly documented by Kobo, ordered from least intrusive and least effort to most. Since nearly all kobo e-readers use the same firmware, these should work on all of them (with some exceptions). This page shouldn't list hardware modifications unless they apply to more than one device model, instead list those on the device's page. When known, each of these should list the firmware revisions that support them.

This page is intended to collect items scattered in various forum posts, listing only the ones that still work and haven't been replaced with something better.

Some of the information here is incomplete, this page is a work in progress. Items are being added from old forum threads, some of these are obsolete and should be replaced with newer ones. If your favorite item (that still works) is missing from this page, add it!


[edit] On device

These are changes that can be made directly on the device with no external interaction

[edit] demomode

This puts the device in demo mode, probably intended for models on display in stores.

In the search box enter demomodeon and select GO
In the search box enter demomodeoff and select GO
data directory
side effects

Shows images in the data directory in a loop. Filenames must be /.kobo/slideshow/$codename/$lang/%02d.png For example, /.kobo/slideshow/dragon/en/01.png

Forum thread: http://www.mobileread.mobi/forums/showthread.php?s=52a1eab540555511499b525aabca4059&t=258757&page=120

[edit] devmode

This enables an extra settings page of options for developers, and also enables extra log collection on the device.

In the search box enter devmodeon and select GO
In the search box enter devmodeoff and select GO
side effects
  • Developer options menu at the bottom of the Device Information menu in settings
  • Extra logs are collected
Forum thread

[edit] Sync

forum thread

If wifi is enabled, the kobo will periodically synchronize the kobo's state with the kobo servers. Synchronized data includes but is not limited to:

  • check for firmware updates
  • purchased books: status, download new
  • shelf state
  • pocket articles
  • annotations

The option Settings -> syncing and updates -> Automatic sync causes a full synchronization to occur in the background at the scheduled time if the wifi is on. However, the kobo will also do full and partial synchronizations at other times when the wifi is on:

  • If you tap on the refresh icon in the top bar and select Sync now it will do a full sync (and enable wifi if you allow it)
  • If you open a purchased book, it will sync that book's status.
  • If you go to the Pocket Articles, it will sync those.
  • If you go to pocket articles and select Refresh from the overflow menu (and enable wifi if you allow it)
  • Go to the My Books and the books will be synced.
  • Turning WiFi on will trigger the sync.

There is a timer built in so that there will be at least 30 minutes between any of these, although the manual sync options will override the timeout.

[edit] Side loading

Some functionality can be increased merely by copying files to the device. Some files need to be placed in specific locations. The added functionality can be undone by removing the files.

[edit] Side loading documents

Files of multiple types can be copied to the top level or a subdirectory of the device and will be recognized and added to the book catalog after it is ejected and restarted. Different formats are read with different reader applications.

This is an incomplete list of supported formats:

adobe's epub reader, supports both DRM and open format books
kobo's modified epub reader
text files
wikipedia archive
Support for this was removed

Documents can be side loaded by connecting via USB and using the following methods and applications:

[edit] Side loading fonts

Additional fonts can be added and the font families will show up in the font list in the Kobo menus. If the font has the same name as a built in font, it will replace the built in font. Also, pdfs and epubs that use fonts not embedded in the document or on the kobo by default will find the added fonts.


[edit] Screen savers

By default, when put to sleep, the kobo e-reader will display the cover of the last book read. By enabling this, instead a random image is chosen.

4.13.x and later
Settings to change
Energy saving and privacy: enable Show current read and Show book covers full screen
Images can be in any image format recognized (jpg gif png and others)
Form post

[edit] Side loaded dictionaries

New in firmware 4.24.15672: [1]

  • Put custom dictionaries in .kobo/custom-dict
  • For extra languages, optionally add an "ExtraLocales" entry in config file with the list of language codes.

[edit] Hidden configuration

A number of features can be enabled that are not available from the settings screens. These features are probably "beta" features, either depricated, buggy, not stable, under development, or considered too complicated for exposure to the average user. Kobo periodically adds and removes features from this list on firmware upgrades.

For a list of options, see Kobo Configuration Options

Also some of the firmware update and welcome screen options can be adjusted by editing Affiliate.conf

[edit] Database hacks

[edit] Firmware modifications

The kobo devices run a stripped down version of linux that uses busybox. The firmware can be patched or augmented by exploiting the firmware upgrade procedure.

[edit] Firmware downloads and guides

[edit] Firmware patches

[edit] Applications

These are applications that can be installed on the kobo, as opposed to desktop applications that run externally.

[edit] Application loaders

[edit] Alternate book readers

Plato; Plato forum thread

[edit] Other applications

Automatically create shelves/collections based on folder structure on the Kobo
Yet another telnet/sshd & misc tools packages
Takuzu (Binary Sudoku)
Offline Wikipedia on Kobo 
tested on 3.19.x
Kobo Wifi Weather Forecast
interpreter for Infocom games and other Z-machine games
Xorg and full Firefox

[edit] Writing your own

[edit] Other guides

[edit] Wiki pages

[edit] Forum threads

[edit] External links

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