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iPad problems: What users complain about most

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Apple’s iPad still has a commanding lead in the tablet market. Apple has sold well over 100 million of them worldwide and the fourth generation model hit stores at the end of 2012 alongside the new iPad Mini. It may be as close to perfection as you can get in the tablet market, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t flaws and potential issues to overcome. In this article, we outline some common iPad problems and try to find workable solutions.

Owners of Apple’s flagship tablet should stick around and take a look at our suggestions for the best iPad cases and covers, the best iPad apps, and the best iPad games.

Problem: Frozen screen

You may find from time to time that your iPad screen freezes and it is unresponsive to your touch. The most likely culprit is a specific app, but it’s not always easy to identify which one. If it happens repeatedly, take note of what you have running and try uninstalling it to see if that solves the problem permanently. Whatever the cause, your immediate solutions to a frozen iPad screen are the same.

Possible solutions:

  1. Try restarting your device first by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button until you see “slide to power off” on screen and then slide to power off. Press and hold the same button to turn it back on. You’ll know it worked when you see the Apple logo.
  2. You might need to reset the device in which case you should press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time for around 10 seconds. You’ll know it worked when the Apple logo appears.
  3. If it stubbornly refuses to react to a restart or reset then you’ll need to try a restore. Plug it into your computer using the cable provided. Load up iTunes on the computer, select your iPad, choose the Summary tab, and hit the Restore iPad button. This will erase your content, so you may also want to choose Restore Backup on the Summary tab.

Problem: iPad won’t turn on

It’s a nightmare with any electronic device when it refuses to turn on at all. Don’t assume the worst, though, it may prove easy to revive.

Possible solutions:

  1. Try holding down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button together until you see the Apple logo. It should only take ten seconds to pop up. If it doesn’t, try step 2.
  2. Maybe the battery is just empty. Plug the iPad into the wall charger and try step 1 again. If nothing happens then leave the iPad plugged into the wall for a while to give it a chance to recharge (at least half an hour) and then try step 1 again.

Problem: iTunes doesn’t recognize iPad

Some users have reported issues with plugging the iPad into the computer and booting up iTunes only to find that the iPad isn’t there. If iTunes isn’t recognizing your iPad then you can try a few things to solve the problem.

Possible solutions:

  1. Check the battery meter on the iPad when you plug it into your computer. If it has a lightning bolt on it to denote charging or it says Not Charging next to it then you know the port and the cable are working and you can move to step 2. If it doesn’t then try another port. If that doesn’t work then try another cable.
  2. Make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes. If it’s on, a PC then go to Help and then select Check for Updates. If it’s on a Mac then hit the iTunes tab and select Check for Updates. If you have the latest version or updating makes no difference, try step 3.
  3. Turn the iPad off. Turn the computer off. Turn them both back on again and plug the iPad in. Still no joy? Try step 4.
  4. Unplug the iPad and uninstall iTunes from your computer and then reinstall a fresh copy. Now plug the iPad in and try again.

Problem: iPad won’t charge

If you find that your iPad won’t charge up when you plug it into the power adapter, there are a couple of possible reasons. If it doesn’t charge when you plug it into the computer, it may just be the port you are using, try the power adapter instead. You can see whether the USB port on your computer is charging it or not by looking at the battery icon on the iPad. If it is charging, you’ll see the lightning symbol; if not, it will say “Not Charging” next to it. Some computer ports can’t provide enough juice to charge the iPad, and it will always charge more slowly via the computer, even if it does work.

Possible solutions:

  1. You want to check if it’s the cable or power adapter itself so, if possible, try the cable and power adapter with another compatible device, or try a different power adapter and cable.
  2. If the cable or power adapter is not the problem then there could be a fault with the iPad and you’ll need to contact Apple, contact the retailer where you bought it, or go into an Apple Store.

Problem: iPad won’t connect to Wi-Fi

A lot of people have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi networks with their iPads. Before you start serious troubleshooting, it’s worth trying to move closer to the router. You should also check Settings > Wi-Fi on the iPad and make sure that it is turned on. It’s worth making sure that the Wi-Fi is accessible on another device.

Possible solutions:

  1. There’s a reason IT departments the world over tell everyone to turn it off and on again as a first troubleshooting step – because it often works. Try turning off your iPad and router and then turn them both on again and wait a few seconds before trying to reconnect.
  2. Try telling the iPad to forget the network in Settings by tapping the network name and selecting forget. Turn the iPad off and on again and then reconnect to the network and re-enter the details as necessary. You can also try Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
  3. Make sure you have the latest iOS software by going to Settings > General > Software Update. You should plug your iPad into the power adapter before updating. Older iPads can be updated via iTunes on the Summary tab via the Check for Update option.
  4. If your iPad still won’t connect then it’s worth checking with your ISP for help or advice. The problem could be related to your specific router. You might want to update the firmware or change the channel.

Problem: Wi-Fi sync not working

Sometimes you’ll find that the Sync Now button in Settings > General on your iPad is greyed out. There are a couple of things worth trying. If you can’t connect to Wi-Fi on your iPad try the solutions above.

Possible solutions:

  1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi on the iPad and just toggle it off and on again.
  2. Check the connection on your computer and reboot if it has lost access to the internet.

Running slow

If you find that your iPad is not its usual zippy self and you are experiencing some lag when you navigate around then you can try a couple of fixes. You may just have too many things running.

Possible solutions:

  1. Double tap the Home button and tap and hold on an app until it starts to vibrate and then hit the minus icons to shut down anything that’s running that you aren’t currently using.
  2. You could also just reset the iPad by holding down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button simultaneously for 10 seconds.

Problem: Cellular data connection dropping

A lot of iPad owners have been complaining about cellular data connections dropping frequently. Obviously this will be seriously influenced by how good the coverage is in your area. If you have good coverage on the same network with your phone, but the iPad is struggling, you could try a couple of things. First check in Settings > General > Cellular and make sure it’s on. You could also try a restart. If it continues to be a problem, go through the steps below.

Possible solutions:

  1. Make sure you have up to date carrier settings in Settings > General > About.
  2. Check that you have the latest iOS software by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
  3. Remove the SIM card and then put it back in again.
  4. You can also try Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
  5. If none of that works, a full Restore might be worth trying.
  6. Some people have found success by disabling LTE in Settings > Cellular Data > Enable LTE.
  7. If you’re still having problems, it’s probably due to your carrier and/or Apple. You should contact your carrier’s support or visit an Apple Store for more help.

Problem: Unresponsive touchscreen

If you find that the touchscreen won’t respond, or it’s very slow to respond, or specific areas won’t respond then you are not alone. Several users have reported problems with flaky touchscreens and erratic behavior. You can try a few things to fix the problem before going to Apple.

Possible solutions:

  1. Try restarting your device first by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button until you see “slide to power off” on screen and then slide to power off. Press and hold the same button to turn it back on.
  2. You might need to reset the device by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time for around 10 seconds. You’ll know it worked when the Apple logo appears.
  3. If you have a case or a screen guard on the iPad then it could be the source of the problem, try removing it and see if the touchscreen works better.
  4. You could try cleaning the screen. Ideally use a clean, slightly damp microfiber cloth to do this.
  5. If nothing works then head to an Apple Store and show them the problem or contact them to discuss your options.

Problem: Random crashing

A lot of iPad owners suffer from problems with random crashing where an app spontaneously closes. You might find that this is a bigger issue on older iPads. You can try a few different things to alleviate the problem. It is quite likely to be related to specific apps, so take note of what you were doing when it crashes and see if a pattern emerges over time.

Possible solutions:

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and then slide to power off. Press and hold the button to turn it on again. You could also reset by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time for 10 seconds. Neither of these solutions is liable to affect a permanent fix.
  2. Connect to Wi-Fi and go to Settings > General > Software Update to make sure that your iPad is has the latest software. If there’s an update available then download it and install it.
  3. Open the App Store and tap Updates and then update all of your apps.
  4. If your crashes are occurring in Safari specifically then maybe try going to Settings > Safari and tap Clear History and Clear Cookies and Data.
  5. If you’re still having problems then try wiping the iPad and restoring, here are instructions.
  6. If none of the above has worked for you then try contacting Apple. If you’re able to reproduce the crashing and you can take it into an Apple Store to show them, then you will be able to get some help.

Problem: App won’t sync

Are you having trouble getting that new app you just purchased to sync to your iPad? Some people have found that apps will refuse to download. There are a few possible reasons.

Possible solutions:

  1. Make sure you have enough free space. Go to Settings > General > Usage and take a look. If you’re running out of space then you may have to delete something before the new app can find a space.
  2. Make sure that restrictions aren’t on. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and make sure that you are allowed to download apps.
  3. Make sure that you have the latest update by going to Settings > General > Software Update and download and install anything that’s available.

More iPad problems

These are some of the most common iPad problems you’re likely to encounter. We hope the solutions provided do the trick for you. If you run into another iPad problem, or even better, if you have another solution to suggest, then please post a comment and share.

Updated on 8-29-2013 by Simon Hill: Added unresponsive touchscreen, random crashing, and app won’t sync problems with possible solutions.

Article originally published 2-22-2012.