iPad problems: What users complain about most


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.


A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Home Theater

Don't wake the baby! How to connect headphones to a TV

Do you need to connect a pair of headphones to your TV? Our handy guide will show you how to hook up your headphones in a variety of ways, whether you're using wired headphones, wireless headphones, or gaming headsets.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we've rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.

The Mac mini's price has crept into iMac territory. So how do they compare?

Apple announced a long-awaited update to the Mac mini. Thanks to the updated specs and increase in price, it's begun to creep up to the base model iMac. In this guide, we now put up the specs on the newest refreshed Mac mini against the…

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Product Review

The MacBook Air plays the oldies we love, but the band is getting old

We’ve waited for a long time for an update to the MacBook Air, and Apple finally delivered one. With a lot of features ported over from the MacBook Pro, is this new laptop what Apple fans have always wanted?

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes which distinguish the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.

The best iPhone XR cases to keep your phone shiny and new

Apple's new iPhone range is the toast of 2018, with beautiful style and more power than you can shake a stick at. But beauty can often be fragile -- keep the damage to a minimum with the best iPhone XR cases.

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as picking from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.