The iPad mini and its Liquid Retina redesign may have been the best product to come out of Apple’s California Streaming event, but some early adopters are reporting that they are experiencing the so-called “jelly effect” when scrolling where one side scrolls a tiny bit faster than the other giving the appearance of wobbling.
Unfortunately, Apple says this is “normal” behavior, according to a response sent to Ars Technica, and won’t be fixing the issue under warranty. Apple says that since the iPad mini has an LCD display and does not refresh line by line, “is a tiny delay between when the lines at the top of the screen and lines at the bottom are refreshed,” which can result in uneven scrolling. Notably, Apple also declined to repair 2018 iPad Pro models that were reportedly bent during production.
Apple’s other LCD screens don’t seem to exhibit this problem, including the fifth-generation iPad mini. Numerous testers have noted that the screen effect, while very subtle, appears when scrolling through text and is most noticeable in portrait mode.
Now we might have a reason why. In its teardown for the iPad mini, iFixit noticed the placement of the controller board is vertical, while the iPad Air and other iPads have a horizontally mounted board, so it’s not due to a bad display or faulty connector. iFixit believes that when you scroll parallel to the direction the display is refreshing, “the effect of the refresh is much less noticeable because it’s not splitting the text,” which is why the effect is much more noticeable on the iPad mini when scrolling in portrait mode.
That’s also why Apple won’t be fixing it, at least through screen replacements. We’ve seen this reported on other Android phones before and it can usually be smoothed out through a software fix, but this is a different issue. Apple may be able to smooth out the effect somewhat through future software updates, but for the most part, it’s unlikely to get much better.
Along with the new display, the iPad mini received a complete overhaul, with a new design, A15 processor, upgraded cameras, 5G, and a power button equipped with Touch ID. It is available in four colors—space gray, pink, purple, and starlight—for $499 with 64GB of storage or $649 for 256GB of storage.
As with all Apple device issues, you should contact Apple if you experience this issue.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.