When Good iPad minis Go Bad - The Undiscovered iPad mini - iPad mini For Dummies, 3rd Edition (2015)

iPad mini For Dummies, 3rd Edition (2015)

Part V. The Undiscovered iPad mini

Chapter 16. When Good iPad minis Go Bad

In This Chapter

arrow Fixing iPad issues

arrow Dealing with network problems

arrow Eliminating that sinking feeling when you can't sync

arrow Perusing the Apple website and discussion forums

arrow Sending your iPad mini to an Apple Store

arrow Finding your stuff on a repaired iPad mini

In our experience, all Apple iOS devices — namely the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch — are fairly reliable. But every so often, a good iPad mini might just go bad. We don't expect it to be a common occurrence, but it does happen occasionally. So, in this chapter, we look at the types of bad things that can happen, along with suggestions for fixing them.

What kind of bad things are we talking about? Well, we're referring to problems involving

· Frozen or dead iPad minis

· Wireless networks

· Synchronization of computers (both Mac and PC) or iTunes

After all the troubleshooting, we tell you how to get even more help if nothing we suggest does the trick. Finally, if your iPad is so badly hosed that it needs to go back to the mother ship for repairs, we offer ways to survive the experience with a minimum of stress or fuss, including how to restore your stuff from an iTunes or iCloud backup.

Resuscitating an iPad mini with Issues

Our first category of troubleshooting techniques applies to an iPad mini that's frozen or otherwise acting up. The recommended procedure when this happens is to perform the seven Rs in sequence.

1. Recharge

2. Restart

3. Reset your iPad mini

4. Remove your content

5. Reset settings and content

6. Restore

7. Recovery mode

But before you even start those procedures, Apple recommends you take these steps:

1. Verify that you have the current version of iTunes installed on your Mac or PC.

You can download the latest and greatest version here: www.apple.com/itunes/download.

2. Verify that you're connecting your iPad mini to your computer using a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port.

image If you encounter difficulties here, we implore you to read the paragraph in the next section that begins with this:

o “Don't plug the iPad mini’s Lightning–to–USB cable into a USB port on your keyboard, monitor, or unpowered USB hub.”

3. Make sure that your iPad mini software is up to date.

To check with iTunes on your Mac or PC:

o Connect the iPad to the computer, and then click the iPad icon in the row of icons below the toolbar.

If you connect more than one iDevice to this computer simultaneously, the button will say the number of devices (for example, 5 Devices) rather than iPad. Click the button to display a drop-down list and select the device you want.

o Click the Summary tab and then click the Check for Update button.

To check with your iPad mini:

1. On the Home screen, tap Settings.

2. In the Settings list on the left side of the screen, tap General.

3. On the right side of the screen, tap Software Update.

If your iPad requires an update, you receive instructions for doing so. Otherwise, please continue.

If those three easy steps didn't get you back up and running and your iPad is still acting up — if it freezes, doesn't wake up from sleep, doesn't do something it used to do, or in any other way acts improperly — don't panic. The following sections describe the things you should try, in the order that we (and Apple) recommend.

If the first technique doesn't do the trick, go on to the second. If the second one doesn't work, try the third. And so on.


If your iPad mini acts up in any way, shape, or form, the first thing you should try is to give its battery a full recharge before you proceed.

image Don't plug the iPad mini’s Lightning–to–USB cable into a USB port on your keyboard, monitor, or an unpowered USB hub. You must plug the cable into one of the USB ports on your computer itself because the USB ports on your computer supply more power than the other ports. Although other USB ports may do the trick, you're better off using a built-in one on your computer.

If your computer is more than a few years old, even your built-in USB ports may not supply enough juice to recharge your iPad. It'll sync just fine; it just won't recharge. If you see Not Charging next to the battery icon at the top of the screen, use the included USB power adapter to recharge your iPad from an AC outlet rather than from a computer.

image Most powered USB hubs, the kind you plug into an AC outlet, will charge your iPad mini just fine. But passive or unpowered hubs — ones that don't plug into the wall for power — won't cut it when it comes to charging your iPad.

image If you're in a hurry, charge your iPad for a minimum of 20 minutes. We think a full charge is a better idea, but a charge of 20 is better than no charge at all. And for faster charging in any circumstances, turn off your iPad while it charges, or put it in airplane mode at the very least.


If you recharge your iPad mini and it still misbehaves, the next thing to try is restarting it. Just as restarting a computer often fixes problems, restarting your iPad sometimes works wonders.

Here's how to restart your iPad mini:

1. Hold down the sleep/wake button.

2. When the red slider appears, slide it to turn off the iPad and then wait a few seconds.

3. Hold down the sleep/wake button again until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

4. If your iPad is still frozen, misbehaves, or doesn't start, hold down the Home button for six to ten seconds to force any frozen applications to quit.

5. Repeat Steps 1–3 again.

image If your Home or sleep/wake button is acting up and you can’t power down the usual way, try enabling Assistive Touch in Settings⇒General⇒Accessibility. A gray circle will appear on your screen; tap it and several options including on-screen versions of the Home and sleep/wake buttons appear. It may not help but it might.

If these steps don't get your iPad back up and running, move on to the third R: resetting your iPad.

Reset your iPad mini

To reset your iPad mini, merely hold down the sleep/wake button and then hold down the Home button, continuing to keep both buttons down for at least ten seconds. When you see the Apple logo, release both buttons.

Resetting your iPad is like forcing your computer to restart after a crash. Your data shouldn't be affected by a reset — and in many cases, the reset cures whatever was ailing your iPad. So don't be shy about giving this technique a try. In many cases, your iPad goes back to normal after you reset it this way.

image Sometimes you have to hold down the sleep/wake button before you hold down the Home button. If you press both at the same time, you might create a screen shot — a picture of whatever is on your screen at the time — rather than reset your iPad.

Unfortunately, sometimes resetting doesn't do the trick. When that's the case, you have to take stronger measures.

image At this point, it's a good idea to back up your iPad's contents. On your iPad mini, go to Settings⇒iCloud⇒Storage & Backup and tap the Back Up Now button. Or connect your iPad to your computer and look in the Backup section of the Summary pane in iTunes, which also identifies when the last backup occurred.

Remove content

Nothing you've tried so far should have taken more than a few minutes (or 20 if you tried the 20-minute recharge). We hate to tell you, but that's about to change because the next thing you should try is removing some or all of your data to see whether it's causing your troubles.

To do so, you need to sync your iPad and then reconfigure it so that some or all of your files are not synchronized (which removes them from the iPad). The problem could be contacts, calendar data, songs, photos, videos, or podcasts. You can apply one of two strategies to this troubleshooting task:

· If you suspect a particular data type — for example, you suspect your photos because your iPad freezes whenever you tap the Photos icon on the Home screen — try removing that data first.

· If you have no suspicions, deselect every item and then sync. When you're finished, your iPad should have no data on it. If that method fixes your iPad, try restoring your data, one type at a time. If the problem returns, you have to keep experimenting to determine which particular data type or file is causing the problem.

If you're still having problems, the next step is to reset your iPad's settings and content.

Reset settings and content

Resetting involves two steps: The first one, resetting your iPad settings, resets every iPad setting to its default — the way the iPad was when you took it out of the box. Resetting the iPad's settings doesn't erase any of your data or media, so you can try this step without trepidation. The only downside is that you may have to go back and change some settings afterward. To reset your settings, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen and then tap General⇒Reset⇒Reset All Settings.

image Be careful not to tap Erase All Content and Settings, at least not yet. Erasing all content takes more time to recover from (because your next sync takes a long time), so try Reset All Settings first.

Now, if resetting all settings didn't cure your iPad, you have to try Erase All Content and Settings. Read the next warning paragraph first. Then tap Settings⇒General⇒Reset⇒Erase All Content and Settings.

image The Erase All Content strategy deletes everything from your iPad — all your data, media, and settings. Because all these items are stored on your computer — at least in theory — you should be able to put things back the way they were during your next sync. But you lose any photos or screen shots you've taken, as well as email, contacts, calendar events, playlists, and anything else you've created or modified on the iPad since your last sync.

After using Erase All Content and Settings, check to see whether your iPad works properly. If it doesn't cure what ails your iPad, the next-to-the-last R, restoring your iPad using iTunes, can help.


Before you give up on your poor, sick iPad mini, you can restore it. To restore, connect your iPad to your computer as though you were about to sync. But when the iPad icon appears in iTunes, click the Summary tab and then click the Restore button. This action erases all your data and media and resets all your settings.

image If your computer isn't available, you can also trigger this step from your iPad by tapping Settings⇒General⇒Reset⇒Erase All Content and Settings.

image Because all your data and media still exist on your computer (except for photos or screen shots you've taken, as well as email, contacts, calendar events, playlists, and anything else you've created or modified on the iPad since your last sync, as noted previously), you shouldn't lose anything by restoring except possibly email or text messages sent or received since your last backup. Your next sync will take longer than usual, and you may have to reset settings you've changed since you got your iPad. But other than those inconveniences, restoring shouldn't cause you any additional trouble.

image Performing a restore deletes everything on your iPad — all your data, media, and settings. You should be able to put things back the way they were with your next sync; if that doesn't happen, for whatever reason, you can't say we didn't warn you. That said, you may still be able to restore from an iTunes or iCloud backup as described in this chapter's thrilling conclusion, a scintillating section we call, “Dude, Where's My Stuff?

Recovery mode

So, if you've tried all the other steps or you couldn't try some or all of them because your iPad is so messed up, you can try one last thing: Recovery mode. Here's how it works:

1. Disconnect the USB cable from your iPad mini, but leave the other end of the cable connected to the USB port on your computer.

2. Turn off the iPad by holding down the sleep/wake button for a few seconds until the red slider appears on-screen, and then slide the slider.

Wait for the iPad to turn off.

3. Hold down the Home button while you reconnect the USB cable to your iPad.

When you reconnect the USB cable, your iPad should power on.

image If you see a battery icon like the one shown in the margin, you need to let your iPad charge for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When the battery picture goes away or turns green instead of red, go back to Step 2 and try again.

4. Continue holding down the Home button until you see the Connect to iTunes screen, and then release the button.

If you don't see the Connect to iTunes screen on your iPad, try Steps 1–4 again.

If iTunes didn't open automatically already, launch it now. You should see a Recovery mode alert on your computer screen telling you that your iPad is in Recovery mode and that you must restore it before it can be used with iTunes.

5. Use iTunes to restore the device, as we describe in the preceding section.

Okay. So that's the gamut of things you can do when your iPad mini acts up. If you tried all this and none of it worked, skim through the rest of this chapter to see whether anything else we recommend looks like it might help. If not, your iPad probably needs to go into the shop for repairs.

image Never fear, gentle reader. Be sure to read the “If Nothing We Suggest Helps” section, later in this chapter. Your iPad may be quite sick, but we help ease the pain by sharing some tips on how to minimize the discomfort.

Problems with Networks

If you're having problems with Wi-Fi or your wireless carrier's data network (Wi-Fi + 3G or 4G models only), this section may help. The techniques here are short and sweet — except for the last one, restore. Restore, which we describe in a previous section, is inconvenient and time-consuming, and entails erasing all your data and media and then restoring it.

First, here are some simple steps that may help:

· Make sure that you have sufficient Wi-Fi or 3G or 4G signal strength, as shown in Figure 16-1.


Figure 16-1: Wi-Fi (top) and 3G or 4G (bottom) signal strength from best (left) to worst (right).

· Try moving around. Changing your location by as little as a few feet can sometimes mean the difference between great wireless reception and no wireless reception. If you're inside, try moving around even a step or two in one direction. If you're outside, try moving 10 or 20 paces in any direction. Keep an eye on the cell signal or Wi-Fi icon as you move around, and stop when you see more bars than you saw before.

· Restart your iPad mini. If you've forgotten how, refer to the “Restart” section, earlier in this chapter. As we mention, restarting your iPad is often all it takes to fix whatever is wrong.

If you have a Wi-Fi + 3G or 4G iPad mini, try the following:

· Make sure that you haven't left your iPad in airplane mode, as we describe in Chapter 15. In airplane mode, all network-dependent features are disabled, so you can't send or receive messages or use any of the apps that require a Wi-Fi or data-network connection (that is, Mail, Safari, Maps, and the iTunes and App Store apps).

· image Toggle airplane mode on and off. Turn on airplane mode by swiping upward from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center and then tapping the airplane icon. Wait 15 or 20 seconds and then tap the airplane icon again to turn airplane mode off.

Toggling airplane mode on and off like this resets both the Wi-Fi and wireless data-network connections. If your network connection was the problem, toggling airplane mode on and off may correct it.

image Apple offers two good articles that may help you with Wi-Fi issues. The first offers some general troubleshooting tips and hints; the second discusses potential sources of interference for wireless devices and networks. You can find them here:


and here:


If none of these suggestions fix your network issues, try restoring your iPad mini, as we describe previously in the “Restore” section.

image Performing a restore deletes everything on your iPad mini — all your data, media, and settings. You should be able to put things back the way they were with your next sync. If that doesn't happen, well, consider yourself forewarned.

Sync, Computer, or iTunes Issues

The last category of troubleshooting techniques in this chapter applies to issues that involve synchronization and computer-iPad relations. If you're having problems syncing or your computer doesn't recognize your iPad mini when you connect it, here are some things to try.

We suggest that you try these procedures in the order they're presented here:

1. Recharge your iPad mini.

If you didn't try it previously, try it now. Go to the “Resuscitating an iPad with Issues” section, earlier in this chapter, and read what we say about recharging your iPad. Every word there also applies here.

2. Try a different USB port or a different cable if you have one available.

It doesn't happen often, but occasionally USB ports and cables go bad. When they do, they invariably cause sync and connection problems. Always make sure that a bad USB port or cable isn't to blame.

If you don't remember what we said about using USB ports on your computer rather than the ones on your keyboard, monitor, or hub, we suggest that you reread the “Recharge” section, earlier in this chapter.

3. Restart your iPad and try to sync again.

We describe restarting in full and loving detail in the “Restart” section, earlier in this chapter.

4. Reinstall iTunes.

image Even if you have an iTunes installer handy, you probably should visit the Apple website and download the latest-and-greatest version, just in case. You can find the latest version of iTunes at www.apple.com/itunes/download.

More Help on the Apple Website

If you try everything we suggest earlier in this chapter and still have problems, don't give up just yet. This section describes a few more places you may find help. We recommend that you check them out before you throw in the towel and smash your iPad into tiny little pieces (or ship it back to Apple for repairs, as we describe in the next section).

First, Apple offers an excellent set of support resources on its website at www.apple.com/support/ipad/getstarted. You can browse support issues by category, search for a problem by keyword, read or download technical manuals, and scan the discussion forums.

Speaking of the discussion forums, you can go directly to them at http://discussions.apple.com. They're chock-full of useful questions and answers from other iPad users. If you can't find an answer to a support question elsewhere, you can often find it in these forums. You can browse by category or search by keyword. Either way, you find thousands of discussions about almost every aspect of using your iPad.

Now for the best part: If you can't find a solution by browsing or searching, you can post your question in the appropriate Apple discussion forum. Check back in a few days (or even in a few hours), and some helpful iPad user may well have replied with the solution. If you've never tried this fabulous tool, you're missing out on one of the greatest support resources available anywhere.

Last, but certainly not least, you might want to try a carefully worded Google search. You might just find the solution.

If Nothing We Suggest Helps

If you tried every trick in the book (this one) and still have a malfunctioning iPad mini, consider shipping it off to the iPad hospital (better known as Apple, Inc.). The repair is free if your iPad is still under its one-year limited warranty.

image You can extend your warranty for as long as two years from the original purchase date, if you want. To do so, you need to buy the AppleCare Protection Plan for your iPad. You don't have to do it when you buy your iPad, but you must buy it before your one-year limited warranty expires. The retail price is $79, but we've seen it for a lot less, so it might pay to shop around.

Here are a few things you need to know before you take your iPad in to be repaired:

· Your iPad mini may be erased during its repair, so you should sync your iPad with iTunes before you take it in, if you can. If you can't and you entered data on the iPad since your last sync, such as a contact or an appointment, the data may not be there when you restore your iPad upon its return.

· Remove any accessories, such as a case or screen protector.

image Although you may be able to get your iPad mini serviced by Best Buy or another authorized Apple reseller, we recommend that you take or ship it to your nearest Apple Store, for two reasons:

· No one knows your iPad mini like Apple. One of the Geniuses at the Apple Store may be able to fix whatever is wrong without sending your iPad away for repairs.

· The Apple Store will, in some cases, swap out your wonky iPad mini for a brand-new one on the spot. You can't win if you don't play, which is why we always visit our local Apple Store when something goes wrong (with our iPads, iPhones, iPods, and even our laptops and iMacs).

If you've done everything we've suggested, we're relatively certain that you're now holding an iPad mini that works flawlessly. Again.

That said, some or all of your stuff may not be on it. If that's the case, the following section offers a two-trick solution that usually works.

Dude, Where's My Stuff?

If you performed a restore or had your iPad mini replaced or repaired, you have one more task to accomplish. Your iPad may work flawlessly at this point, but some or all of your stuff — your music, movies, contacts, iMessages, or whatever — is missing. You're not sunk, at least not yet. You still have a couple of tricks up your sleeve.

· Trick 1: Sync your iPad mini with iTunes and then sync it again. That's right — sync and sync again. Why? Because sometimes stuff doesn't get synced properly on the first try. Just do it.

· Trick 2: Restore from backup. Click the Summary tab in iTunes and then click Restore Backup. The Restore from Backup dialog appears and offers you a choice of backups, as shown in Figure 16-2. Select the one you want, click the Restore button, and let the iPad work some magic.


Figure 16-2: Select the appropriate backup and click the Restore button.

image If you have more than one backup for a device, as Bob has for his devices in Figure 16-2, try the most recent (undated) one first. If it doesn't work or you're still missing files, try restoring from any other backups before you throw in the towel.

These backups include photos in camera roll, text messages, notes, contact favorites, sound settings, and more, but not media you've synced, such as music, videos, or photos. If media is missing, try performing Trick 1 again.

If you aren't holding an iPad mini that works flawlessly and has most (if not all) of your stuff, it's time to make an appointment with a Genius at your local Apple Store, call the support hotline (800-275-2273), or visit the support web page at www.apple.com/support/ipad.