iPad mini Charging Problem Breaks 2 Units in 2 Weeks!

Discussion in 'iPad' started by thirteen1031, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. thirteen1031 macrumors 6502a

    thirteen1031

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    #1
    Here's the setup: Sister-in-law has iPad Mini version 4 (latest model) iOS 10.3, loves it. After having it for 7 months, one night it won't charge. No slow degradation, no battery problems or fussiness with the port or cable. Just no "buzz buzz" when it's plugged in. Did all the usual "reset, reboot, reinstall" stuff. Nothing made any difference. Tried all the power adapters and cords, none made a difference. Plugged it into a computer but iTunes couldn't see it.

    She brought it in to the Genius bar, they did all their usual stuff. It's dead, Jim. Gave her a new iPad Mini. 10 days later, the brand new iPad Mini does the same thing. It suddenly refuses to charge. One slight difference in symptoms, after a reboot it says it's getting power but it isn't—the battery just runs down. Also, when plugged into a computer, the computer says to "Unplug the device using too much power to re-enable USB devices". Hmmmmm.

    Back to the Store, they take it behind the curtain for ½ an hour of diagnostic tests. Best they can do is get it into recovery mode, but apparently it won't recover ("stuck in recovery mode.”). It is dead and will have to be replaced. So what of this repeated problem? Well, the Genius suggests that my sister-in-law forgo restoring data from iCloud, instead starting over with a blank slate. The logic, he explains, is that if this has happened twice with two different units, it must be due to something she has stored on the machine. She is understandably skeptical of this explanation, and she is not thrilled with losing all her non-cloud App Data.

    Any experience with this kind of thing? Does it make sense for her data to be the cause of a hardware failure? And if so, how? (And is  interested in figuring this out?) Are there other, more rational explanations for these symptoms? Is this a known problem with the iPad Mini? Or is it just a fluke that it happened to her twice in two weeks????

    This question/issue was also posted on Apple Communities.
     
  2. newellj macrumors 604

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    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #2
    I'll give you a bump with an answer that I don't think applies, but what the heck.

    My wife's iPhone 6 behaved roughly that way for a few months before she replaced it in February. The thing is, I am pretty sure it was a battery/power issue. That phone was pretty old and had a lot of cycles on the battery (although the battery charge capacity was pretty good). I doubt that applies to a 7-month old iPad.
     
  3. JPack macrumors 68040

    JPack

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2017
    #3
    This kind of problem is often due to hardware failure, in particular use of bad chargers which damage the power management IC of the iPhone or iPad. You see this more often with iPhone due to use of cigarette lighter chargers which have poor voltage regulation.
     
  4. thirteen1031 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thirteen1031

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    #4
    Thank you both VERY MUCH for your replies. Any theories, guesses, surmises are welcome. I will pass this onto my Sister-in-law. The odd thing, of course, was that the second time it happened it was with a brand new mini, and that means new battery (not a load of cycles) and new charger. Though I have surmised that as they're not renewing the iPad mini, even new ones might be "old" and have battery trouble.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 5, 2018 ---
    Does that include a brand new charger? Because the second one was a replacement and new.
     
  5. JPack macrumors 68040

    JPack

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2017
    #5
    I would make sure she's using a genuine Apple Lightning cable and power adapter. Both the cable and the adapter provide voltage regulation. If either one is not genuine, it can damage the PMIC over time.

    The replacements units are almost always white box refurbished devices. They may look new, but the inside has been worked on.
     
  6. newellj macrumors 604

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    Oct 15, 2014
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    Boston, MA, US
    #6
    But they have been very thoroughly checked, and I believe they get new batteries.

    OP, if you have a Mac or access to a Mac, you could use Coconut Battery, a free Mac OS download, to check the battery in the iPad. None of the apps available in the iOS App Store are reliable for this purpose on devices running iOS 10 or higher.
     
  7. JPack macrumors 68040

    JPack

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2017
    #7
    Apple's refurbs are sometimes hit or miss.

    I know some people doubt her credibility for obvious reasons, but at the same time, she earned her PhD from Johns Hopkins and was a biology professor for several years.


     
  8. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2018
    #8
    Nonetheless Jpack's comment regarding the charger isn't unreasonable. When I read the OP a few days ago my initial reaction was "gee I wonder if they own a bad cable, charger or one of the USB ports on their computer is burning the charging circuit on the ipads?" The reason i thought that was the last sentence in the first paragraph "Tried all the power adapters and cords, none made a difference. Plugged it into a computer but iTunes couldn't see it." Which implies that multiple charging options are available in the household.
     
  9. nicho macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #9
    And in my experience they don't actually include a new charger or cable, as OP is suggesting it did. Replacement iPad would mean same old (faulty?) charger and cable.
     
  10. thirteen1031, Apr 6, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018

    thirteen1031 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thirteen1031

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    #10
    Ah. Yes, that would certainly explain why a "new" one had the same problem. If this was the case, then my sister-in-law has no worries about putting all her old stuff on another new one—it's a failure of the hardware, not a software issue. And another new one might not fail her again (here's hoping)
    --- Post Merged, Apr 6, 2018 ---
    Will pass that on, thanks you!
    --- Post Merged, Apr 6, 2018 ---
    --- Post Merged, Apr 6, 2018 ---
    Good points, Muzzy and Nicho. But wouldn't the Apple Store have seen the burnt circuit and told her "faulty cable did this" (twice)?
     
  11. newellj macrumors 604

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    Oct 15, 2014
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    #11
    Whatever else is true, I think it's impossible that this is anything other than a hardware problem.

    My experience with Apple refurbs has been flawless, and most here have had the same experience. But lightning does sometimes strike, and sometimes twice.

    I think the suggestion about taking the power adapter and cables out of the equation is a good idea at this point.

    Best luck.

     
  12. thirteen1031 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thirteen1031

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    #12
    Thanks for that opinion that it’s hardware. It would make life much easier if she could import all her old stuff onto the ipad with no worries. Of course, the problem is that, like most people, she has an assortment of chargers and cables—plugged in here and there for quick charging in home and on the go. Any recommendations, (other than destroying another iPad) to figure out which one is at fault? I mean, obviously, she could just get a new charger and use only that with the iPad....and I will recommend she do that. Still, it would be useful to know which charger is the culprit rather than getting rid of them all.
     
  13. newellj macrumors 604

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    Oct 15, 2014
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    Boston, MA, US
    #13
    The first and most obvious cut is to get rid of, or at least segregate and box up, the ones she can't prove (to herself) are original Apple. And almost anything like this (chargers, cables) purchased from Amazon is potentially counterfeit. I'd find the original charger and cord and start with that. BTW, although it's unfashionable to talk about doing this here ;) there is nothing wrong with charging a Mini (or even a full-sized iPad - but the Mini charges faster due to its smaller battery) with an iPhone AC adapter.
     
  14. thirteen1031 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    thirteen1031

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    #14
    Excellent advice! Thank you. You and everyone else have been terrifically helpful, and I really appreciate it.
     
  15. newellj macrumors 604

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    #15
    Please let us know how things work out.
     
  16. macfacts macrumors 68030

    macfacts

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    Cybertron
    #16
    The Apple geniuses are going to suggest reset/restore as new. Always.
     
  17. cwerdna, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018

    cwerdna macrumors 6502

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    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, California
    #17
    Agreed on the counterfeit part if the item is not sold by Amazon directly itself. If it's sold by a 3rd-party, esp. a no-name one, all bets are off. If it's a no-name 3rd party and it's really cheap but purported to be genuine, it's likely counterfeit.
    Yeah, some 3rd-party esp. no-name power adapters (both that plug into the wall and cigarette lighter) are TERRIBLE.

    http://www.righto.com/2012/10/a-dozen-usb-chargers-in-lab-apple-is.html has tests of some Apple vs. 3rd party ones.

    He's taken apart and analyzed a bunch of cheapo adapters like at http://www.righto.com/2014/05/a-look-inside-ipad-chargers-pricey.html and http://www.righto.com/2012/03/inside-cheap-phone-charger-and-why-you.html.

    If the touchscreen starts behaving badly when plugged into a given charger, it's putting out poor quality power.

    He's also analyzed Apple's small iPhone AC adapter: http://www.righto.com/2012/05/apple-iphone-charger-teardown-quality.html.

    I'm hesitant to use any AC adapters or cigarette lighter chargers from no-names or total off-brands. At least the big companies (e.g. Apple, HP, Samsung, etc.) should be able to hire competent electrical engineers and are more likely to care, besides being open to liability/lawsuits if their products cause injury, death or massive failures. And, if they include shoddy AC adapters w/their products, it'll kill them on warranty costs on the connected device besides giving them a bad rep.

    I agree that the OP's sister-in-law should use only genuine Apple AC adapters or those from reputable manufacturers. Genuine Apple Lightning cables would be best, but I have no hesitation in using ones from Amazon Basics. I have both myself.

    I've personally bought tons of refurb (from Apple directly) iPads and iPod Touches but few iPhones for work (I test iOS software for a living) and have almost never had any problems w/them. I've only received 1 dud (an iPad 3 that was registering phantom touches all over the place out of the box, could barely get thru the "welcome wizard"). I got that swapped out at my local Apple store. The rest have been fine out of the box and to my knowledge, none have had any trouble.

    At work, I have tons of iOS devices including at least 2 iPad mini 4 (and all the way up to 12.9" Pro and 10.5" Pro) and I've never encountered the issues the OP describes. All of them are charged usually by genuine Apple adapters or an Anker 5 port USB charger or by an Apple laptop or an Apple Thunderbolt 2 display, w/a few exceptions.
     

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