How Long Do The Flash Drives Last In The iPad's?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Rodster, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    I'm pretty new to SSD technology. I was wondering how long do SSD's in Tablets usually last? I saw a picture where the iPad NAND Flash is soldered on the motherboard.
  2. fabian9 macrumors 65816


    Nov 28, 2007
    Bristol, UK
    Interesting question, I'm pretty sure they'll last longer than the useful life of the product itself, and longer than a SSD in a normal computer as the iPads memory is likely to see fewer Read/Write cycles than a normal computer.
  3. Rodster thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    Yeah I've been told they should last. I also read that writes and erasure is what wears them out, not reads to the drive.
  4. baypharm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2007
    No one knows, iPads have not been out long. Check back in 10 years and we'll let you know!!
  5. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    at the very least 8-10 years if you are using intensive apps.
  6. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    My dad got a first-gen iPad about halfway through its life cycle. It's still working fine. They probably have at least the same life span as hard disks, if not longer because of the lack of moving parts.

    You might want to ask around with people who own an original iPhone. I haven't heard of any widespread dying of the storage.
  7. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Trust me, it's nothing to worry about.

    I'd say 10 years. I have flash based device that are over 7 years old that are still running fine.
  8. iEvolution macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2008
    Your battery is going to fail (probably 5 times over)before the memory will.

    I'd honestly worry about every other component before I'd worry about memory failure. Flash reliability is variable but at the minimum should be good for 100,000 program/erase cycles up to 1,000,000 program/erase cycles. Keep in mind this is on a per block basis so just because you've reached the limit in one block doesn't mean the entire memory is shot.

    The flash memory in the iPad likely has wear leveling as well, which is a feature in which writing/erasing are spread across the entire memory rather than just rewriting the same section over and over again leading to premature failure in that section.
  9. Rodster thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    Thanks for all the responses and for clearing things up. It also made me think that if NAND Flash was not reliable Apple wouldn't be using it let alone replacing new units with refurbs. :)
  10. r-sparks macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2006
    Generally speaking, isn't there two types of flash memory, and only the high-grade is used within computing devices for storage? And the low-grade stuff ends-up in things like USB sticks? This is one reason why tablets are so expensive — these storage chips cost much more than the equivalent USB sticks, albeit they seem the same.

    So while USB memory sticks and memory cards will fail within a few years (or even less if used daily), this probably won't happen with storage used as primary storage within computing devices.

    This PDF seems to explain: whitepaper.pdf
  11. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    The only guaranteed minimum time is the length of the warranty.
  12. unibility macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2012

    Your theory that inexpensive low-grade stuff ends-up in USB sticks is partially incorrect. My 16GB USB government secure stick cost $299. It can be read/written 100,000 times per sector before it starts to fail. So please check your fact prior to posting such comments.
  13. kdarling, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012

    kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    The type of MLC Flash that Apple uses in iOS devices is usually good for only about 5,000 - 10,000 erase cycles per block. That's why it's affordable.

    It's also why Safari doesn't cache pages to Flash, but instead will only remember what will fit in RAM.

    However, it's plenty for its main use in the iPad/iPhone, as media files do not change very often, and apps only save when necessary.
  14. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    For longer than you'll be using it ;)
  15. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
  16. techkidd4400 macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2007
    No one knows the answer to the OP's question and it is Ok to say so rather than make up an answer based on speculation and rumor.
  17. SHirsch999 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2011
    I've wondered about this as well. Seems that the software on the iPad will be outdated long before the hardware becomes unusable. Would not updating the software (ie no new apps, not updating current apps, not updating iOS) alleviate this and make the hardware usable for a longer time period?
  18. Rodster thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    I have a customer who still happily uses his original iPad and has tons of photos and no problems. As kdarling mentioned it's all about writes and erases. I believe the iPad uses mostly the Toshiba MLC NAND whereas Samsung prefers SLC OneNAND which has 10x the durability but it has a higher cost.

    If you use kdarling's numbers that's still a lot 5-10K writes into just one cell. Samsung SLC is rated at over 100K. The advantage MLC has over SLC is 1) lower cost b) it's denser than SLC.

    But yeah if you didn't update apps and such there are less writes to NAND. OTOH as others have mentioned by the time the NAND fails you're possibly looking at 4-5 generations of newer iPads.

    I wasn't aware of until kdarling mentioned that Safari doesn't page to Flash but instead it uses Ram. I wonder how many other stock Apple apps do the same? :)
  19. SL4VE macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2010
    Your iPads lifespan is 5 years at a maximum period. By than you would have upgraded or something would have broken and product will have been replaced. Likely hood a upgrade. Or even if you got another product. The usage will decline on the iPad.

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