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genXmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 4, 2023
4
12
Hi Everyone,
I have my iPads set up as separate photo albums by year. ( see pictures). I like to keep them plugged in all the time so people can come browse, but mostly they sit on the shelf unused, sometimes for months at a time.

After a couple of years, the batteries are dead or go from 100% to 0 in like 5 minutes. Are there gadgets, tools, techniques, that I could use to help? I can replace the battery and or ipads, but I imagine I will just run into this again. I'm open to ideas or maybe a different approach all together?

I know, they are not suppose to be left plug in. So what ideas do people have? How can I have these sitting un used the majority of the time, but ready to enjoy at a moments notice? It might be months in between use.

Maybe there is a gadget, tool, or software that addresses this?

Thanks!
Ethan-
 

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Puonti

macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2011
1,510
1,135
Purchase a HomeKit compatible electric socket, plug it between the wall and the charging station's power plug. Automate the socket to occasionally turn on for awhile, then turn off again (for example once a week for one hour - depends on how much use the iPads get). You'll need a dedicated iPad or Apple TV on the Wi-Fi network to run the automation.

Make sure to test that the iPads are actually charging when the plug is on. Some plugs and devices don't work well together.
 

genXmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 4, 2023
4
12
Purchase a HomeKit compatible electric socket, plug it between the wall and the charging station's power plug. Automate the socket to occasionally turn on for awhile, then turn off again (for example once a week for one hour - depends on how much use the iPads get). You'll need a dedicated iPad or Apple TV on the Wi-Fi network to run the automation.

Make sure to test that the iPads are actually charging when the plug is on. Some plugs and devices don't work well together.
Brilliant. I had not thought about an automated on-off switch to simulate usage, drain and recharging. I will put this on my list of possible solutions! Thank you Puonti!
 

genXmac

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 4, 2023
4
12
Don't know which iPads you have, but my iPad 2 (2011) can sit on a shelf for 6 months (WiFi off) and only lose about 50% charge. Sounds like the usual Apple BS with newer iPads.

The older models where so much more reliable.
Most of these are iPad 2's they did great for the first couple of years, but now they seem to suck wind for battery life. Before I replace them, or replace batteries (probably just buy newer ones) I want to get ahead of the problem happening again. I only paid about $200 each used... so if I goto the newer ones, that's a much bigger budget, but... I also can no longer update the IOS on these old ones. So, it might push me to move to the new USB-C ipads. Even used, they are like $400. ouch... at lease for my little project.
 

sparksd

macrumors G3
Jun 7, 2015
8,983
28,137
Seattle WA

sparksd

macrumors G3
Jun 7, 2015
8,983
28,137
Seattle WA
I remember when I was a kid when going on vacation there were mechanical timers we would plug our lamps into so they would only be on in the evenings. The lamps were on, but they would only receive power when the timer dictated.

I still have several of those - only drawback is that they are limited to a single schedule, same every day. I went to a programmable device so I could vary it.
 

code-m

macrumors 68040
Apr 13, 2006
3,638
3,398
I am curious why this cannot be done on a single iPad with the photos in separate folders in the file app or even photos app which does this automatically by year. This just seems wasteful but that is just my honest opinion. The other option is to even have it on a external HDD with WiFi or a lightening or USB-C hybrid thumb drive or even a NAS all which accomplishes the same result without hassle.
 

k3rast4se

macrumors newbie
Sep 1, 2010
23
3
montreal
Leave them unplugged, turn on airplane mode, delete every possible app, disable background app refresh and turn low power mode. Only recharge them at 20% battery. Ipad are not meant to be plugged 24/7. If you do, you accept the battery will be crap after a few years. Typical case of not the right product for your scenario.
 
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code-m

macrumors 68040
Apr 13, 2006
3,638
3,398
Leave them unplugged, turn on airplane mode, delete every possible app, disable background app refresh and turn low power mode. Only recharge them at 20% battery. Ipad are not meant to be plugged 24/7. If you do, you accept the battery will be crap after a few years. Typical case of not the right product for your scenario.
I am not sure when Apple incorporated this but in macOS if the laptop is always connected to a power supply the battery will discharge and only charge at 80%. Considering I remote into my laptop from my iPad I like this feature and the battery health is maintained if not degradation minimized.

iPadOS should include this ability along with more in-depth battery health and capacity like iOS.
 

ricketysquire

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2020
150
653
Not sure if this is helpful, but I had a similar concern around battery drain through a different use case. I have noise sensitivity, so I like to have something playing in my earphones: white noise, documentaries, random radio dramas, etc. Often I end up falling asleep listening to something, so my devices get drained every night, and I end up charging quite frequently. This heavy usage patten would probably wear out my iPad's battery pretty quick.

So I ended up getting a cheap Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite from eBay, I got lucky and got one for around $40. The cameras didn't work, it had some scratches, and was missing an SD/SIM card tray (I got a spare tray from Amazon). It's actually still gets updates and works pretty decently.

It's such a cheap device, and it only really serves 1 function, if it breaks or the battery wears out Im not out too much. Essentially Im treating this like a "throwaway" device. Perhaps a cheap Android or Amazon Fire tablets might be a better use case for a project like this, especially a device with SD card support.
 

jasonsmith_88

macrumors regular
Jul 27, 2016
162
344
I am not sure when Apple incorporated this but in macOS if the laptop is always connected to a power supply the battery will discharge and only charge at 80%. Considering I remote into my laptop from my iPad I like this feature and the battery health is maintained if not degradation minimized.

iPadOS should include this ability along with more in-depth battery health and capacity like iOS.

iPadOS does have optimised battery charging. Personally I’ve found this feature very unpredictable for devices that are permanently connected to a charger. I had a laptop that took a year for optimised battery charging to kick in. Then I unplugged it once, and it took another 6 months for optimised battery charging to work again. The other problem is that 80% is still too high for this use case. There’s a direct correlation between cell voltage and cell degradation, storing at 40% is known to be the sweet spot for longevity in lithium batteries.

So I think the suggestions regarding a smart plug are going to be more effective. Set up an automation in the Shortcuts app that turns the plug on when the battery reaches 40% and turns the plug off when the battery reaches 60%.
 

MarkC426

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2008
3,550
1,986
UK
I am curious why this cannot be done on a single iPad with the photos in separate folders in the file app or even photos app which does this automatically by year. This just seems wasteful but that is just my honest opinion. The other option is to even have it on a external HDD with WiFi or a lightening or USB-C hybrid thumb drive or even a NAS all which accomplishes the same result without hassle.
An iPad 2 (ios 9) doesn't have the files app or support external HDD.
 

sparksd

macrumors G3
Jun 7, 2015
8,983
28,137
Seattle WA
Leave them unplugged, turn on airplane mode, delete every possible app, disable background app refresh and turn low power mode. Only recharge them at 20% battery. Ipad are not meant to be plugged 24/7. If you do, you accept the battery will be crap after a few years. Typical case of not the right product for your scenario.

Not applicable if the OP uses a charger on a programmable timer.
 

MauiPa

macrumors 68040
Apr 18, 2018
3,429
5,080
Congratulations you’ve discovered battery chemistry! This is pretty much true for all batteries. Left unused, they will be dead after a period of time. No getting around that. Maybe if you cycled the batteries periodically as intended they would last as intended. Leaving a battery discharged for a long period. Is Uber bad
 

klasma

macrumors 603
Jun 8, 2017
5,376
15,202
Brilliant. I had not thought about an automated on-off switch to simulate usage, drain and recharging. I will put this on my list of possible solutions! Thank you Puonti!
I’ve been using such a socket for similar purposes in the past, having it turn on for 1-2 hours each day. You don’t need a fancy smart home socket, there are standalone solutions with a few buttons and LC display, or even mechanical ones, for less than $20. Search for “outlet timer” on Amazon.
 

MarkC426

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2008
3,550
1,986
UK
Don't know which iPads you have, but my iPad 2 (2011) can sit on a shelf for 6 months (WiFi off) and only lose about 50% charge. Sounds like the usual Apple BS with newer iPads.

The older models where so much more reliable.
Ok that may have been an over-exaggeration.....🤪

Just checked, standby since last charge is 1200 hours (50 days) and it's at 55%.
Also 8 hours of use....all local (on iPad) data, like notes or books, so no web use.

So maybe it is a lot longer if completely not used.
I will try and review battery without using it....😬
 
Last edited:

Love-hate 🍏 relationship

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2021
2,933
3,076
Ok that may have been an over-exaggeration.....🤪

Just checked, standby since last charge is 1200 hours (50 days) and it's at 55%.
Also 8 hours of use....all local (on iPad) data, like notes or books, so no web use.

So maybe it is a lot longer if completely not used.
I will try and review battery without using it....😬
See you in 6 months !
 
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