Vibrating iPads

Discussion in 'iPad' started by DukeOfHunslet, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. DukeOfHunslet macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2011
    Hunslet, England
    I passed on buying an iPad1 due to the fact that by the time they became easily available here in Britain iPad2 specs were making me realise that I would be upgrading in no time at all.

    Meanwhile I have been in a few stores playing with it... I'm referring to an iPad by the way.

    Something I have noticed and wanted to know if anyone else gets the same.

    While the store iPad was sitting in an official iPad dock charging (240v) I ran a flat palm across its back. This was roughly where the battery was. I felt a 'vibration' in my hand. This was NOT an electric shock. It really did feel like the iPad was vibrating. An 'oscillation', if you like.

    When I ran my hand slowly or quickly over the back of the casing I didn't get the sensation, I only got it when I did it at a certain 'speed'.

    This is unlikely to put me off buying but I am curious to know what was going on.

    Are there any professors of electrical thingamajigs amongst you who can satisfy my curiosity?

    Yours, with the deepest respect.
  2. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    it does no such thing.

    Go live your fantasy elsewhere :p
  3. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    If its true, that's the exception not the norm.
  4. DukeOfHunslet thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2011
    Hunslet, England
    Not a wind up, by the way. It was definitely doing something odd. I just wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that the display models are connected to chargers all day long...?
  5. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I believe you. I have felt similar vibrations before on my MBP, but I think they were just the way the aluminum felt to my fingers.
  6. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    Maybe there was something causing the table to vibrate slightly which caused the iPad to feel like that while in the iPad dock. Was the table backlit? Maybe a lightbulb was causing the vibration. Did it also do it while resting in your hand? If not, then it was something to do with the placement on the table. Mine has never done anything such as what you tried to describe.
  7. aimeeinohio macrumors regular


    Nov 20, 2010
  8. leomac08 macrumors 68020


    Jul 12, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Imagine any cellphone vibrating in a table

    Now imagine an ipad vibrate in a table

    that's a hella vibration...
  9. DukeOfHunslet thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2011
    Hunslet, England
    Perhaps if I describe a bit better.

    There was nothing 3rd party causing the unit to vibrate - table, lights, stand or spotty shop assistant hiding under the counter playing games.

    If you have an electric tooth brush wait until it needs charging, take the brush off and pass the now slow operating power unit it across your hand - that would be a good way to describe it. Definite high frequency vibration.

    At first I thought I was getting a shock - but the absence of pain and the fact that it only happened when I did it at a certain speed made me think that it was to do with it charging.

    I was once inside a foam lined sound booth with a bluetooth headset being charged, you would be amazed how much noise a charging cycle makes once you eliminate all other noise sources...

    So if air vibrating can make a sound I just wondered if the air was being vibrated by the charging cycle and transmitted into the alloy case/

    Just when I was thinking that it might be related to streetlights going on and off when I walk under them I found this...

    Cheers for the interest, BTW.
  10. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
  11. DukeOfHunslet thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2011
    Hunslet, England
    Good point but that was the wackiest part. You could only really feel it while moving your hand - which made me think of frequency rates. It wasn't just a bumpy case because I looked at that - it was smooth standard alloy, no stickers or anti theft devices...

    Then again.

    The unit is connected to an electronic anti theft device the disc type that is resin glued to the case and bleeps if you snap the electronic wire. Only just thought of that. maybe related...
  12. KrisEagling macrumors member


    Nov 10, 2010
    London, UK
    I have felt this on my iPad

    It almost feels like static, and as the OP said it can only be felt when you brush your hand on it at a certain speed

    It's hard to describe the feeling, but it happens to me a lot. But the guess of high frequency vibrations is pretty accurate

  13. cRuNcHiE, Jan 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011

    cRuNcHiE macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2007
    That is due to an earthing problem, it's not normal for the iPad to do that while charging.

    If you can feel it then either the charger is faulty or your electrics have a bad earth.

    You'll probably find that if you touch it with both hands the 'buzzing' is reduced.

    Also if you insulate yourself from earth then it wont happen as what you are effectively doing is earthing the iPad.
  14. LAnMarc macrumors member


    May 11, 2010
    Adelaide South Australia
    I felt the same thing the first time I charged my iPad back in May and thought there was a problem with the charger.
    However, I have also felt it when it wasn't charging.
    Personally, since you can only feel it on your fingertips when you lightly brush them over the aluminium surface (and not the glass), I think it is the ridges of the skin of the fingertips (your fingerprint) on the roughish surface of the aluminium that is casuing it; kind of like lightly rubbing a fingertip against your thumb.
    PS, I have found the same thing on my new MBA 13, but cannot reproduce it on a 2009 MBP 13!
  15. samac92 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2008
    I have noticed the same thing on my Aluminium MacBook. It has nothing to do with electricity - I believe it happens for the same reason that sliding your hand on a window causes a squeaking noise, which is why you only feel it when your hand is moving.
  16. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    Not noticed it before on an iPad, but quite often in the Apple stores it happens to me on MBP's.

    It's when the 3 pin mains adaptor is used rather than the fully earthed flex cable.
  17. Gryzor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    Ding ding ding, we have a winner. The vibration is your finger sticking to the smooth surface through friction, distorting as you apply force to move it, then springing back. This happens hundreds of times a second, and is what causes the material to vibrate and make an audible harmonic.
  18. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I've had it happen before on unibody MacBooks. Because it doesn't happen when my hand was still I think it has to do with the case, not electricity.
  19. Godzirra, Feb 2, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011

    Godzirra macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2010
    Somewhere on Salisbury plain, and Apple, UK
    Bingo!!! This can happen quite often on MBP's when using the 3 pin adapter as the earth pin isn't connected to anything, therefore the unit isn't earthed. If the long duck-head cable is used, then this static/tingly effect goes away as the unit is correctly earthed.

    If this is happening on the iPad, then it is probably a defective cable, or the PSU which isn't earthing properly, and the reason you're feeling that slight tingling (not vibration as it's just static), is as a few others have said, because you're earthing the unit.
  20. shakeman0 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2009
  21. JD92 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2005
    I've noticed this on my MacBook Pro too - I think it must be something to do with the aluminium Apple uses.
  22. Jack97 macrumors regular


    Nov 30, 2010
    Happened to me

    That's happened to me before, especially on my iPod touch, but only when it was charging. I felt the vibrations (very slightly) on the back. I think it's just the conductivity of the metal on the back which causes it.
  23. lutang macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2011
    This is Scary...

    This morning, while my girlfriend was sitting on the couch next to me, I felt a weird sensation when I just reached over to touch her arm...

    Interrupt for disclaimer: Immatures and perverts, please don't read into innuendos. This is a serious discussion and possible hazardous issue. Back to the story...

    ...when I touched her arm, I felt this vibration. I thought it was maybe something on my fingers or whatever, then I noticed she was holding her iPad2. I asked her to put it down for a second, and touched her arm again. No vibrations.

    My curiosity here is that if just by touching someone holding an iPad you can feel vibrations, what is this device doing to us internally? This obviously freaked me out, and just because you personally might not have experienced this happening doesn't mean it isn't happening (reference to some posts above stating this "doesn't happen.").

    So, this obviously freaked me out and just wanted to start people thinking about this, because there could be a potential health hazard here.
  24. XXFirefighter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2011
    LOL, How many people stroked their ipads? lol
  25. thibaulthalpern macrumors regular

    May 2, 2008
    East Coast, USA
    To the OP:

    Yes, I know what you mean. It is something like eletrical current. I feel that on mine too when it's charging on the dock. And here in the USA, we're using 100 to 120 V.

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