- Apr 24, 2016
Apple's newest iPad mini was released to the general public on Friday, and over the weekend, users began to complain about a subtle scrolling problem when using the tablet in portrait mode (MacRumors has a good round-up post). The tablet appears to refresh the left and right halves of its screen at slightly different rates, creating a subtle-but-noticeable "jelly scroll" effect. The Verge's Dieter Bohn has captured slow-motion video that demonstrates the problem.
The issue is subtle enough that we didn't notice it when testing the mini for our review, but our review unit does indeed appear to suffer from the same problem. It's the most noticeable when scrolling relatively slowly up and down a webpage or document—the left side of the screen seems to trail the right side by just enough that paragraphs of text appear rubbery and wobbly to an attentive eye.
In our testing, the problem does appear to affect the screen in landscape mode, where the left and right halves of the screen become the top and bottom halves of the screen. But horizontal scrolling is much less common in most apps than vertical scrolling, making the effect less obvious. Some users have reported not being able to notice the problem in landscape mode at all.
It's not clear whether this problem is being caused by the iPad mini's hardware, or if it's something that Apple can fix with a software update. We've asked the company for comment and will update this post if we receive a response.
Update, 9/28/2021: In response to our inquiry, Apple has told us that the "jelly scroll" issue on the 6th-generation iPad mini is normal behavior for LCD screens. Because these screens do refresh line by line, there is a tiny delay between when the lines at the top of the screen and lines at the bottom are refreshed. This can cause uneven scrolling issues like the ones observed on the iPad.
We maintain that this effect is noticeable on the iPad mini in a way that it is not noticeable on other 60 Hz LCD iPads we've tested, like the iPad Air 4 and the latest $329 iPad. There's also a clear dividing line down the middle of the screen in portrait mode, as observed in our testing and in the video linked below—it's not a problem isolated to the extreme edges of the display. The upshot is that the company doesn't believe there is a hardware or software issue to "fix," and that the screen apparently is the way it is.