Don’t Try To Use Your iPad In Portrait Mode While Wearing Polarized Sunglasses

Don’t Try To Use Your iPad In Portrait Mode While Wearing Polarized Sunglasses

Forget trying to wear your polarized glasses while trying to use your iPad in portrait mode.

Do you wear polarized sunglasses? If so, you can go ahead and forget trying to use your iPad in portrait mode while wearing them. You think we’re kidding? No.. when wearing polarized sunglasses the iPad’s screen turns black when using it in portait mode — rendering it useless until you flip it over in landscape. Devastating, we know.

Don’t believe us? Check it out on

Crazy right? Apparently this is only happening on the iPad, as other manufacturers have overcome it by setting the “extinction” of the screen to 45 degrees or putting in new compensating films. Screen expert Ray Soneira from DisplayMate explains it to ZDNet:

Using polarized sunglasses all iPads go black in Portrait mode. Other displays go black in Landscape mode. Much better is for the manufacturer to set the extinction at 45 degrees so the display looks good in both Portrait and Landscape modes. The Motorola Xoom behaves this way. Best of all, with compensating films this effect can go away almost entirely.

The iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab have no extinction at any angle (just a small color shift). The effect should only apply to LCDs because they use polarized light internally. So OLEDs also should not show any such extinction effect.

Really this isn’t that big of a deal, because you can’t really see the iPad outside anyways (unless using polarized sunglasses while the iPad is in landscape). But, this certainly can cause problems for some.

[via iMore]

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  • Ernesto Miquel

    That’s funny. It doesn’t happen to my iPhone 4, but it does happen with the screen on my 13″ 2011 macbook Pro (But only at 45 degrees).

  • mr_bee

    The effects of polarised light have been known for hundreds of years and is generally taught in Grade 5 or 6 science class. This is not only nothing new, but anyone who didn’t know this should be ashamed of themselves. :)

  • imajoebob

    News flash? This “polarized issue” has been around since (at least) the third gen iPod. And all they had to do with that was to turn the screen 90 degrees, but it continued through succeeding generations! It’s still true for the 6G nano, but since it’s a square screen a quick turn takes care of it.

  • lesleysmith

    I’m not a tool, I’m visually impaired and my perscription glasses are polarised because otherwise I get light induced migraines. Even worse, it’s not just my 1st gen iPad that’s affected, it’s my iMac and thunderbolt screen as well.

  • JakeOSmith

    @lesleysmith Lesley, I apologize. I wasn’t trying to be offensive in my post.. just making a joke. I forgot to consider those with medical needs may need to wear polarized glasses. I’ve taken that reference out of my post. I’m sorry.

  • ??nD ??os??A

    How in the world is this “news”. The fundamental premise of how LCD’s work is based on selectively allowing light through a polarization grating…invented about 100 years ago. As for the “compensating films”, I would bet they require more power for the backlight and I bet they also reduce the clarity slightly. Hopefully one day we will have direct LED screens, not LED backlit LCDs.

  • Freducken

    Polar-Gate!!!! DUN DUN DUN!!!!

  • D. Scott

    Countdown until Kindle adds this to their “you can’t use the iPad outdoors” ads…

  • matt_storms

    I have had this issue for a few monthsnow. I thought that this was old news.

  • Kye Alan Russell

    Slow news day guys? Issue has been around forever; happens on all devices, Apple or otherwise.

  • brianistweeting

    I cringed every time he slid that iPad around. I hope it had some protection on the back.

  • Downs

    with my oakley SI polarized shades, I haven’t had any “portrait-to-landscape” screen blackouts on my ipad, but on other screens i have, like hdtv’s there’s a fade-to-black when tilting your head. looking at my iphone makes the screen look also as if it were a holographic sticker. and also, on the thunderbolt display polarized lenses work fine in landscape (normal mode), but dim the screen in portrait.

About the author

Jake SmithJake Smith serves as a writer at Cult of Mac and Cult of Android, where he covers the daily news and more. Jake is based in Kentucky, where he enjoys the great outdoors and hanging out with his friends. Jake has a lot of experience covering consumer technology, having written for 9to5mac and iDownloadBlog. Follow Jake on Twitter @jakeosmith.

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