My iPad 2 is Being Replaced And Other Screen Defects Reported



The picture above is an edited version of a photo that I made while I removed my iPad 2 from its box to create a gallery of photos for Cult of Mac recently. The arrow, which I added to the original picture, points to an anomaly the most obvious out of a handful of them on the display of my iPad 2. I purchased the iPad 2 last Friday on launch day.

Once that gallery went live I started receiving comments from readers stating that it looked like I was encountering a back lighting issue on my iPad 2. I honestly wasn’t sure what was going on because to my eyes the anomaly had a yellowish tint to it. I thought it was just the adhesive problem that plagued some iPhone 4 users last year. That problem actually disappeared on its own as the adhesive dried and dissipated.

Unfortunately that isn’t the case for me, since according to the Genius at the Genius Bar this afternoon the problem is with the backlighting after all and it isn’t a problem that will go away.

My iPad 2 Is Being Replaced

Apple is replacing my iPad 2, but not right away. Supply constraints mean that I’ll have to wait for less than a week to get a replacement. I’m not overly concerned about that since I purchased AppleCare and one way or another the problem will be resolved to my satisfaction. Apple is good about that.

Other Screen Defects Reported

In the meantime I keep seeing reports that other early adopters are faced with the problem I’m having and other screen defects. For example, additional information surfaced on 9to5Mac regarding one customers attempt to find a good working iPad. They have been through at least four of them and all of them had display issues. The issues ranged from backlight problems to dead pixels. In once case, see below, the back light pushed through the display in the shape of a glowing orb.

Original Image Credit Annotations by David Martin.

While in another case there was a dead pixel on the display as shown below.

Original Image Credit Annotations by David Martin.

The bottom line is this — if you think there is something wrong with the display on your iPad 2 call AppleCare or make a Genius Bar appointment at a local Apple store immediately and make arrangements to get the iPad 2 replaced. Once you receive the replacement examine it throughly to make sure it meets to your satisfaction before accepting it.

In the meantime Apple PR remains silent and unresponsive to my query about this issue. I plan on sending a second request for comment today, but I don’t expect an answer. Sadly, I never do. Apple generally remains silent about things like this.

I’m only returning my iPad for exchange at Apple’s request and recommendation. I’m not complaining about it being defective. These kinds of things happen in mass production. The important thing is that Apple will take care of it until I am satisfied. They’ll do the same for you — all you have to do is ask.

Oh and in case you are wondering I owned two of the original iPads. Both were 64GB models one with 3G and one without. Neither of these iPads shipped to me last April with any defects. Eventually I’ll find an iPad 2 that lacks manufacturing defects and wait patiently for iPad 3 to come — hopefully without the problems I had with the iPad 2.

I’ll keep buying Apple products because I like them and because Apple does take care of us when there is a problem.

So although it looks like Apple has another quality control problem on their hands, which Apple doesn’t care to respond to, at least they are still taking care of their customers.


  • Maxtek

    I’m wondering…has there ever been an Apple product released without ANY problems or recalls? I can’t think of one.

  • gareth edwards

    I think that Apple are no different to ANY manufacturer but the expectation the consumer has for their products is higher (for a few reasons). This tends to make any issues they have more visible in the media as sites like traffic and Apple buyers are more interested in their products that other manufacturers (on the whole). I don’t think that Apple has stuff leaving their production facilities (which also make kit for other brands) that is any worse than other kit in any measurably meaningful way. IMO.

  • pcow


    If you want to buy a tablet then I suggest you catch an iPad 2. It’s features so fantastic. I’ve found Youtube video on:

    This year really is full for Apple’s success. I wish next we will get iPad 3, iPad 4 etc. Just wait…….

  • n9n3

    Has there ever been a product launched by anyone without ANY problems or recalls? No, probably not. It’s almost statistically impossible for any high volume product, especially complex electronics and assemblies, not to eventually have a production/quality related issue.

    Apple’s products are just under a much bigger spotlight than most others, so you hear about everything.

  • DavidWMartin

    I never heard of any problems with the first generation iPad and I don’t recall hearing anything about the iPod touch either.

  • CharliK

    In the end these problems could less than 1% of the units shipped. That is hardly a quality control issue. It’s not like X Box were 90% of units will fail in 2 years with 50-60 % failing in the first year. THAT is a QC issue.

    And as you said, Apple is asking you to return the unit. Why? So they can check out what exactly is going on. You know, to fix it. You should be applauding them for doing that rather than just going “meh, you aren’t yelling so you don’t think it is a problem so keep it and get over it”

  • Steve Cronk

    “I’m not overly concerned about that since I purchased AppleCare”
    You wouldn’t have to be concerned about that without having purchased AppleCare either, right? Because you get a year of AppleCare/warranty anyway which you can extend with AppleCare within the first year.

  • Steve Cronk

    Also I think there is no need for them to issue a statement that would just form negative opinions as long as they just take it back if there is a problem.

  • CharliK

    You might not have heard about it but there were likely problems with both. N9 is right to a degree about the spotlight. “Apple F’d up” is a major hit fodder so every site, including this one, will jump on reports that make it sound like they knowingly shipped bad stuff and aren’t jumping to fix it toot suite.
    Consider, last summer’s iPhone 4 antenna issue. Wasn’t actually an major issue but the media made it one. Media that included the blogs etc. Why? Because sites get money off the ads on the pages when folks load the page and it got page loads.

  • DavidWMartin

    Correct – either way you are good, but AppleCare is a good add-on to extend an already good warranty.

  • Sure Thing

    “Apple is replacing my iPad 2, but not right away. Supply constraints mean that I’ll have to wait for less than a week to get a replacement. I’m not overly concerned about that since I purchased AppleCare and one way or another the problem will be resolved to my satisfaction. Apple is good about that.”

    Huh? So, if you were like a normal person, and a bit ticked off that the new product you just got is not out of your hands for a week, what then? Seems like your satisfaction requirements are pretty lackadaisical.

  • Gert54we

    do you get to keep the pad until they replace it?

  • DavidWMartin

    Yes I still have the iPad I purchased.

  • DavidWMartin

    Sh*t happens. If there isn’t anything you can do about it you have to live with it. I have the old one to use while I’m waiting for the new one.

  • CWilczewski

    the antenna problem wasn’t a problem at all, or i never had that problem the way i hold it. The only way that my signal was dropped was if i had literally gripped the iphone in such a way that i couldn’t even see the screen. people just need something to complain about and thats how it will be with every single product out there.

  • AlterThending

    My iPad 1 had light bleeding at the bottom and really it never effected anything.

  • Eric Smith

    Mine does too. I notice it when the screen is completely black (when an app is starting or something) and the room is dark–maybe 2 or 3 spots like the one in the photo above. But it’s not really that big a deal.

  • besweeet

    I honestly think that the slight bleeding issue that I’m experiencing is slowly getting better. It’s getting less visible day-by-day.

  • Rock

    Wait a second. You defned yourself in your own article? you are not complaining and say you are only returning it because Apple said so. Then you go own to say Apple will keep doing this until you are satisfied. If you are not complaining, it would seem to me that you are satisfied so why return it? I think you are having a bit of cognitive dissonance because you love Apple so much.

  • Jay

    I went through a total of five of them. Well, I am in my fifth at this point and it seems to be working well.

  • Drawntothemagic

    I noticed a spot of light bleeding by the bottom of my iPad 2 screen…I’m not overly worried about it, but would be curious to see if Apple would possibly do the same thing for me. (64 GB + wifi model with Applecare)

    My issue is this: I purchased the iPad at an Apple store (which is about 2.5 hours from me) because I happened to be in the area last Friday, but now I’m balking at the thought of driving all the way back over (especially at the current gas prices) with the chance of being turned away. Is there a way I could set up the process online or over the phone?

  • Athosn8

    Having the same “bleeding” issue. Just called and the tech said I was the second person to call about it today. He was going to talk to the manager and call back. Looks like they are on top of it and that’s all any reasonable person can really hope for.

  • Cody

    I just got back from the Apple store on this issue. They would have been glad to replace it and let me go through as many iPads that they had till I found one I was pleased with, but the tech said that mostly all of the iPads (including many of the first gen) have this issue to some extent. The thing is, you can only really see the leaking in a dark room, with brightness turned all the way up on a black screen. The tech took me and my wife into the store’s restroom (because it was the only room dark enough in the store) and showed us his personal iPad two, the store’s iPad 2 and looked at both of ours. My wife and I got a pair of iPads that actually are not that bad, but they still would have been happy to replace them. I’m actually surprised at how you were able to catch the light leak on your camera in the bright room. You iPad must have been really bad. I’m glad that apple tech support is so nice and so willing to try and correct an issue that is not that correctable. If the light leak bothers me too much, I may wait till later in the year to see if apple corrects the issue, otherwise, I’ll just tough it out. Not that noticeable anyway.

  • Hogb4dawn

    I heard on ABC Good Morning America that manufacturing and shipments are not going to be taking place for some time as they come from Japan, due to the earthquake disaster.

  • JJ

    I actually had a very similar problem with my iPad 3G last year (delivered on the first day it was available) – looked a lot like your first picture. Was not sure it was a problem, but took it to the Apple Store two days later just to ask (didn’t make an appointment, since I wasn’t sure it was a problem – I don’t have the best eyesight).

    Sales guy took a quick look, called someone else over, and they whisked it away immediately and gave me a new one. Pretty obvious they had seen this problem before.

  • Genethebean33

    I had the same problem and I called apple who stated that all I have to do is go to my local apple store and the will swap it out for a new one. I told him that they are all out how can they do that if they are all out? He stated that some stores have some stock for problems like this. So he called me back 30 mins later and said my store has them in and will be able to trade tomorrow!!! wow!!! I did not believe it so I called the store to confirm and right when they picked up they said thanks for calling the apple store sorry but we do not have any ipad 2 right now how can we help you? I explained to him what apple told me and he said hold on and when he came back he said he had some in stock!!! WOW!! So now you know…… this is a known problem and yes they have ipad 2 in stock!!!

  • zato

    I think the whole story is bullshit anti-Apple propaganda, like everything “Apple” at Cult of Mac/Wired.

  • zato

    I think the whole story is bullshit anti-Apple propaganda, like everything “Apple” at Cult of Mac/Wired.

  • FlashDrive

    I returned mine and I got a Xoom. OMFG what a difference. The Xoom is faster and more responsive in every way. I didn’t realize it would be this drastic. And WOW do I love playing with the gadgets. This thing rocks! If all you know is the iPad or iPad 2 you MUST give the Xoom a try. I promise you it will rock your world.

  • Guest

    I just got my white ipad2 32gb wifi today and I noticed the exact same bleeding issue I’m gunna go back to the store tomorrow and see what they can do about it not too worried I mean as long as it still works I can always just go in a month or two and point it out

  • CharliK

    They receive ‘service stock’ which are units sent to them just for cases like yours and they are forbidden to the point of ‘you will be fired’ if they sell those to the general public.

    A detail which negates David’s claim that they are not responsive to issues. Non responsive would be to tell you that you are seeing things or to make you wait until more shipments arrive cause they figured they wouldn’t have issues so why bother setting any aside

  • CharliK

    GMA is wrong. Nothing Apple is built in Japan. It is in China. And they are reporting that they have parts for another 2-3 weeks of manufacturing.

    Now shipping could be an issue. Fed Ex etc set aside part of their routes to deliver aid supplies so everything else is struggling with what is left.

  • CharliK

    I would replace it when they get a later batch, why keep a bad one. Plus they want the bad ones to help figure out what happened. So next time hopefully it won’t

  • CharliK

    I would call the store, ask for a manager and very politely explain what is going on and just say that you want to make sure that if you make an appointment and come in they have a unit to swap. And if for some reason they don’t they may take your info and offer to call you when they do. That’s what the store did for my brother who unfortunately had the same issue come up with one of his.

  • CharliK

    Apple wants them returned. So they can use them to find out what happened. They will take them apart, find what failed etc. They do that with all new items.

  • DavidWMartin

    Steve: Apple is kick ass in customer support and satisfaction. That is why I keep buying their products – as long as they stand behind them it is all good. They do stand behind them and I have a long list of examples.

  • irunnoft

    Yes. Call Apple Care. That’s what I did.

  • Somber2

    “1% of units affected?” – Seems like ALL units showing this issue to some extent.

    “Call the Apple store and politely ask…” – Huh – no that anyone should be rude, but the way you phrase this it sounds like we’re asking Apple for a favor to replace a defective unit.

    “Apple products are more in the spotlight…” – yes, you bet. There are also other large software companies out there [cough] that are equally in the spotlight. Apple makes a mistake – no problem. Other firms make a mistake – you hate them. Interesting.

    “The problem seems to be going away.” – That’s impossible, if its the problem we’re discussing, which is uneven backlighting due to the mounting of the screen. Talk about convincing yourself.

    “They want all units back so they can determine the defect. That’s what they always do.” – I don’t think it will take thousands of units to determine the problem (we already know what it is). The won’t be analyzing each unit that comes back.

  • ClubUgly

    The 3 slim batteries in iPad2 is built and shipped from Japan mate. Same goes for the batteries for the iPad1 and iPhone4 and other products. China assembles the batteries, Thus “Assembled in China”, not “Made in China”. You can read about at the Apple blog site and forums.

  • CharliK

    The batteries are designed by a Japanese company but that doesn’t mean they are made in Japan. They could be made in a factory in Thailand for the company.

    And it doesn’t negate my previous statement that GMA gave out wrong info in saying that ipads etc come from Japan. They don’t. They come from China and there are rumors that there are tons of parts stockpiled so they could be fine until the various plants are back on line.

  • Jtristan

    so what happened? did you get the new ipad? did it have the same problem?

  • Jake

    I received my two new ipads and both had backlight bleeding, one drastically more than the other, but they were both unacceptable. I contacted Applecare and they are overnighting me two new ipads. All I have to do is to mail the old ones back in the Fed Ex package that the new ones arrive in. Easy as can be.

  • Adam C

    Some have said that this was similar to the iphone 4 issues that were caused by the glue not seeing before people received their ipad. I hope that is the case. I got 2 of the new ipads and both have this issue.

  • Richard Pawley

    Wow lucascott, your defiant pro-Apple “everything’s fine” approach to this smacks of that Iraqi military spokesperson saying that there are no bombs when they’re going off in the background….

    At least be honest, this is a major manufacturing defect. It’s the companies that hold their hands up, say “sorry, we screwed up but we’re going to fix it” that I like. In most cases Apple do, but they’re definitely trying to avoid this one. I think with the iPhone 4 signal problems, and the iOS daylight savings bug, Apple are a little concerned about another issue chipping away at their “it just works” mentality.

  • Adam Stocker

    The problem is the Apple stores are so brightly lit its hard to tell if there is a backlighting problem until you get it home. I got my 3rd iPad 2 from the Honolulu store and it looked fine. Got it home…dreadful!!! Now awaiting my 4th.

  • Adam Stocker

    The problem is the Apple stores are so brightly lit its hard to tell if there is a backlighting problem until you get it home. I got my 3rd iPad 2 from the Honolulu store and it looked fine. Got it home…dreadful!!! Now awaiting my 4th.

  • CharliK

    And your anti Apple rhetoric is even worse. You just blow everything up with the hate. I at least look at the facts and not only what is there but what is missing (like actual data to back up your claims)

    A “major manufacturing defect” is something that affects a large cut of units. As I said, all these issues could come out to less than 1% of created units. Which is leagues better than most companies. With no numbers you can’t back up your claim that this is a serious problem. And yet talk like that is what shorts stocks etc.

    As for your ‘but we’re going to fix it’, why do you think Apple asks folks to return units. It is so they can see what is going on and if something needs to be fixed do it. Not based on anecdotal stories on blogs and boards but based on examining allegedly ‘defective’ units.

    Of your examples only the alarm bug is an actual issue, the whole iphone FUD had nothing to do with the iphone and everything to do with ATT’s network turning to complete crap since it was flooded with iphones over the last 3+ years. And even then it wasn’t every ATT iphone but only certain pockets over half of which the users said were crap even before they go their iphone.

  • CharliK

    Bingo. It is Apple so anything less than 200% perfect is a “serious issue”

  • Salmannishat

    ipad 2 is not working .i purchased last week and found the problem that ipad2 turn off permanenlty when it get into standby mode…and it will turn on again only if i press sleep and home button simultanelouly for 10 seconds, the problem is not solved after restoring.Apple also not offers warranty in Pakistan

  • jose ruiz

    If it looks like Apple has another quality control problem on their hands, and Apple doesn’t care to respond to queries, how can you say that they are still taking care of their customers?  A concerned vendor would not only take care of the problem but offer a quick response, explanation or some statement.  The trouble is that Apple fans are so brainwashed by the glitz and tech that they fail to see that Apple is manipulating its followers like the Big Brother it decried in its famous 1984 commercial.  Now we know who that malevolent controlling face was in that commercial.  It was Steve Jobs projecting the future and lulling people into buying his products – like the defective iPad2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and so on.