I’ve only had my iPad mini for 24 hours, but it’s already making a solid claim for the best version of Apple’s tablet.
During my recent unboxing and first reactions video, I revealed how long I’ve been waiting for the redesigned iPad mini. It has taken Apple far too long to update this brilliant little device, in my opinion.
And now they’ve gone and made it wobbly.
Bloody hell, Tim.
Following a tweet from The Verge Executive Editor, Dieter Bohn, the internet has lost its you-know-what about the iPad mini 6 and the device’s apparent display-related failings.
Here is is slow-mo video of scrolling on the iPad Min i slowed down EVEN MORE in a frame-by-frame step through. Notice how the right moves up faster than the left.— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) September 22, 2021
In normal usage you barely see it, but every now and then it become noticeable. In landscape it goes away entirely pic.twitter.com/iq9LGJzsDI
Yep – this might be the first time you’ve heard the term ‘jelly scrolling’ (it was for me, anyway). But I can confirm that my iPad mini does exhibit the issue, and we appear to be heading into Apple Gate territory. Again.
But does it really matter?
What is iPad mini 6 jelly scrolling?
I’m not going to get into the weeds with this because, a) I have no idea how display panels work, and, b) it’s really boring.
In simple terms that even I can understand, Jelly scrolling is related to the way LCD panels refresh the screen. Most refresh from top to bottom, and if you view them 90 degrees from their default orientation (for instance, if you turn a regular PC monitor on its side), you’ll spot the dreaded jelly effect when scrolling through certain types of content.
I’ll refer to Bohn’s tweet above for a slo-mo example of this, but it essentially results in the content ‘bending’ and lagging behind itself from left to right as you scroll up or down. Hence the the ‘jelly’ moniker.
On the iPad mini 6, this only happens when you operate the device in portrait mode, and you’ll only really spot it when there’s lots of full-width text content on the screen. In landscape, there are no issues at all.
Mine does it. Dieter’s does it. If you read the numerous threads that have already cropped up about Jelly Gate, most new iPad minis appear to do it.
But I think we need a dose of reality.
The problem with ‘gates’
I’ve been through plenty of gates with my Apple devices. Bend Gate, Antenna Gate, Dust-Under-The-Screen Gate, and Yellow Screen Gate.
I’ve made some of those up. But that’s part of the problem; I absolutely experienced the aforementioned issues – because I went looking for them; they only turn into ‘gates’ if many thousands of thousands of people do the same thing.
That’s what appears to be happening with the iPad mini 6 jelly scrolling problem. And the key question is this: would I have noticed it if I hadn’t seen Bohn’s tweet?
It’s a tough question to answer, unfortunately. Jelly scrolling on the iPad mini is one of those issues that, once you realise it’s there, you can’t ‘unsee’. In fact, it simply becomes more noticeable, and more irritating; you spend the entire time concentrating on the jelly, rather than on whatever it is you should be doing.
I have a feeling I probably wouldn’t have noticed it, though. As Dieter points out, “in normal usage, you barely see it”. This is the case with so many Apple Gates; they’re actually pretty minor issues that have zero impact on the enjoyment of a device.
There are exceptions, of course, but if I think back to the times I’ve continually returned Apple devices in search of the perfect example, I could have saved a boatload of time and avoided needless disappointment if I’d just focused on enjoying the bloody thing.
That’s why I’m going to do my best to turn a blind eye to the jelly. I suggest you do the same; no one is ready for this jelly.
So, let’s pretend it isn’t there.
Can it be fixed?
A quick trawl through the discussion threads on the iPad mini 6 jelly scrolling issue isn’t particularly encouraging.
As noted by my podcast co-host, Rob, “it probably isn’t fixable with software as the panel refresh is determined by the display controller, which is hardware.” He knows his stuff, too.
I’ve tested my other iPads to see if they exhibit the same problem. None of them do, and that includes the base level, cheapest-you-can-get 8th generation version.
Jelly scrolling, therefore, appears to be a common, isolated problem for the new iPad mini, but I don’t think it should put you off if you’re currently considering purchasing one. It remains a brilliant little tablet and the perfect partner for the equally brilliant second-generation Apple Pencil. I won’t be returning mine.
But I’m curious: has it put you off? Let me know in the comments!