So, you got that notification yet again—a Software Update is ready. Against your better judgement, you clicked install. But now your iPad has transformed itself into a digital picture frame with only one image - that pesky Apple logo. Maybe you didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Maybe you simply picked up your tablet to check an e-mail, only to be taunted instead by that perpetual glowing fruit. Even if it seems that way, all is not lost. Just because your iPad is stuck, doesn't mean you need to be too.
Before undertaking any of the more time consuming solutions below, there are a few fundamentals to give a go.
- Be patient. If the iPad has a progress bar under the Apple logo, chances are it's still trying to process something. Software updates can take a long time, an hour or more even, especially on aging hardware or for large version jumps. Take a breath, set it down, and come back in half an hour or so.
- If there is no progress bar, or the progress bar has not moved for at least half an hour, perform a force restart. This will begin the boot process again, clearing anything the phone may be hung up on.
- Note: This may break the operating system if the iPad is mid update, causing it to boot to recovery mode after the restart. That's okay! Now you won't have to do it manually during later steps.
- For iPads with Face ID or Touch ID in the Power Button: Press and release the volume up button, then volume down, then press and hold the power button until the screen goes black and the Apple logo reappears.
- For iPads with a Home Button: Press and hold the home and power buttons until the display goes black. Release the power button and continue holding home until the screen goes black and the Apple logo reappears.
Software Corruption or Conflict
During the course of using your iPad, something in the ones and zeroes that makes it run, might have been lost, or changed in a way that renders your device unusable. This is commonly a result of a botched update, an app which conflicts with functionality or even a malicious piece of software.
To attempt to correct this, perform a reinstall of the operating system. You'll need to get it into recovery mode to initiate this process.
- Connect to a Mac or PC with iTunes install using a USB cable.
- Press the button combination that corresponds to the model of your iPad.
- For iPads with Face ID or Touch ID in the Power Button: Press and release the volume up button, then volume down, then press and hold the power button until the screen goes black. Continue holding this button until the recovery mode screen appears
- For iPads with a Home Button: Press and hold the home and power buttons until the display goes black. Release the power button and continue holding home until the recovery mode screen appears.
- The connected computer should pop up with the message “There is a problem with the iPad that requires it to be updated or restored.” To start, try an update.
- If the update is unsuccessful, it's time to assess the state of your backups. If you're certain you have a recent backup or are willing to sacrifice your data to regain use of your phone, proceed to restore. This will erase any data presently on your phone.
- If the update or restore fails with an error message, document it. Now might be a good time to visit the Answers forum, where you can get more personalized help. Be sure to mention the error message in your question!
Storage Is Full
Have you been getting warnings that your device is running low on storage? It’s easy to ignore, but computerized devices also need some free space to operate properly. Think of it like your sock drawer. You can squish any number of additional pairs of socks in, but eventually your drawer will stop closing. It’s possible your iPad is in this “can no longer function as intended,” state.
- Try the force restart steps outlined at the beginning of this page again. A few times even. If you’re lucky, this may allow you the one successful boot you need to get in and clear out some of the five hundred pictures of your kitten humorously sitting in the same box.
- If this doesn’t work, ultimately you’re going to need to reset your device—especially if you've been getting recent low storage warnings prior to the issue popping up. If it’s not already in recovery mode, you’ll need to get it there and restore your device by connecting it to a Mac or PC with iTunes.
- This may be the underlying fault if you have received errors 14, 78, or 1110 when processing a recovery mode update.
Damaged Battery Connector
If your device has been repaired recently and this symptom appeared after the repair, it’s possible that the battery connector sustained damage. It’s why all iFixit guides which require battery isolation have caveats about potential damage to the battery connector. This can incite a few different symptoms.
- This is only applicable to iPads with battery connections on the underside of the logic board. Mini models are generally not affected.
- You will need to remove the logic board to check for this issue, so buckle in for the long haul. Refer to the Guide for your model if necessary.
- Verify that all the pins are free from bend. If they are bent, gently bend the affected pin back into shape. You might get lucky. Otherwise, the damage may necessitate replacement of the battery connector. This requires soldering skills. Any shop that does board-level repairs should know how to do this if you lack this skill set.
- These pins often carry data from the battery. When the iPad is unsure of battery charge levels, weird stuff happens. It may reboot, show unpredictable charge levels, or shut off without warning.
The logic board is the hub for the vast majority of an iPad's functionality. Any number of the small components on the board may have failed or become damaged, resulting in this sort of issue.
- Board damage can be caused by liquid contact, electric insult, a significant drop, or even flexion from being repeatedly shoved into your backpack. Check to see if your board looks bent, has signs of liquid, burn, or loose components.
- You can inspect your logic board by following the appropriate logic board guide for your model of iPad.
- Replacing the logic board is often the most practical solution for a DIYer in this position.
- If you’re feeling especially curious, the tiny bits and chips on the board can be repaired by microsoldering. It is an art unto itself, but a worthy endeavor for those who are adventurous. Interested? Check out this intro! Jessa’s YouTube channel is also fantastic and has loads of real-time repairs. If you can't do this sort of repair yourself, you may be able to find a local shop that can!