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I've heard a fair bit about problems with the new iPad "overheating". However the details seem a bit shaky.

Is the increase in heat noticeable? Is it only when playing games and watching videos, or is it just from using it for extended time?

Also, does the problem only affect some iPads, or is it a general problem (I think some components are made by different manufacturers, eg the screen)? So if you buy a new iPad, is there a chance you'll get one that heats more than it should?

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up vote 36 down vote accepted

Not at all. I have noticed that it is warmer when sitting for long periods (i.e. reading in iBooks, playing Hero Academy) but it is not a big deal and not even unpleasant except when the day is hot. If you look at this on a relative scale that I've just made up:

10 - 2007 MacBook Pro 17" playing World of Warcraft
9 - Hell
8 - Dave's Insanity Sauce
7 - Chili con carne
6 - cup of coffee
5 - iPhone 4 in Personal Hotspot mode
4 - cup of coffee when you remember to drink the last bit
3 - New iPad
2 - Old iPad
1 - Fonzie

You get some more perspective.

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5  
I feel slightly guilty upvoting this as a serious answer, but it's just too good. ;o) –  deceze Mar 21 '12 at 2:16
    
I hoped people would find it funny but I'm serious about the significance of the "heat issue". You just can't sling 4x the pixels around without generating more heat. And that 2007 MacBook Pro really did burn me. –  Adam Eberbach Mar 21 '12 at 2:25
2  
Direct quote from my previous roommate: "I fell asleep while watching videos on my (Macbook pro) laptop, and woke up with a serious burn on my arm." –  nhinkle Mar 21 '12 at 7:20
    
Classic, great list. –  AJ. Mar 21 '12 at 20:08
4  
I think you forgot one. 11 - Any device actively running an Adobe Flash applet. –  Jason Salaz Mar 28 '12 at 7:50
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As usual Gruber nails the issue to the wall here:

The short answer is COMPLETE NON ISSUE.


Comparing Temperatures ★

Sam Byford, writing for The Verge, “Tests Show New iPad Runs Up to 18 Percent Hotter Than iPad 2”:

Dutch website Tweakers.net has taken an infrared camera to the new iPad and revealed that it runs at up to 33.6 degrees Celsius (92.5 Fahrenheit) when running the GLBenchmark — that’s an 18.7 percent increase on the iPad 2, which reached 28.3 degrees Celsius (82.9 Fahrenheit).

As Alex Dedalus points out on Twitter, to say this is a crap headline is give crap headlines a bad name. Celsius and Fahrenheit are relative temperature scales, not absolute, so you can’t do percentage-based comparisons. Think about it: 33.6 / 28.3 gives you an “18.7 percent” increase, but if you do the math with the same temperatures in Fahrenheit, you get 92.5 / 82.9 = “11.6 percent” increase. If you really want to do a percentage based comparison, you need to convert to an absolute temperature scale like Kelvin, which shows you that it’s actually a 1.8 percent increase in temperature (306.75 / 301.45). This is middle school science.

That doesn’t make for a good Verge headline though, and neither would “5.3 degrees” (Celsius), so I suggest going with Fahrenheit — “Tests Show New iPad Runs Up to 10 Degrees Hotter Than iPad 2” — to maximize the sensational impact while still being technically true.

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This is a complete non-issue. Yes, the new iPad gets a little warm in a back corner, but it's not uncomfortable and it's nothing compared to how hot my MacBook gets. It's noticeable, nothing more. Granted, iOS devices, including iPads, can overheat, but that's based on the environment they're in and not how hot they're operating.

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Thanks that's good news, I know how hot my MacBook can get, and I was imagining it would be on that scale, just while holding it. –  Jonathan. Mar 20 '12 at 23:29
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It's on the borderline.

Various reports have been published already. While most blogs say the temperatures are normal - if not - to be expected due to the powerful graphics of the A5X, I like to take a more critical standpoint.

Apple's recommendation for battery temperatures

Your iPad is designed to work in conditions ranging from 32° to 95° F. That’s 0° to 35° C for the metrically inclined. But keeping your iPad as near room temperature as possible (72° F or 22° C) is ideal. (link)

enter image description here

Apple says that "Heat will degrade your battery’s performance the most."

Taking this into perspective, the temperatures can be considered slightly harmful to your batteries on the long run. But this is only when you constantly keep your iPad performing at a maximum level (games, Wi-Fi, GPS, Push...).

Macrumors reported that they managed to achieve maximum temperatures of 133°F which is not good for the battery.

Apples gives advice in this documentation on how to optimize your settings for best battery performance.

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I would say that the meaning of 32 to 95 degrees is the operating environment in which the device operates, not at which the device operates. The reason for doing it this way is because we all have access to a room temperature thermometer, and likely don't have access to the sort of kit that they used to measure the iPad temps. Human skin gets to a higher temperature than those measurements shown in the reports. –  stuffe Mar 21 '12 at 21:43
    
@stuffe Good point! Taking into consideration that the iPad's case is a good heat conductor, that little difference could make significant impact on the iPad's performance. –  gentmatt Mar 22 '12 at 6:31
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I did indeed notice my Verizon LTE iPad getting warm in the "bottom left". (well, bottom left if it's oriented with the home button at the bottom) However, it's not any worse than any other Apple product I've ever owned. My Late 2009 iMac was a lot worse, and that was bearable to touch. This is not quite as severe. I don't think it's an issue.

However, MacRumors says that the new iPad is reported to hit 116 degrees Fahrenheit. That sounds problematic to me.

Assuming that the reports are true, it's the GPU. If that's the case, it depends on your use case. I'm not planning on springing for Infinity Blade II, but if you are, it might be an issue.

Edit:

Cnet did some tests and they say it's not yet a problem.

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I think this is simply another example of media hype. I agree that there is a temperature difference and that it may make some users a tiny bit uncomfortable while doing extreme gaming. But is that an issue worthy of national press? I seriously doubt it.

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  • 34 °C - The commonly accepted average human skin temperature.
  • 33.6 °C - The maximum temperature of your iPad 3 when you thrash it's brains out.

A problem? You decide... You can start by asking if you ever worried about burning yourself when you touched yourself. Have you ever got worried about setting your pants on fire just by sitting in them. If the answer is no, you are likely just fine

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After having used the new iPad for over a week and performing a few tests, I've found that it's noticeably warmer to the touch than the previous generations of iPads, but could not be considered "hot" - it isn't uncomfortable to touch or hold.

I found that even though I don't currently have an active Verizon plan, turning off the cellular connectivity (Settings --> Cellular Data --> Cellular Data OFF) reduced the heating to nothing during normal activities (reading, web use, email, simple games). It feels about room temperature when the LTE cellular chipset is off.

The heat would go up slightly for very graphically intense games, but not to the degree that it increased just having the cellular connection on.

As power efficient as the LTE chipset is, it still consumes significant power, even when not actively transmitting data, and that power results in additional heat. Consider turning it off for those times you know you're going to be in an area with wifi, when you need the battery to last longer, or when you are concerned about the extra warmth.

The heating is entirely within the operating temperature range of all the iPad components and humans, so it will not damage the iPad, nor burn anyone under normal use.

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