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I will preface this by stating that I'm not a nut. There's a very strange phenomenon that's been happening on my iPad Pro 2017 over the past 5 months that's mildly annoying and somewhat alarming.

Right before bedtime every night, I prop my iPad on it's stand located on my bedside table. Occasionally, I'll doze off while laying on my side while watching a video playing through the YouTube iOS app. My iPad goes to sleep within a minute after the video ends. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Without fail, however, if I turn around and lay on my other side facing away from the screen, the video will stop playing and the iPad sleeps within less than a minute. I usually turn around and wake the iPad and hit the play button and the video continues where it last stopped.

I can emphatically say it never happens when I'm facing my iPad, or at least I can't recall it ever happening. Usually, I'll turn the brightness all the way down and roll over to my other side and try listening myself to sleep. I figured the brightness level might be a factor. It's inconclusive, however, as I often leave the brightness level very low when the room is dark.

I tried to come up with some possible explanations for this. Perhaps the iPad sleeps when it senses someone is not near the device to save energy? Possibly, but it would make playing music in the background impossible. Could YouTube's App be the culprit? Could it be a feature where it prevents users from using YouTube as a stereo due to licensing arrangements, or with an aim to upsell you their premium service? YouTube does prevent playing in the background and PiP, but it might require hardware access it doesn't have. Could it be a defective iPad or some strange setting? Sure, some other nefarious reasons entered my mind, but I figured I'll exhaust other possibilities first.

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  • Is it possible that the YouTube video stopped (maybe for an ad) and ended but because you're not looking at it, you don't see it and it goes to sleep because you didn't intervene?
    – Allan
    Jul 30, 2020 at 19:10
  • @Allan, Good question, but nope. It happens during the video, not during a commercial. I forgot to mention, it never happens again once I hit the play button. .
    – ATL_DEV
    Jul 30, 2020 at 20:27
  • No magnets nearby? I know some folk use them as sleep aids.
    – user370793
    Aug 2, 2020 at 4:50
  • Not that I'm aware of. Unless it's the built in one on the side of the iPad.
    – ATL_DEV
    Aug 8, 2020 at 23:18

1 Answer 1

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Are you sure you have a 2017 iPad Pro, not 2018? It has a home button? The first possible explanation you came up with is what I'm betting is doing this, it's called Attention Aware features. But I thought it was only available on 2018 models on, with Face ID/TrueDepth camera. Though support documents only say that it's available on 11" and 12.9" iPad Pro, so maybe it works on 2017 12.9" iPad Pro?

It thinks you're not watching so it locks itself after a while. I'm not sure why you would think this would make playing music in the background impossible, music plays whether or not the screen is locked. If you mean music videos on YouTube don't have this problem then that is bizarre and I'd love more details.

Here's how to turn the feature off. If it doesn't show up, then I must be completely wrong.

I'm not sure if there's a way to do so on an app by app basis, I find it pretty useful, so I wouldn't want to turn it off system-wide, but maybe it's not a problem for you.

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  • Interesting! No, I had and still have a 2017 12.9" Pro. The issue no longer occurs, but I wonder if I had a beta installed back then and Apple was testing out the feature using the regular camera. It doesn't make sense since it only works in YouTube and I never give it permissions for my camera, but then again, it would've been an Apple feature. I had a touch issue which also went away, but it might be because I installed a glass shield. So I can't say for certain,
    – ATL_DEV
    May 29, 2023 at 1:00
  • Going back to the beta, it might have been removed since such a feature would raise concerns about privacy, especially if they never gave it permission.
    – ATL_DEV
    May 29, 2023 at 1:04
  • Attention Aware features are great on my iPhone 12. If an alarm or timer is ringing, one look at the screen and the alert volume gets quiet, but not completely off. Sweet detail by Apple, Inc.
    – IconDaemon
    Jul 14, 2023 at 0:16

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