You’ve taken good care of your iPad mini. You keep the battery topped up whenever possible. You bought it the nicest iPad mini case available; a nifty Zugucase with a magnetic stand and military-spec drop protection. You don’t take your iPad with you to the pool, and you’ve never dropped it more than three feet or so, ever.
Then, one day, it just doesn’t charge.
Failure to charge is one of the more disturbing things that can happen to your tablet. After all, a good charge is the only difference between an alive, working tablet and something more akin to a brick. If your iPad mini won’t take charge, it’s either dead and lifeless or will be, very shortly.
The good news? Although there might be a real problem, the overwhelming likelihood is that it is a three minute fix. First things first though. To start with, you need to figure out what’s wrong with your iPad.
Before you begin, take a glance at the temperature. Your iPad’s battery only works well within a specific temperature range. If your device is either too hot or too cold, it’ll shut off and you won’t be able to charge the battery.
Ideal temperature range for the iPad mini is . Your device should be operable between 32–95º Fahrenheit, although it will function optimally closer to the center of that range. Be aware that sometimes your iPad may be hotter than the surrounding air. If you leave it in the sun, that black screen will soak up solar heat, bringing the device temperature into danger zone very quickly.
If your temperature check shows your iPad is colder or hotter than it should be, change location and warm up/cool down your device as appropriate. It won't be long till it’s charging again.
The biggest culprit when an iPad mini is not charging turns out to have nothing to do with the iPad itself: more likely, it’s the charge cord. Charge cords are not created equal, and some cheap Apple-look-alikes are unable to carry a charge from day one.
Even if you’ve had a good charge cord, it won’t last forever. The movements involved with plugging and unplugging your device cause the delicate wires inside that cord to deteriorate, and eventually every cord comes to the end of its useful life. It just can’t charge your iPad anymore.
To check if the problem is your charge cord, try plugging your iPad mini in with alternate cords. If you’ve only got one, ask your friend, classmate or coworker for a two minute loan of theirs. All you need is to determine what the problem is. If your iPad mini won’t charge on your cord but charges fine with your roommate’s, go throw away your cord and buy a new one. Problem solved.
Another possible problem that has absolutely nothing to do with your iPad itself is the power adaptor. Apple has several security features built into your iPad to ensure it is protected in case of a power surge or other electrical problem. If your power source is not providing a steady current and sending a variable roller coaster your way instead, your iPad mini will just stop receiving charge.
You can check for this problem the same way you checked for a faulty charge cords— try alternate power sources. For instance, you can plug your iPad mini into the computer, into a surge protector, or into another power adaptor. If it charges with any of them, you’ll know the problem was not your iPad, it was just the power adaptor you used.
Once you’ve checked that both your power adaptor and cord are A-okay, it’s time to restart your device. Press the sleep/wake button till the slider comes on, then slide to power off. Wait for a minute or so, then power it back up and check if the charging is working now.
If you seem to be out of battery and are greeted with a black screen, try a forced restart. Do this by holding the sleep/wake and home buttons down at the same time. In forty-five seconds, your iPad mini should have turned on and restarted itself— if it’s got enough juice. If nothing happens, keep it plugged in for another hour or so and then try again.
If your iPad mini doesn’t have a home button, you can do the same thing by press and releasing volume up, then press and releasing volume down, and finally press and holding the top button till—- hopefully— the Apple logo appears.
If your cords and adaptors are all good and you tried restarting your device, it’s time to clean out your power ports. The actual charging of your iPad depends on the connection between a set of very small, fine connectors, and if one or more is obstructed by dust, lint, or sand you won’t be able to charge.
Ideally, you'd use an anti-static brush to brush out your charging port and remove any debris. If you don't have one of those lying around, a clean, unused toothbrush can do the job. If you can actually see caked on gunk, you may have to use bigger guns— a toothpick, for instance. Work carefully— you don't want to damage anything in there!
Another alternative is a compressed air duster. Don’t try to blow into your charging port to remove dirt or dust; the dampness of your breath will make the problem worse.
If you’ve checked your ambient temperature, charge cords, power adaptors, and charge port and the problem still isn't fixed, it may be a software issue. Don't panic— you might still be able to fix this on your own. The thing to do is a DFU restore— that’s short for device firmware update, and what it does is actually reload all the software and firmware on your iPad mini.
Before you do a DFU restore, ensure all your settings, documents and pictures are backed up somewhere. Then turn off your device, connect it to your computer, open iTunes, and hold the power button down for three seconds. While continuing to hold the power button, hold the home (or, if you have no home, volume down) for ten seconds.
Your iPad mini screen should stay blank, and now you'll want to release the power button while continuing to hold down the home (or volume button, if your iPad mini doesn't have a home).
Though the screen should continue blank, you should see a message on your computer: “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes”. Click OK, and follow the onscreen steps to perform a DFU restore.
If at any time your phone displays a “plug into iTunes/Finder”, you’ll need to restart the procedure from the beginning.
After the DFU restore your iPad mini should be charging normally. If it’s not, it’s time to bring it in to an AppleCare specialist.
Which of these tricks made your iPad mini finally begin charging? Let us know in the comments!