iPad is Disabled | Dafacto

The personal website of Matt Henderson.

iPad is Disabled

04 November 2013

A few weeks ago, as I reported here on the blog I opened my iPad mini and saw, “iPad is disabled”.

In this state, the iPad can’t be used until it’s connected and sync’d with iTunes on its rightful owner’s Mac; a major pain if you happen to be traveling with nothing but the iPad! But this behavior is a safety measure by design, as “disabled” is the mode into which an iPad goes after one too many incorrect unlock PIN codes have been entered.

Wondering what could cause this, my suspicion was that somehow my iPad was getting frequently switched on and off while being transported in my bag. Why did I suspect that? Well, I’ve also recently noticed that while running with my iPhone in a fanny pack, I’ll sometimes hear what appears to be telephone dialing coming through the headphones over the music. When that happens and I take the phone out of my pack, I’ll find it displaying the “emergency call” screen. So somehow, just the friction of the fanny pack material against the face of the iPhone, while running, causes the iPhone to switch on.

But what could cause the iPad in my bag to switch on in a similar way?

I’ve noticed that if you twist the Smart Cover of an iPad mini in the same plane as the device, you can hear it switching on and off. So it’s not only separation of the cover from the device that activates it; but also disalignment of the cover against the device as well. (I suppose there’s a magnet in the cover whose specific position relative to the device is monitoried.)

My iPad has a Smart Cover, and when transported I slide the whole thing into a neoprene ACME MADE iPad mini sleeve. So my suspicion was that somehow, the device inside the neoprene sleeve, while being transported in my admittely tightly-packed Tom Bihn Ristretto bag was causing the Smart Cover to twist just enough to repeatedly activate and deactive the device until the “iPad is Disabled” state was engaged.

But around the same time as this was happening, something else frequently happened as well. I’d sometimes open the iPad and find the brightness control enabled, and pulsing up and down as if the light sensor had gone mad. I thought that, with a bit of imagination, that might also be related to whatever was causing the disabled mode.

I decided to go see Apple, and they seemed convinced it was a hardware problem and immediately replaced the device.

I thought the problem was resolved…until yesterday, when I pulled my iPad mini out of its bag and sleeve, opened the cover to once again find, “iPad is disabled”.

So now I’m back to the theory that this is being caused by twisting action on the Smart Cover, somehow happening when my iPad is being transported in its sleeve and bag.

I could try disabling the Auto-Lock feature. Having to manually press the button to turn it on wouldn’t be to bad. What’s bad, though, is the muscle-memory I have related to the action of just closing the cover to switch the device off. I’m pretty sure if I disabled Auto-Lock, I’d often close the cover, and then return later to find the battery completely depleted.

And that’s where are today—still a mystery. Hopefully somebody with a solution will stumble across this article!

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