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Apple says the new iPad mini’s weird ‘jelly scrolling’ is totally normal

The problem deals with how LCD panels work, but that doesn’t make it less annoying

Apple ipad mini in four colors
Image: KnowTechie

The new iPad mini has a problem. When used in portrait orientation, there is a noticeable “jelly scroll” effect when scrolling through text-heavy content, like websites or ebooks. Apple says it’s totally normal behavior for LCD screens, and won’t be fixing it.

Let’s take a look at this ‘normal’ behavior, courtesy of The Verge‘s Dieter Bohn. His recording shows him slowly scrolling through a The Verge article on Safari, in portrait mode, and recorded in slo-mo. Notice that the screen seems to wobble, as the left and right sides of the text move at different speeds.

He does note that it goes away completely in Landscape mode and that it’s “barely” noticeable in normal use. If you have an iPad mini, or any other device, and want to test for ‘jelly scroll,’ head on over to TestUFO, which has a jelly test.

The thing is, while that’s super annoying to deal with, it is expected behavior. LCD panels don’t refresh the entire screen at once, so pixels refresh at different times, creating this effect in some situations.

The reason you don’t see it in Landscape orientation is the same reason you don’t see it when scrolling on your PC monitor – it refreshes from top-to-bottom in this orientation. When you flip the iPad mini to Portrait orientation, it’s now refreshing side-to-side, creating the ‘jelly’ effect.

Will this be enough to turn off would-be buyers? Probably not, as the iPad mini is a miniature beast in every other respect. The annoyance is more that Apple has managed to mitigate this on pretty much every other recent iPad, including the previous iPad mini, so why did it appear here?

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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