IPad mini teardown sheds new light on ‘jelly-scrolling’ controversy

IFixit iPad mini 2021 teardown.

A new teardown of Apple’s latest iPad mini by iFixit found a clue that may explain the “jelly-scrolling” effect that some tablet users have complained about.

In case you missed our previous coverage on the subject, some iPad mini users noticed a subtle, staggered disconnect between the left and right sides of the screen when scrolling through content. Some people see it right away, others it must be pointed out, and others don’t even realize it when it is told.

After we wrote about it, Apple told us the story saying that the effect was expected. from our coverage:

In response to our inquiry, Apple has told us that the “jelly shift” problem on the 6th generation iPad mini is normal behavior for LCD screens. Because these screens update line by line, there is a slight delay between when the lines at the top of the screen and the lines at the bottom are updated. This can cause uneven scrolling issues like those seen on the iPad.

When disassembling the mini, iFixit discovered that the controller board that controls the tablet’s screen is oriented vertically. In contrast, the iPad Air is oriented horizontally. iFixit suggests that the gelatin shift effect occurs when the orientation of the tablet does not match the location of the controller board, because the line-by-line update also occurs in relation to the orientation of that board.

Sure enough, iPad mini slow motion pictures show the jelly scrolling in portrait mode (a vertical orientation) but not in landscape (a horizontal one). And the iPad Air also shows jelly scrolling in the same test; it just does it in landscape orientation instead of portrait.

The iPad Pro has a vertically oriented display controller board. While another video test showed that jelly scrolling was still happening on that portrait mode tablet just like the mini, the Pro’s 120Hz refresh rate nearly masks it from most human eyes. All this means that while the effect may be more noticeable on one device than another, it is common on any OLED or LCD screen, iPad or otherwise.

The recent iPad mini jelly scrolling controversy aside, iFixit teardowns generally focus on exploring how easy the devices are to repair. The iPad mini received a 3 out of 10 for its repairability. Earlier this week, iFixit also brought down the iPhone 13 Pro and gave it a 6 out of 10.

Image listing by I fix it

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