ZDNet’s O’Grady: iPad 3 ‘Heatgate’ drama is completely overblown

“Much has been written about the increase in heat emitted from the iPad 3 [sic] with some tests claiming that it runs as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit hotter — while running GPU-intensive tasks — than the iPad 2,” Jason D. O’Grady reports for ZDNet. “One of the loudest complaints came from the venerable Consumer Reports which claimed that the iPad 3 hits 116 degrees while running games — again using thermal images to support its case.”

“Apple was quick to nip this one in the bud, with Apple PR’s Trudy Muller telling AllThingsD: ‘The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications. If customers have any concerns they should contact AppleCare,'” O’Grady reports. “Ray Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation, thinks that the “overheating” claims are overblown and I agree.”

O’Grady reports, “I played games on my iPad 3 for about two hours straight last night while writing a review of five games that push the iPad 3’s Retina display to the limit — and my iPad never got too hot to touch. It was definitely warmer than my iPad 2, but not unusually hot, especially for how much I was pushing the quad-core GPU and the Retina display… According to Soniera, the iPad 3’s LCD panel has 72-82 LEDs, which is approximately twice the amount of LEDs as found in the iPad 2. The iPad 3’s LEDs give off 2.5 times as much heat as the iPad 2 as will the battery and power electronics. He goes on to say that when the iPad 3 display is set for maximum brightness the display consumes about 65% of the devices total power, which plays a major roll in its thermal budget.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Consumer Reports’ bombshell: New iPad runs hotter than predecessor but ‘not especially uncomfortable’ – March 20, 2012
FUD Alert: Consumer Reports to ‘investigate’ reports of iPad and ‘excess heat’ – March 20, 2012
Like clockwork: Let the iPad ‘overheating’ FUD begin! – March 20, 2012
Infrared test shows more powerful new iPad running a safe 10-degrees warmer than iPad 2 – March 20, 2012


  1. I don’t recall anyone saying it got so hot you couldn’t hold it.

    It doesn’t require gpu intensive use to get warm. After 10 minutes of web surfing, mines gets uncomfortably warm. Meaning it doesn’t feel nice to hold. Wiping finger sweat from my left hand every couple minutes isn’t something I even thought about with the iPad 1 I owned.

    It does feel like an Apple experience to me. Not for a handheld device.

    1. That’s impossible, Bill, unless your core body temp is in the 80s…and you live in the Klondike. Also, the iPad doesn’t do Flash..remember? Browsing the web is like a slow jog to the iPad.

    2. Listen dude, and all the other dupes. This device has 4 cores, much faster cores than the previous devices from Apple or anyone else.
      Electrical current moves faster through these circuits. The electricity passes through these chips and creates friction that friction creates heat. It’s basic it happens in everything from light bulbs to cell phones and of course tablets. We have heard reports of 113 F degrees from some sources. Your body is at 98.6F, your coffee is at 155-175F on average unless it’s from McDonalds of course.
      So what to do. Buy a case for your iPad that protects your baby soft skin from the evil 113F degrees. Perhaps use it only on cold days to provide you with warmth and cut your heating bill.
      The discussion is ridiculous laptops run far hotter and they go on your lap. ON YOUR LAP!! Never once have I seen an article of concern from Consumer reports to Save the world from the 158F+ those puppies put out. I will save you the google’ing the answer is no the did not and neither did any other of the reporters from our sold out hit squad media. Expect congressional hearings as well (joking… Maybe). I have an idea a firmware update that lets you under clock your iPad for your own safety perhaps add it to your parental setting feature that way parents can prevent those disfiguring scars/burns from happening. Also an IQ soanner to measure the IQ of the iPad owner and slow down the cpu/cores down just like their owners. Perhaps a tablet buy back program so Apple can get those hot plates out of the hands of the idiots that are bitching about it. Hell throw in a kindle fire to sweeten the deal and give them a kiss goodbye too.

      Pissed at all the stupidity fueled by rage and fighting back.
      Sorry for the tude but this is insane and I figured I would fight fire with FIRE.

    3. I work in Apple retail and deal with dozens of iPads on a daily basis. I’m not talking out of my ass.

      Of the 3,000,000 iPads sold, perhaps some are running warmer than normal, even under light load. Perhaps I have one. Of the 500+ that we have sold in store, we haven’t had any returns, or comments on heat issues. I preordered from Apple, perhaps mine came from a different batch.

      I have a Tucano leather case on my iPad, perhaps this is part of the issue. Maybe it’s not allowing the heat to dissipate properly. It’s a very thin leather case, so it does not insulate against heat transfer either. One of my co-workers has a thicker version of the case and plays games all day long, and has not experienced any heat issues.

      I’ll do a bit more testing. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll trade him cases for the day and see how things go. Or we’ll run some side by side tests and see if it’s isolated to my iPad.

  2. I love the smell of burning meat when I’m surfing the web.
    Honestly CR is full of whit about most things.
    maybe I’ll create a cooking web site that uses extraneous heat as a fuel source.

    1. No. It is the survival stories that grab at your heart. Stories like: My child was kept alive by slipping the new iPad in with them while our car was stuck in a global warming snow storm for 10 hours.

      It brings a tear to my eyes just thinking about the story.

      1. The only real story may be the maxing out the USB charger while using the new iPads. Apple may need to offer a non USB charger if the power required exceeds the USB standard. Man, charge it while you sleep. Turn it off and give yourself a break. The iPad is great but life is all around you too and you have to eat, shower, … Charge it and get over your missing a moment in the 24 hour day with your new toy.

        Apple or Griffin, offer a better cable for those that need it. Don’t turn this into antenna gate / bumper gate again!

  3. I pushed mine to the limit. I reluctantly played the same game that CR mentioned and yes, my iPad got warm, but not uncomfortable, certainly not to the point of making my fingers sweat. CR also says that their iPad wasn’t charging when playing the game. I’m not sure how they knew because Infinity Blade and Infinity blade 2 cover up the entire screen. My iPad was plugged in as theirs was and my battery percentage never dropped beneath 100%.

    1. You can’t tell if it’s charging or not if it’s already 100%.

      Easy way to tell if battery is charging:
      1) Take reading of battery percentage (must be <100%, say 70%)
      2) run intensive game for duration of test, say 30 minutes. Exit app
      3) Take second reading of battery percentage.

      If charger is connected properly and battery is still 70%, charger is obviously supplying roughly equal the amount of juice the battery is using.

      Might also depend what percentage you are when you start your test. IIRC iOS device batteries "fast charge" to about 70%, then slows down the recharge rate above that.

  4. I just burnt my middle finger. See!

    I’m really enjoying the Heatgate Chronicles. It’s amazing how everyone wants to name-drop Apple to get some attention. I can’t believe how such a minor thing turns into a major issue on the internet. Can’t users just return their iPads and get their money back. They can then go out and buy the older iPad 2 or Android tablet to make themselves happy. I’m thinking that every high-resolution display tablet from any tablet vendor is going to have the same problem as Apple.

    Heat dissipation in a thin-cased tablet is bound to cause higher external heat radiation. Maybe some internal heat spreader would work so one particular area wouldn’t take the full amount of heat.

    I’m again curious as to how those Windows tablets running Intel processors are going to manage the heat when running full desktop applications. Maybe they’ll come with internal fans. They’ll be cooler but noisier. So many compromises need to be made with thin tablets.

  5. I type this on my iPad 3 at Mickey D’s and the iPad that has been on all day is not as warm as my fries. What is the BFD?

    The bulk of the innards is the battery and the case is made of glass and aluminum. It does not take a genius to figure out that some heat will be transmitted through the case. If it didn’t, the thing would probably cook itself and then they would be bitching about that.

  6. OK, way off topic here but since there is plenty of talk about using cases, here goes…

    If you buy a Griffin case (the “Folio”) like I did from BestBuy, be aware that the magnets that are embedded in the case to sleep/wake your iPad3 when you open/close the case, are installed into the fabric with the wrong magnetic polarity. It works fine with an iPad2 since the iPad2’s magnetic sensor doesn’t care about polarity, but the iPad3 does. To make it work you have to cut a slit in the case above the magnet, take it out and flip it over, then slide it back in and glue the slit closed. Other cases made for the iPad2 may or may not work as well, since at the time no one bothered with a certain polarity of the magnet for the iPad2. If you buy one, better test it before you leave the store.

  7. “heat gate” is just … full of hot air

    The other night I was watching movies and the warmth on my lap was cozy… Not uncomfortable. Especially with the A/C blasting!!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.