Apple just released the updated iPad Mini, a device that packs most of what makes the larger iPads so popular into a tiny frame. This tablet has an 8.3 inch 60 Hz LCD display with thin bezels and impressive brightness for a tablet. It also shows a phenomenon called “jelly scrolling” that some owners can no longer ignore after seeing it. However, Apple says the screen works as intended.
Jelly scrolling has popped up from time to time, usually when an OEM strangely attaches the display to a phone. OnePlus, for example, designed the OnePlus 5 with an upside-down screen. This is a problem because LCDs update from top to bottom. If you flip it, the different updates on the control panel make things look strangely “fluid” as you move.
The iPad Mini doesn’t have an upside-down LCD panel, but the jelly scrolling effect is evident when the device is held in portrait orientation. As you can see in the video below, the screen will refresh from side to side when you hold it in portrait orientation. You can also see a clear dividing line in the center of the LCD. This makes the content look like it is stretching as it scrolls (almost everything on mobile devices scrolls vertically), but the effect is lacking in landscape mode as the screen refreshes from top to bottom as intended.
Here is a slow-mo video of the scrolling on the iPad Min. I slowed down EVEN MORE in a frame-by-frame step. Notice how the right one moves up faster than the left.
You can hardly see it in normal use, but every now and then you will notice it. In landscape mode it disappears entirely pic.twitter.com/iq9LGJzsDI
– Dieter Bohn (@backlon) September 22, 2021
In response to complaints, Apple said this was normal. Since LCDs update line by line, expect jelly scrolling. We disagree. Most devices do not show any noticeable jelly scrolling, although on a technical level they all work the same. Apple’s other iPads with 60Hz screens don’t attract the same complaints, including the new $ 329 base iPad model. For $ 500, you’d expect the Mini to be at least as good, but it’s unclear why the distortion is more pronounced here. Perhaps the smaller footprint makes the stretch more noticeable, or Apple would have chosen a cheaper display on the Mini to save a few bucks. Ars Technica reports on Apple’s initial reaction, claiming that this problem is clearly visible with the new Mini.
When Apple says this is nothing to worry about, it really means there is nothing for it Apple to worry about. With the iPad Mini’s display working as intended, there are no changes to be made or units to be retrieved. If you have a mini and are already getting on your nerves with jelly scrolling, maybe it is time to give it back – it won’t get any better with time. There are rumors that Apple plans to make the landscape the “right” direction with the release of new Pro models. So maybe the Mini is just one step ahead of the curve.