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iPad overheating outdoors? How to make your iPad daylight readable

iPad screen glare outdoors

The iPad suffers badly from glare and overheating outdoors

There is plenty to like about the iPad, and plenty to get frustrated about as well. Apart from the lack of Flash and spontaneously crashing live on the BBC, the iPad’s difficulty outdoors is a real thorn in its side.

As is often the case with Apple products, overheating reports surfaced quickly following the release of the iPad. I myself suffered shutdowns after only a few minutes of outdoor use on a sunny day. Now, I don’t live in a crazily hot city, but New York does get pretty warm. We’re already into the 80’s for a few days a week, so I needed to find a solution.

But hold on, even if there’s a way to get the iPad to work outdoors without breaking a sweat, the screen isn’t exactly daylight readable. In fact it’s a glare magnet, which severely limits its usability outdoors.

So here’s what I’ve discovered over the last few weeks, hopefully these simple suggestions will allow you to enjoy your iPad in more places.

Enjoying the sun while keeping the iPad’s screen in shade

Apple iPad case sun shade

The Apple iPad case can be used as a sun shade

It sounds like an impossible task, but if you want to sit in the sun you must keep it from shining directly onto the iPad’s screen to have any hope of avoiding an overheating shutdown. The glass screen seems to act as a greenhouse and amplifies the sun’s rays making it almost too hot to touch after just a few minutes of exposure.

The best solution I have found for this is Apple’s own iPad case, whose protective flap can be held over the screen easily with a thumb to act as a sun-shade. Other cases with a flap cover should be able to be used in this way as well.

Allowing the iPad to expel heat

Although I love the ad-hoc sun-shade properties of Apple’s own case, its glove-like fit ensures that heat from the iPad’s back plate has no escape route. This helps to bring on shutdowns that little bit quicker.

So in addition to using the main flap as a sun-shade, opening the interior flap if you’re using the iPad horizontally will allow some heat to dissipate upwards. Make sure that you are holding the iPad with the internal flap at the top, to avoid the iPad falling out of the sleeve.

Apple iPad case sun shade 2

Raise the case cover slightly to allow trapped heat to escape

Also, when you are not using the iPad it will cool down quicker if you prop open the main flap by an inch or so. This will provide shade to the iPad while allowing heat trapped in the screen to escape.

Reading the iPad screen outdoors

The glare from the screen makes viewing it extremely difficult in daylight. There are a couple of ways to best this. The first is to use one of the many anti-glare screen covers now available. These do have the downside of adding a tint to the screen and reducing clarity however, and are also difficult to take on and off if you only need them once a week or so.

My preferred option is to use sunglasses with polarized lenses. These are available cheaply and mine do a fantastic job of destroying glare from the iPad’s screen.

If these tips aren’t enough to stop your iPad from showing an overheating warning and shutting down, thenmove it to a cool place and allow it to properly cool.

I used the polarized sunglasses with Apple case sun-shade technique to survive a week of use in Las Vegas, in very warm and bright conditions. The 3G reception on AT&T was lousy, but hey, trying to fix that one is a whole other story!

Neil Berman

May 30, 2010 - Posted by | Apple, Guides, Hardware | , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] the weather it’s no secret that I like using my gadgets outdoors. This has led me to convert Apple’s iPad case into a sunshade, choose the BlackBerry Bold 9700 over other smartphones due to its sunlight readable screen,and […]

    Pingback by This gadget life « theONbutton | Sep 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. While sitting on my deck it becomes impossible to read. Though I don,t mind looking at myself I would much prefer seeing the print clearly…

    Comment by James | Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

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