Why does my ipad say it's not charging?
February 26, 2011 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Why does my iPad say it's not charging when it is, in fact, charging?

My iPad says it's not charging, even when it's plugged into a wall outlet via the adapter. (A wall outlet that has enough power to recharge batteries and cell phones, I should point out.) This behavior reproduces on every outlet we've tried it on, including one that's running our refrigerator and one that's running a space heater. However, the ipad does charge, at about 5-8% per hour. ( I have no idea if that's normal or not.) What gives?
posted by KathrynT to Technology (13 answers total)
In some cases, where the iPad has a marginal current supply, the iPad will say "Not Charging" when the screen is on, but when the screen goes dark, it actually is charging. If, in some parallel universe, there was a way to read the status bar with the display off, it would say "Charging".

If you plug it in with the 10W wall adapter it ships with, it should be able to charge. I have no idea why its not, but you are definitely not getting enough power to it, because it should charge way way faster than 5-8% per hour on wall power.

You say you've tried multiple outlets, but have you tried multiple adaptors? Maybe there's something wrong with yours. iPhone/iPod/iPad chargers are pretty common objects so it shouldn't be too hard to find one to borrow.
posted by jeb at 3:10 PM on February 26, 2011

I've got both an iPhone 4 and an iPad - I found that the using plug piece shipped with the iPhone gives the iPad this "Not Charging" message, and it charges (with the screen off) more slowly than the plug piece shipped with the iPad - I have to guess that the iPhone plug end supplies lower power than the iPad end does. Also, FWIW - when you plug the iPad into a PC and it displays the "Not Charging" message, it will charge when the screen is off.
posted by msbutah at 3:30 PM on February 26, 2011

Yes, the iPhone adaptor gives about 1 amp of power, while the 10 W iPad adaptor gives about 2 amps. The iPad will say "Not charging" (while actually charging slowly) if used with the lower-powered charger, or with the USB ports on most computers.
posted by nicwolff at 3:46 PM on February 26, 2011

IIRC, Apple's USB chargers have some sort of signaling to tell the device "Hey, I'm really a charger not a generic USB host, so it's OK to draw more power than the USB spec allows". If the iPad doesn't see that signal, it plays it safe and stays within the USB spec, which (apparently) doesn't provide enough power to light the display and charge the battery at the same time.

I miss Firewire
posted by hattifattener at 4:05 PM on February 26, 2011

This is the charger that shipped with the iPad, and it's plugged directly into the wall outlet. We don't have any iPhones. It sounds like my adapter might be borked!
posted by KathrynT at 4:56 PM on February 26, 2011

Have you tried powering down fully (hold the power button 'till it says "slide to power off") and restarting everything? I've seen that work.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:50 PM on February 26, 2011

Why not take it in to an Apple Store and see if it charges on one of their iPad chargers? It really does sound like you're using an iPhone/iPod charger for the iPad though. Maybe you switched yours with a friend's?
posted by reformedjerk at 8:01 PM on February 26, 2011

Yup, restart it. I've had iPhones since the 1st gen and an iPad, and have gotten some really puzzling errors that disappeared after a restart.

Also, nthing what everyone else says...the "charging" notification is funky. I've found that it never says "charging" when connected to a laptop (Mac), but once the screen darkens it does charge. Have you tried in other outlets? And obviously, it could be the little plug doohickey or the cable...I've had two cables fail on me over the years.
posted by nevercalm at 8:05 PM on February 26, 2011

We don't even know anyone with an iPhone, at least nobody with an iPhone who spends time at our house. The iPad charger has never left the house, it's a christmas present. The adapter does say Output 5.3V / 2.1A on it, which leads me to believe it really is an iPad adapter.

I tried holding down the power button, and it never said "slide to power off." I held it down for 90 solid seconds, timed by the clock. I can take it to the Apple store, though it's a bit tricky to do so just due to timing (two small kids). This is just the regular old power button, the same one you tap to get back to the main screen, right?
posted by KathrynT at 9:05 PM on February 26, 2011

That's the "home" button, there's a smaller oblong button on the edge of the iPad that is the power button.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:22 PM on February 26, 2011

Had to go look at mine- it's on the same side as the headphone jack, on the opposite side from the side you plug the charger into.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:25 PM on February 26, 2011

I've had the same thing happen to my iPad, but the problem is intermittent. If I unplug the iPad and try it again, it will often charge normally. The problem is much less frequent after I switched the USB-dock connector cable I was using (I'd abused the one that came with the ipad quite badly). But, I have a feeling the real cause is looseness in the iPad's dock connector.
posted by mariokrat at 4:46 AM on February 27, 2011

Mariokrat for the win. The problem repro'd in the Apple store, with their charger. They didn't want to restore it at the Genius Bar because I hadn't backed it up recently. But now when I try to back it up? Itunes won't see it. In fact, plugging it in doesn't even make the "USB Connect" noise.

Anybody know if there's a way to back up all my apps without the dock working?
posted by KathrynT at 4:04 PM on March 1, 2011

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