Update, 9/30/2021: An iFixit teardown suggests that the iPad mini’s more noticeable scrolling problem is a byproduct of how the display controller is mounted. You can read more in our coverage of their teardown.
Update, 09/28/2021: In response to our investigation, Apple has told us that the “jelly scroll” problem on the 6th generation iPad mini is normal for LCD screens. Because these screens are refreshed line by line, there is a slight delay between the times when the lines at the top of the screen are refreshed and the lines at the bottom. This can cause uneven scrolling issues like those seen on the iPad.
We argue that this effect is noticeable on the iPad mini in a way that it is not noticeable on other 60Hz LCD iPads we tested, such as the iPad Air 4 and the latest $329 iPad. There’s also a clear dividing line in the center of the screen in portrait mode, as seen in our testing and in the video below – it’s not a problem that it extends to the very edges of the screen. As a result, the company doesn’t believe there is a hardware or software problem to “fix”, and that the screen appears to be as it is.
Original story: Apple’s latest iPad mini was released to the general public on Friday, and over the weekend users started complaining about a subtle scrolling problem when using the tablet in portrait mode (MacRumors has a good summary). The tablet appears to refresh the left and right halves of the screen at slightly different rates, creating a subtle but noticeable “jelly scroll” effect. Dieter Bohn . from The Verge captured slow motion video that shows the problem.
The problem is subtle enough that we didn’t notice it when testing the mini for our review, but our review unit does indeed seem to suffer from the same issue. It’s most noticeable when scrolling up and down a web page or document relatively slowly – the left side of the screen seems to follow the right side just now enough that paragraphs of text appear rubbery and wobbly to the observant eye.
In our testing, the issue seems to affect the display in landscape mode, where the left and right halves of the screen become the top and bottom halves of the screen. But horizontal scrolling is much less common than vertical scrolling in most apps, making the effect less obvious. Some users have reported that they cannot notice the problem at all in landscape mode.
It’s not clear if this issue is caused by the iPad mini’s hardware, or if it’s something Apple can fix with a software update. We have asked the company for comment and will update this post if we receive a response.