When the third-generation iPad first came out, there was talk of an issue where light appeared to be leaking into the screen. The light was only noticeable when you were on a dark page, like a black screen, and it was fairly difficult to see. My third-gen has the issue. At first, I was tempted to take it back and replace it with a new one. I decided against it and didn’t even think about it again until today, when reports began to surface that the new iPad mini with Retina display is suffering from image retention issues.
According to Macro Arment, creator of Instapaper, MacRumors reported that some iPad mini units are showing signs of retention, or “burn-in,” as it is being called. The report originally came from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, and was further supported by Korea-based ETNews. The latter explained why this issue exists.
“The burn-in problem was caused by the drastic reduction of the pixel size. The resolution of the 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina display is 2048×1536, about four times clearer than the existing 1024×768 products … The pixel of the smartphone display is smaller than that of the iPad mini Retina panel, but as the Low Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon (LTPS) technology is used, it can be produced stably. The pixel of the iPad mini Retina is the smallest among those products using a-Si.”
Macro Arment created a test page for retention issues back when the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display was rumored to have the same problem. His test lets you check your screen for possible issues. The first page shows a black-and-white image of a checkerboard. The second is a gray screen. If your tablet has image retention issues, after you switch from the first page to the second, a faint ghost image of the checkerboard will appear on your screen.
If your tablet does fail the retention test, it might be a good idea to trade it in. However, there is a chance that your new iPad mini with Retina display will have the same problem. When my iPad showed signs of light leaking, I didn’t trade it in and never had a problem with graphics or visuals. I never even noticed it again after a few months.
It is possible that users won’t even remember that they have retention issues on their tablets after a while.