How to Fix the iPad Black Screen of Death

Black Screen of Death on your iPad? Here's what to do

Woman using an iPad with a black screen

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If your iPad seems to be stuck on a black screen and doesn't respond to touch, there are several fixes you can apply to get your iPad working again. Start with the simplest solution and work your way through tougher possible solutions.

Instructions in this article apply to iOS 12.

Restart the iPad

Press and hold the Sleep/Wake Button for at least 30 seconds, or until you see the Apple logo. This step is a forced hardware shutdown that should override any software glitches that prevent normal operation. Try this technique first; if it doesn't work, try the next steps.

Charge the Battery

If your iPad presents a black screen, the problem could be that the battery is depleted. If the battery is too low to support a low-battery message, the iPad doesn't have enough power to display the charging symbol.

The iPad has a larger battery than the iPhone. Charge the iPad with either a 10-watt or 12-watt charger or else it will take a long time to get fully charged. If the battery has been showing signs of depletion previously, it might be time to replace your iPad's battery.

Let the iPad charge for at least 20 minutes, or even overnight.

If the iPad is too hot or too cold, it won't charge. If the iPad has been in freezing or hot temperatures for a while, bring the iPad to room temperature, then plug it into the charger again.

Check for Bad-Behaving Apps

If you frequently experience a full battery discharge problem, a rogue app may be the culprit. Go to Settings > Battery and scroll down to see usage. Apps that consume the most battery are at the top, with the percentage at the side.

If an app consumes a large amount of battery power, close or uninstall the app, then see if the problem goes away.

Battery tab in iOS iPad Settings

Check the Charging Port

Sometimes an iPad doesn't charge properly because the charging point is dirty and the device doesn't get a full charge. Dust or dirt could be inside the port. Every time you plug the charging port into the device, dirt and dust are compressed in the port. Use a non-metal tool, like a wooden toothpick, to dislodge the dust, then charge the device again.

Adjust the Screen Brightness

The iPad may be on, but the screen isn't visible because the brightness setting is too dim. If Siri is enabled, ask Siri to increase the screen brightness. Otherwise, go to a dark room and increase the screen brightness. To increase the brightness, swipe up on the bottom menu and move the slider to increase the brightness. On iOS 12 or later, swipe down on the upper right menu to access screen brightness.

Brightness slider in Control Center for iOS on iPad

Burp Your iPad

Some iPad users have reported on forums that burping the iPad realigns internal cables that aren't properly connecting. To burp an iPad:

  1. Turn off the iPad.

  2. Cover the front and back of the iPad with a towel.

  3. Pat the back of the iPad, as if you are burping a baby, for at least a minute.

  4. Uncover the iPad.

  5. Turn on the iPad.

If this procedure fixes the problem, there's a hardware problem that may occur again. Consider taking your iPad to the Apple Store for repairs.

System Update

If you've tried all of the above fixes, and your iPad screen is still black, try a system update.

You'll need a computer that has the latest version of iTunes installed.

  1. Connect the iPad charger to the iPad and the computer.

  2. Open iTunes on the computer.

  3. On the iPad, press and hold the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons. Continue to hold both buttons, even after the Apple logo appears.

  4. When you see the option to Restore or Update, chose Update.

  5. iTunes reinstalls iOS without erasing your data.

  6. After 15 minutes, if this procedure fails, the device will exit recovery.

System Restore

A System Restore is your last resort, as this step erases the data on the iPad. If you backed up your data to the cloud, you can recover your data. If you haven't, take your device to an authorized Apple repair technician to see if there's a problem with the screen or if another hardware issue causes the black screen of death on your iPad. After your device is repaired, you may not need to do a System Restore.

If you still need to complete a System Restore:

  1. Connect the iPad charger to the iPad and the computer.

    Use a computer that has the latest version of iTunes installed.

  2. Open iTunes on your computer.

  3. On the iPad, press and hold the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons.

  4. Continue to hold both buttons, even after the Apple logo appears.

  5. When you see the option to Restore or Update, chose Restore.

In June 2019, Apple announced that it's discontinuing the iTunes program.