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Apple iPad: How to do a reset when the screen is black

What would you do if your iPad died and the screen went black? Here’s 4 ways you can revive your beloved iPad before giving up and going to a technician.

It’s the iPad user’s worst nightmare. You reach for your Apple tablet, press the power button and… nothing happens at all.

You keep holding it down but there’s still no sign of life from your once reliable iPad. But don’t panic, the past 7 years of iPad experience has allowed the author to put together these 4 tried and trusted ways to spark some life into an iPad with a blank screen.

We recommend to try them one at a time, in the order they appear in the article. And hopefully the end result will be a fully working iPad in your hands.

1. Recharge – and keep recharging

The most common cause of ‘the black screen of dread’ is the fact that the iPad battery is so drained that nothing, not even the red empty battery icon, can be displayed. The iPad has a much bigger battery than the iPhone so leave it charging for at least an hour from a proper power adaptor rather than a USB lead from a computer.

If in doubt let it charge overnight – especially if the charger is for an iPhone – hopefully by morning the iPad will be back online.

If you see the red ‘filler’ of the battery icon flash three times and then the screen goes black, it means that iPad is not receiving enough power to charge. Plug it into a mains-connected power supply and say a little prayer.

2. Reset

To reset and restart your iPad hold down the Sleep/Wake button on the top right of the tablet while simultaneously pressing down the home button. Keep both buttons depressed until the iPad restarts – this can take up to 15 seconds, so persevere.

If the red slider appears or the screen dims, keep pressing until the Apple logo appears.

3. Restart

A blank screen may mean that the iPad is switched on, but the display is not working. In this situation forcing a restart may jolt it back into action.

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the power off slider appears

  2. Drag the slider to the right to turn the iPad completely off

  3. Wait for 2 minutes, then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until Apple logo appears.

4. Recovery Mode

If the previous solutions have not worked then you can try to force your iPad into recovery mode and then Restoring it to factory settings. Please be aware that doing this will erase all data on your iPad – which you should be able to recover from a recent backup.

To put your iPad into recovery mode do the following:

  1. Make sure the device is switched off, by holding down the Sleep/Wake button and dragging the slider to the off position.

  2. Plug a USB cable into a PC or Mac running the latest version of iTunes. (Do not plug the lead into the iPad yet)

  3. Hold down the Home button on the iPad while plugging in the USB cable. Keep holding down the button until the Connect to iTunes screen appears. If you don’t see this screen, repeat the previous steps.

  4. When you the screen showing a Lightning cable, arrow and red iTunes icon, release the Home button.

    iTunes will now open automatically and a pop-up will appear stating that iTunes has detected an iPad in recovery mode. Click OK to restore the iPad to the factory defaults – remember this will erase all the data on the device. You should be able to restore that data from an earlier backup.


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