Fix for M4 iPad Pro grainy display? User reports and potential solutions

Apple’s latest iPad Pro models, featuring cutting-edge OLED displays, have generated considerable excitement among consumers. However, shortly after their release, some users began reporting an unexpected issue: a grainy appearance on the display.

This article delves into the details of this issue, examining whether it represents a genuine defect or a characteristic of OLED technology.

iPad Pro M4

Reports of grainy displays on the new iPad Pro models have surfaced across various forums, including Reddit. Users describe a visible grainy effect, particularly noticeable in dark environments with the display set to low or medium brightness. This effect is often compared to the visual noise seen in photos taken at high ISO settings.

Has anybody else noticed grain on the new tandem OLED display. It is especially noticeable when you have a dark room with no reflections and go into the settings. On my display I noticed something that looks like grain but you have to look at it from a very close distance. For me it was quite obvious because I do graphical stuff. Is it just my display or have others also experienced this?

via @Vingdoloras

Most complaints come from users of the 11-inch iPad Pro, although there are some mentions of the 13-inch model experiencing similar issues. This raises questions about the quality and consistency of the OLED panels supplied by Samsung and LG Display, Apple’s partners for these displays.

Understanding the grainy effect

The grainy appearance could be attributed to several factors inherent to OLED technology. OLED displays control brightness at the pixel level, which can lead to minor variations in brightness across the screen. This variability can manifest as a grainy effect, especially in low-light conditions or when displaying uniform colors.

Additionally, the individual sub-pixels in OLED screens can vary in size and shape, contributing to an inconsistent texture. This is more pronounced on larger displays, like those of the iPad Pro, due to the lower pixel density compared to smaller devices like smartphones.

Another potential cause is the Mura effect, a common issue in both OLED and LCD screens. The Mura effect results from irregularities between pixels, often due to uneven illumination or minor manufacturing imperfections. These irregularities can become noticeable in specific lighting conditions or when viewing certain types of content.

Manufacturers and production challenges

The involvement of multiple suppliers, Samsung Display for the 11-inch model and LG Display for the 13-inch, complicates pinpointing the root cause. Earlier reports indicated that Samsung faced yield issues with the 11-inch panels, leading Apple to partially shift orders to LG Display. This could suggest that the grainy effect might be linked to production variances between the two suppliers.

Is it a defect or an OLED quirk?

At this point, it is unclear whether the grainy display issue is a defect or an inherent characteristic of OLED technology. While some users find the graininess bothersome, especially those using the iPad Pro for artistic work, others may not notice it unless they look for it specifically.

Historically, similar grainy effects have been observed in other OLED devices, including high-end smartphones. For instance, some Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra units exhibited a comparable issue, which was later addressed through a software update. This suggests that if the graininess is due to power management settings or pixel-level brightness control, a software fix might be possible.

Apple’s potential response

Apple has yet to officially address the grainy display reports. Given the high-profile nature of the iPad Pro launch and the significance of its OLED technology, it is likely that Apple is investigating the issue. If the graininess is deemed a defect, Apple might announce a corrective measure or offer replacements. Conversely, if it is considered a characteristic of OLED technology, users might need to adjust their expectations or settings to mitigate the effect.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.