Some Retina iPad mini displays have an image retention problem

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Many first-generation Retina MacBook Pros exhibited an issue where a faint remnant of an image persists on the screen even after a new image replaces it. The issue seemed to be tied to Sharp-manufactured units, and seems to be present in certain Retina iPad mini units as well, presumably, the ones with displays made by Sharp.

Instapaper founder Marco Arment has developed a web page to test this issue, which shows a black and white checkerboard pattern for around 10 minutes and switches to a plain gray background after that. If the checkerboard pattern can still be faintly seen on the screen, it shows that the display exhibits the image retention issue.

A number of Retina iPad mini units, including Marco’s own, responded positive for image retention.

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Sharp’s display panel shortages are reportedly responsible for Retina iPad mini supply constraints, and the image retention issue could explain why Sharp’s yield rates are low. Apple requires its suppliers to meet certain specifications, and issues like this could lead to high rejection rates.

There are also reports of the colors on the Retina iPad mini’s display appearing more washed out than on the iPad Air. We’ve observed the same thing in our own comparison video, though these problems are unlikely to be related.

The image retention isn’t permanent, and in most cases won’t be immediately noticeable to the average user. That said, if your Retina iPad mini did show this issue, you could get it replaced by heading to your nearest Apple Store.

Let us know if you’re observing the issue on your shiny new Retina iPad mini in the comments below.