iPad Heat Dissipation and Cases

Q: I have seen a lot of issues regarding the new third-generation iPad running warmer than the previous one and I am very curious to know whether the new SwitchEasy Canvas case will block the dissipation of heat from the back aluminium cover. I love your reviews on the new SwitchEasy Canvas and I am very interested in buying one as it is highly recommended by you, however I live in a warm country and I am worried about the iPad overheating when playing intense-graphic games and shortening the lifespan of the battery and the electronic components in the iPad.

– Thomas

A: While the third-generation iPad does generate more heat than previous models, our own testing and experience would seem to indicate that this is not nearly as serious a problem as has been suggested.

Keep in mind as well that all of Apple’s iOS devices include thermal sensors designed to trigger a shutdown in the event of excessive heat, which should in principle help to prevent any damage to the electronic components or battery.

Shortly after the release of the third-generation iPad, we tested the heat issue by putting the iPad in an Otterbox case and playing Infinity Blade II for an extended period of time. Designed to be highly protective, the Otterbox iPad cases would provide some of the poorest heat dissipation of any we’ve seen, yet even after an hour of play the heat did not even make holding the iPad uncomfortable when taken out of the case, let alone triggering any kind of overheating warnings.

Further, one of our editors actually uses the SwitchEasy Canvas as his primary case, and has not experienced any overheating issues at all during normal use of his iPad.

Of course your mileage may vary, particularly as the summer months approach, and if you’re living in a warmer climate, this may be more of an issue. However, heat dissipation through most cases does not appear to be a serious problem, and regardless of whether you’re using a case or not you will likely want to avoid using the iPad in excessively hot conditions such as in direct sunlight or after being left inside your car in the middle of a hot day—all considerations that would equally apply to prior iPod models and most other electronic devices as well.