iPad 2 WiFi greyed-out (N/A)

I purchased an Apple iPad 2 over half an year ago. I bought a Rilakkuma smart cover with it. The iPad was tugged inside the cover in the shop, and I never felt the need to take it out since. However yesterday the iPad gave me a scare.

It had been rather hot and humid the past couple of days, more humid than hot. Despite the temperature being around the 35-36C bracket, it felt as though it was actually over 40C. I had been using the iPad as a content consumption device heavily, but of late, I had only been reading books on it, thus keeping the WiFi disabled. Yesterday, however, I had issues with the WiFi scanning for networks. It couldn’t find any. I had given the problem to some rogue setting on the WiFi router (the WiFi, alledgedly, on iPad is sensitive to WiFi routers). But today, to my utter shock, I found the WiFi option under Settings disabled (greyed-out). What shocked me more was finding “N/A” listed next to WiFi under Settings > About, which meant that the OS didn’t find any WiFi chip/interface on the iPad.

That freaked me out. My first assumption was the WiFi chip had died. Reading a couple of posts on forums about the issue (there weren’t many covering the issue) confirmed that. However, someone suggested cooling down the iPad before powering it on again. Since I had already assumed the worst, I thought it wouldn’t hurt if I tried that suggestion.

I took the iPad out of its cover for the first time since purchasing it. I turned on the airco, powered off the iPad, and left it directly under the airco to let it cool off. After around twenty minutes, when the Aluminium backside of the iPad felt chilled to the touch, I crossed my fingers, and powered it on. Voila! The WiFi option was no longer greyed-out, and the Settings > About no longer showed a frightening N/A.

I heaved a deep sigh of relief.

I am lost as to the exact cause of the problem. I do know that high humidity (coupled with heat) plays havoc with electronics. And the iPad had been left around in closed, hot rooms every now and then (with other electronics, I must point out). Nevertheless, I’m glad it is working now.


6 thoughts on “iPad 2 WiFi greyed-out (N/A)

  1. “Voila! The WiFi option was no longer greyed-out, and the Settings > About no longer showed a frightening N/A”

    Honestly i took a sigh of relief too after reading this :)

    Karachi has been really humid these days and its increasing with the increase of overall evironment temp.

  2. If you the way apple designs stuff they try these aluminum based components to kool down their devices as part of the design. My feeling with their products is that having a better exhaust is better than very thin devices burning the hell out of silicon. Xbox has that issue and my feeling is iPad 3 will have more such issues. I can bare hold my iPod when playing graphic intensive games.

    • Thanks for the comment, Raheel.

      I think the iPad does a good job of handling exhaust, because under any type of use, I’ve never felt the Aluminium light up. It gets warm and cold depending on the ambient temperature, but never from the heat generated by the components inside. I was reading the recommended temperature range for Apple devices including iPhones and iPad, and our temperatures easily exceed those.

  3. Take care cooling iPad too quickly, you don’t want condensation inside the thing. A risk in your climate, easy to exceed 95% non-condensing?

  4. I recently bought a waterproof bag for my iphone (for kayaking, or just heavy rain!) The instructions say keep hold of the standard sachet of silica gel which most things (including shoes) arrive with, and pop it back into the bag if you live or go somewhere humid. The iphone, or ipad, will already contain moisture and as Grant Coady says, you don’t want this to condense. maybe next time your ipad does a wobbler you could pop it in a smallish box or bag with some kind of hydrophilic material for a while, rather than risking condensation with the aircon. I use uncooked rice grains in the salt container to stop the salt sticking; nice and low tech.
    Your blog has been really useful a couple of times; thanks Ayaz!

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