How To Use Your iPad In Direct Sunlight?

Ever tried reading a fascinating research paper on your iPad while soaking up some rays at your favorite park, only to realize you can’t see a thing on your screen? Yes, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?

The battle between enjoying the great outdoors and staying connected digitally can be a real challenge. Today’s blog post is all about that – mastering the art of using your iPad in direct sunlight.

You see, direct sunlight has always been a bit of a nemesis for our beloved tablet. It either makes the screen too dim to read or turns it into a mirror for the sun. 

But fear not friends, there are solutions to our sun-soaked iPad woes. That’s right, you don’t have to retreat indoors or huddle under the shade to use your iPad.

So, stay tuned, and let’s get started on this sunlit journey!

iPad placed near window against direct sunlight.

Understanding the iPad Screen and Sunlight

1. Overheating

When you use an iPad in direct sunlight, the glass screen, due to its material properties, absorbs a considerable amount of solar radiation. This radiation gets converted into heat energy, causing the iPad’s internal temperature to rise. 

The iPad, like any electronic device, operates within a specified temperature range, typically between 32°F to 95°F (0°C to 35°C). Beyond this limit, the performance of electronic components can be adversely affected, leading to potential damage.

When the iPad’s internal temperature exceeds the safe threshold, the device’s in-built safety mechanism comes into play. This mechanism includes thermal sensors distributed throughout the iPad, constantly monitoring its internal temperature. 

It begins dimming the screen, reducing processing speed, disabling some features, or even shutting down the iPad if the sensors detect an unsafe temperature level.

The shutdown can occur within 10-15 minutes, depending on the intensity of the sunlight and the initial surface temperature of the iPad.

iPad Overheated due to high temperature

2. Glare

Glass covers the iPad’s screen, giving it a shiny, aesthetically pleasing appearance. However, this glass surface is reflective, especially when exposed to intense light sources like the sun. The reflection of sunlight on the iPad screen creates a glare, which is an apparent brightening of the light observed.

This glare effectively drowns out the iPad’s backlight, reducing the screen’s contrast ratio. Displaying a bright white or dark black on a screen is known as a contrast ratio.

When the contrast ratio decreases, the content on the screen appears washed out, making it challenging to read text or view images.

iPad with glass screen replacement.

3. Polarization

Polarization is a property of waves that describes their oscillation orientation. In the context of light, polarization often refers to the direction of the electric field component of the light wave. LCDs, including your iPad, create images using polarized light.

Sunglasses, specifically those designed for reducing glare, are also polarized. They’re designed to block horizontally polarized light, which is typically reflected off surfaces like water or a road, causing glare. However, the iPad’s LCD screen emits vertically polarized light. 

Polarized sunglasses can make iPad screens look dark or black due to a mismatch in polarization.

Related: Best Tablets For Outdoor Use

Adjusting iPad Settings for Sunlight Use – Step-By-Step Guide

1. Increase Brightness

Step 1:

Accessing your iPad is the first step in increasing its brightness. To do this, press the “Setting Icon” on your iPad.

a girl pointing with apple pencil to Press the "Setting Icon"

Step 2:

Now locate and tap on the “Display & Brightness” option.

a girl pointing with apple pencil locating and tapping on the "Display & Brightness" option.

Step 3:

Look for the brightness slider, which is typically represented by a sun icon. This slider controls the backlight of your device, illuminating the pixels on the screen. Drag the brightness slider to the right to adjust the brightness.

a girl Locating & adjusting the brightness slider with apple pencil

Note that the higher brightness levels can consume more battery power.

2. Enable Night Shift

Step 1:

From your iPad’s Home screen, open the Settings app. This app allows you to customize a multitude of device settings.

Girl is clicking on the "Settings" App.

Step 2:

In the Settings menu, locate and tap on the “Display & Brightness” option. This will lead you to settings related to your iPad’s display.

then she is locating and tapping on the "Display & Brightness" option.

Step 3:

Here, you’ll find the “Night Shift” option. Tapping on this will reveal the settings for Night Shift, a feature that adjusts the colors of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark.

now girl is pointing towards the "Night Shift" option with apple pencil.

Step 4:

Night Shift can be enabled manually by toggling the switch, or it can be scheduled to turn on automatically at certain times. Using Night Shift can help reduce eye strain in bright conditions by reducing the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

3. Disable Auto-Brightness

Step 1:

Go back to the main Settings menu and tap on “Display & Brightness”. This will open a menu with settings that affect the visual output of your iPad.

Girl is tapping on the "Display & Brightness" option.

Step 2:

Scroll down the menu until you see the “Auto-Brightness” option. Your screen’s brightness is adjusted based on the ambient light conditions detected by the device.

then she is Locating the Auto-Brightness setting.

Step 3:

Toggle off Auto-Brightness to prevent your iPad from automatically dimming or brightening the screen. When using your iPad in direct sunlight, it might be more beneficial to manually control the brightness level, as the ambient light sensor might not always correctly interpret the lighting conditions.

Girl turned off the Auto-Brightness setting.

Choosing the Right Accessories For Using iPad in Direct Sunlight

While adjusting your iPad settings can significantly improve screen visibility in direct sunlight, accessories designed specifically for this purpose can provide an even better viewing experience. 

Here, we’ll discuss two crucial accessories: anti-glare screen protectors and sunshades.

1. Anti-Glare Screen Protectors

These are thin layers of film that adhere to your iPad’s screen and help to reduce glare and reflections. They work by scattering and diffusing light, thereby minimizing the mirror-like reflections that can occur when you use your iPad in direct sunlight.

Recommendation: Tech Armor Anti-Glare/Anti-Fingerprint Film Screen Protector


  • Reduces glare and fingerprints
  • High-quality, durable material
  • Easy installation with no bubbles


  • Can slightly reduce screen sharpness
  • May make the screen texture feel a bit rough

2. Sun Shades

Sun shades, or sun shields, attach to your iPad and help to block direct sunlight from hitting your screen. Bright outdoor conditions can be greatly improved by this technique.

Recommendation: Hoodman Sun Shade for iPad


  • Excellent sun-blocking capabilities
  • Adjustable angle for maximum sun protection
  • Sturdy and durable design


  • Can be bulky and not as portable as other solutions
  • The additional weight might make the iPad feel heavier

3. Adjustable Tablet Stand

A sturdy, adjustable stand can help you to position your iPad at an angle that minimizes direct sunlight on the screen.

Recommendation: Lamicall Adjustable Tablet Stand


  • Robust and stable
  • Adjustable angle for optimal viewing
  • Compatible with all iPad models


  • May not hold up well in windy conditions
  • Extra accessory to carry

4. iPad Cases with Sun Visor

Some specially designed iPad cases come with a built-in sun visor or hood, providing direct shade to the screen without any need for additional attachments.

Recommendation: Targus Pro-Tek Apple iPad Case with Sun Visor


  • Integrated visor to shield from sunlight
  • Provides all-round protection to the iPad
  • Compact design


  • The visor might not be big enough for all lighting conditions
  • The case may add some bulk to the iPad

5. Polarized Sunglasses

While not a direct iPad accessory, polarized sunglasses can significantly reduce glare and improve visibility when using the iPad in direct sunlight.

Recommendation: Ray-Ban Polarized Sunglasses (View at Amazon)


  • Reduces glare from all surfaces, not just the iPad
  • Enhances visual clarity and comfort
  • Provides UV protection


  • Can be expensive
  • Some users may experience distortions with polarized lenses

Preventing Overheating When Using iPad in Sunlight

1. Operate in a Cooler Place

Your iPad, like all electronic devices, has an optimal temperature range at which it functions best. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or other hot environments can increase the internal temperature of your iPad, potentially leading to overheating issues or even permanent damage. 

Therefore, it’s best to avoid such situations as much as possible. If you must use your iPad outdoors, seek a spot with shade.

2. Reduce Processing Power

When your iPad runs complex, processing-intensive applications—like 3D games, augmented reality apps, or drone control software—it uses more processing power. 

This increased activity generates additional heat within the device. If you’re in a warm or hot environment, try to avoid using such apps. Close unnecessary apps running in the background to conserve processing power and reduce heat generation.

3. Take Frequent Breaks

Continued use of your iPad causes heat to build up over time. If you’re using your iPad for extended periods, especially in warm or hot conditions, make sure to take breaks every 30 minutes or so to allow your device to cool down. 

During these breaks, it would be beneficial to turn off the screen and place the iPad in a cooler location.

If despite these preventive measures your iPad gets too hot, take the following steps:

1. Get Out of Direct Sunlight

If your iPad gets too hot, immediately move it out of direct sunlight. If you’re outdoors, find a shady spot. Keep your iPad away from windows or other places where sunlight is directly hitting it. Your goal is to quickly reduce the iPad’s exposure to heat sources.

2. Turn Off Apps and Features

Switch off any apps or features that are overworking your iPad’s processor and causing overheating. This could include anything from a graphically intensive game to GPS navigation. The fewer processes your iPad is running, the less heat it will generate.

3. Restart/Reset Your Device

If your iPad is hot to the touch, it might be beneficial to give it a hard reset. By stopping all running processes, you can allow your iPad to cool down. To reset, hold down the power button and the home button simultaneously until you see the Apple logo.

4. Power Cycle Your iPad

Power cycling involves completely turning off your iPad, letting it cool down fully, and then turning it back on. This process allows the device’s components to rest and cool, which can help with heat management.

Can I Use My iPad In Direct Sunlight While It’s Charging?

Using an iPad while it is charging is not recommended.

Here’s why (as discussed above):

1. Overheating

If you attempt to use an iPad in direct Sunshine while it’s charging, the glass tablet screen can absorb the heat from the sun, causing the iPad to overheat. Overheating can lead to performance issues and potential damage to the device.

2. Glare

Direct sunlight can cause glare on the iPad screen, making it difficult to see the content on the screen. This can further hinder your ability to use the iPad effectively.

While some users suggest matte screen protectors or newer iPad models with better visibility in sunlight. Despite these precautions, using an iPad in direct sunlight while it is charging may not eliminate the risks.

To maximize the lifespan and performance of your iPad, it is recommended to avoid using it in daylight while charging.

Instead, find a shaded area or use the iPad indoors to protect it from overheating and potential damage.