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iPad ‘Not Charging’ from USB on Ubuntu? Here’s How to Fix It

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Following on from an earlier article helping you mount an iOS 7-toting iPad, iPhone or iPod on Ubuntu, we’re back with a proto-fix for another Apple issue affecting Linux users: intermittent USB charging.

Now, before some of you reach for the nearest dollop of outrage, understand that I get it: you don’t like Apple. Consider it noted. 

On we go.

USB Charging

Apple’s iPad, as with most modern tablets and smartphones, supports USB charging from a computer. Although this is slower than using a traditional power outlet, the convenience of juicing up your favourite gadget while on the move makes it that little bit easier — no need to hunt for a power socket!

Whether on Windows, Mac or Linux, connecting an iPad via a standard USB 2.0 port should initiate charging.

But for many Ubuntu users, myself included, this doesn’t seem to work. When tethered up the iPad displays a “Not Charging” message in the status bar next to the battery icon — even though the exact same port on the same computer works as intended under a different OS.

Apple say that the ‘Not Charging’ issue comes about when the USB port used is unable to supply enough power. If you’re plugged into an everyday USB port that doesn’t provide extra power, you may be at the end of the line for a solution. But since I know that the port itself can deliver the required levels – newer Apple hardware, in particular, will deliver the necessary amperage to detected devices needing it in OS X – what’s the issue at play under Linux?

Charge an iPhone or iPad in Linux via USB with iPad Charge

First let’s address a slightly misleading aspect of this: despite the iPad saying that it’s not charging, it actually is — just very, very slowly. Turn your iPad screen off and it will suckle on your USB. It might require a whole day to reach as little as 50%, but it will top up.

Of course, most of us don’t have the time nor patience for that approach. To charge a device adequately and promptly on Linux we will need to install a third party application able to ramp up the power a USB port supplies. A vast array of tools claim to do this and most are able to ‘auto-detect’ when an iPad is connected.

iPad Charge (which despite the name also supports iPhones) is my personal favourite. Once installed it adds some additional rules to udev – the Linux device manager – so that your iPad is detected when plugged in, and the juice flowing to it is upped accordingly.

The app has its own PPA — as always, you add and install third-party PPAs at your own risk — that will first need to be added to your software sources before you can install from it.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:heathbar/ipad-charge
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0 ipad-charge

After adding, updating and installing you will need to reboot your computer for the rules to come into effect. After that you should, in theory, be all set. Plug your iPad into a USB port you know ‘works’ and charging will begin.

If not, you can try launching the app manually from the command line using:

ipad-charge

If that doesn’t work unplug your tablet, run the command, reattach your tablet. If you’re still having issues, you may want to try one of the alternative tools. A quick Google search will throw up a barrage of them.