Charging an iPad Air in Linux

The Backstory

Today I plugged my iPad Air into my MacBook Pro (running Linux of course), but was promptly disappointed to notice the “Not Charging” message on the iPad. A friend suggested that the iPad would charge if the screen was turned off–and indeed it did–albeit very slowly. This behavior is a result of the USB spec’s 500mA limit on standard USB ports. However, in 2007 the USB Battery Charging Specification defined new types of USB ports that could potentially deliver up to 5A (see for more information).

A quick reboot to OSX proved that my MacBook Pro was capable of charging the iPad Air much faster, even with the screen turned on. After a reboot back to Linux a search provided this app, but it couldn’t find any iPads on my system. Digging into the code I found that it was looking for the specific USB Device ID of either an iPad 1 or 2. A little code tweaking and I was able to print out the device IDs for all Apple devices on my system. Since I’m on a MacBook Pro, there were several so I had to run the list twice–with and without the iPad plugged in to determine which device ID corresponded to the iPad. Adding the device ID to the app was pretty straightforward and like magic my iPad was charging full steam ahead.

The Solution

Add the PPA and install the package by running these commands

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

or if you’re the DIY type

bzr branch lp:~heathbar/+junk/ipad-charge && cd ipad-charge
make && sudo make install

Your iPad should be automatically detected and charging enabled when you plug it in. However, if it’s not you may have to troubleshoot


If the udev rules are not automatically enabling charging when you plug in your device, you can run the program manually.


If your iPad is still not charging you can find the device IDs of all Apple products with this command.

ipad-charge -l

If more than one is listed, you may have to run it with your iPad unplugged, then plugged in to find the correct ID. Once you determine the ID, send me a comment and I’ll add it to the app.



5 thoughts on “Charging an iPad Air in Linux

  1. Ji m


    “After a reboot back to Linux a search provided this app, but it couldn’t find any iPads on my system.”

    The ipad_charge version 1.1 in this link was published 3 years ago (2011) from Rainbow Software. The developer has moved the source code to GitHub and it was last updated 3 months ago. Someone said it worked for ipad air.

    So which version in your PPA?

    • heathbar

      I didn’t find their new version so I modified it myself to support the iPad Air. The version in my PPA is the original code with some modifications that I made.

  2. It won’t solve the “Trust this computer” problem, will it?

    • heathbar

      No, that is still a problem.

  3. Jayson

    I was wondering how easy it would be to modify the code to include other devices, for instance an Android device.

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