To start with, let me warn you that while the ghost touch problem can be caused by several external factors that ordinary users like you and me can fix through simple troubleshooting, there may be some cases where a visit to the service center is inevitable is. Especially if the underlying cause is a hardware problem.
With the intro and disclaimer, let’s try to understand what this “ghost touch” problem really is and how it affects the use of your phone.
What is the ghost touch problem?
Ghost touch (or touch glitches) are the terms used when your screen responds to presses or inputs that you don’t actually make, or when a section of your phone screen is completely unresponsive to your touch. What exactly the “ghost” presses do varies from device to device, but appears to be more common on some devices than others.
Some of the devices that have been famous for being prone to ghost touch issues include the old Motorola Moto G4 Plus, several models of the Apple iPhone – including the latest iPhone 12 series – and some older OnePlus devices . That said, if you have a ghost touch problem, it probably isn’t a problem with the software.
In more severe cases, there is a hardware problem with your display and the way it is housed in the case of your phone. If you are an engineer who can take apart electronic equipment (and have all the specialized tools required) then several people have reported success simply by unplugging the screen from the data ports.
In other situations, water or dirt damage (or under the screen protector) could result in phantom presses that are not made. However, there is no definitive cause or solution to the problem, so you will have to go through some trial and error to resolve the problem. This is especially true if you no longer have a guarantee and want to avoid a (usually expensive) visit to the service center.
How to Fix Ghost Touch Problem on Android and iOS
Here are some basic steps you can try on your smartphone before moving on to more advanced, complex fixes. Note that these steps apply to both Android and iOS devices.
Disconnect the charging cable
As surprising as it may seem, Ghost Touch issues often only occur when phones are plugged into an electrical outlet. This is especially likely if you are using an incorrect quality charger / cable. Basically what happens here is that these chargers and cables interfere with the functionality of the digitizer – the sensor that detects your touch inputs.
If you encounter this ghost touch issue while charging your phone, your best bet is to replace the charger or charging cable with a new / better one. To check if a charger is really the cause, charge the phone with a different charger and cable combination and see if the problem persists.
Remove the screen protector / tempered glass
If you’re lucky, the problem for you is caused by a screen protector that has a tiny bit of dirt behind it. The advice then is to remove it, clean your screen thoroughly, and then replace the screen protector. However, be sure to replace it with a very good quality screen protector.
If you try to skimp on quality, you may get screen protectors and toughened glass made from poor materials. These types of “protectors” do more damage to your phone than they protect it from cracking. Basically, the poor quality of the materials used for such screen protectors affects the touch sensitivity of the screen below.
A more extreme position would be to avoid screen protectors entirely, as most modern smartphones have adequate scratch and drop protection thanks to better quality glass from Corning (Gorilla Glass) or AGC (DragonTrail).
Clean the display
As simple (or downright silly) as it may seem, before we move on to more advanced troubleshooting methods, it’s always best to thoroughly clean your display. To do this, take a slightly damp, soft cloth and wipe the screen. Follow this step with a dry cloth and wipe it clean. It is actually good practice to wipe the screen for a few weeks to avoid smudges or dust build-up that could eventually lead to the dreaded ghost touch issue.
How to fix the Ghost Touch problem: Advanced troubleshooting
If none of the relatively easier solutions worked for you, chances are your phone is suffering from more serious (i.e. actual) ghost touch issues. Hence, your options are not that simple.
This is because now the cause could either be a software problem or worse, a hardware problem.
Perform a factory reset
The easiest way to check whether the problem is faulty software is to perform a factory reset on your phone. This will restore your phone to its original factory settings. If the problem was caused by an unruly app or a major software update, there’s a good chance a factory reset will fix it.
Warning: A factory reset will erase all of your data. Please make sure you back up all of your data before proceeding with this step
To learn how to factory reset Android and iOS devices, please see our articles below
Disassemble the display assembly (for advanced users only).
This step is definitely not recommended for the average smartphone user. For people who have the technical know-how to perform this task, and if they have the right tools, the problem can possibly be fixed by opening, disassembling, and reassembling the affected smartphone.
Many people (and indeed many more YouTube videos) are suggesting taking the phone apart, disconnecting the screen from the data ports, and then putting all of this back in to fix the problem for them.
You can of course pay a third-party repair shop to put your screen back in the ports so you can see if the problem is fixed, which would be cheaper than getting a whole new panel.
Return it / Bring it to the service center
Clearly the best way to fix a screen glitch problem is to send the device back to the manufacturer, ideally with a replacement warranty. As part of the guarantee, many companies offer a new device in exchange for the faulty one. However, some may choose to swap the screen to fix the problem.
While this is an easy option, it probably isn’t the fastest unless you enter a store to be given to a new one. If your handset is out of warranty, you will likely have to pay for repairs and exchanges will not be offered.
As you may have realized by now, there can be several reasons that cause ghost touch issues. And you may have to go through a number of steps to really understand what is causing the problem. In case the simple steps don’t work for you, the more advanced methods (other than the factory reset options) are best performed by a trained technician.
This article was last updated in April 2021. Older comments have been retained.