How to fix the 'ghost touch' problem on Android and iOS smartphones

Update: Added new steps, images
How to fix the 'ghost touch' problem on Android and iOS smartphones

While smartphones with touchscreens have become ubiquitous and the quality of materials used to make them have improved, many smartphones of today continue to experience a rather annoying issue called 'ghost touch'. In this article, we have put together a list of solutions that could help solve the ghost touch issue once and for all.

At the outset, let us warn you that while the ghost touch issue can be caused by several external factors that normal users like you and me can fix by simple troubleshooting, there may be some cases wherein a visit to the service center is inevitable. Especially if the underlying cause is a hardware issue.  

With the intro and the disclaimer out of the way, let's try to understand what this 'ghost touch' problem really is and how it affects the usage of your phone.

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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're not actually making, or when there's a section of your phone screen that's completely unresponsive to your touch. Exactly what the 'ghost' presses will do varies from device to device, but it seems to be more common in some devices than others.

Some of the devices that have been (in)famous for being susceptible 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. All of that is to say, if you're having a ghost touch issue, it's probably not a problem with the software. 

AndroidPIT iphone clock ios clock 8572
Dead zones and ghost touch problems can also affect Apple iPhones. / © Apple

In more severe cases it's a hardware problem with your display and the way it's housed inside the chassis of your phone. If you're an engineer and are ok taking electronic devices apart (and have all the required specialty tools), multiple people have reported success simply from disconnecting the screen from the data connectors.

In other situations, water or dirt damage (or beneath the screen protector) can cause 'phantom' presses that aren't being made. There's no definitive single cause, or fix, for the problem, however, so you'll have to use some trial and error to fix the issue. This is especially true if you happen to be out of warranty and you wish to avoid (an usually expensive) visit to the service center.   

How to fix the ghost touch issue on Android and iOS

Listed below are some basic steps that you can try on your smartphones before you delve into more advanced, complex fixes. Note that these steps are applicable for both Android and iOS devices.

Disconnect the charging cable

universal charger vs multiple smartphone chargers
Ghost touch issues can be the result of a faulty charger/cable / © NextPit

Surprising as it may seem, many a time, ghost touch issues happen only when phones are connected to a wall outlet. This is especially likely if you happen to use a charger/cable of spurious quality. Basically what happens here is that these chargers and cables affect the functionality of the digitizer – which is the sensor that detects your touch inputs.

If you are facing this ghost touch issue while charging your phone, it's best you replace the charger or charging cable with a new/better one. To check if a charger is really the cause, try charging the phone using a different charger/cable combo and check if the issue persists.  

Remove the screen protector/tempered glass

If you're lucky, the problem for you is being caused by a screen protector that's got a tiny piece of dirt stuck behind it. The advice then is to remove it, clean your screen thoroughly and then replace the screen protector.  Be sure, however, to replace it with a screen protector of very good quality.

galaxy s8 screen protectors
Screen protectors and tempered glass can cause ghost touches/ © @DforDesign

If you try to skimp on the quality, you may end up with screen protectors and tempered glass that are made of poor materials. These types of "protectors" cause more damage to your phone than save them from cracking. Basically, the poor quality of materials used on such screen protectors affects the touch sensitivity of the screen beneath it. 

A more extreme position would be to completely avoid screen protectors since most modern smartphones come with adequate scratch and fall protection thanks to better quality glass made by Corning(Gorilla Glass) or AGC (DragonTrail).

Clean the display

As simple (or outright stupid) as it may seem – before we move to more advanced troubleshooting methods, it is always best to try and thoroughly clean the display. To do this, take a slightly moist soft cloth and wipe the screen. Follow this step with a dry cloth and wipe it clean. It is actually a good practice to wipe your screen a couple of weeks to prevent any smudges or dust accumulation which could eventually lead to the dreaded ghost touch issue.

How to fix Ghost touch issue: Advanced troubleshooting

If none of the relatively simpler solutions worked for you, chances are high your phone is suffering from more severe (i.e. actual) ghost touch problems. As such, your options aren't quite as straightforward.

This is because the cause can now be due to either a software issue or worse, a hardware problem.

Perform a factory reset

To check if buggy software is behind the issue, the easiest method is to perform a factory reset of your phone. This will bring your phone back to its original factory settings. If the issue was caused by an unruly app or a biggy software update, chances are high a factory reset will solve it.

Warning: A factory reset will delete all your data. Please make sure you backup all your data before going ahead with this step

To know how to factory reset Android and iOS devices please take a look at our dedicated articles below

Disassemble the screen assembly (for advanced users only)

This step is definitely not recommended for the average smartphone user. For folks who have the technical know-how to perform this task, and if they have the right tools at their disposal, opening up the affected smartphone, disassembling it, and putting it back together could potentially fix the issue.

Many people (and indeed, many more YouTube videos) suggest that taking the phone apart, disconnecting the screen from the data connectors, and reseating all of that has been enough to fix the problem for them.

You could, of course, pay a third-party repair shop to reseat your screen in the connectors for you to see if it fixes the problem, which would be cheaper than a whole new panel.

Return it/ Take it to the service center

customer center
If everything fails, a visit to the service center could be necessary/ © Huawei

The unequivocally best way to fix a screen glitch problem is to return the device to the manufacturer, ideally under warranty for a replacement. When within warranty, many companies will offer a new device in exchange for the faulty one, though some may opt to replace the screen instead to try and resolve the issue.

Although this is a simple option, it's probably not the quickest unless you're walking into a store to hand it over for a new one. If your handset is out of warranty, you'd probably have to pay for repairs and a swap won't be offered.

As you might have realized by now, there could be multiple reasons that cause ghost touch issues. And you might have to perform a series of steps to really know what is causing it. In case the simper steps do not work for you, the more advanced methods (save for the factory reset options) are best performed by a trained technician.

This article was last updated in April 2021. Older comments have been retained.

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  • ttucjacks123 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I once faced the ghost typing issue in my iPad. I tried some common ways. Well, finally, I had to use TunesKit to fix my iPad stuck in the issue quickly.

  • Yokobluu (Tami Perrotti) 3 months ago Link to comment

    I have a Motorola One and had to change the screen twice because it broke. The second time they may not have used an original screen and now its broken again, the colors are all messed up ( vertical lines in usually white go through it) and recently it started with phantom touches. They are so bad I can't do anything on my phone anymore, not even shut it down. This pretty bad because I refuse to spend more money on changing the screen at it'll be a while until I can get a new one aaaaaaa

    • mymel0 3 months ago Link to comment

      oh no, idrk what to do with my tablet anymore, because i also refuse to spend more money on it. i hope yours gets fixed soon!

  • James W 6 months ago Link to comment

    I found out how to fix this issue, with my chuwi ubook. I had issues with phantom touches on the left side of the screen. It was extremely annoying. It would come and go as it pleased. You may not like it, but you'll have to factory reset. Luckily I just got it, so it was easy for me to redownload the programs I had before it. Hope this works for everyone else. Good luck. I signed up to give you guys this information. So i deff hope it works. -_-

    • mymel0 5 months ago Link to comment

      Hello! So I also have this problem and I had tried a factory reset on my device, but nothing happened. It may be because I have a different device then you? I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab s8 or a8 (Idrk which one) one of those two. But all I did was let it restart for around 24 hours?

  • mymel0 7 months ago Link to comment

    Hello everyone, I have been lurking around trying to solve this issue for myself, but I am wayyy to young to do any of this. I can't take anything apart nor use an igniter. I have to try the *simple* things. I tried wiping my device down. It only worked for a few minutes. Then, started again. I was on another website and found some more *simple* tricks.

    This "Ghost touch" thing started a little bit over August. It then stopped in early October. It has been free of this touch thing since now. A day after Thanksgiving, the device had starting touching itself again. I had no clue why. I didn't think it was a software issue, knowing that even when it updates or restarts it doesn't stop. I don't think it's a hardware issue either. People say the digitizers may be the problem, as it may need to be put back it place, or something? Though, wouldn't it mean you had to have dropped it hard enough? I haven't dropped my device for months. Not even before the touch came back. The next thing I have came to was that it may be a virus? I don't actually have any proof of this. I would assume, though, that if it were a virus...would it really start, then stop, and then come back? If anyone can help me with this problem, you would be a life saver. I've nearly had this for 2 years. Almost going to be 2 during Christmas. I don't assume it's the tablet breaking down itself, or getting old. If you can answer, that'll be great! Thanks a-lot!! c:

    Edit: I've also found out that when on games, sometimes you can see where the device is tapping on. It seems to be at the bottom. But, when I turn the device around, it interacts with the top instead. Just thought I should say this in case it helps.

  • random_potato 8 months ago Link to comment

    Just want to add that I think the issue for me (iphone 7) was static electricity. I did process of elimination to come to this conclusion, since I know it's not really a well-documented reason. I know in my case, it's not a hardware issue because when it first happened (some time in autumn) I simply updated and cleaned the phone it worked fine until now (winter), where it started acting up like crazy again. It's not a software issue because I've updated it, reset it, and everything but the ghost touch was still there. The last possibility was that it was an environmental issue.

    I noticed that when I played rhythm games to test the touch screen, if I breathed on the phone to temporarily add humidity (to "settle" the charges) the ghost touching would immediately stop. Then I realised right now it is winter where I am, and static charges tend to be more present in the air because it is drier. I noticed that when I had the humidifier on the issue wasn't there. Furthermore in my room I sit next to the window which I had covered in a plastic film to prevent a draft from coming in. The plastic also contributes to the static I think because when I moved elsewhere in my room/apt the ghosting was gone again. This also explains why at first cleaning with water was also a temporary fix, since the room was still static-y in itself the screen would quickly act up again... Perhaps this might also be your issue, at least to test out. Maybe the issue is prevalent in a new model phone (like the iphone X), since the digitizers being made are probably more sensitive to static charges, which makes sense given that technology is improving. Or maybe it's just something internal, but not necessarily a hardware issue (I read other comments that say zapping the phone helped). Hopefully this helps!

    • mymel0 7 months ago Link to comment

      Hello! I am also having the same problem you are. My ghost touch also started in near autumn, around August-October. It then stopped during late October. It's now been around 2 months. I thought it was fixed when it stopped, but, a few days ago, a day after thanksgiving, it had began to start again. I think your right. I think during the start of fall it turned down the static. Now that Winter is starting again, its much more dryer. Where I live, it's really dry. Most of the year. Especially during fall. Probably, when fall was coming to an end, the dryness was dying down, causing the static to also die down. Now that winter is coming, the dryness is coming back. I don't think that I should get an app, that may damage it even more. I don't assume it's a virus? I don't think it's a screen issue. I cleaned my screen and it only lasted for a few minutes. I don't think it's a hardware issue either. I agree with you, I think it's more of an environmental issue. Knowing that it's just the static around the device. Again, devices aren't perfect so we have to deal with it.

      If your trying the zapping technique, I wish you the best of luck! I think I'll just press around the screen. I researched about it and learned the digitizers inside the device may need to be snapped back in place. So, if the zapping technique doesn't work, I assume you try the snapping option. You may need to use your finger nails and slide around the screen with a little bit of pressure. It may help. Good luck! 😇👍🏾

      • random_potato 7 months ago Link to comment

        Good to know I'm not the only one noticing weird patterns in the phone behaviour haha. Actually since I figured out it may be an issue with a lack of humidity I've been able to avoid the ghost touch since I made that first comment. I just avoid "static hotspots" (what I'm calling it) in my home. For me this really only at my desk, since it's near the window that I covered with a plastic sheet (to prevent draft). I'm pretty convinced it's the plastic, as well as not being able to open the window causing that area to be a hotspot. It's like when you rub your head on a balloon, those types of materials insulate and tend to gather static on its surfaces... You'd think it be a negligible amount of static, but I guess the sheet is big enough to mess with my phone. -_-"

        Maybe you can also do some "experiments" to figure out where the ghost touch appears the most in your home. I found a quick fix in turning on a small humidifier in these "hotspots" but I think it's best to just avoid using your phone in them, or open a window if you can. I also think the "zapping technique" I mentioned is that ignition thing, but I'm also not well-verse in fixing my phone so idk. Either way, I luckily don't have to try it since my phone is okay now (hopefully forever), although I wish I figured out it was a humidity for me before I destroyed my screen protector lool. Hopefully it's a straightforward issue for you too! Good luck as well~

      • mymel0 7 months ago Link to comment

        I have LOTS of windows in my house. Pretty much each wall has atleast a window on it. But, I've found that this one area does a pretty good job of stopping the ghost touch. I did a factory reset on my tablet. It seems to work when I turn the screen one way, but the other way has the "Ghost touch". Since I have a tablet, it isn't very relatable to a phone (In some ways it is tho). Where I get most of the touches were near a sliding door which I assume carries most humidity knowing it is really just a giant window. Where I find less humidity is near two small windows and my bedroom. I also had realized when I charged my tablet for two long, it starts acting up.

        But, my tablet stopped touching itself, so I assume it had stopped. If it does start again, idk what I would do. I don't actually know if I have a screen protector or not. I got this for Christmas so I didn't actually BUY it. Hopefully, I never get this weird behavior again, but if it starts again, I may end up saying goodbye to it. Mostly, because it's almost been 2 years and thats when most devices die down. Anyways, I hope your device never has this "Ghost touch" again! Have a great day!

        Edit: My tablet has "Ghost Touch" again-..únù

  • Alex Morgan 11 months ago Link to comment

    I solved my ghost touch problem by downloading an app called "partial screen" on playstore,, works by manually placing a dormant region provided by the app on the area where the ghost touch problem is,, very simple and works perfectly for me.

    • mymel0 10 months ago Link to comment

      Do you have a way that doesn't need to get an app? Nothing too extreme though. Just something very simple?

    • theo hadley 9 months ago Link to comment

      ahh! thank you so much. it fixed 99% of my ghost touches, and now my phone works again! you're a big help :)

  • flxdata May 27, 2020 Link to comment

    I seem to have gone into this, went into emergency mode, then came back out and things for now look ok. Rebooted, as I couldn't before that. The first fix for anything that has computer components (phone, tablet or computer) is to reboot.

  • WHATDAHECKIZDIS Dec 12, 2019 Link to comment

    This article is completely useless. Your solutions are basically: return it, take it apart if you're a phone repair technician (which most people aren't), or do some weird crap with a lighter that could potentially damage your phone and has no guarantee of working.

  • theallister Nov 21, 2019 Link to comment

    Wouldn't recommend doing the igniter thing for ghost touch, it just triggers the ghost to go bananas on your screen

    • Boladayl Apr 3, 2020 Link to comment

      Completely. Utterly. Outrightly useless. a complete waste of time

  • Sparky Nov 17, 2019 Link to comment

    I am amazed! The electronic spark worked on my Kyocera duro force. It was only a few months old...Couldn't type ANYTHING then 2 Sparks later all fixed up... Thanks pit buddies!

  • Pzzyhunter Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    When trying to fix "ghost touching" screen using Igniter does it really need to take the screen protector off? Please reply

  • cslevine Oct 25, 2019 Link to comment

    This can be real a software problem.
    The fact is that a restore seems to get rid of it... and for the 1rst 3 minutes, nothing happens. All seams to be OK... Then, you input manually time and date, and you see 1 first again funny movement on the numbers....
    And then when you enter into parameters : ghost touches are back again, more an more often again... until you do not have any control again !
    This is a virus attack, and no system hard reset can do something. This goes worse and worse growing the android version number. I remember NO problem at all with Androïd 4 wich was the most stable version of Androïd. More the updates, More the problems !!
    And less are the possibility ( PC <-> tel ) !

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