Here at Appamatix, we’ve written a lot about the apps that make all our lives easier, and how to get the most out of those apps. But in all of this discourse, there is one thing that has been overlooked. Well, not “overlooked” as much as it is just casually assumed. And that is that you have a device that will allow you to work with those apps, and that that device is in working order.
If the touch screen on your iPad or iPhone is suddenly not responding, we’re going to talk you through a couple of possible causes, and some fixes you can try. I can’t guarantee that what I describe below absolutely will solve all of your touch screen problems, but it is at least something to try before you take your device in to get professionally serviced or else (and here’s the nuclear option) buy a new one.
You got the touch, you got the power
When all hell’s breakin’ loose
You’ll be riding the eye of the storm
iPad and iPhone Touch Screen Not Working — Fixed!
Of all the myriad touch screen mobile devices that are out on the market right now, Apple’s offerings, the iPhone and iPad, are perhaps the most recognizable. Although it’s not entirely fair to other competitors, more and more you’ll here “iPhone” used to generically describe any smart phone, no matter the manufacturer. (No, this simplification isn’t usually done by people who really care about the technology, mainly by casual users belonging to older generations. Think along the lines of people in some regions call all sodas “coke.”)
Believe it or not, there was some resistance to the iPhone (and its competitors as well) when it first came out. Touch screen technology was by no means new, but it was famously unreliable. Devices might work smooth as silk for a time, but would quickly become unresponsive — not registering the user’s taps — or else they would register taps in the wrong locations, or even with a debilitating lag.
Since those dark days, touch screen technology has become so common (and reliable) that now we don’t even think about it. It’s always there, so there’s no reason to even pay attention to it. In fact, if touch screen technology hadn’t gotten so reliable with the iPhone and its contemporaries, I don’t think the iPad would even have happened. But it did, and the popularity of tablets demonstrates just how much faith we have in touch screen devices.
So when the iPad or iPhone touch screen isn’t working, it can be incredibly frustrating. Especially since there is almost no way of interacting with the device without it. This isn’t like a computer where you can hit Ctrl + Alt + Del in order to work around a problem. Nope, if the touch screen isn’t working, that locks out about ninety percent of what you can do.
But not 100%. If your touch screen isn’t working, try these things:
Step 1: Get Rid of Your Case / Skin
Depending on where the screen is unresponsive, the problem may be your case. I get it; smart devices are a big investment, particularly when they’re iOS devices, in which case you’re not only paying for the technology, but also the product integration, the aftermarket support, and (let’s be honest here) the brand. You want to protect that investment, which in the case of an iPhone, usually means a nice case. Usually something like an Otter case (the style, if not necessarily the brand) which provides good shock absorption. Meanwhile an iPad isn’t the sort of thing you’re constantly taking in and out of your pockets (and if so, what kind of pants are you wearing!?) so it isn’t something you’re quite as likely to accidentally drop, so the shock-absorbing case is less of a priority. But combination covers / stands / keyboards are not uncommon and add a lot of functionality to an already useful device.
However, in both cases, these cases can interfere with portions of the screen (particularly that tiny portion of the screen which closes a full-screen video!), and if you find it’s the margins of your screen that are being particularly unresponsive, take your device out of its case and see if anything changes.
The same goes for the protective films, glasses, and skins which you put over the screens themselves. Static build up, a layer of air between film and screen, or (once again) dirt — there are numerous reasons why the very thing you’ve put in place to protect your screen might be hampering its use. I’m not saying to get rid of it, but try taking it off for a little bit to see if things change. You can even replace it afterwards.
Step 2: Clean Your Screen
Okay, I know this sounds condescending. It’s like whenever you call in for repairs on a major appliance and the first thing they always say is “Make sure the device is plugged in.” I know it seems silly, but you’d be surprised how often this is exactly what’s going on.
We all love our devices, we use them all the time. They’re part of our every day lives. We futz with our phones and tablets while lounging on the couch, sitting on the toilet, eating pizza… (hopefully not doing all of those things at once). All of the residue from what you eat, what you touch, it’s all accumulating on your screen. And even if your hands are perfectly clean every time you use your device (every time?), the natural oils on your skin are going to add up on the screen over time. And when that build up gets to be enough, then it’s going to hamper the ability for the touch screen on your iPad or iPhone.
So, this first step is pretty easy. Just wipe down your screen. If you don’t still have the cleaning cloth that comes with your device (and honestly, isn’t that the first thing that you lose), then you can simply wipe it down with a clean, lint-free cloth (perhaps even slightly damp). If your screen starts responding now, then congratulations, you’ve solved the problem. If not…
Step 3: Restart Your Device
Ah yes, the famous Etch – A – Sketch technique. And with that little reference, I suddenly reveal my age. But I’m sure at least a few of my readers are aware of that popular old drawing toy which was famous for the way you erased it: turn it upside down and shake it. Any problem, any error, it always had the same solution: turn it over and shake it.
And whether you’re talking about wireless routers (unplug it for a minute then plug it back in), PCs (Ctrl + Alt + Del), or jukeboxes (punch it really hard, and be the Fonz), the Etch – A – Sketch solution is still one we have for most of our technology.
- Unplug your phone from any external power sources it may be connected to.
- Hold down the sleep/wake button (and only that button) for about ten seconds.
- When the red slider bar appears on the screen, slide it over to restart.
When your device starts back up, see if the situation has improved.
Step 4: Reset Your Device
Of course, the above assumes that your device’s touch screen is only unreliable, not that it’s totally inoperable. If it is totally inoperable, then you won’t be able to operate the slider necessary to restart the device. If this is the case, you may want to consider a hard reset. A hard reset is usually your last resort, because it can be taxing on the hardware.
In this case, you’ll need to try a hard reset of your device. Granted, if your touch screen isn’t working, you’re not going to be able to swipe it the way you need to to turn it off normally, but a hard reset will only need your home button and the sleep/wake button (aka, probably the only means of interfacing with your iPad or iPhone when your touch screen isn’t working).
In order to do a hard reset, just do the following:
- Make sure your device is not plugged in. If it is plugged in (and charging) then it won’t really power down.
- Hold down the sleep/wake switch and the home button at the same time. You have to push them as close to simultaneously as you can.
- Keep these buttons held down for about ten seconds. When you see the Apple logo come up, you’ll know that you’ve held it down the correct time.
Most of the time, the steps I’ve described above will fix the problem of your iPad or iPhone touch screen not working. For more information straight from the Apple’s mouth, click here. Now, if you have some necessary, irreplaceable data on your phone, you may want to consider taking it in to be serviced now. If not…
The Nuclear Option: Full Factory Reset
This method assumes that you’ve previously set up your phone or iPad with the iTunes on your computer. If this is the case, congratulations, you have another option: the full factory reset.
- Connect your device to the computer you have it synced with via the syncing/charging cable.
- Open iTunes (if it doesn’t open automatically).
- In the device list in iTunes, select the device you’ve just plugged in.
- Depending on what’s up with your device, you may be able to download any losable data off of your device right now. Do that, because performing a full factory reset will wipe everything off of your device, rolling it back to the same software condition it originally shipped with.
- Click “Check for Updates” (if there is an update, downloading and installing it may provide the fix you’re looking for).
- If not, click “Restore” and follow the on-screen instructions.
These are some of the most common methods for addressing an iPhone or iPad touch screen that isn’t working, and based on the experiences of all of our friends who have encountered this problem, these tricks will usually sort out the problem. If it’s not working for you, though, please feel free to mention it in the comments. The iOS landscape is always changing, and with each update, the best practices for solving these problems change. So if there’s a method you’ve stumbled across that isn’t listed here, feel free to mention it in the comments.
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