We’ve all been there. Tapping, swiping or zoom-pinching, there’s often a moment when the touchscreen display on your tablet refuses to respond. How do you overcome this, and achieve tablet-tapping Zen?
Why Your Tablet Touchscreen Doesn’t Respond
As the primary mode of interaction between you and your apps, the tablet touchscreen is vitally important. Any damage inflicted—knocks to the device, scratches or worse—will degrade the touchscreen. Short of paying for a replacement, you will need to make sure the display is kept safe and intact.
What might cause a touchscreen to stop responding? Consider the following:
- A knock might dislodge the touchscreen digitizer
- Dropping or jarring the tablet can affect the cable connecting the digitizer to the mainboard resulting in display and responsiveness issues
- Dirt, dust, hair, and other detritus can confuse the touchscreen
- Scratches and cracks will reduce touchscreen reliability
There are several things you can do to help with this.
- Applying a screen protector is easier than you think
- Using a tablet case with a soft interior is also a good idea—it might cost a few extra dollars but is worth it in the long run
- Avoid placing your tablet face down on hard surfaces as the tiniest bit of dirt can cause destructive scratches on the display
The following tips—also suitable for smartphones—will help you resolve your tablet’s touchscreen responsiveness issues. We’ve designed this guide for all touchscreen tablet computers, running iOS, Android, or Windows.
1. Make More RAM Available
Perhaps the best place to start in troubleshooting screen responsiveness issues is to make more system RAM available. This may take a moment but should give you an idea of how bad the problem is.
Android users have a wealth of options for freeing up space on tablets, such as clearing the app cache or using third party apps. Our guide to spring cleaning your Android should come in handy here.
Memory issues on an iPad can lead to slow responses from your touchscreen. The best way to deal with this is to close any apps that you’re not using:
- Double click Home
- Swipe up on each unneeded app to close
After you’ve closed all the apps you no longer need, your tablet should be more responsive. Jailbroken iPads can run task management apps, meanwhile, which will help you to close any running processes you don’t need.
On Windows 10 tablets, close as many desktop apps as is practical can before switching to the Start screen. Then:
- Hold WIN+TAB to display the task switching view
- Tap the X on each app to close
If freeing up some RAM helps with your touchscreen tablet’s responsiveness, then this should be all you need to do.
2. Touchscreen Not Working? Restart Your Tablet
Further troubleshooting can be performed by restarting your tablet. When the device restarts, most applications will be closed.
Restarting a tablet isn’t a case of just tapping the power button to turn the screen off. Instead, the whole device must be switched off and back on again.
For Android users, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Just hold the power button down and select Restart.
iPad owners should close each open app before holding the Sleep/Wake button and dragging slide to shutdown. If closing apps isn’t possible, your model of iPad will determine how to restart.
For the iPad Air:
- Hold Power and Home until the tablet restarts
- Release when you see the Apple logo
On the iPad Pro:
- Press and release the Volume Up button
- Repeat with the Volume Down button
- Press and hold Power until the tablet restarts
Windows tablet owners can restart their devices by tapping Start then Power > Restart. If the device fails to respond, hold the power button for 10 seconds to reboot.
3. Use System Apps to Detect Unresponsive Touchscreen Areas
Often when a tablet touchscreen is being unresponsive, the problem can be localized to a portion of the display.
Knowing which area(s) of the touchscreen are failing to respond correctly can be useful in diagnosing what is wrong. This information would prove useful to any engineer who ends up repairing the tablet.
A useful means of checking which areas of your display work and which don’t is to employ a couple of apps.
With a calculator app you can test simple taps across the display. Use the screen rotate function to check the tablet in all orientations.
A maps app, meanwhile, can be used to determine problems with dragging and pinch-to-zoom.
4. Calibrate Your Tablet’s Touchscreen
Calibrating your tablet display can resolve many touchscreen detection issues.
For iPad, there is no calibration tool available or required. However, if you are using a jailbroken device that is registering your taps and swipes incorrectly, perform a hard reset. This will undo the jailbreak, but your device should work again.
On Android, free calibration and testing apps are available. Touchscreen Calibration will help you spot issues with touchscreen responsiveness. Meanwhile, Touch Screen Test is designed to help you find specific areas where input is not detected.
Windows 10 users can calibrate their tablet for touch or stylus.
- Tap Start and type “control panel”
- Click Control Panel > Hardware and Sound
- Click Tablet PC Settings
- Select Calibrate the screen for pen and touch input
- Choose the display then click Calibrate
- Select Pen input or Touch input
- Follow the instructions to calibrate the display
5. Call an Engineer to Fix Your Tablet Touchscreen
As you may already realize, there are problems that are so bad that you will need an engineer.
For devices that are in warranty, this means contacting the manufacturer and arranging a return, or dropping into a store. iPads, for example, can be taken to Apple Stores; Samsung tablets can similarly be taken to Samsung stores. In some cases, doorstep repairs are possible, where the device is repaired in a mobile workshop parked outside your home.
Check your device manufacturer’s support pages to find the correct steps to arrange repair. Make it clear what steps you have attempted to resolve the touchscreen issues.
6. Realign the Tablet Display
This is a risky option that sometimes pays off. However, only attempt if you have a device that is out of warranty and can’t afford a professional repair. It’s more suited to cheaper Android tablets rather than top end Samsungs, iPads, or Windows tablets.
It basically involves you removing and resetting the display, aiming for improved touchscreen response.
Before you grab your tablet check if you can find the tools and instructions for disassembling your device. YouTube is a great source if you can find a video for your device.
However, don’t take this step lightly; perform as much research as possible before you begin to break your tablet open.
7. Replace a Cracked Tablet Screen
As noted above, if your tablet screen is cracked, it can impact reliability. Whether it’s big or small, a cracked tablet screen will always end up not working
Having your tablet looked at by an engineer under warranty is the smart option, but isn’t always possible.
If your tablet is out of warranty and the screen is cracked, you have two options:
- Pay for repair
- Repair it yourself
Paying for a repair shouldn’t be too expensive. Often, the repair can be done the same day—in city centers, repair shops can often do it while you wait. This depends on the tablet model and the parts the shop has in stock, however.
Prepared to replace the display yourself? Check our guide to replacing a cracked smartphone display to get started.
Get Your Tablet Touchscreen Working Again
We’ve covered all bases here, providing you with the most effective ways to resolve problems with your tablet’s touchscreen:
- Make more RAM available
- Restart your tablet
- Use apps to detect unresponsive areas
- Calibrate the touchscreen
- Call an engineer
- Realign the display
- Replace a cracked tablet touchscreen
Have a different problem with your tablet? Here’s how to save a tablet or phone that has been dropped in water .
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