How to Fix Ghost Touch on iPhone: 9 Potential Fixes to Try
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“Ghost touch” is what happens when your iPhone begins performing actions by itself. The screen seems to react to nonexistent touches, or apps open without you having done anything. Unsurprisingly, such strange actions can be more than a little annoying.

However, while ghost touch sometimes requires you to take your iPhone to Apple, you can try a number of quick fixes. These range from cleaning the iPhone’s touchscreen to performing a factory reset.

Which iPhones Are Affected by Ghost Touch?

Generally, the “ghost touch” problem most commonly affects the iPhone X. In November 2018, Apple admitted that it had found some issues affecting the iPhone X’s touchscreen. It also announced that it would provide free repairs to affected customers.

However, reports and complaints online have shown that the ghost touch issue also affects other models. These include not only the iPhone XS and XR, but also the iPhone 8, 7, 6, and 5. In other words, “ghost touch” is something that can, on rare occasion, affect almost any iPhone.

1. Clean the Touchscreen

Wet iPhone screen
Image Credit: DariuszSankowski/Pixabay

It may be simple, but cleaning your iPhone’s touchscreen can be an effective defense against ghost touch. By doing this, you may clear away any debris or dust that can interfere with how the iPhone detects your touch.

To clean your iPhone’s touchscreen, you should first turn it off and unplug any connected cables. Next, you should find a soft and clean (i.e. lint-free) cloth, such as a cloth for cleaning lenses. You should slightly dampen this cloth with warm water. Finally, start cleaning the touchscreen, wiping gently but firmly from one end to the other.

While wiping, make sure you don’t get moisture into any openings. Also, Apple recommends that you don’t use window or household cleaners, or cleaners containing abrasives or hydrogen peroxide. You could erode the oil-resistant coating Apple put on your device if you do so.

2. Take Off Your Screen Protector

Screen protectors are thin layers of glass that you can attach to the iPhone’s touchscreen to protect it. While they’re often useful, they may sometimes disrupt how the touchscreen operates. You should therefore try removing it, since doing so could put an end to cases of ghost touch.

You should remove your iPhone’s screen protector very carefully and slowly. Start at one corner, and then gradually peel the protector off the iPhone’s screen. If the protector has been cracked or damaged at all, it might be safer to take your phone to a suitably qualified repair shop (or to Apple).

You should also consider contacting the manufacturer of the protective screen. This manufacturer might be better placed to recommend the best method for removing the protector.

3. Remove Your iPhone’s Case

iPhone bear case
Image Credit: Bich Tran/Pexels

One of the possible causes of iPhone ghost touch is a slightly twisted screen. If your iPhone has such a screen, you might be able to solve the problem by removing an attached hard case. Occasionally, it can be this hard case that twists the screen, so you should try removing it and seeing if this changes anything.

On online forums, some iPhone users have noted that they twisted their hard case after they dropped their iPhone. As such, it really is worth trying to remove the hard case if your iPhone has one.

4. Restart Your iPhone

iPhone buttons
Image Credit: Apple

It’s always a good idea to restart your iPhone whenever it has problems. This also applies to ghost touch, since it’s possible that clearing your iPhone’s temporary memory could clear any glitch that may be causing the problem.

To restart an iPhone X or later, you should do the following:

  1. Hold the Side button and either Volume button, until the slide to power off slider appears.
  2. Swipe the power off slider to the right.
  3. After shutdown, hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears.

To restart an iPhone 8 or earlier, take the following steps:

  1. Hold the Top (or Side) button, until the slide to power off slider appears.
  2. Swipe the power off slider to the right.
  3. After shutdown, hold the Top (or Side) button until the Apple logo appears.

5. Force Restart Your iPhone

Similar to restarting your iPhone but noticeably more drastic, you could force restart your iPhone How to Force Restart an iPhone and Enter Recovery Mode How to Force Restart an iPhone and Enter Recovery Mode If your iPhone is frozen, you need to reset it. When your iPhone won't boot, recovery mode can help. Here's how to use both of these features. Read More . You should do this if your iPhone’s ghost touch problem is so severe that you can’t even use it properly. That’s because a force restart works even when your iPhone doesn’t.

To force restart on an iPhone 8 or later, do the following:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Hold the Side button.
  4. Release the Side button when the Apple logo appears.

To force restart an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, the steps are:

  1. Hold the Volume Down button and the Sleep/Wake button.
  2. Release both buttons when the Apple logo appears.

To force restart an iPhone 6/6 Plus or earlier, you should do this:

  1. Hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button.
  2. Release both buttons when the Apple logo appears.

6. Update iOS

If ghost touch is still a problem, you should update your iPhone How to Update Your iPhone: iOS, Apps, and Data Backups How to Update Your iPhone: iOS, Apps, and Data Backups Wondering how to update your iPhone? We show you how to update iOS, what to do beforehand, and how to update iPhone apps. Read More . This is worth doing because ghost touch might have been caused by a software bug.

You need to do the following to update your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Press Software Update.
  4. Tap Download and Install, or Install (if you’ve already downloaded the update).

7. Perform a Factory Reset

If restarts and software updates don’t stop your iPhone’s ghost problem, you should next perform a factory reset on your iPhone. This is a good way of removing any underlying software issues that might cause ghost touch. Of course, you should back up your iPhone How to Back Up Your iPhone and iPad How to Back Up Your iPhone and iPad What would you do if you lost your iPhone tomorrow? You need to have a backup plan, and we'll show you how to back up to iCloud or iTunes. Read More before performing a factory reset because this will wipe all your saved data.

To reset your iPhone, you should do the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  4. Press Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Tap Erase.

After you’ve performed the factory reset, you’ll have to go through the setup process again. This is where you can choose to restore your iPhone from a previously saved backup.

8. Recover Your iPhone

If a simple force restart doesn’t work for you, you can try putting your iPhone in Recovery Mode and reinstalling iOS. Once again, you should try this only if ghost touch prevents you from updating your iPhone normally, or if you can’t reset all settings normally. If you can update or reset settings normally, you should do that as it’s easier.

To put an iPhone 8 or later in Recovery Mode, do the following:

  1. Connect the iPhone to a computer and open iTunes (on the computer).
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  3. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  4. Hold the Side button, and keep it held down until you enter Recovery Mode.

Once in Recovery Mode, iTunes will show an error message like “There is a problem with the iPhone that requires it to be updated or restored.” You should click Update (if available) or Restore.

Note: Restoring your iPhone from Recovery Mode will wipe all your data. You should therefore back up your iPhone beforehand, if possible.

9. Take Your iPhone to Apple

If your iPhone is still suffering from ghost touch, you should book an appointment at your nearest Apple Store. That’s because you’ve exhausted the software fixes, and it’s often a hardware issue that causes iPhone ghost touch. For example, some owners have mentioned that improper display assembly or touchscreen seating can cause the issue.

Clearly, you shouldn’t take your iPhone apart and try to fix such causes unless you have considerable experience. As such, it’s much safer to turn to Apple Support, which is where you can book an appointment.

There are other problems you can have with your iPhone’s display, like cracking it. Fortunately, there are a number of practical steps to take after cracking your iPhone’s screen 7 Practical Things to Do After Cracking Your Smartphone Screen 7 Practical Things to Do After Cracking Your Smartphone Screen Broken your phone's screen? Don't worry! Here's how you can carry on using the phone, or sell it online to fund a new one. Read More .

Explore more about: Hardware Tips, iPhone X, Touchscreen, Troubleshooting.

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