8 Ways to Fix ‘Ghost Touch’ on iPhone

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Since pretty much any iPhone can only be controlled with your touch screen, you’ll want to keep it in tip-top shape. But even then, there might be times when your screen just won’t work the way it’s supposed to

There’s nothing scarier than trying to use your iPhone only to find out that your screen is randomly receiving inputs, especially if you didn’t drop your iPhone.

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This is commonly known on the web as “Ghost Touch,” and it’s an issue that’s more common than you might think.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fix it for yourself before talking to Apple; here’s everything you need to know.

What is the iPhone’s “Ghost Touch?”

Ghost Touch refers to the bug some iPhones get when the screen seems to be working on its own. That is, you see random inputs on your screen even when you aren’t touching it.

While this issue had been around for years, it became more widely known with the iPhone X, especially because Apple itself confirmed that this issue was affecting some screens. However, you can suffer from a ghost touch on pretty much any device.

With that said, the ghost touch has been reported more times on these iPhones:

  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 11 models
  • iPhone 12 models
  • iPhone 13 models.

Conspicuously missing from this list? The iPhone XS and iPhone XR. We’re not sure why those 2018 models seem to have had the problem less frequently, but we haven’t seen a significant number of reports of it happening on any iPhone 14 or 15 models either — at least at the time of writing. However, just because those models have had fewer reported problems don’t mean they’re immune to ghost touch.

How to Fix Ghost Touch on your iPhone

Whether you have an older or newer iPhone, these tips should help you fix the ghost touch before you have to contact Apple.

1. Make Sure There Aren’t Any Settings Triggering the Actions on Your Screen

It’s possible that your iPhone isn’t suffering from ghost touch. Instead, you might have an accessibility feature turned on that’s triggering an action on your iPhone. 

For instance, you might have the Back Tap feature turned on, which registers light taps on the back to trigger an action like opening the Notification Center. 

Most features that could affect your iPhone can be found in the Touch section in the Accessibility settings. All you need to do is go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch, disable features like AssistiveTouch, Touch Accommodations, and Back Tap, and see if that fixes the problem.

2. Restart Your iPhone

Yes, you’ve probably heard it many times, but restarting your iPhone is actually helpful. It can fix more problems than you think, and it might be the easiest way to get rid of the ghost touch issue on your iPhone.

Restarting your iPhone will depend on the iPhone you have. For iPhones with Face ID, you’ll need to press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons until a turn-off slider appears. If you have an iPhone with Touch ID, simply press and hold the side button until the turn-off slider appears.

Next, move the turn-off slider to the left and wait for your iPhone to turn itself off. Wait 30 seconds and then turn on your iPhone again by pressing and holding the side button until the Apple logo shows up on your screen.

3. Clean Your iPhone’s Screen

Let’s face it: most of us don’t keep our iPhones as clean as they should, and that probably goes double for the touch screen. With so many inputs you give it in a day, it’s probably far dirtier than you think.

If your iPhone’s screen is too dirty, you might want to clean it and see if that fixes the ghost touch issue. 

To clean your iPhone, use a slightly damp, lint-free cloth or a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe and then softly wipe the display. 

Make sure that your iPhone isn’t charging when you do this, and remove any accessories plugged into your Lightning or USB-C port.

4. Make Sure Your Hands Are Clean and Dry

Likewise, your hands could be what’s causing a ghost touch if they’re too dirty or wet. So make sure to wash your hands properly and then try using your iPhone.

Of course, you’ll also need to dry your hands. Sometimes, drops of water might trigger your iPhone’s screen as if they were inputs.

5. Update Your iPhone

If you aren’t the only one suffering from ghost touch on your screen, a software bug might be causing this problem.

If that’s the case, updating your iPhone is the best way to solve this problem. Keeping your iPhone up to date might not only take care of the ghost touch, but it might also fix other problems you didn’t even know you had.

To update your iPhone, you need to:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and go to General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. Tap on Install Now if an update is available.

6. Remove Your Screen Protector

Sometimes, the problem might lie in your accessories. If you didn’t install your iPhone’s screen protector properly, or if it’s a cheap one, it can cause ghost touch issues.

If everything else you’ve tried doesn’t work, we’d recommend removing your screen protector and see if that fixes the issue. Be sure to clean your iPhone’s screen after you remove the protector since the dust particles could have caused the ghost touch.

7. Erase Your iPhone

It’s a drastic step, but if nothing else seems to work, you can factory reset your iPhone and basically start using it from scratch. Keep in mind that this will completely wipe your iPhone clean and delete all the settings, apps, and files that you had stored. 

So be sure to create a backup before you erase all the content and settings on your iPhone. If you have enough iCloud storage available, you can back up your iPhone directly to the cloud by opening the Settings app, tapping on your name at the top, and then selecting iCloud > iCloud Backup. You can also back up your iPhone directly to your Mac or PC.

Once you’ve confirmed you had a good backup, here’s how to restore your iPhone to factory settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on General.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  4. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Tap on Continue and follow the instructions on the screen.

8. Replace Your Screen

If none of the other troubleshooting tips work, you may need to replace your screen. The touchscreen could have a hardware issue that you’ll only be able to fix by changing it.

You can try doing it yourself with a bit of help from the internet or Apple’s Self Service Repair Program, but for most of us, it’s best to leave it to the pros and take our iPhones to a repair shop near us.

9. Reach Out to Apple

If your iPhone is still suffering from ghost touch, the best solution is to contact Apple Support. It might be the best and fastest way to determine what’s wrong with your iPhone and how to fix it. Apple support has diagnostic tools available that can help determine if there’s a problem with your iPhone’s hardware and might recommend other software fixes if not.

Of course, it might also be a bit pricey if there’s a hardware repair involved, but it could be worth it compared to inputs that happen at random.

Fix the Ghost Touch on Your iPhone

Hopefully, these tips will get rid of the ghost touch happening on your iPhone. For most people, following one or more of these steps should do the trick. 

But if you can’t seem to fix it, you can always reset your iPhone and start from scratch or reach out to Apple and let the professionals tell you what’s wrong with your screen.

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