How to Fix an Unresponsive Touchscreen

by Shawn McClain

    More and more modern devices, ranging from smartphones to tablet computers to GPS devices, rely on touchscreen interfaces. Since many of these devices have limited alternative means of input, you may be unable to use the device at all if the touchscreen becomes unresponsive. Even though the devices that have touchscreens vary wildly, there are some basic general troubleshooting steps that you can try to get a touchscreen working again.

    Step 1

    Turn the device off, wait a few seconds, and then turn it back on again. This process will clear out any software errors that are causing the touchscreen to malfunction. If the touchscreen still doesn't work, remove the device's battery, if possible, wait ten seconds and then put it back in.

    Step 2

    Remove both the SIM and memory cards from the device, if the device accepts such cards, and then turn the device off and back on again. Sometimes errors in these cards can cause devices to malfunction.

    Step 3

    Check your device's documentation to see if there is a way to manually recalibrate the screen. This process will either be done through the "Settings" or "Tools" menus, for those devices that have an alternative method of input, or by holding a combination of buttons while you turn the device on, for those devices that only have the touchscreen for input.

    Step 4

    Upgrade the device's software to the latest version, if possible. Many devices come with software for your computer that will allow you to connect the device and update the software. Often, this process will resolve existing software errors that may be causing the touchscreen to stop responding.

    Step 5

    Clean the device's contacts and screen using isopropyl alcohol and a small brush. Turn the device off before you clean it.

    Step 6

    Perform a hard reset as a last resort. This reset will erase everything you have added to the device and return its software and settings to their factory defaults. Even with an unresponsive touchscreen, most devices will have a way to perform this reset either through PC software or by holding a combination of buttons while turning the device on. Consult your device documentation to determine the exact process for performing a hard reset on your device.

    Step 7

    Contact the manufacturer for your device if the touchscreen is still unresponsive after your troubleshooting attempts. The manufacturer may have additional steps to take that are specific to your device, and if your device is still under warranty you should be able to get a replacement through their customer service division.

    Warnings

    • If you have the right tools and are willing to risk voiding your warranty, you can also open the device and scrub down the control board using the small brush and isopropyl alcohol.
    • Many manufacturers offer free telephone support, but some will charge for the service. Check your product documentation before you contact support to know if you will be charged for the service.

    Required Items

    • Isopropyl alcohol
    • Small brush

    About the Author

    Shawn McClain has spent over 15 years as a journalist covering technology, business, culture and the arts. He has published numerous articles in both national and local publications, and online at various websites. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in journalism at Clarion University.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images