The iPhone touchscreen dead zone lives on

The iPhone touchscreen dead zone lives on

Ben Wilson
2 min read

In August 2007, we first reported on an issue where certain spots on the iPhone's MultiTouch screen ? particularly a strip about 1/2 inch in height somewhere below the top of the screen ? will not accept input. Hope held that this issue was restricted to a bad run of touchscreens and slowly disappear. Unfortunately, users are still reporting the issue, even with recently purchased iPhones, in droves.

Apple's Discussion boards are littered with threads, marked as recently as this week, from users experiencing the issue. Examples:

  • "I've recently come across a dead strip on the touchscreen of my iphone... lower part of the phone and it's super annoying." -- emanjuarez
  • "I had the exact same problem. I did the whole 'reset' then eventually 'restore' thing. Neither fixed the problem. Called AppleCare. I set up an appointment at the Genius Bar at our local Apple Store. I told them about the problem then showed it to them. I told them all of the steps I'd taken including calling AppleCare and they replaced my phone on the spot." -- Amaya'sGG
  • "My iPhone has recently developed a dead touch area on the screen when displaying the Calendar view by month. It is always the second week down regardless of which month is being displayed. I can not access any of the days on that line when I touch the screen in that area." -- Craige

As evidenced by the above posts, if indeed you have a defective screen, Apple is apparently willing to replace it with little hassle. However, to ensure that a more innocuous issue isn't at play, try the following first:

  • Reset your iPhone Sometimes, ostensibly dead spots on the screen are merely the result of frozen applications or an unresponsive interface rather than actual hardware failure. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button (on the top of the unit) and the Home button simultaneously for several seconds until the Apple logo appears and check for persistence of the issue.
  • Clean the screen It may sound trite, but a glaze of any foreign substance can cause operational difficulties for the iPhone?s screen. Clean the screen with the cleaning cloth that came in the box with the iPhone.
  • Restore your iPhone As a last resort, try restoring. This can remove lingering software issues that might be causing a lack of screen response. To perform a restore, Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC and, in iTunes, click the Restore button under the Summary tab. Restoring the phone will erase contacts, calendars, photos and other data on the phone, but will restore automatically backed-up information including text messages, notes, call history, contact favorites, sound settings, widget settings, etc.

If you're still having problems, contact Apple for repair.

The current state of affairs indicates that Apple is still shipping defective touchscreens, or touchscreens that are susceptible to this issue (which some have suggested might be caused by condensation). Drop us a line if your touchscreen, or a potion of it, has gone dead.