Common Touch Screen Problems

By James Wright

Touch screens are used in a variety of places, especially in the advanced world of technology. They can be found in computers, such as tablet laptops, peripherals like iPods and touch screen phones, and many other places. Naturally, touch screen technology is rather delicate and can experience many issues. Common issues can cause using a touch screen to be difficult, or can prevent the touch screen from functioning at all.


Touch screens operate by being able to sense what section of the screen is being touched, and they can figure out what actions to take from there. A properly calibrated screen will ensure that if you touch a part of the screen, it will register the pressure in the correct area. Occasionally, a touch screen can lose its calibration and may not judge the user's input correctly, causing incorrect operations, or it can have difficulty sensing the user's touch at all. This may be sporadic and requires the screen to be recalibrated, which can usually be done by the user from a tool on the computer or peripheral.

Scratching and Damaging

Touch screens are incredibly prone to damage because of how often they come into contact with skin and different materials. Mishandled and unprotected screens can suffer scratching damage that may affect the accuracy of the screen and may prevent some portions of the screen from being usable at all. Many peripherals with touch screens will come with styluses, but a rough stylus edge, or styluses used with too much force, can also affect the screen's usability. For any phones or other devices that may normally be carried in pockets, the screens can be damaged by other objects such as keys and spare change.

Dirt and Grease

Touch screens won't just get damaged by frequent contact. It doesn't take long for grease to start making itself visible on the screens. Even a small amount of dirt or grease may affect how accurate the touch screen is. If left uncleaned, the grease and dirt may actually begin to damage the internal components. However, the main problem is the collection of foreign materials on the screen. Many devices with touch screens come with cleaning cloths that are safe to use and won't damage the screen.

Operation and System

Because of the delicate nature of touch screens, they will sometimes be affected no matter how well you take care of them. Errors registering input or within the device itself may make the system unresponsive. With age, the calibration may begin to falter, the response time may slow and become erratic, and in some cases, the screen may register input that has not been given. Recalibration and refreshing the system may help sometimes, but if the hardware itself begins to fail, the device may become useless.


Touch screen devices are valuable, innovative and creative, but they are also sensitive and easily damaged. Proper care is essential for these devices. Consider protective screens and carrying cases for phones, MP3 players and laptop tablets. Keep the screens and your hands clean, and consult your operating manuals for instructions on how to recalibrate your screen if necessary.