How to fix an iPhone with Ghost Touch bug in iOS 13

You’re certain that you didn’t do anything on your iPhone screen but for some reason, apps are launching or the screen is moving on its own. It seems uncanny but it actually happens. If this occurs to you after updating your iPhone to iOS 13, then you are one of the few who are facing the ghost touch bug in iOS 13. Read on to find out what to do to fix this issue and get your iPhone to work normally again.

What is a ghost touch bug and how it affects your iPhone?

Emerging as one of the weirdest post-update problems seen on some iOS devices is on the so-called ghost touch or ghost touching bug. It was previously seen on some iPhone 6 variants following an iOS update implementation and surprisingly surfaced among the iOS 13 (beta) bugs in some iPhones. As the name implies, ghost touch is when your iPhone starts performing actions by itself. This is when your phone seems to react or respond to non-existing touches. For example, apps on your iPhone would just open or close without you doing anything. 

Among the possible causes of ghost touch problem on an iPhone is a faulty display or damaged screen components. This is usually the case if some pins are out of place and thereby caused your iPhone display not seated correctly in the case. Aside from faulty hardware, ghost touch problem can also be attributed to software bugs and glitches. Just like what some iPhone users experience after the iOS 13 (beta) update. If you’ve landed into this page while searching for some help in dealing with the same iOS 13 post-update problem on your iPhone ghost touch, then this post is for you. Read on to learn how to deal with the iOS 13 ghost touch bug on your iPhone.

Before we proceed, if you’re looking for a solution to a problem with your phone, try to browse through our troubleshooting pages to see if we support your device. If your phone is in the list of our supported devices, then go to the troubleshooting page and look for similar problems. Feel free to use our solutions and workarounds. Don’t worry it’s free. But if you still need our help, then fill up our iOS issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us. 

Troubleshooting your iPhone with Ghost Touch bug in iOS 13

Before you begin to troubleshoot, remove any screen protector from your iPhone. This is highly recommended if the screen protector installed is not from Apple (third-party). Also ensure that your iPhone screen is free from dust and grime to ensure that they don’t affect screen functions and behaviour. If that doesn’t help resolve the ghost touch bug on your iPhone iOS 13, then you can move on and try the following solutions.

First solution: Soft reset/restart your iPhone to fix ghost touch bug.

Your device could be just acting up from the recent iOS changes. This usually happens when the update caused conflicts to your iPhone system, particularly its display features. The easiest way to clear out minor post-update glitches like this, performing a soft reset or restart on the iPhone will likely suffice. Doing so refreshes your apps and system functions and likewise eliminates minor system errors including those inflicted by the iOS 13 update on your iPhone. A soft reset can be carried out in various ways depending on the iPhone model/variant.

In earlier iPhones, particularly those with a Home button, a soft reset is carried out through these steps:

  1. Press and hold down the Power/Top/Side button for a few seconds until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your device.
  3. After a few seconds, press and hold the Power/Top/Side button until the Apple logo appears.

In later iPhones without a Home button, a soft reset is done this way:

  1. Press and hold the Top button and either Volume button until the Power Off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your device completely.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Top button again until the Apple logo appears.

Performing a soft reset doesn’t affect your iPhone data and therefore does not result in permanent data loss. 

Also read: How to fix delayed touchscreen response on iPhone iOS 13

Second solution: Install all pending updates.

If the ghost touch bug only occurs when using a certain application, then it’s likely just an isolated problem to that app. Perhaps that app has gone rogue from the recent firmware implementation and eventually triggered the occurrence of such an eerie symptom on your iPhone. If third-party apps are the ones affected, then installing updates for those apps might help. App updates also contain bug fixes to patch in-app errors and glitches including those inflicted by new firmware updates. If your iPhone is still responsive and has a stable Internet access, then you can carry out these steps to manually check for and install pending app updates individually or simultaneously:

  1. From the Home screen, tap App Store. Doing so launches the Apple Store app.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the App Store screen then tap on Updates. A list of apps with pending updates will appear.
  3. Navigate to the list of apps and then tap the Update button next to the name of the app to install individual update for your apps.
  4. If multiple app updates are available, tap the Update All button on the top-right corner of the screen.

Wait for your apps to finish updating and then restart your iPhone to apply the recent software changes. 

Third solution: Reset all settings.

Post-update symptoms that could not be remedied by the initial procedures are usually dealt with by resetting all settings on your device. This reset erases all your current customized settings including iOS 13 overrides that contain errors and trigger the ghost touch problem on your iPhone. You  don’t need to back up files beforehand because this process doesn’t affect saved data on your iPhone storage. If you wish to give it a shot, then you may do so with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Choose Reset all settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your passcode when asked to proceed.
  6. Finally, tap the option to confirm all settings reset.

After the reset, all customized settings are deleted and the original values/options are restored. With that said, you will need to re-enable features that are disabled by default so that you can use them again on your iPhone.

Fourth solution: Erase your iPhone to fix ghost touch bug in iOS 13.

Your device might have obtained some complex system errors that caused stubborn symptoms. If your iPhone continues to experience ghost touches, then you may have to consider resorting to full system resets. Your next option should you wish to troubleshoot further, is a factory reset or master reset on your iPhone. This will erase everything from your device system including saved information, downloads, and other files stored on the internal memory. Having said that, make sure that you back up all critical data beforehand. You can back them up to iCloud or iTunes according to your preferences. Once you have secured your iPhone backup, you can proceed to these steps and instigate a factory reset through settings:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  5. Enter your passcode to proceed.
  6. Tap the option to confirm full system reset or factory reset.

Alternatively, you can use iTunes to manually erase your iPhone and then restore its factory default settings on a computer. If you choose to go for this method, then you can back up files from your iPhone straight to iTunes drive or a designated folder/directory on your computer. When you’re done backing up all your personal information, you can start erasing your iPhone through iTunes. Just follow the onscreen commands and controls to instigate and finish resetting your iPhone in iTunes. After the reset, you can set up your iPhone as new or restore from a previous iOS backup.

Fifth solution: Restore your iPhone in Tunes (recovery mode).

Restoring your iPhone in recovery mode allows iTunes to repair any corrupted system data from the recent iOS 13 update, including those that triggered the ghost touch bug. The chance of fixing major system issues through recovery mode is higher. But the main downside from doing so is that it affects internal data stored on your iPhone storage. Thus, creating backups through iTunes is highly recommended before you proceed. If you wish to give recovery mode a shot, then just refer to the following procedures.

If you’re using an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X and later model, follow these steps to enter recovery mode:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer and then launch iTunes.
  2. While your iOS device is connected, quick-press and release the Volume Up button.
  3. Then quickly press then release the Volume Down button.
  4. Press and hold the Side/Power button and don’t release it when the Apple logo appears.
  5. Release the Side/Power button when the Recovery Mode screen appears.

If you’re using an iPhone 7/7 Plus, follow these steps to enter recovery mode:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer.
  2. Then open iTunes on your computer.
  3. Next, press and hold the Side button and Volume Down button simultaneously.
  4. Keep holding both buttons when the Apple logo appears.
  5. Then release both buttons when the Recovery mode (Connect to iTunes) screen is displayed.

For older iPhones such as the iPhone 6s/6s Plus and older models, follow these steps to enter recovery mode:

  1. Start by connecting your iPhone to the computer and then launch iTunes.
  2. Press and hold the Home and Lock/Side/Top buttons simultaneously.
  3. Keep holding both buttons when the Apple logo appears and then release when you see the Recovery Mode (Connect to iTunes) screen.
  4. Click the button to Restore your iPhone.
  5. Follow the rest of the onscreen commands and restore your iPhone in iTunes.

Wait for iTunes to finish restoring your iPhone and once it’s finished, you can exit recovery mode and disconnect your device from the computer. Do not disconnect your iPhone unless the entire restore process is complete to evade from iOS corruption. 

To exit recovery mode, simply force restart your iPhone.

Last resort: Put your iPhone in DFU mode and repair iOS.

The last option you’ve got if the ghost touch bug persists after exhausting all prior methods is a DFU mode restore. This is the deepest type of system restore done on an iPhone. In this state, iTunes will still be able to sync and access your iPhone system without activating the boot loader. Stubborn errors and symptoms attributed to fatal system errors or corrupted iOS are usually dealt with by this method. If you wish to troubleshoot further, then you can refer to the following procedures to put your iPhone in DFU mode and restore it in iTunes.

To enter DFU mode on older iPhones from 6s and below, refer to these steps:

  1. Start by plugging your iPhone to the computer using the Apple-supplied USB cable/Lightning cable.
  2. While your device is connected, hold down both the Home button and Lock button for about 8 seconds.
  3. After 8 seconds, release the Lock button but keep holding down the Home button until the screen turns black and shows nothing. If you see this, then it means that your device has successfully entered DFU mode. 

If you’ve opened iTunes, it will prompt a message telling that it has detected your iPhone in recovery mode. Just follow the onscreen commands to start repairing and restoring your iPhone.

To enter DFU mode in iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, follow these steps:

  1. Plug your iPhone into the computer using the original USB cable/Lightning cable.
  2. Hold down both the Side and Volume Down buttons for 8 seconds.
  3. After 8 seconds, let go of the Side button but keep holding down the Volume Down button until nothing is displayed on the screen. 

If your iPhone screen turns completely black, then that denotes it’s already in DFU mode. Follow the onscreen instructions prompted by iTunes to start repairing and restoring iOS.

To enter DFU mode in iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X and later models, refer to these steps:

  1. Plug your iPhone into the computer using the USB cable/Lightning cable that came with it.
  2. While it’s connected, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, then quickly press the Volume Down button.
  3. Hold down the Side button for a few seconds until the screen turns black.
  4. Then hold down both the Side and Volume Down buttons for 5 seconds.
  5. After 5 seconds, let go of the Side button but keep holding down the Volume Down button until nothing is displayed on your iPhone screen. 

An indication that your iPhone is in DFU mode is when your iPhone screen turns completely black and no texts or logos are showing up. 

By then, iTunes will prompt a message saying that it has detected your iPhone in recovery mode. Follow the onscreen commands to start repairing and restoring iOS in DFU mode. When your phone is finished restoring, you can exit DFU mode and start configuring your device like the first time you did.

To exit DFU mode, just perform a forced restart on your device.

User-defined solutions to your iPhone ghost touch bug in iOS 13

Other users who encountered the same ghost touch bug on their iOS devices were able to find temporary remedies by connecting the device to a non-Apple charger and then unplugging it,. Then touch every side of the display and release the charger. Afterwards, connect the iPhone to its original charger and then tap every side of the display again. 

Another user-defined tweak is to hold one of the top-side and bottom-side screen (right or left) and then the 3D-touch and tapping the center of the iPhone screen.

Other users have found wonders from turning their iPhone off, wrapping it with a plastic bag, and once it’s wrapped, put the iPhone in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes. After the elapsed time, unwrap the iPhone and then allow it to dry by exposing it in sunlight for 1 to 2 hours. 

Note: 

  • These aren’t official solutions and therefore not recommended as they could possibly damage your iPhone completely. But you may still opt to proceed at your own discretion.

Resorting to third-party iOS repair and recovery systems can also be considered among the last options. Similar to iTunes, these tools can be downloaded to your Mac or Windows computer and then launch it repair major system flaws on your iPhone.

Also read: How to fix iPhone touchscreen lagging problem after updating to iOS 13

Seek more help

For more advanced solutions and official recommendations, you can escalate the problem to your iPhone carrier or Apple Support. Just describe the so-called “ghost touch” problem you’re dealing with after updating your iPhone in iOS 13 as well as the workarounds you’ve applied in an attempt to resolve the problem on your end. If your iPhone is still covered by warranty, then you might as well consider availing free service or new unit replacement.

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