Touch Screen Issues with iPhone or iPad and iOS 15.1? Here’s How to Fix

Nov 11, 2021 - 10 Comments

iPhone and iPad unresponsive touch screen issues

Some iPhone and iPad users have discovered that their devices touch screens are having random problems with response to touch input, particularly since updating to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or later, including iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1.

The touch screen issue can be everything unregistered taps, unresponsive to touch input, a seeming delay to touch input, erroneous touch input, or even just completely ignoring touch input.

Some common examples of issues with iPhone or iPad touch input, or an unresponsive touch screen, include the following:

  • Swiping on the screen to scroll up on a webpage or document may not register initial touch inputs
  • Swiping from left to right on the Home Screen may not register the swipes thus requiring repeat attempts
  • Attempting to swipe up to quit out of apps in multitasking view may also fail even with repeated attempts
  • Attempting to swipe left or right on the Home Screen or perform other Home Screen gestures results in Spotlight appearing instead of the desired action
  • Accessing Control Center can be a challenge, or attempting to adjust brightness or volume in Control Center may be unresponsive or delayed
  • Trying to tap to close a browser tab in Safari or Chrome may take repeated attempts after a variety of tap failures
  • Scrolling up or down in documents, Safari, Notes, etc may be very slow or suddenly unresponsive
  • Some apps also may be very slow to respond to touch input if it is registered at all, like scrolling up and down in a webpage in Chrome may become inordinately slow or unresponsive

Just about any scenario that involves touch input, but particularly anything involving swiping or gesturing, can be intermittently problematic, unreliable, or unresponsive if you are experiencing this issue.

The problem is very obvious, so if you are experiencing the issue you will know it: your touch input is basically ignored or not reliably interpreted.

Update iOS / iPadOS

Some users have reported that updating to the latest iOS or iPadOS release resolves the issue for them. This is good practice anyway, so be sure to check for an update in Settings > General > Software Update.

Make Sure the Screen is Not Dirty

Some iPhone and iPad users may think the touch screen is not responding correctly because there is debris, grease, grime, or some other junk on the screen. Take a moment to wipe off the devices display and make sure it is clear of any obvious goo.

This is a generic troubleshooting tip for any touch screen issues, and it’s important to rule this out since it’s an easy fix; simply cleaning the display resolves the issue.

If the screen is clean and everything works perfectly, great, you’re good to go.

If the screen is clean and the touch issues persist, go ahead and read on.

Temporary Solution to iPhone/iPad Touch Screen Issues: Hard Restarting

Hard rebooting the iPhone or iPad seems to temporarily resolve the issue, but the touch issues may come back after the device continues to be used for a while.

  • On any iPhone / iPad with Face ID, including iPhone X and newer, iPad Pro, or the newest iPad Air and iPad Mini devices without Home buttons, hard restarting is done as follows: Press volume up, press volume down, press and hold the power / lock button until you see an  Apple log on screen.
  • For any iPad model with a Home button, press and hold the Home button and the power/lock button until you see an  Apple logo to hard restart the device.

When the iPhone or iPad boots back up, touch input should work again as expected, at least for a little while.

It appears that the more apps you use, the quicker the unresponsive touch screen issue will resurface. For example, I can reliably reproduce the issue after some duration has passed with a common workflow involving a lot of open tabs in both Safari and Chrome, and the Notes app.

I personally have encountered the unresponsive touch screen issue on an iPad Pro 2018 model with iPadOS 15.1, and in my personal experience the problem did not exist in prior versions of iPadOS system software.

Because the issue is (temporarily) resolved after the device has a hard reboot suggests it is either a bug, memory leak, or some other software issue that should be resolved in a future iOS/iPadOS software update. Accordingly, be sure to install any future iOS/iPadOS software update when it comes available, as it is likely to resolve the problem.

We mentioned the touch screen issue in a broader article on troubleshooting iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 problems.

It’s worth remembering that many issues with an unresponsive touch screen on iPad Pro and iPhone are often simply the result of a dirty screen, or software related, and while it’s annoying, it’s not totally unheard of.

For what it’s worth, some users have reported touch screen issues with iOS 15 on iPhone 13, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 that were resolved after updating to iOS 15.1, so if you haven’t updated to iOS 15.1 yet then it’s worth doing so in the chance it resolves any touch screen issues for you.

If you’re having any particular problems with the touch screen on iPhone or iPad since updating to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or newer, let us know your experiences and solutions in the comments.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. RICK says:

    Since updating from IOS 14.8 (I think) to IOS 15.1 on my 10.5” iPad Pro, I cannot view user comments in Facebook. Any attempt to do so causes Facebook to lock up. Closing and restarting Facebook allows me to view Facebook posts and even to comment but if I try to read existing comments, Facebook will freeze up again. A hard reboot does not fix this very annoying issue.

  2. Ben says:

    My iPhone XS wont let me swipe up to unlock unless I switch the screen off then on several times whilst I swipe. It’s ridiculous. I can’t answer phone calls as turning the screen off rejects the call.

  3. Ed says:

    Experience the problems in just one of the many News app I read. Scrolling on the landing page is ok. But scrolling in an article isn’t. Can scroll down the article but not up. The back button either takes time or is completely unresponsive. Multiple problems navigating in the Edge browser especially when clicking on links. Hard reset does not resolve. Issues immediately arise. Would be nice to get a comment from Apple!

  4. Jannes says:

    The issue seems to ocur mostly with older iPad Pros. The Ipad Air 2020 of a friend works just fine. I also use a 10.5 model bought in early 2018 and I’m experiencing the whole list of problems as mentioned above. Rebooting helps – but only for a short time. After updating on 15.1 the touch screen seemed to work properly again. but a few days later the problem reoccurred. It’s really annoying. I hope Apple will fix this permanently with the next update.

  5. Carla A says:

    relieved to know this isn’t yet another “only me” issue. definitely has had me regretting installing iPad OS 15 on my 7th gen iPad. there was nothing wrong with iPad OS 14. now i’ve got an unresponsive touch screen, three dots i can’t get rid of at the top of the screen (for multitasking! which i don’t need, want or use!) and other misc. useless crap i can’t opt out of because APPLE KNOWS BEST. *sigh*

    and then there’s my iPhone 13 Pro whose screen is TOO responsive and misreads swipes and taps constantly.

    Zathras can never have anything nice.

  6. Dan Uff says:

    Glad to see that I am not the only one with this problem, AND you just $aved me money from buying a new one 😁. THANK YOU!

  7. Dale Cheek says:

    Since updating from IOS 14.8 (I think) to IOS 15.1 on my 10.5” iPad Pro, I cannot view user comments in Facebook. Any attempt to do so causes Facebook to lock up. Closing and restarting Facebook allows me to view Facebook posts and even to comment but if I try to read existing comments, Facebook will freeze up again. A hard reboot does not fix this very annoying issue.

  8. JohnIL says:

    Big problem too with screen taps is Apple has so little edge to hold a device anymore. If your accidentally touching the screen with your other hand that can mess with registering taps. This is why I always liked the older iPad’s with nice wide boarders around screen to hold it. I have way more of these issues with my iPhone then iPads.

  9. Jason says:

    Have an iPad Pro 10.5 with iPadOS 15.1 and experiencing exactly the same issues as described above. Hard reboot helped temporarily but faced same issues after some time.

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