How to Fix a Flickering Phone Screen

Phone screen flickering is an annoying glitch with a number of causes and fixes

This article will walk you through what to do when you experience smartphone glitches and bugs that cause phone flickering when charging or when using apps. These phone flickering screen fixes can also be used when the screen is flickering green, blinking at the bottom or top, or turning on and off quickly.

The following instructions apply to iPhone and Android smartphones.

How to Fix Phone Flickering Screen Issues

Here’s a series of quick fixes for flickering screen bugs that will work on Apple’s iPhones and various Android smartphone models.

  1. Restart your Android phone or restart your iPhone. Restarting your smartphone is an entirely separate process from standby or sleep mode that can clear up any operating system or app glitches that could be behind your screen flickering problems. Yes, it's the old: turn it off and turn it back on again trick.

  2. Update the OS on your iPhone or update the OS on your Android phone to the latest version. Phone flickering can result from an out-of-date operating system that’s having issues with the current hardware. A quick update can fix these bugs and help your smartphone run smoother.

  3. Update all your apps on your Android device or update the apps on your iPhone. An old version of an app could also be behind your mobile screen flickering.

    If the screen flickering only happens when using a specific app, then the cause is very likely related to that app.

  4. Check the charging cable for damage. An interrupted power flow from your power source to your device can cause phone flickering. This issue can happen due to a damaged or worn-out cable, though the power source itself can also cause it.

    Try charging your smartphone from a different power outlet. If you’re charging your phone while connected to your computer, experiment with plugging the charging cable directly into a socket via an AC adapter.

  5. Turn off auto-brightness on iPhone or adaptive brightness on Android. These features automatically adjust your screen’s brightness to be brighter in the light and dimmer in the dark. Disabling them has been known to fix phone flickering after water damage to a smart device or a hard drop that cracked or weakened the display.

    iPhone Auto-Brightness settings.

    You can find this option on the Display settings screen on Android and via Accessibility > Display & Text Size in Settings on iPhone.

  6. Disable any blue light filter apps you have installed. While these apps claim to help you sleep better, they could also be the cause of your phone’s screen flickering.

  7. Turn off blue light filter settings. Apple’s iPhone has its Night Shift setting, while Android smartphones have a couple of different blue light filter settings that vary depending on your smartphone’s brand.

    iPhone Night Shift settings.

    Disabling these Night Light settings on Android is very straightforward. Turn off Night Shift on iPhone via Display & Brightness in Settings.

  8. Turn on Developer Mode on Android and then switch on Disable HW overlays in System > Developer options. It can stop screen flickering by reducing strain on the Android phone’s CPU.

    Developer Mode running on an Android smartphone.
  9. Run your Android smartphone in Safe Mode. If an operating system or app glitch causes the phone flickering, switching over to Safe Mode could fix the problem, though, only when running this mode.

    If the screen flickering still occurs in Safe Mode, the cause is likely physical damage, which means that you’ll need to get your phone repaired or replaced.

  10. Have your smartphone professionally inspected. If all else fails, it’s best to have your device checked by first-party customer support. iPhone users can usually have this done by visiting an Apple Store or calling Apple Support. Android smartphone owners can contact the store they bought it from, the mobile carrier, or reach out via the manufacturer’s support website.

Why Is My Phone Screen Glitching?

Several issues can trigger phone flickering. Here are some of the more common causes:

  • Significant water damage.
  • A phone being hit or dropped.
  • A weak or inconsistent power source when charging.
  • An operating system or app software issue.
  • Hardware wear and tear caused by age or overuse.
  • Faulty hardware due to a manufacturing error.

Can a Virus Cause Screen Flickering?

While a virus can cause a flickering phone screen, the culprit in most cases is almost always a hardware or software issue.

Long-time Apple fans may remember the infamous iPhone Touch Disease that affected the iPhone 6 Plus smartphone back in the day. It caused a range of issues, including touch controls that stopped working correctly and, yes, screen flickering.

Despite its name, the iPhone Touch Disease wasn’t a virus, though. It was simply a phrase created by the large number of people experiencing issues that, Apple said, were caused by repeated drops of the device.

A Temporary Fix for Screen Flickering

If you’re unable to stop your phone flickering on and off, you will eventually need to get it replaced. In the meantime, you can still use your smartphone by projecting it to another screen, such as your TV.

Both Android and iPhone have various ways to project and mirror their screens which can be a lifesaver when you urgently need to view the contents of an app on your smartphone. Mirroring the screen makes backing up your phone’s contents easier if the flickering makes the screen completely unreadable.

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