How to Fix Ghost Typing and False Touch on iPad

Does your iPad type or launch apps on its own? Learn how to fix it

Perhaps the most bizarre problem you can encounter on an iPad is the device typing or launching apps randomly, without any input from you. This behavior is often referred to as "ghost typing" or "false touch." But don't worry. Your iPad is probably not possessed by a poltergeist, and in most cases, the problem is easily fixed with a few quick troubleshooting steps.

These fixes apply to all iPad models with iPadOS 13 or later.

Causes of Ghost Typing and False Touch

There are a few reasons why your iPad can seem to develop a mind of its own. On rare occasions, the device may have been compromised by malware. However, the more common causes of this behavior are that the device's display is scratched or dirty, or the device is bogged down with browsing history, downloads, and the like and needs a fresh start. Here's how to get your iPad back in proper working order.

iPad ghost
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How to Fix Ghost Typing and False Touch

The following solutions have been shown to resolve ghost touches on an iPad:

  1. Restart the iPad. The first step in troubleshooting most technical problems is to restart the device. Restarting the device may be all you need to do to eliminate ghost typing.

  2. Clean the iPad screen. The display screen is designed to ignore touches that the iPad determines aren't human, which is why your nails don't register. However, something on the display may be triggering the tablet's touch sensors. So, while the device is off, clean the screen carefully.

    Use a damp microfiber or lint-free cloth to clean the display. Don't spray anything onto the iPad display.

  3. Check for malware. When an iPad begins typing on its own or interacting with an app by itself, your first thought might be that someone has taken control of it. Such a takeover is rare, especially if you havent jailbroken your iPad. Apple checks all apps submitted to its App Store for malware, and although a virus can slip past Apple's vigilance, it's rare. Still, it's important to beware of iPad malware meant to trick you into giving up personal information.

  4. Reset the iPad. If you restarted and cleaned the iPad and you still experience ghost touches, restore the iPad to factory default settings. It may take several minutes to complete the reset process. When it's finished, set up your iPad from the backup you created.

    Resetting your iPad to factory defaults erases all the data and apps on the device. Before resetting, back up your iPad so that you can restore your data and apps.

Still Having Problems?

If you tried the tips in this article, but your iPad is still having trouble, it may have a faulty touch display or bad sensors. Go to Apple's support website or make an Apple genius bar appointment at the nearest Apple Store.

  • Can a screen protector cause ghost typing on iPad?

    It's possible but unlikely. If the screen protector interferes with the screen's ability to detect capacitive touch, it might, but any screen protector made for the iPad should work correctly.

  • Did iPadOS 13.4 cause the ghost touch problem on my iPad?

    Several iPad users reported a ghost touch problem after they updated to iPadOS 13.4. The majority of them were able to solve the problem by performing a forced restart and reset of their device. If that doesn't help and you still have the false touches occur on subsequent iPadOS updates, there may be a hardware problem. Take the iPad to the closest Apple Store for a diagnosis.

  • How much does Apple charge to fix an iPad screen with a ghost touch?

    Apple doesn't charge to replace a defective screen if your iPad is under warranty or you have AppleCare.

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