How to Fix It When a Chromebook Touchscreen is Not Working

Chromebook screen lacking that magic touch? Let's get it working again

When your Chromebook touchscreen stops working, it could be as simple as a dirty screen, accidentally toggled setting, or a basic software issue. One of the great things about Chromebooks is that if all else fails, a powerwash will usually get things back on the right track. That's the last resort though, so make sure you start with the simple stuff and work from there.

What Causes a Chromebook Touchscreen to Stop Working?

Chromebooks are designed to be easy to use and easy to fix, and in the instances where the touchscreen stops working, it can all be traced to just a handful of issues with fairly easy fixes.

An image of a Pixelbook Go, a Chromebook by Google.
Google

Here are the most common reasons that Chromebook touchscreens stop working:

  • Dirt or debris on the screen: If the screen is dirty, the touchscreen functionality may not work. The same is true if your hands are dirty or wet.
  • System settings: The touchscreen may have been disabled accidentally, in which case you can fix the problem by re-enabling it.
  • Software problems: Most Chromebook software issues can be resolved through a basic hardware reset or a factory reset.
  • Hardware problems: The touchscreen digitizer or other hardware may have failed.

How to Fix a Chromebook Touchscreen That Doesn't Work

If you want to try to get your Chromebook touchscreen working yourself, there are a number of fairly easy steps you can take and fixes that don't require any special technical expertise or tools. You'll start by making sure the screen isn't dirty, move on to verifying that the screen isn't toggled off, and then finally attempt a basic reset and a powerwash, which are able to fix most Chromebook problems.

To fix your Chromebook touchscreen, follow these steps in order:

  1. Clean the screen. Shut down your Chromebook, and thoroughly clean the screen using a lint-free cloth. The steps are similar to cleaning the screen on an iPad. Be careful to remove any dirt or debris, any food crumbs or sticky residues, and also dry the screen if it has any liquid on it.

    If the screen is really dirty, you can use a cleaning solution that's specifically designed for LCD screens and a microfiber cloth. Use as little liquid as possible, and don't drip on the keyboard or allow the cleaning solution to run down behind the screen. Finish up by completely drying the screen with another microfiber cloth.

    Never use any cleaning product that includes ammonia, ethyl alcohol, acetone, or anything else that isn't designed for use with Chromebook touchscreens.

  2. Clean and dry your hands. Before you try your touchscreen again, make sure your hands are clean and dry. If your hands aren't clean, or if they are wet, the touchscreen may not function correctly.

    If you have a touchscreen stylus, check to see if that works.

  3. Make sure the touchscreen isn't turned off. Chromebooks have the option to toggle the touchscreen on and off. If this setting is accidentally toggled, the touchscreen will stop working until you toggle it back on.

    To activate the Chromebook touchscreen toggle, press Search + Shift + t.

    This toggle isn't available on every Chromebook, and you may have to navigate to chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts and enable debugging keyboard shortcuts to use it.

  4. Hard reset your Chromebook. If your touchscreen still doesn't work, perform a hard reset. This is different from simply closing the lid or pushing the power button.

    To hard reset a Chromebook:

    1. Turn off the Chromebook.
    2. Press and hold the refresh key and push the power button.
    3. Release the refresh key when the Chromebook starts up.

    To hard reset a Chromebook tablet:

    1. Press and hold the volume up and power buttons.
    2. Wait 10 seconds.
    3. Release the buttons.
  5. Reset your Chromebook to factory settings. If your touch screen still doesn't work, then the next step is to completely reset it to factory settings. This process is known as powerwashing, and it will remove all local data, so make sure any local files have been backed up to your Google Drive.

When to Consider Professional repair

If your touchscreen still doesn't work after performing a full powerwash, it may be time to take your Chromebook to a professional for repairs. You're probably dealing with a hardware failure that will require a technician to diagnose and replace your touchscreen digitizer or another related component. If your touchscreen works, but it registers you as touching the wrong part of the screen, that sort of probably is usually indicative of a hardware failure.