Does the iPhone 5 have a touchscreen bug?

By , Nov 9, 2012

Both Apple’s iPhone 5 and the latest fifth-generation iPod touch exhibit an unusual problem affecting how the devices handle touch input events. As noted by game developer CMA Megacorp, if you slide your finger back and forth across the display rapidly, input events drop out or stop altogether. Worse, the issue also affects scrolling and swipes and is exacerbated by scrolling diagonally. While many people never use rapid swiping motions to operate their device, games like Fruit Ninja rely on moving one’s finger across the touchscreen in a rapid succession…

CMA Megacorp was first to acknowledge the unusual behavior on Twitter.

 

A video from Recombu seen at the top clearly suggests that the behaviour is only limited to latest iOS devices that rock a taller, four-inch display – meaning the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPod touch.

iMore editor Rene Ritchie concurs, additionally discovering that the problem appears to be independent of whether the devices have iOS 6 or 6.0.1 installed.

Sure enough, whilst both iPhone 4S’s handled the fast paced scrolling to aplomb, one iPhone 5 struggled to hold its concentration, dropping and picking back up touch input whilst the other stopped registering input altogether.

That Rene couldn’t reproduce the issue on an iPhone 4S or iPad 4 might suggest a hardware problem with Apple’s in-cell display assembly on the iPhone 5 and latest iPod touch.

On the other hand, it is extremely unlikely that such a hardware issue would pass unnoticed during the engineering verification phase. Besides, Apple is often praised for its sophisticated multitouch technology.

The speed of chips running software that interprets touch input events is also unlikely to be causing this behavior. Both devices feature refreshed internals, with noticeable speed gains across the board.

This leaves us with two other possibilities

First, it might be a good ol’ software bug easily fixable with a future firmware update.

And second, as Matthew Panzarino notes on The Next Web, Apple weaked multitouch handling for the iPad mini.

Because the smaller iPad has really narrow side bezels, improvements have been added to the iOS multitouch technology to ignore false positive touch inputs due to your thumb now resting on the actual screen of the device instead of the bezel.

Therefore, this inability of the iPhone 5 and iPod touch to register rapid swipes correctly could be an unintended consequence of the iOS multitouch tech tweaks.

Of course, this is all purely speculative because Apple has not yet spoken on the matter.

We’d love to hear about your experience down in the comments.

Does your iPhone or fifth-gen iPod touch suffer from a slowdown in registering rapid touch input events?

Have you noticed any real-life problems with gameplay in titles like Fruit Ninja?

Finally, is this something that will negatively impact daily use for ordinary users?

Meet us in comments.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=799975283 Jose Lazo Vargas

    I just tried to recreate the bug, but nothing happened

    • pegger1

      Would help if you said which device

  • pegger1

    This just in from Apple: You’re swiping it wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/izzuanuddin izzi wizzi cheesy

      lol.. they are so gonna say like that

  • http://www.facebook.com/kujtim.gacaferri Kujtim Gacaferri

    Same thing on me iPhone 5 iOS 6.1 beta

  • http://twitter.com/izzuanuddin izzi wizzi cheesy

    i have iphone 5 running ios 6.1 beta.. Did like in the video & i can confirm that the glitch is still there

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002515698269 Joel Paskings Torres

    Swipegate?

  • http://twitter.com/bemeLeoven Leoven Morete

    It Happens to ipad too

    • pegger1

      Are you asking or telling? The story says it doesn’t occur on iPad

      • http://twitter.com/bemeLeoven Leoven Morete

        i tested it on mail and it has the same problem or it is normal

  • http://www.facebook.com/JeremyBWallace Jeremy Wallace

    My iPhone 5 on 6.0.1 has the same problem.

  • jose castro

    yeah mine don’t do that. must be some phones but i did what he did on the video and mine does what the older iPhone do and does not glitch.

  • Jerry

    mine did it if i swiped the whole screen up and down but when I swiped in the same areas where it suppose to scroll that doesnt happen. I think this happens because either your swiping too fast to notice that you actual lift your finger off the screen or you swiping to areas of the screen where is not suppose to swipe which causes it to stop.

    • pegger1

      Then it would happen on the older devices as well. Watch the video there’s clearly a problem, especially when the scrolling completely stops.

      • Jerry

        ok nevermind I just replicated the “glitch” took my phone a real long time to do it tho my arm started to hurt lol

  • sylvan feghali

    i been having this issue since day one i bought the crap shit iphone 5

  • mervynraj

    wow what a bug?! causin soo much distress isnt?! grow up ppl… who the hell is gon scroll like that?! id never hurt ma iphone like tht!!

    • Hellusion

      If you play Fruit Ninja or Infinity Blade or any other fast paced game it does matter.

      • ic0dex

        And I play both games on my iPhone 5 and I haven’t had that problem.

      • jose castro

        me too

  • triggerfiend

    you have to really get a nice diagonal spaz going on to notice. but this bug is confirmed on my iphone5

  • http://twitter.com/nck_s Nick Serafini

    Confirmed! Recreated on my iPhone 5 (6.0)

  • http://twitter.com/welcom95 welcom

    Same here: iPhone 5 6.0

  • inc188

    i just tried it on i5 at 6.01 and i can replicate the bug…. interesting indeed

  • iXanczy

    Got the same bug iPhone5 iOS 6.0.1

    • iXanczy

      But i would not have noticed it if it wheren’t mentioned here at iDB, so i’ll guess it does not affect my daly use…

  • Marcos

    Oh… it’s true, but my finger hurts now. iPhone 5 iOS 6.0.1

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000218367879 Donato Bearint

    I have noticed this on my iPhone 5 and I thought it was just me imagining things.

  • Daniel

    I have been noticing the same issue. It causes problems for me when swiping a left or right in tweetbot.

  • http://twitter.com/busheman Ryan Bushe

    The Real issue it if you just swipe up from the bottom starting from off the screen you do not have to go crazy on the phone. I doesn’t seem to recognize swipes coming from off the screen on the bottom only.

  • http://twitter.com/aomia syler

    Did he say iOS 6.9.1. ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=64703221 Mark Thomas

    Why on gods earth would you have a reason to swipe like that?? This is just stupid

  • http://www.facebook.com/dehai Siddharth Desai

    Jeff, your iPhone 5 has a considerate amount of yellow tint.

  • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

    Confirmed repeated on my iPhone 5 iOS 6.0.0 64gb black AT&T

  • http://twitter.com/unbeliever008 Jae. Just J.

    Really? Highly likely a hardware issue would pass unnoticed? I love my iPhone but all I can say is Antenna Gate. That was clearly not a hardware issue.

  • http://twitter.com/S_Lacertosa Stefano

    As a matter in fact I have been wondering why I’m losing this particular game I have been playing ‘Road Trip 2′, this glitch happened when you hold the screen for X-amount of time. I’ve noticed this very often.

  • seyss

    retard

  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    I love how nobody notices or gives a sh*t about these bugs until someone points them out and that’s when everybody starts freaking out and complaining lol. I could care less about this bug.

  • chjode

    Well, that settles it. I’m going to throw my iPhone in the trash and buy a Samsung Galaxy S Extreme Ultra Atrix HD 4G II. This bug is showstopping and won’t ever be fixed with a software update to 6.1. This wouldn’t have happened in Steve was still here.

    /sarcasm

    • Outhig

      Nope, just an S3.

  • http://twitter.com/tonybinpan Pan Bin

    Mine does too. When I tried to swipe like that in Fruit Ninja, it works fine. So I guess it doesn’t matter to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Cannan/100000630162509 Steven Cannan

    Am I the only one that thinks he’s just raising his finger?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=773465022 Neil Popson

      That wouldn’t really explain why my iPhone 5 does the same thing though.

  • Fevostone

    Who the hell does this with any device please stop been picky my ipad iPhone 5 works very very well wen I use it normal and not like a doughnut ;-)

  • George W

    Mine after so many days keeps freezing. Touch screen becomes non responsive. Then apps freeze, take a while to respond. Home button doesn’t work. Press app, wait up to 10 secs for a response. Have to turn iPhone off and on.

  • Leeum

    i t does it on the iPad 2 running 5.1.1

  • http://www.facebook.com/neastwood Nathan Eastwood

    I’ve got the same issue on my iPhone 5 on iOS 6.0.1

  • http://twitter.com/xdracco Juan

    bummer. looks like iPrecious 5 isn’t so precious after all.

  • http://profiles.google.com/faizan.amjad86 Faizan Amjad

    i would bet that this is a software glitch related to the thumb/ palm detection

  • http://twitter.com/doubleaa25 Adham

    Did anyone think it was kind of hard to tell whether or not the person was lifting his finger while doing the demo?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XXNYYE2U7R4EKZRLJPMYAATYWM Thai Khoa

    I don’t use iDevices in that way lol

  • Wilmer Chandias

    I am also having the same issue, I was scrolling really fast down Tumblr and noticed, at first I thought it was my wifi not loading or something but I realized it only happened when I scrolled down fast. Running iOS 6 on an iPhone 5

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.m.brannan Aaron Brannan

    iPhone 5 on 6.0.1 was not able to replicate. And I tried for a good amount of time.

  • http://www.igeeksblog.com/ Jignesh Padhiyar

    Is this a bug? Well, it must be in the fingers then, not the software.

  • Alejandro Menocal

    yep, samething happened on my girlfriend’s iphone 5, and does not happen on my iPhone 4S

  • Gowtham Narendira Kumar

    Exactly! I just wanted to see whether anyone has the same issue and googled.. Am really surprised to find that the issue exists! Shock, actually! Disappointed!!