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Possible 'fix' for Lumia 1520 tap and scroll problem linked to flexing the screen

The Lumia 1520 is in many ways the perfect Windows Phone assuming, of course, that you are okay with a 6-inch display. However, if there is one Achilles Heel that only occasionally rears its head it is the 'scroll/tap' issue. Although more a nuisance than anything, the bug randomly occurs when scrolling on the display using a swipe, but instead the device registers it as a 'tap.' This hardware "misreading" results in the phone opening links, tweets, photos, or hyperlinks when the user only intended to scroll up or down.

Ever since the Lumia 1520 started exhibited this problem, it was largely assumed to be a software (firmware) problem, or a screen-calibration tweak. The randomness of the bug and subsequent software releases though calls this explanation into question. Even more, some users have it and others do not.

Now, a new theory grounded in the hardware of the device appears to go a long way in explaining the problem and even how to solve it.

In our forums, member Hesham Fouad has posted an interesting idea. His main proposal is that this is a hardware design flaw related to the size of the display. More precisely, the digitizer contacts behind the display become misaligned. The cause of the misalignment is screen flex, like when you put the phone in your front pocket, display down, and the device flexes downward slightly causing the center contact to miss the connection.

The solution to the problem is twofold:

  1. Lightly press down on the top and bottom of the display
  2. Do not carry the Lumia 1520 in your front pocket, display down

This explanation by Fouad is elegant because it not only explains why software tweaking (or disabling the super-sensitive touch) has no effect, but it also clarifies why only some users experience this and not others (and even the randomness within an affected device). In theory, people with a Lumia 1520 who never put pressure on the display, causing it to flex do not experience this bug.

As to the solution, although it has only been a few minutes, my Lumia 1520 does seem to respond better to touch. However, being schooled in science for a long time, I know placebo effects can be vicious.

Assuming this is the cause of the problem, Nokia (and now Microsoft) would not recall the device if only because this does not rise to the level of prohibiting the usage of the phone. Although it can be an annoyance, I personally cannot say it makes me not want to use the Lumia 1520, of course, your level of irritation may vary.

If you are experiencing this problem, head into the forums and read Foud's post, the subsequent discussion, and the let me know if his 'fix' is working for you.

Source: WPCentral Forums; Thanks, slysy, for the tip!

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Reader comments

Possible 'fix' for Lumia 1520 tap and scroll problem linked to flexing the screen

213 Comments

I guess its time to replace the old adage "two birds with one stone" with "three cats with one (Lumia 1520) phone."

I put too much sugar in my coffee and I didn't read the article, what should I do? (Dan's head explodes)

I just got a 1520 today and after using it for a few hours I cannot go back to using the 1020. The 1020 looks so small compared to the 1520. I love the additional real estate. Screen issue or not I love the 1520. 

 

I also have both phone but prefer each one depending upon my need. When i'm traveling for work and in airports and meetings I prefer the 1520 for the real estate. However, when at home and my non-travel related day-to-day use I prefer the 1020 because it fits in my pants pocket and is not as heavy.

Now if only Microsoft would truly have the ability to ensure all of my devices have the same apps and set-ups I would be thrilled. They're close, but I still don't get the same profiles on things like games or Waze or a few other 3rd party apps.

Thanks, man, this helped me a little bit understanding the different sizes and the comparison (this is not meant to be irony)

I tried out a 1520, but I didnt like it because the screen made everything comically huge. Go into Settings and look at how large everything is compared to the normal size on a Lumia 920/1020/930

Yep, annoyed me enough to return it a few months ago but this is an interesting fix. Hopefully they pay more attention to this for their future devices.

Had the issues from taking the phone out of the box and don't wear tight jeans. Plus phones never go in my back pocket.

I've been telling this to all those who wanted to buy this huge 6' phone or any other such phone; if your body build isn't large enough and you're going to carry it in your pockets and put pressure on it all the time and don't have any other means to carry it, DON'T BUY IT.

P.S. Still, flexing usually isn't supposed to damage the phone, so maybe MS could improve the design in later models.

You are right, to put the 1520 in the pocket front or back - you will destroy the phone excatly because of flexing problems.

I had these problems after one month, they had to change the touch panel, waranty. After - I never put it into my pocket and everything is fine after 5 month. Never, Never put your 1520 in front og back pocket if you love your phablet.

By the way, I have bought the new 930 - really amazing device, I love it and it's beautiful, but my 1520 is the king.

It seems silly, if we are not supposed to carry our phones in our pockets? My only other alternative would be in my hand.
Luckily, I have not had any issues carrying my 1520 in my front pocket, though I am aware of not putting pressure on the phone when climping something, for example ;)

Yes absolutely silly that you should not put your phone in your pocket. When I had the problem, I discovered - by slightly twisting the phone by holding the top and bottom, which affects the screen, all began to flicker and do strange things.

It is in my eyes the problem - the design is flexible, and it can affect the touch panel. The solution is simple, the next version must have a stronger frame and cnstruction.

Never iPhone for me, for what, it's for nothing. WP / Nokia is amazing and the OS the best, iPhone is only a toy in my eyes, maybe for my 6 years old grandson together with Angry Birds :)

We know this 1520 device have a minor problem, and I don't need or want it in my pocket. It's the same about my tablet, I don´t put it into my pocket.

For my pocket is 930 and 630, when I need a pocket model.

I don't put my tablet in my pocket either - it doesn't fit ;)

For the same reason, I leave my tablet at home.

the dumb heads buy it becouse they have to show their friends that they have something different,not for the fact that they realy need it, it's called "ASSHOLES INCORPORATED"

The 1520 isextremely good too when you are working or travelling, amzing about reading and writing, your mini tablet, absolutely a great tool. The speed and the monitor is also in top.

Believe it or not it wasn't meant to be. Just didn't know how to get rid of the ambiguity. What I meant to say is that awesmdiver was trying to be a "smart ass" with his reply. I didn't mean he was making an "ass comment" (which he was). And the use of the word ass in my comment is purely coincidental.

Should we only try the flex fix when its acting up? Not pitting in my pocket is not an option... I'm a guy with no purse, and don't wish to walk around all day holding it in my hand.

You could put in your front pocket but with the screen out; some are doing that in the forums. Or yeah, just press down on it every once in awhile.

Definitely helps with mine Daniel. Also helps when using it on my desk. Hardware issue for sure. My speakers constantly popping on games is a different thing altogether though :/

Other than that there's no issue but still too annoying for me. 930 is working splendidly.

A sturdy case should solve the problem. I haven't experienced this problem yet. My 1520 works excellent... I am rough on my phone, I have it in my pocket while working in a auto motive factory.... No problems yet.

Agree'd as well. I have an Incipio charging case on mine and have no issues what so ever. I get wireless charging and apparently a sturdier phone.

That's the randomness I'm talking about. If you asked me, I'd say mine got better or stayed the same, but definitely not worse. That doesn't make sense if it was software.

Agreed! Started happening with a vengeance while I was going through settings to check for the Cyan label for the first time.

I genuinely don't have this issue, and I do put my 1520 in my front pocket.

Are people being overly heavy handed with their phones?

I have a Lumia 920. I have experienced this issue on a few websites since installing WP 8.1 Update 1 this week. I try to scroll down the page and I inadvertently open a link I was not intending to open. I thought it was just my phone having a random issue.

Since my phone has a smaller screen and obviously different hardware design than the 1520, I don't think this is the cause of the issue if my phone is experiencing the same problem. Is the 1520 the only model that this issue has been reported on so far? Has this issue been reported on 1520's running allversions of the OS or only those who have updated to the latest developer preview?

PS. I also happen to carry my 920 in my pocket screen side down.

Nope, my 925 had the same issue. Remember when I wrote about it in a Swedish forum, and most of them just told me to adjust the sensitivity :-/ Guess its hard to understand the frustration if you never experienced it. BTW my 1520 works flawlessly :D

I'll give a few days with the device flipped screen up in my front pocket. No way I'm carrying this device in my back pocket. 

First time I had to bend over or squat down this thing would likely snap. And this is in loose jeans.

Interesting. I only ever occasionally get this issue - but then I have a note 3 that never exhibits this issue. Maybe a different digitizer (most probably) - would a glass screen protector help?

Either way, I'd this is the issue then wow, I wonder if msft/Nokia knew about this???

Sorry but what does the note 3 have to do with this. It's a different phone a different company and a different OS. Why comment.

He is trying to reason why another device with a huge screen wouldn't have the same flex issue. Not really too off topic, so he has every right to comment just like anybody else. Not EVERYTHING has to be 100% relevant just like not every article posted on this site is about a Windows Phone. That would be rather boring.

In fact, his comment was more relevant than yours since it sounds like he has the 1520 and only occasionally gets the issue. What did YOUR comment have to do with this? Why comment? ;)

I don't know if you read his comment but he says he is using a note 3 I know he is comparing big screens but why not compare it with the 1320 which is the same phone but with lower specs, the note 3 is samsung 3rd Gen. Phablet they squashed almost all bugs already, people can compare the Lumia 1520 with the Sony xperia ultra or HTC one max there all first gen not with the note 3. And I'm sorry, I do have a Lumia 1520 and these last updates made the screen better. Thank you for correcting my dumb post.

I own the 1520 and a note 3. That's why I compared them. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. No need to get so defensive or think everyone is trolling.
An as for these updates sorting out the screen - hasn't happened for me. Unfortunately. Hence why I wondered if a glass screen protector adhered to the screen would make it more resistant to flex.

Nah don't worry I just wanted you to make it clear I assumed you had a 1520 just forgot to write it was just trying to bother you.

And if he didn't have a 1520? So what? His point would still be valid. The Note 3 doesn't have the issue, or as much of one. The point is still topical to the discussion, as the Note is a large format phoneamajig.

Honestly...

I hate my 1520.

Mine 1520 still have the problem after doing what is said in this article. Before my 920 front camera got alit dust. Why Lumia phones have alot design flaws?

I think Foud is right
My 1020 starts to have this scroll/tap issue (most noticeable when using WPC app)...
I might have flexed the screen at one point -_-

Interesting really. I've had this issue from time to time, and really thought it was a software issue. Since I got the 1520 a couple of months ago I think I've had this issue about 10-15 times with days apart, but about 5 unintentional taps every time it's happened. So far its not that big of an issue to me, but I will definitely try this out. And now I just noticed that the top of the screen has almost gotten off from the rubber bezel thingy. Gotta go to the store with this first thing tomorrow!

Please keep us posted. I'm looking to get the unlocked 1520 from NewEgg and would love to know that there's a workaround/fix for this issue if I experience it.

I can see this happening. The 1520 is so big that when you sit down, it can be put on pressure in your pocket. I wish they made an otter box for it.

It's quite possible. I don't have the screen issue but then I always pull out my phone from my front pocket when I sit, it's not comfortable.

Curious, does the screen issue happen in both Normal and High sensitivity settings? Mine is fine on both methinks.

If they fixed this with the green 1520 I may get that one altho I've had this phone for 7 months now.. Only hope leaks surface of a 1530

Call it Placebo , but Cyan definitely seems to have addressed the issue, I feel it happens quite less often since the update.

I have PfD 8.1 GDR1 and the 1520 is in a case and I still have the scroll and tap issues. It's got to be a h/w issue, though as my phne is never in a pants pocket or "flexed" I don't think it's related to the flex desrcribed by your reader.

I agree... Mines BRAND NEW and never in pocket...my tap/scroll bug is so bad, im gonna need to be put on anti-anxiety meds haha

Maybe then I accidentally flexed it back and got it fixed, I do hold the phone in awkward two handed positions many a time. :P

This is something that Microsoft should address. The reason for placing phone display down in pocket is to protect the phone in case something hits your pocket. The most logical place to keep a phone this size is in the pocket. Hip cases are few and far between in addition to not being practical. I have given up on cases for two reasons. One is the bulk and weight added. Two, didn't buy a red 1520 to keep it hidden.

Mine have been so perfect that I'm scared something will happen to it and I'll have to get another one and it would no longer be perfect...

My 1520 never had this issue and I only carry it in my front pocket... So much for that theory. Has anyone outside of the US have that problem? It might be a problem only affecting At&t 1520's

Well, for one, if it is a hardware thing, it can vary. One counterexample never disproves a theory. Second, yes, it is all 1520s to date and not an ATT thing.

The issue with it being firmware is the inconsistency and being unable to reproduce. If we all had the same firmware, which we pretty much do, the bug should be able to be replicated and consistent. And by consistent, I mean across all devices, or even within a device.

Since it is not, it looks to be hardware related. More specifically, something in the hardware that causes it to happen and not happen, even on the same device.

The firmware explanation in that sense is very inelegant and unappealing as an explanation.

Same here... always in front pocket, shorts or dress pants for six-months, no issue here. Device manufacture date 01-2014 1520.1 RM-937_apac_taiwan_975. Touch set to normal (no gloves needed in the tropics), navigation bar is off.

Cheers

Some are suggesting a case would fix problem but I think my case was making problem worse because its a very tight fitting case. Took the case off and its only happened once, instead of every 30 seconds sometimes!
P.S. How is it possible that my phones build creation date is 2 weeks after I bought the phone? Seriously! It says June 26, 2014 but I bought my phone in May????

proud owner of a 1520, I haven't even noticed such bug up to this point. It could have occurred without me noticing ofc. Still best phone ever.

I have experienced this issue from day one. It seems to happen when pages first load. For example when I exit an app returning to the start screen there is a small spilt second moment where the screen has fully loaded but the touch is unresponsive. If trying to touch the screen too early this sometimes causes a tap instead of a scroll. I find if I'm not in such a rush when using the phone it happens much less. I will try this theory out. However I really feel like this is a software thing. Worth a try though.
Also as some others have pointed out I feel there has been an improvement with the recent update.

I'm not sure this is really the cause. I have my 1520 in a leather case and when I use it it is carried in a suit coat pocket. Yet I still have the scroll and tap issues even though the phone isn't being flexed.
 

The Placebo effect must be great on this one. I did the "flex" trick and guess what? It appears to have worked? I definitely have to test it some more but so far so good.

Not buying it! I scroll so gently and it still registers scrolling as taps. Beyond that, it happens on my 1020 too!

Its probably a manufacturing issue associated with the first batch off the production line that's why I always recommended buying a new device after 6 months so that issues are identified and fixed. Those that do have issues should return it for repair.

This is something similar to what I notified Nokia of quite soon after the device came along. I noticed when I had the flip case on the phone or pretty much any case I had more issues with the screen.
In terms of it being such an annoyance that I felt like getting rid of it. I will be doing so. Got a 930 as a replacement with no issues whatsoever. I deem it to be a fault therefore Nokia/Microsoft should be replacing it.

I won't waste my time doing this, I haven't even understood the pressing thing ohh my! My 1520 will continue to take its place at the front pocket of my trousers with the screen facing me. Let this guy investigate and tell us something more acceptable

Don't take me wrong it's just that I don't believe the idea + will I keep on pressing the screen whenever this problem reoccurs?
I am not sure whether my 1520 has the problem because I usually navigate all my apps without a glitch..the problem is there but it doesn't annoy me because it is very rare for my piece, mostly occurs when I open a new app I think
It seems to some users it's seriously chronic

I have suffered from this quite badly ever since I got my 1520. Have just tried this and it's noticeably better.

This happens on my 1020 every few days or so. Tried turning down the touch sensitivity, but that made no difference. I'm not convinced it's a hardware issue.

Should it be inevitable to put it in your front pocket, must it be placed face forward standing, then? It will only be face down when sitting, otherwise.

Wow. This is interesting. Before I filed a claim for my phone after operating like that for months, I use to flex the phone to REMOVE these symptoms. The issue finally got so bad that it was clear it wasn't software or firmware (yes everything you can imagine on that end has been tried). Now that I have my replacement phone the phone is virtually flawless in usability aside from annoying RESUMING issue when waking. Of course, I'm also making sure I don't have the phone in my back pocket any more.

I posted almost immediately after Hesham's evaluation that I agree with him.

I happen to have extensive experience with displays from the software side and concluded it was hardware based.

My new 1520.3 has a problem in lower left corner. I can see the screen rippling, indicative of LCD issue. Has not affected performance.

I do have the scrolling/double tapping issue. 8.1 has not improved this issue.

That is exactly the issue with mine.  I always carry my phone upside down because if I squeeze or "flex" the screen at the bottom my back / windows / cortana button start registering.  I sent mine in for repair last week as I felt it was hardware related.  They already shipped it back, hoping to get it soon.

Idk. I had the sensitivity problems way back. It annoyed the heck out of me. An update, long ago, meant to solve this very problem did in fact do just that. I kept waiting for the issue to reoccur during the day, but it never did, and I have been so grateful since. Furthermore, I had the hyper intense white spots on the screen relative to the placement of the camera on the backside. There were three annoying spots that are primarily seen on a white or light grey screen. I consume a lot of video media on the device, that it's what drew me to it's size in the first place. I sent that 1520 on for repair and it came back without the spots and has remained the same to this day. I have since the repair added Nilkin tempered glass, which based on this article, and the tipsters theory, may help by providing a stiffer screen via more layers. However, we do not know the method of investigation involved, reproducibility etc. At least someone is trying to contribute something.

It's a couple of months that I have the same problem, but I have a 920... And I also have a couple of yellow spots on the display, maybe the two things are linked.. I know I should send it to repair, but the very thought of going back to my old Android device even only for a couple of weeks makes me cringe.

I have experienced this problem from day 1 with my 1520 (literally noticed it on day 1 right after I took it out of the box and powered it on).  Now that being said, I also keep it in my front pants pocket with the screen facing in, so that's not likely to have helped matters.  I did the flex thing and it hasn't had the problem again yet.  I am 6'1" and do not wear very tight clothing, so I doubt I'm putting a significant amount of flex on the device in my pocket.  Still, I'll keep it in my pocket screen outwards for a while and see if the problem stays gone.  Hopefully so because I love this phone otherwise!

I replaced my display assembly, no difference. Either exactly the same problem,in the new display, or problem is in the main board. I find it hard to believe that two displays with wildly different manufacturing dates should expose exactly the same problem. Moreover, why did the problem go away for a few hours after moving to cyan?

It says just press a little on the bottom and top edge of the display a little several times. I did and it has improved the operation by a large amount. Will likely revert back though.

I don't understand what display down means. Is it the display faces your body? Or outside? Or the phone is upside down?

After update to 8.1 update 1 the tape and scroll problem stop ..i had my Lumia 1520 for 8 month i always had the issue and by the way I never put my phone in my front or back pocket....problem gone love my Lumia

Yes official Cyan....... i had the problem with the POD on Black and with official Cyan but i noticed since I update GDR1 problem is gone

Mine and my wife's 1520's had this issue out of the box way before it met a pocket or was flexed in any way unless the shipping guy tossed the box a bunch of times

Guys the comment on the pocket was made by me, I posted that I believe after looking at the explanation by the quoted poster of the pics that it maybe could have been caused by me always having I my pocket as it puts pressure on the curvature of my thigh as I always have it face down. All I said was that I am going to start switching direction in pocket as it only makes sense for me, when I tried I noticed improvements, obviously with anything as obscure as this issue, you mileage will vary.

Just for some background, I too always had the scroll register as tap issues, but recently started getting what some call phantom/ghost tapping.... Basically you have activity without even touching the screen, usually happens on wake from sleep, (example, pin lock screen gets buttons pressed even if you not touching, or when you do touch its not touching the right numbers)

I know for sure this is partially hardware related for me as after the post of the picks and trying the flex/pressure suggestion I saw instant fix, as with my issue its beyond the scroll/tap issue...its hard to ignore something you can see happen instantly on the fact your not even touching the screen.

MS and Nokia can't fix the screen problem until today? But just keep posting something for discussion? Firstly I thought it is hardware problem, Nokia technician changed 3 displays for me on past 3 months but it didn't fix the screen problem. Then I believe it is the software or probably the screen thickness design problem, but I'm not the guy who work in MS, so I can't fix the problem until MS figures it out. Scroll become tap is really annoying.

Man I still think its a software thing because it doesn't happen on certain apps but apps such as this one it happens instantly .. Is like a screen timeout issue or so something .. The flex idea is a good idea but I flexed it and used a bunch of apps and then I open this app and bam.. Every time I use this app the scroll issue is ridiculous .. Other apps I never have a problem with and no I barely use this app but it never fails as soon as I open it and scroll boom ..i get a tap instead

I COMPLETELY agree that its worse on certain apps.. WPC being the worst one. It literally opens EVERY article I touch when scrolling but only once in a while in other apps. Weird but very true. I thought it was just me..haha

Mine was so bad I actually had to sell it on the cheap. I did love it, but that was WAY too annoying. Happened just about every time I touched something.

Mine was doing this as soon as I took it out of the box. No pushing on it or carrying it in my pocket whatsoever. Reducing sensitivity helped it some. It really is unacceptable IMO. I got rid of it. Pretty horrible defect for a flagship phone.

I agree with somebody said earlier, see if this same problem exist on the 1320. Then we might can say it is related to screen size.

Not saying this isn't a potential cause of the issue, but it's not the only cause. I had the tap/scroll problem long before the phone had come anywhere near my pants.

I will give him this, though, after pressing on the top/bottom of the display, I'm unable to make it happen. I'll pay attention the next few days to see if it happens.

Someone should just open up their phone and put something around the contact points to fix this then show us your video guide!

Lol this is 100% snake oil. I'm using my brand new out of the box 1520.3 and have the problem right out of the box on 8.1 update 2. It's never been in my pocket.

Read 13 posts up, wish you guys would stop focusing on the pocket comment, it works (the flexing, not the pocket placement) for some and clearly it helps to more severe cases, read and you will understand.

The pocket comment has nothing to do with what this post was all about, the fact it was shown that hardware does play a role in this to some extent, whether it just design flaw rather then defective hardware(that was proven by these folks that have had three screen replacements and still have the issue).
The pocket comment is more like a recommendation as flexing seems to play a role in this for some and makes it worse. I don't wear skinny jeans but I know that with this thing facing down twards my leg and o sit down my pants put pressure on the phones outer frame, pressing the screen on my leg which is not a flat surface.

Ok, well I did the "press on the red dot areas" trick. Nothing.

Factory new, unboxed 1520.3, opened from a sealed package 5 hrs ago.

Phantom tap city. Oh well.

Root cause is really the hardware. I have fixed my 1520 definitely two months ago. The main board processor contacts short circuits on the aluminum frame when the upper left corner and surrounding areas of the phone screen is pressed/flex. My experience is detailed on my post, with a tutorial for those who wants to venture on disassembly their phone and solve the issue. Otherwise, use your warranty. Unfortunately I couldn't. Cheers.

The post was from 06/29/2014, 11:38 PM. In fact, I had numerous well known issues with my 1520, like the Bing pop ups, screen freezing, apps launching inadvertently, lock screen zooming as if it was in VGA resolution, lock screen on VGA colors, tap issues, high battery drainage, other minors. I was on 8.1 Preview for Developers, already, but those issues continued until I have implemented a solution to withstand the pressing of the screen.

Try the fix guys. I was experiencing a little problem with my screen (nothing major, but like when I'm typing fast, the key touch is not 'as responsive' as it usually is). Followed exactly what was told in the article, and MY GOD! It actually worked! Screen sensitivity is back to normal, the keys were BEYOND responsive, and no unnecessary opening of apps on the home screen. :).

Only one clarification; the article says not to place the phone in the front pocket "display down". So if I put it in my front pocket, display up, will that help? Dan, would appreciate if you could clarify that. I know this might be one of those "duh" answers, but it seems that in the comments, people are assuming we shouldn't be putting our phablets in the front pocket only!

It is a valid explanation. I had some bad luck and my screen broke in a line from left to right. Phone worked ok, but i found it working peculiar from time to time, having ghosting touches etc. I could correct this with slight twist of the phone. It is a big screen, now replaced and working ok.

Thanks for the info. I pushed the top and bottom of my display. Maybe it's placebo but I've been scrolling the heck out of my phone and I haven't run into the issue so far. Seems like it did the trick. That bug was notorious on the Wpcentral app. No hiccups thus far.

What about the other issue whrere applying pressure makes the capacitive touch buttons to react and the phone becomes unresponsive unless u lock and unlock the phone

Look at my comments above and head to my post, zain1986. I had the same issues and solved all of that. Hope you are willing to try.

For me with Cyan + GDR1 is a lot much better. This scroll up/down/select is one thing that annoying me the most in my 1520. Truly annoying.

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