How to Disable Touch Screen Input on Android and iPhone

By | April 3, 2022

As display technology improves, the sensitivity of touch screens also increases. But touchscreen displays are prone to accidental touches. Since almost all mobile devices now use touch screens instead of physical buttons, senior citizens and children may find themselves frequently causing accidental input.

But did you know that you can temporarily disable touchscreen controls for your mobile device? Before we do that, let’s consider some scenarios where disabling touchscreen controls on Android or iPhone makes sense.

Why? You Might Lock Your Touch Screen

Accidentally interacting with your phone is frustrating. It’s also something that happens to everyone from time to time. Examples include:

  • While watching video, accidental touch stops or exits
  • When you listen to music, the track will be paused or skipped
  • Annoying GPS display when your phone is mounted on the dashboard for map-guided trips
  • Kids play with phone settings instead of watching videos or playing games
  • Video recording is paused or stopped
  • Ghost touch problem

The last two points deserve further exploration.

Some phones (like the OnePlus One and Moto G4 Plus) have been plagued by ghost touch issues in the past. This is a touchscreen issue where the screen responds to touches you don’t actually make. Such problems can make your smartphone experience very annoying.

One temporary solution is to block touch interaction for selected areas of the screen. While you’ll still have to fix the faulty screen in the end, it’s a nice short-term fix.

With more and more waterproof phones on the market, it’s tempting to film underwater. But usually, there are a number of ghosts involved when the water comes into contact with the screen.

Even if you’re just shooting a video in the rain, an accidental touch can cause a pause or even end the recording. It would be great if you could disable the touch screen so you can record videos perfectly.

Lock Your Android Phone to Single App

If you’re having trouble with the app-related issues mentioned above, temporarily disabling the touchscreen can help. However, there is a better solution than having to disable the touchscreen completely. Screen Pinning, a feature introduced in Android Lollipop, lets you lock your phone to a single app.

For example, you can “pin” the YouTube Kids app. Your kids will be able to navigate around in this app, but they won’t be able to switch to other apps.

Here’s how to enable the Screen Pinning feature on Android:

  • open Settings > Lock screen & security > Advanced > Screen pinning. On Android 9 Pie and above, this section is called Security instead Lock screen & security.
  • Tap On.
  • Activate Require unlock PIN for unpinning. While turning this on is not mandatory, it ensures that only you (and not your children) can unpin certain apps.

Using Screen Pinning on Android

Once enabled, here’s how to use it on Android 8.1 and earlier:

  • Open the app you want to pin.
  • Tap the button Overview/Recent apps.
  • Swipe up on Recent card and tap icon Pin on the bottom right.

If you have Android 9 or later, use these steps instead:

  • First, open the app you want to pin.
  • Open the app switcher, which will depend on your navigation method.
    • If you’re using classic three-button navigation, tap the button Recents rectangle.
    • If you’re using the newer two-button navigation or Android 10’s revised gestures, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold down briefly to show your recent apps.
  • Tap the icon at the top of the app you want to lock, and select Pin.

To unpin an app with three or two button navigation, just hold down the button Return on your device for about five seconds. If you’ve enabled the new Android 10 gesture navigation, swipe and hold for a second. You have to enter your unlock PIN, after which the app will unpin it.

While this feature works fine for some cases, it is not a solution to the other problems discussed above. For example, it doesn’t help with ghost touch issues. For such problems, you should completely disable your touch screen.

How to Disable Touch Screen Input on Android

Touch Lock is a free app that lets you lock the touch screen on your Android. It also lets you temporarily disable soft keys and hardware buttons, essentially bringing the iPhone’s Guided Access feature to Android.

The app shows a five-second ad after each unlock, which you can remove with a $1.99 in-app purchase.

Download: Touch Lock (Free, in-app purchases available)

Once you’ve downloaded and opened the app, here’s how to activate it:

  • Swipe left to proceed to the next step in the setup wizard.
  • Tap Enable Now. This will open Android Accessibility Settings. Here, find Touch Lock and tap Use service.
  • Click OK to confirm the observation request, then Back to return to the application.

It should be noted that this app observes all text entered, which may include personal and financial details. Because of this, you can choose to disable the app beforehand, or even avoid it altogether.

Once enabled, pull down the notification panel and tap on the lock icon. Now, the touch screen and buttons should be locked. To open it, double-tap on the translucent icon at the top right of the screen.

You can configure the number of taps required to unlock the touchscreen in the app settings. You’ll also find options to unlock automatically when you receive a call, show unlock instructions, and keep the screen on.

Disable Touch Screen Input On iPhone

The iPhone comes with a built-in function to temporarily disable touch screen input. Dubbed Guided Access, this feature lets you disable certain areas of the screen and even lock physical buttons. Here’s how to enable Guided Access:

  • open Settings > Accessibility > Guided Access.
  • Activate Guided Access.
  • Tap on Password Settings to set the Passcode and Touch/Face ID used to terminate Guided Access.
  • Finally, activate Accessibility Shortcut. This allows you to triple-click the Home button to enter Guided Access at any time.

Once enabled, here’s how to use it:

  • Open the app you want to lock.
  • Triple click the button Home to enter Guided Access.
  • Circle the area on the screen that you want to disable. If you want to disable touch on the entire screen, draw the complete screen area.
  • Tap on Options in the lower left corner to disable Power or Volume.
  • choose Done.
  • Finally, tap Start at the top of the screen to start Guided Access.

Disabled areas of the screen will appear grayed out and will not respond to any touch.

To get out of Guided Access, triple-click the Home button. Enter the correct passcode or scan with Touch/Face ID to exit.

Lock Your Phone Screen Easy

Whether you want to prevent accidental interruptions while recording video, or avoid abuse by bad boys, temporarily disabling your touchscreen helps.

Maybe on Android naturally or through apps, as well as on iPhone thanks to the Guided Access feature. In short, you should be able to lock the touchscreen on your Android or iPhone with minimal effort.