Is Your Phone Display Flickering? Try These 7 Fixes

Is your phone’s screen behaving oddly? Have you noticed your iPhone or Android phone’s display glitching? It could be doing so for several reasons. From loose internal connections to buggy software, many issues can cause a smartphone screen to flicker.

Here are several fixes you can try if you face display problems on your phone.

1. Reboot Your Phone

The first thing to do when trying to fix a glitching phone screen is to restart your phone to ensure that this isn’t a temporary issue. Performing a restart kills any active third-party background services and processes that could be causing the display problem.

Restarting will also refresh your phone’s memory components if any of them crashed during a task. After rebooting, if the display is no longer flickering or glitching, you should review all the recent apps you’ve installed. If the problem comes back, try the next tip on this list.

2. Perform a Hard Reset

Rebooting is the most basic troubleshooting step you can execute, and it does the trick for most problems. However, if it doesn’t fix your flickering display, consider wiping your phone entirely by performing a hard reset. Doing so will restore your phone to its factory settings and clear the cache.

If there’s any unprocessed data hampering your phone’s functions, a hard reset will clear everything right away. However, before performing a factory reset, don’t forget to back up your Android phone or your iPhone. Note that backing up a Samsung phone is slightly different since you need a Microsoft account to do so.

On Android, you can reset your phone using these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > System > Advanced. Alternatively, search for Reset Options.
  2. Tap Reset Options and hit Erase all data (factory reset).
  3. Select Reset phone. Enter your PIN if you use one.
  4. Finally, tap Erase everything.

For Galaxy users, refer to this guide to factory reset your Samsung phone.

For Apple devices, iOS users should use these steps:

  1. Open Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

Your phone will take a few minutes to reset, depending on how much data it houses.

3. Boot Into Safe Mode (Android Only)

If your Android screen is still flickering, try switching to Safe Mode for a couple of hours. Safe Mode lets you use your phone without third-party apps and services. Unlike a factory reset, Safe Mode retains your phone’s data, and you can return to the regular experience anytime you want.

However, note that Safe Mode is merely a diagnostic tool and won’t solve the problem. If your phone works fine in Safe Mode, it means the problem is caused by a third-party app, not your phone.

To boot your phone in the Safe Mode on Android:

  1. Press and hold the power key.
  2. Long-press Power Off on the screen until you get the Safe Mode prompt.
  3. You’ll see a small warning screen, simply tap the icon again to enter. Your phone will restart in Safe Mode, and the flickering should be gone.
  4. To exit Safe Mode, simply restart your device.
    • You can also exit safe mode via the notification panel. Tap Safe mode is on > Turn off.

There’s a chance the process might be a bit different on different Android skins. So, if the steps above don’t work, try contacting your device manufacturer or head to their support website.

4. Disable Auto-Brightness (Adaptive Brightness)

The auto-brightness (Adaptive brightness) setting is responsible for constantly altering the screen’s illumination based on light sensor data. But a software update or hardware defect could lead to unexpected snags, including display flickers. Therefore, another straightforward action you can take is to disable the option from the Settings menu.

This feature is present under Settings > Display > Adaptive brightness on Android and Settings > Display & Brightness on iOS.

Alternatively, there’s also the option to reset the Adaptive brightness, which can come in handy if your phone struggles to adapt to new lighting conditions. To reset your phone brightness:

  1. Head to your phone Settings.
  2. Tap on Apps & notifications, or Apps.
  3. Find and then select the app named Device Health Services.
  4. Tap Manage storage > Clear all data, then tap OK to confirm.

5. Disable Hardware Overlays

When rendering graphics, your phone dynamically decides whether the CPU or the GPU will handle the job. While the transition is usually seamless, a damaged or aged phone can struggle with screen compositing (layering images).

There is a minor delay between tasks when the phone doesn’t have anything to display. Hence, the flickering. But disabling hardware overlays can help. To do so, you’ll first need to enable Developer options.

To unlock Developer options on Android:

  1. Go to Settings > System > About phone. On Samsung phones, go to Software information.
  2. Tap Build number repeatedly (it should take around seven taps) until you see a message saying, “You are now a developer!

Once in developer mode, head back to your phone settings and scroll to the bottom until you find Developer options. In it, scroll down to find Disable HW overlays and toggle it on. Note that this will consume extra power since disabling overlays forces the phone to use GPU rendering.

6. Check for Device Updates

It’s possible that the display problem you’re facing might have spawned from a messy software build. Usually, a simple software update fixes the issue, so check if there’s an update available for your device. To check your software version on Android, go to Settings > System > System update. For iOS, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

You can also consider checking in with the manufacturer for updates or scour forums for a temporary solution. We don’t recommend this, but you can also try downgrading to an older Android version to see if it fixes the issue.

7. Get Your Phone Checked by a Professional

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that any of these steps will work. Sometimes, a glitching phone screen is due to a hardware failure, and there may be significant costs involved for repair or replacement. That’s why it’s worth giving each one of these tricks a shot first.

That said, your last resort is to get in touch with your device’s manufacturer and have your phone screen checked out by a professional. If none of these techniques worked, you might be facing a more complex issue. In these scenarios, the only option is to send your phone in for repair or replacement.

Fix Your Flickering Phone Screen

Since your phone plays such an active role in your life, you need everything to work correctly. Smartphones house many delicate and interconnected components, and the malfunctioning of any one can cause flickering displays.

Don’t worry; a flickering phone screen is usually fixable, assuming it’s a software issue. Even though mobile phones are complex and can be daunting to repair, trying these at-home tricks first can save you a lot of money versus buying a brand-new device.

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