Touchscreen difficulties? Do you have Zombie Finger?


Zombie finger, that’s a name that spikes intrigue. Well I must say, although I was aware this could be a problem, I had not heard this term before.

What is Zombie Finger?

This is the term that is given when people are not able to get their touchscreen to respond to their fingertip contact.

To understand why this might be the case, we need to understand a little bit about how touchscreens work (which is quite amazing).   Touchscreens produce a small electrical field. When touched by a finger, or similar item that can absorb the electrical charge, it is able to measure the disturbance in the electrical field, and use the information to initiate a command.

Why is it that some people cannot use a touchscreen?

If your fingers have significant callous or you have very dry skin, it can impede electrical conductivity. This prevents the flow of electricity. So you can end up mashing away on the phone or tablet in vain with your ‘Zombie Finger’.

Will my hand injury cause Zombie Finger?

Generally, no.

An injury that has caused scabbing or scaring on you fingertips can cause temporary ‘zombie finger’. Scabbing (eschar) of the fingers will temporally cause difficulty with using your touchscreen due to the increased thickness and dryness of the skin making contact.

Scaring can last longer. With time, scars, especially on the fingers, will thin out and stretch. This will eventually allow you to get back to your normal touchscreen fun. If you have thick scaring of the finger, your zombie finger may be more of a permanent problem. Everyone scars differently.

What can I do?

  • Keep your hands and fingers moisturized. Use moisturizer on your hand regularly.
  • Another technique is to lick, or breath warm air from your breath onto your fingertip before using your touchscreen to help with the electrical conductivity.
  • If you have particularly thick fingertips, try a different finger. The ring finger is an option as it is rarely as calloused as the index and middle fingers.
  • Try using voice recognition. Most phones and touchscreen devices have this option.
  • And finally, there is always the trusty stylus. A stylus is easy to carry around, usually the size of a pen. You can even find them on the end of a pen.


Of course, we should not discount that your fingers are fine, and we can blame it on the phone. Time for an upgrade? Test with other phones before diving into the commitment of a new phone, they are costly.