Common Mobile Phone Display Issues and Their Causes
The screen is perhaps the most vital component of any mobile phone, acting as the primary interface between the user and the device. It’s where you read emails, engage with social media, and interact with your favourite apps. However, like any other component, mobile phone displays are not immune to issues. In this article, we’ll delve into some of the most common problems that plague smartphone screens and explore their root causes. Whether you’re a seasoned tech-savvy individual or someone who’s just getting to grips with the intricacies of mobile technology, this guide will offer valuable insights.
What is the number one cause of issues with the screen?
Before we go further, let’s address the obvious. In nearly every case, issues with the display on your phone are caused by some kind of physical damage – either to the display itself or to the graphics processing circuitry inside your device. Whether your phone has been the victim of a drop or fall, liquid damage, or the slow buildup of damage from small knocks and bumps over time, nearly every display issue listed below is an almost certain sign that you’ve managed to break your device.
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“But hang on – I’ve taken care of my phone! How could I have broken it?”
Mobile phones are fragile devices, and causing damage to them can be easier than many people first think. While keeping your phone in a case reduces the risk of your phone from cracking and breaking, cases are less effective at protecting your phone from internal damage when it’s jolted by a knock or a fall – which is the kind of damage that leads to most of the following issues.
Another common way of damaging the internal components of a phone is pressure – keeping your phone in a back pocket then sitting down, or some other way of putting strain on your device, could easily flex the phone in a way it’s not designed to, breaking something internal within the phone without showing any external damage.
Finally, any amount of liquid or heat damage could mean that your phone’s screen suddenly starts misbehaving, and it doesn’t take a lot of liquid (or a lot of heat) to cause an issue to develop.
How can we tell that you’ve damaged your phone?
If you claim that your device is faulty, then you can send it in for repair under our 12-month warranty. However, each device sent in for repair is closely inspected to determine the cause ofthe issue. If during the repair process we find evidence that the device has been damaged in any way, you will be expected to pay the cost of repair (or for the faulty device to be returned to you). Signs of damage include marks on the outer casing that were not there previously (especially when they are in the same areas as the damage), impact damage to the internal components of the device, and signs of liquid ingress or corroded components that imply liquid damage has occurred.
Screen flickering can be incredibly distracting and may make your device difficult to use – and lines across the screen can ruin your experience of using your phone. This fault is the most common display issue we see (other than broken screens), and it can have a range of different causes – from physical damage to software issues.
Most often, flickering or coloured lines are a sign of a fault with the connection between the phone’s screen and the logic board. Especially if there are coloured lines (horizontal or vertical) across the screen, this is a sure sign that your screen is no longer properly connected.
While this issue can in some rare cases be due to a loose connection left during construction, repair, or refurbishment; in almost all cases we see, the device shows additional signs of impact and the connection between the screen and logic board is damaged – making the owner of the phone liable for the cost of the repair. In some cases, this kind of damage could mean that the entire screen must be replaced.
In other rare cases, lines or flickering can be caused by a software issue, usually with the operating system on the device. While this type of fault is not covered under warranty, it occurs very rarely and can usually be fixed by either updating the software on your phone or performing a factory reset.
A pixel can die when it no longer receives a signal to change its colour. Individual dead pixels are a normal sign of wear and tear on the device, and so are not covered in our 12-month warranty.
When an LCD display becomes damaged due to heat, pressure, or impact, it can cause an entire group of pixels to stop working. This often has a similar appearance to ink spreading across the display, and so is usually referred to as ‘pixel bleed’. The glass does not have to be cracked in order for the LCD display to become damaged in this way, but it is always a sign that the device has been dropped, crushed, or otherwise subject to physical trauma.
Screen burn-in occurs when a static image leaves a permanent mark or ‘ghost’ on the screen. This issue is especially common with OLED and AMOLED displays, and is fully avoidable through responsible use of your device (and so is not covered by warranty). To avoid this from happening in the first place, think about using a screen saver, or using your phone’s automatic time-out options – and avoid using your phone with the brightness turned to full.
When the edge of an LCD display is damaged, light from the backlight can escape around the edges of the display, letting more light than usual around the edges of the screen. This is often not worth the cost of replacing the phone’s display, so most users simply learn to live with the glow around the edge.
If you’ve ever seen the above image, don’t immediately worry that you’ve damaged your device physically. This is one of the few occasions on which you can usually rest safe in the knowledge that you’ve got a software issue on your hands. If rebooting your phone doesn’t make this image go away, follow the steps to perform a factory reset. If that doesn’t work, then there’s still a chance that the issue is caused by physical damage to the internal workings of your phone, for example a fault with the graphics processor.
Rare causes of display issues
On rare occasions, a fault on the phone’s logic board can lead to electrostatic buildup that intermittently interferes with your display causing faint vertical or horizontal lines. If your display issues go away when you hold your device a certain way or place it on the ground, then your phone may have suffered damage through Electrostatic Discharge (ESD). This is a rare type of fault that is usually caused during manufacturing, refurbishment or repair, and so may be covered under warranty (unless other signs of damage are present).
Other software issues
Bad software can possibly mimic many of the above issues, such as vertical or horizontal coloured lines, flickering, freezing, and more. To rule out a software-based cause for your issue, you should attempt to factory reset your phone. Software issues are not covered under warranty.
A Note on Warranties
If the phone’s display is fully working when you first receive the device, then any issues that develop are almost certainly due to impact damage, liquid damage, heat damage, or due to a software issue that has developed through your usage of your device. In any of these cases, a repair will not be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty policies.
Any warranty is also voided by third-party repair attempts, which includes you attempting to repair the device yourself.
We take care of your device
If you’re concerned about damage to your device as it’s being shipped to you, have no fear. Each refurbished phone that we sell is shipped out in super-secure packaging.
Whilst we try to make sure 100% of our devices arrive safely, we understand that mistakes do happen. If the box containing your new or refurbished phone appears damaged upon delivery, we recommend that you do not accept the package from the courier.
While smartphones continue to evolve, bringing us larger and more vibrant displays, these marvels of technology are not without their setbacks. Understanding the common issues and their underlying causes is the first step in effective troubleshooting. Always remember to consult your device’s manufacturer or a qualified technician for persistent or severe screen issues.