I've switched to Android. Help me fix the one (really) annoying glitch.
December 13, 2015 4:33 PM   Subscribe

A friend gave me his Moto X (with Android 5.1) to try out indefinitely. I'm glad I've made the switch (and I'm wondering why it took so long). However, there is one annoying glitch with the screen that keeps happening and is nearly a deal breaker.

The contextual menu icon located on the top left on the screen in various apps (Think "Home" in Chrome, "Nav Arrow" in Facebook, etc... Here are some screenshots where I've pointed to the button I have in mind.) will intermittently go completely unresponsive, making it difficult if not impossible to navigate through various programs. The rest of the phone works fine, including the bottom buttons. I've figured out that a reboot will fix the problem for a little while, but an hour or two later and it's back to being unresponsive.

Since a reboot helps, I presume it's a software issue, but my years of Google-fu have left me short of a solution. IRC Channels have also left me without options.

Help me AskMeFi, you're my only hope!
posted by lenflack to Technology (11 answers total)
One thing to try is to remove apps one or a few at a time and see if it starts working.
Or just remove all the apps that you can, then install just what you want.
posted by falsedmitri at 4:41 PM on December 13, 2015

If it's in the same place for every program, it may be a touchscreen issue. Are icons in that area of the screen unresponsive as well?
posted by littlesq at 4:44 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

As far as it being a software issue, try putting the phone in safe mode. If that fixes the problem then falsedmitri has the correct answer. If you still have the problem in safe mode then it's probably hardware related. You are probably seeing the reason why your friend was so willing to loan it to you.
posted by irisclara at 4:50 PM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

To check if the screen is detecting touches in that area:

1. Go to 'About Phone' in the Settings menu.
2. Scroll down to 'Build Number' and tap it a dozen or so times, until you are told you are now a developer.
3. Switch to the new '{}Developer Options' menu.
4. Look for and check the 'Show Touches' option.

You should now see a largish white dot for a moment wherever you touch. Do you see that dot when the menu item or screen location is unresponsive?
posted by quinndexter at 5:19 PM on December 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

Thanks, folks. I'll try these steps. I wasn't aware of a safe mode option, and appreciate that info.

For what it's worth, I did ask my friend about the issue, and it wasn't something he experienced. He actually offered me a choice of two handsets, one of which was a brand new Lumia Windows phone. I don't believe he had any intention of concealing some issue with this one.

Either way, I'll try the steps above. Thanks again, all.
posted by lenflack at 5:22 PM on December 13, 2015

quinndexter: At the moment, things are working correctly. The next time it starts acting up, I'll attempt the steps you outlined and report back. Thanks!

EDIT: I've done the steps now to enable the dot. I'll report back after the screen acts up.
posted by lenflack at 5:23 PM on December 13, 2015

Back up pictures and such and do a factory reset. Try it out with the stock apps BEFORE you even install the updates. Then update. Then install your apps/copy your files back

Even if the dots get glitchy, i'd still try this before i diagnosed it a hardware problem.

Another thing i'd try is getting the 5.1 official ROM file online and flashing that directly rather than just wiping and updating. I've had dumb problems like this with android devices before and doing a clean wipe, when it's an option, was like doing a complete format on a PC. Who knows what was causing it, but it was gone.
posted by emptythought at 7:53 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you rotate the screen that should move the menu to a different part of the screen in apps that rotate. May help clear up the software vs screen question.
posted by willnot at 8:26 PM on December 13, 2015

So, the dots indicate that the screen is sensing the press of my finger even when the button/menu isn't activating...

I just set the phone up a few days ago, so now I need to decide when this week I have a few hours to kill to do a factory reset, update all the bundled stuff, and install the myriad of apps I've already been using for work. Bleh.

If I did try flashing with the official 5.1 ROM file, it would kill the Motorola bundled apps, right? I don't mind that, but being that it's not my phone, I may think twice about it.
posted by lenflack at 11:24 AM on December 14, 2015

Maybe. Looks like there's a 'Stock/Untouched' Moto X 5.1 ROM available here (double check that that's the right version for you!). You'll lose any vendor specific stuff. (Although there's also Verizon/AT&T versions which might suit.) You could also take a backup before flashing a new ROM so you can restore to what you've got if necessary. If you've got a bunch off apps with data you don't want to lose, use something like SystemCleanup or Titanium Backup to backup apps & associated data, then restore those apps after the flash. Good luck!
posted by quinndexter at 5:26 PM on December 14, 2015

Do you have a screen tinting / dimming app installed? They've been known to interfere with screen functionality. (An example with solutions here).
posted by punilux at 9:39 AM on December 15, 2015

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