How to fix Galaxy Note8 if touchscreen is slow or unresponsive to touch or S Pen (randomly showing touches)

Today’s troubleshooting post will address one of the common problems on the #GalaxyNote8 — slow or unresponsive touchscreen. Though the numbers of reports about this problem that reach us are not that big compared to other problems, we think there’s an increasing number of Note8 users affected. So, this post list the things that a user can do if he or she thinks the touchscreen is not working normally as expected.

Problem #1: How to fix Galaxy Note8 if touchscreen is unresponsive to touch or S Pen (and randomly showing touches)

I have an unresponsive and erratic touchscreen. started a few months ago and it is now nearly unusable. Type one letter and random stuff appears. Cannot scroll. Most functions cannot use. Battery discharges quickly and heats up. Camera barely works. Cannot use apps due to erratic touchscreen. (I’m sending this on a friends iPad). Many other issues keep appearing. Does it just need software update? I’ve downloaded it but not done actual update because worried phone would just crash. I can explain more if you reply to email. Thanks. — Marc 

Solution: Hi Marc. We don’t think an update will fix your issues at all. We don’t know the full history of your Note8 but we believe that the issue goes beyond the software. Samsung Galaxy touchscreen hardly ever goes bad and if they do, most of them are due to hardware damage. The best way for you to check if all these issues are being caused by a software glitch is to return all software settings to their defaults. This is done by doing a factory reset. To factory reset your Note8:

  1. If possible, create a backup of your personal data.
  2. Turn off the device.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  4. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  5. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  6. Press Power button to select.
  7. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  8. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  9. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  10. Press the Power key to restart the device.

After the device has restarted, set it up again and check if the problems return. If the touchscreen is still erratic and the rest of the issues return, you can assume you have a bad hardware. You must contact Samsung so they can repair or replace your Note8 for you.

Problem #2: Galaxy Note8 touchscreen is slow, lags, has delayed response

Hi thanks for your offer of help. My issue is with my NOte8 and speed of response of touchscreen.  So it’s like there’s a small lag just enough that it feels wrong when you select something or press a virtual button.  I first noticed it when typing fast – I was losing keystrokes and something suddenly felt wrong. I don’t think it’s my imagination because one uses the thing so much every day that the calibration of response is ingrained in your consciousness!!! Any ideas?  I have dropped it a couple of times – but surely it would either work properly or not at all? — Johnbroomhall

Solution: Hi Johnbroomhall. You’re right. When it comes to touchscreen function, it either works or not. This means that your perceived slow touchscreen response is most probably due to a general system slow down. Such a case can be caused by a number of factors so let’s address them one by one.

Solution #1: Soft reset

Sometimes, a Galaxy device may appear to slow down when it’s been running for a long time. If you tend to leave your phone on for weeks on stretch, make sure that you restart it to refresh the system. Alternatively, you can perform a soft reset which is the virtual equivalent of a “battery pull.” Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold the Power + Volume Down buttons for approximately 10 seconds or until the device power cycles. Note: Allow several seconds for the Maintenance Boot Mode screen to appear.
  2. From the Maintenance Boot Mode screen, select Normal Boot. You can use the volume buttons to cycle through the available options and the lower left button (below the volume buttons) to select. Also, allow up to 90 seconds for the reset to complete.

Solution #2: Remove screen protector

If you’re using a screen protector, it’s possible that it may be interfering with the touchscreen function. Remove it and see if that’s the problem. If there’s no touchscreen on your Note8 in the first place, skip this and jump to the next solution.

Solution #3: Clear cache partition

Sometimes, performance and freezing issues are due to a corrupted system cache. This usually happens when the system cache gets updated after installing a system update or after an app installation. It’s possible that there really is no issue with the touchscreen physically. Try wiping the cache partition and observe how your device runs afterwards. To clear the cache partition:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe cache partition’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘yes’ is highlighted and press the Power button.
  7. When the wipe cache partition is complete, “Reboot system now” is highlighted.
  8. Press the Power key to restart the device.
  9. Check for the problem.

Solution #4: Clear RAM

On paper, Android devices including your Galaxy Note8 should be able to manage its memory (RAM) on its own but in practice, this doesn’t happen all the time. Some system slowdowns are caused by insufficient RAM so you can try to check if your device is having difficulty with it. Android uses RAM to allow smooth transitions between tasks like when you switch from one app to another, or when you launch an entirely new one. By design, RAM management should be done automatically without user intervention but for troubleshooting purposes, you can try it. Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Device maintenance.
  3. Tap Memory.
  4. Once you’re in Memory section, you should see a CLEAN NOW or OPTIMIZE button.
  5. Restart the phone and check for the problem.

Solution #5: Free up storage space

As in most computing devices, low or insufficient storage space often translates to slow performance. That’s because an operating system like Android may sometimes need extra room to do tasks. Ideally, you’re supposed to leave at least 1GB free all the time but don’t worry, we’ve seen our own Note8 work well without issues with just a couple hundred MBs left in its internal storage device.

If you store plenty of your photos and videos in your phone, you can make use of a microSD card to keep them instead. This will free up lots of space for internal storage device. Apps that can operate off an SD card must also be moved to achieve the same goal.

Solution #6: Delete cache and data of keyboard app

Some users who encountered a similar issue were able to fix it by simply dealing with the keyboard app directly. If the touchscreen responds normally when using other apps, the problem is most probably related to the keyboard app only so be sure to clear its cache and data.

To clear the cache of problematic app:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap More settings (three-dot icon) at the upper-right.
  4. Tap Show system apps.
  5. Find the app and tap it.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap CLEAR CACHE button.
  8. Restart your S9.
  9. Check if the problem still exists.

If nothing works after you clear the keyboard app’s cache, try to clear its data:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap More settings (three-dot icon) at the upper-right.
  4. Tap Show system apps.
  5. Find the app and tap it.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap CLEAR DATA button.
  8. Restart your S9.
  9. Check if the problem still exists.

Solution #7: Disable automatic app updates

If you have tons of apps installed and they happen to install updates at this time, that can significantly slow down the system. If you want, you can disable the automatic download for app updates to prevent this from happening. If you have a manageable list of apps (less than 50), simply skip this suggestion.

If you’re wondering how to turn off auto-updates, here’s how:

  1. Open Google Play Store app.
  2. Tap More Settings at the top left.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Auto-update apps.
  5. Select Do not auto-update apps.

Solution #8: Check for rogue apps

Poorly-coded apps can interfere with the operating system and if you installed one, it’s possible that that slow performance issue of the touchscreen may be attributed to it. To check, you want to boot your phone to safe mode and observe it. In this mode, only pre-installed apps will be allowed to run so if the touchscreen works fine, you can bet you have a third party app issue.

To restart your phone to safe mode:

  1. With your Note8 off press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
  2. When “SAMSUNG” appears on the screen, release the Power key.
  3. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  4. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  5. Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  6. Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.

To know which app is causing a problem, follow these steps:

  1. Boot to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem.
  3. Once you’ve confirmed that a third party app is to blame, you can start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added.
  4. After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If your Note8 still refuses to power back on, repeat steps 1-4.

Solution #9: Reset all settings

Resetting all of your Note8’s settings has a similar effect to factory reset but without the hassle of erasing all your personal data and some other things. Basically, like factory reset, your device’s software settings will be returned to their default setup so if there’s a software bug that refuses to go away after doing all the stuff we provide above, this might help.

To reset all settings on your Note8:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap General Management.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Tap Reset settings.
  5. Tap RESET SETTINGS button to confirm.

Solution #10: Uninstall apps

Some users were successful in fixing poor touchscreen performance by simply uninstalling apps. Keep in mind that even if you’re not actively using an app, background services associated with it may be actually be running in the background. The more apps you have the greater the chance of this from happening. So, aside from taking internal storage space, unused or unnecessary apps may actually be impacting your system negatively. The solution? Go over your list of apps and get rid of those you don’t actually need. If you have apps that have been dormant for the last 2 weeks, they are probably not that important to you. Start by uninstalling them together with the other rubbish on your phone.

Solution #11: Factory reset

If all the above suggestions fail to fix the problem, wipe the phone by doing a factory reset. Steps are provided above.

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