Dead pixel massage

Computers & Mobile
Dead pixel massage

Mobile phones on bar tables deserve what they get. But that doesn’t make it suck any less when you’re the drunk with the dead pixels. Ask MAKE subscriber Tim Watson. When his iPhone got a party night beer bath, he was faced with either replacing his screen or trying one of the free utilities or fixes suggested online. Software solutions didn’t work, so he tried the screen massage method (usually suggested for just a few dead pixels). With time and a lot of massaging, he managed to at least greatly reduce and move the necrotic mass to the edge of his screen. BTW: It should go without saying, but when he says he did it with a Sharpie, he means the cap of the pen, not the marker itself!

Fixing dead pixels on an iPhone

12 thoughts on “Dead pixel massage

  1. AA says:

    I think if the dead “pixels” move its really just crap in between the layers of the screen. he would be better off taking apart the lcd and washing off the plastic diffusers, etc.

  2. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Yeah, I changed the wording to avoid confusion ’cause I think you’re right. I wouldn’t imagine it’s actual electrically-dead pixels if he’s coaxing them off the screen.

  3. charlie says:

    what a great example of how stupid some of these apple fanboys are. “i thought it would be funny to get my iphone drunk. it didn’t really work. now it haz ded pixils. … i’ll just push those off to the side so it can grow some new pixils. yeah, now i’ll post all about it on the interweb!”

  4. jsoverson says:

    It should be noted that the article writer’s iphone’s affliction of dead pixels aren’t the standard LCD’s dead pixels. I don’t know what causes them in an iphone (other than some obvious hardware problem) but massaging them in this manner can just as easily create /new/ “dead” pixels or expand the problem areas.

    The iphone’s dead pixel problem isn’t like anything i’ve seen before (have them myself). They actually rearrange themselves throughout the course of every day but mine, at least, stay confined to the top 4 rows of the LCD.

    The problem grew from one pixel, to 5, to a line, to several lines, back to one broken line, and now it seems content at molesting a consistent 4 lines on my screen daily.

  5. shilpa says:

    The iphone’s dead pixel problem isn’t like anything i’ve seen before (have them myself) He would be better off taking apart the lcd and washing off the plastic diffusers, etc.


  6. Channa says:

    I dropped my phone on the floor last week and next day I noticed that I have few dead pixels on the top left corner of my iphone. It started to spread forming lines. Then I tried to massage that area away to the corner which the dead pixels started to form. Now I just have only few dead pixels. I must say this is not repairing dead pixels, but minimizing the damage caused by the leaked liquid crystals.

    Hey Charlie,You must learn to respect others ideas. People share their experience with other with good intentions. It is not wise to argue with others ideas without even knowing anything. Do you think that apple fanboys are stupid? That’s just discriminating. Dead pixels can be caused by several reasons. Sometimes dead pixels can be cause by the circuit which sends the display to the LCD. If this is the case, that iphone cannot be fixed with screen massage method. But sometimes internal layers of the LCD can crack which cause to leak liquid crystal forming dead pixels. This leaked liquid crystals can be massaged away to minimize the damage. So buddy, next time when you express your ideas in forums don’t be rude and have a little respect to people who try to help the society with their experience.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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