The fix for iPad or iPhone difficulties with dry fingers


Some people have difficulty controlling the touchscreen on an iPad or iPhone with their fingers, especially older people.  The iPhone touch sensitive screen works on capacitance and it does not respond well to dry fingers.

Read on for some experiments I did and how to fix the problem!

Older people tend to have dryer fingers. Often they have to press the touchscreen on the iPhone very hard and I have met one or two people where their iPhone or iPad will not respond to their fingers at all. Thankfully there is a very simple solution.  Simply Moisturise your hands with a water-based moisturiser!  I find “MooGoo” to be particularly good.

Here are some tests that I did to show how effective this is.

Test #1 – iPhone with dry tissues

I placed layers of tissue over my finger and tried to swipe my iPhone. (This is to simulate a layer of dead/dry skin).

With one piece of tissue over my finger, I could operate the iPhone perfectly.

Three layers and it started to be a little less responsive.

Five layers and the iPhone no longer worked at all, even if I pressed hard.

Here is a video of me trying to operate the iPhone with five layers of tissues on my finger.  As you can see,  the iPhone does not respond at all.



Test #2 – iPhone with tissues and moisturiser

I put layers of tissue over my finger with a little bit of moisturiser in each layer.  With moisturiser I could get up to 34 tissues and the phone is still working.

Here is a video of me operating the iPhone with 34 layers of tissues  –  you can see the screen swiping – the iPhone operates fine!

So, if you have an iPhone that sometimes seems a little unresponsive,  I suggest using some moisturiser on your hands.

I also tested different moisturisers.

Using a zinc and castor oil style of moisturiser that is commonly used for eczema did not work at all.

But water based ‘MooGoo’ worked very well.  The main ingredients are: “Aqua, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol,Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Squalene (Olive)”




15 responses to “The fix for iPad or iPhone difficulties with dry fingers”

  1. wayne

    I should add, don’t be worried about getting a bit of hand moisturiser on your iPhone screen – it doesn’t hurt it.

  2. Jay Clark

    I understand the ‘dry skin’ problem, but I am finding the iPhone touchscreen sensitivity inconsistent with no adjustments to my skin and a clean screen. Sometimes it reacts when it seemed like I was just hovering over something, and in the same session I’ll have to tap hard and hold to get a reaction.

    Aside from dry skin, would relative humidity, or barometric pressure affect the connectivity? It not only causes ‘dry skin’, but an increase in static electricity.

    1. Ian

      Same here. Infuriating, particularly when trying to move the horizontal slider when watching utube, including in full screen size.
      Cheers. Ian.

    2. Ian

      Same here. Infuriating, particularly when trying to move the horizontal slider when watching utube, including in full screen size.
      Perhaps I’m cursed being a left handed right hand guitar player (calouses), although this never happened before I owned a samsung tablet.
      Cheers. Ian.

  3. Rachel Pollard

    Thanks for tip on moo goo ..where do I get it.

    1. It’s a moisturiser you can buy from health food shops in Australia. The main ingredients are water, olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, aloe etc. You get the idea…

  4. R k chadda

    I will try and I will use hand cream and I hope then it will work instead of entering my code .

  5. John G

    my fingers are hopeless on an ipad but work absolutely fine on a Samsung Galaxy

  6. Ruthie

    Lotion worked like a charm but only for 15 minutes.

  7. Chris

    I’ve heard it’s calloused fingertips. I routinely try each command 2-3 times… a hundred+ times a day. It drives me CRAZY! No problem on newer iPhone.

  8. Clare

    My new iPhone11 Pro does not respond well to my fingers. I just found out that kissing the tip of my finger corrects the problem.

  9. Kimberly

    Thank you! My new cancer meds makes my hands so dry. I got the new iPhone 12 and was having quite a bit of trouble. Lotion does help!

    1. Bob Clearwater

      I have had trouble since the elevator touch call button with introduced. Both Samsung and Apple produces do not work well for me. I have found the old people Jitterbug Smartphone to be more reliable, but not always perfect. By the way, using excessive amounts of hand cream before going through security will get you pulled aside and all but strip searched by TSA. This happen to my wife at Denver about 4 years ago.

  10. Benedict

    I touch my fingertip to my tongue, rub my fingertip against my thumb for a moment so it’s not wet, then my finger works better with the screen.

  11. Susan

    Thanks so much for this! I am “older” and like to play word games. My skin is so dry often I slide across words with no response on the phone. This is frustrating especially in timed tournaments. I know I’m better than that score! We do not have moogoo in the states but I started using a moisturizer with collogen and elastin which is a little better. But really. They should have some kind of a pen that works with a spongy tip that works for us old people. It’s not fair ?

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