Since the launch of the refreshed Nexus 7, there has been quite the rollercoaster of good and bad news. Some stores jumped the gun on the release date, which inspired Google to get an early start, as well. That was followed by the revelation that the device would never be able to support Google Wallet. Then came the really shocking news that factory images may never be published, which was almost immediately resolved after JBQ announced he was leaving his station with AOSP. Now that some of the dust has settled and customers have had some hands-on time with the mid-sized tablet, quite a few people have experienced problems with GPS reliability.

Complaints have been building on the Google Product Forum for the last couple of weeks regarding the 2013 Nexus 7 screen and how many units have highly erratic touch detection, particularly during multi-touch activities. Many people describe first noticing the problem while typing, observing that the wrong keys would register as having been pressed when they hadn't. The best way to understand what is happening is to see this video posted by bobafuzz:

(The app used here is Yet Another MultiTouch Test.)

As you can see, touch targets are jumping around sporadically, occasionally reversed, and can even register as a storm of semi-random taps. By most accounts, the problem only occurs when the tablet is running on battery power, and not plugged into a power source. Otherwise, nobody has been able to fix the problem - wiping the device, booting into safe mode, and changing software configurations all seem to do nothing. A few reports scattered across the Google product forum and XDA-Developers suggest that the problem is not present in the initial update (JWR66N) that the Nexus 7 downloads after establishing an internet connection for the first time, but only appears after the 2nd OTA (JSS15J) is installed.

A member of Google's support staff has confirmed that the Android team is aware of the issue and looking into it.

Based on the details from customer stories, the issue can probably be fixed with a software update. It's likely that JSS15J changed the tuning of the touchscreen digitizer, lowering the electrical current a bit too much when the tablet is running on battery power. The result would be reduced sensitivity on the screen, especially when multiple contacts are made. With a slightly recalibrated setting, a fix should be relatively trivial now that the problem has been acknowledged. Some advanced users may be familiar with using custom kernels or other mods to fix devices that suffered from similar issues.

Naturally, in these days of delicate electronics equipped with operating systems as complicated as Android, it's not surprising for a couple of issues to slip through the cracks. For those who don't recall, every device that has born the Nexus name has seen some form of technical difficulty when it first shipped. For example, the Galaxy Nexus volume buttons were disrupted by its own 900 MHz 2G radio, but this was later fixed with a simple update. Hopefully, Google will begin pushing an OTA soon that fully restores multi-touch to the 2013 Nexus 7.

Thanks for the tip, François Bouffard.

[Google Product Forum, AOSP Issue #58401, XDA Forums 1, 2]

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • http://rootzwiki.com/news Max M.

    This happens to my N7 sometimes.

    • kindrudekid

      it also happens to my tf300t

  • Raymond Berger

    I wondering if the old Nexus 7 has the same problem when upgraded to 4.3.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I've seen quite a few other types of complaints about the 2012 N7 after upgrading to 4.3, but nothing like this. I'll be posting about a few of those soon.

    • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

      this is usually hardware problem

    • dirtyfingers

      Mine doesn't on 4.3

    • Dart

      No issues on my 2012 Nexus 7 after the Android 4.3 update. Not one.

      GPS has been rock solid too. I'm happy.

    • BKPhil

      Touchscreen on my old Nexus 7 has had serious touchscreen issues before and after the 4.3 update.

      About half the time I try to use it, I end up having to do a soft power off - power on to reset the touchscreen. Had hoped 4.3 would fix it, but no such luck.

      Bought it as an upgrade to my old original Kindle Fire, but as it turns out the Fire is much more pleasant to use (as is my glorious HP Touchpad).

  • Karlo

    These are phantom touches.
    I had this problem whit defective Nexus 4.
    80% of time defective battery make problems.
    So i would RMA it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.danna.733 Jonathan Danna

    Mine suffered from this, as well as the display unit in best buy and the replacment they gave me... But the two I owned also had severely bad GPS problems (cutting out after 30 mins on one, the other just didn't work). I returned to BB for a full refund and eagerly await news that this has all been fixed. I'm not one to take a bet on it just being software bugs for nearly $300.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I can't say I blame you. The evidence is on the side of this being a software issue, but there is no absolute certainty. This is one time it would be great if Google posted something publicly to clear things up, just like Dan Morrill did with the Galaxy Nexus issue I linked to in the article.

      I had to return my 2013 N7 for other reasons (it was definitely a lemon), but even I'm waiting until this issue is absolutely cleared up before I consider getting another.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.danna.733 Jonathan Danna

        Agreed on all points. I'd also like to say.. I'd really love for another company to take over the nexus tablets. This is the second generation of Nexus 7's that Asus has had production issues with, and there was the whole fiasco with the Transformer pad's GPS. It just seems like their quality control process is really lacking.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          To be fair, I think ASUS cleaned up its act quite a bit on the 2013 N7. The build quality is in an absolutely separate league from the loose and creaky old N7. The major issues with the 2013 N7, GPS and multi-touch, are most likely software issues (of course, that's still speculation for now). For anything that turns out to be a software issue, it's likely Google's responsibility (again, speculation).

          Granted, there are still a few complaints about the occasional hardware defect, but that tends to be true regardless of the company. Even Apple ships a few duds from time to time.

          • EH101

            Agreed on all points. Also, I think any company that does the Nexus 7 for Google would have similar issues since they have to build it to meet such a low price point. I'm sure they can't do proper quality control on these devices.

  • Karma Killed Steve Jobs


  • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

    Cheap screen like on my cheap phone ... had to returned it and replaced.

  • Rigoberto Cabrera

    I had this with original unit from Amazon along with shit battery. Replacement finally came in and battery improved by 2+ hours and jumpiness still there but less obvious. Should I be asking for another replacement?

    • EH101

      At this point, there's no solid answer as to whether it is a software or hardware issue so I don't think anyone can answer this for you.

      For this reason, my brother just returned his to be on the safe side, also because his power button was terribly seated. (nearly flush with the body)

      • LewisSD

        My power button is nearly flush too. I just thought that was the way it came though. Is it???

        • EH101

          It wasn't mine and I haven't seen any other ones, not even display units, so honestly I couldn't tell you. But it was extremely hard to press. Had to push it way in there to get it to register.

  • tyguy829

    Mine does this. If i turn the screen off then back on it fixesit

  • ndirish2001

    Take it from a Nexus 10 owner: return your new Nexus 7s and don't look back. We're still waiting for Google to make our tablets something more than expensive paperweights. We're used to and tired of the non-specific and non-committal responses from Google's "Paul".

    • simp1istic

      Mine works

    • mustbepbs

      My Nexus 10 turned to garbage after a few months too.

      • Walkop

        Works great for me. Reboots stopped with 4.3.

      • Ryan Stewart

        Mine wasnt garbage but it did get laggy after about 6 months but 4.3 seems to have made some architecture change (not sure if its just cleaning up storage) that has resulted in a marked improvement.

    • Sir_Brizz

      No way, my new Nexus 7 is awesome.

    • Gary Wilkinson

      Yeah I don't mean offense to him personally (Google's "Paul" from the forum) but unless he is put in a position to actually help and give out some real information on the issues he may as well just not post at all.

  • Peter Farac

    I don't like when companies produce products for no profit, stuff like this seems to happen. The prior Nexus 7 and 10 have had too many problems compared with other similar products. My OG Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been more reliable than the Nexus 7's I've regrettably recommended that friends buy.

    • EH101

      Agreed, this is the unfortunate side effect of cost cutting so much that you can't do proper quality control.

    • CyHawk60

      You must have received a good Samsung GT10.1. Mine is plagued with lag issues, overnight battery drains. I'm happy to be done with it.

      • Peter Farac

        Lag issues? It's a tegra 2, but having said that I think the browsing speeds are still pretty good. Android devices in general also vary in speed based on how much you have syncing. Adding my work exchange account plus RSS and other social media bogs any device down.

      • GazaIan

        My GT10.1 is a lag machine too... But, battery drain isn't an issue for me. I can get a month of standby out of this thing, and maybe 24 hours of screen on time from moderate-heavy usage. And it's lightweight. But, the lag makes it a deal breaker.

  • FarmerTechno

    Mine does this when I set it down on a surface, but it does not do it when I hold the device with my other hand. Anyone else seeing the same?

    • EH101

      Yup, tons of people are which makes most believe it's a grounding issue. Follow the two links to xda to see all the ways they've attempted to narrow this down.

  • Lodovik

    Damn Asus, will you ever be able to get multitouch right? I still have a similar problem on my Nexus 7 2012 after 2 exchanges. Google, give the next design to Samsung and please get rid of these incompetent at Asus...

    • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

      well ... they choose Asus, maybe because they can make it (much) cheaper, look at the upcoming Nexus 10

      • Mie Mohd

        a cheaper with multiple hardware defects bad for bussiness,

    • Mie Mohd

      Agree, Im not even consider to buy Nexus7 2013 due multiple defect problem with 1st generation. google should consider motorola itself to make one like Xoom (1),

  • MrRageQuit

    No multi touch problems with mine so far. Hopefully its just a software issue and not a manufacturer defect.

    • Kernschatten

      Mine is fine also.
      I played with that app for half an hour and had no problems.

    • Kevin Aaronson


  • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

    Good it wasn't just me..... Though I only had that problem once while playing a game, and a reboot killed it. I haven't seen it act up again for good week....

  • Eldorath

    Just tested mine without any issues, aside from when you get too many points too close together. something about getting 10 fingers in 1 little screen and all that ;)

  • Andrew Miller

    Thank goodness my nexus 7 2013 hasn't experienced this issue or the GPS one yet

  • RoshanKarki

    And my Nexus 10 is facing this problem: http://forums.androidcentral.com/google-nexus-10-tablet/300621-nexus-10-screen-flicers-restarts.html#post2957256 and I can only find the replacement battery in ebay which I cannot buy from.(Legal reason, can't import from ebya in my country).

  • Tom Henriksen

    Bluetooth issues, GPS and on and on. I would just like a clear statement from Asus and Google detailing what fixes they're working on.

  • Mystery Man

    Happens to me. Been holding off on returning it but my window closes Aug 28. Amazon return policy is awesome that its 30 days

  • olmoslalo

    Same thing happens to mine!! And this is my second one! I only have a few days left for my return window, godspeed Google. Godspeed.

  • olmoslalo

    Just like to mention it's about damn time this got public.

  • chiocken

    I got this issue with the original N7.

    • BKPhil

      Likewise. You think they'd have figured it out by now. Imagine it's a hardware issue, or they would have fixed it in 4.3.

    • ehidden

      i have this with my first gen N7. So far after installing 4.3 it hasnt been such a problem. It was almost unusable - would have to power off and power on screen to stop it freaking out. Was going to buy a N7 2013 to replace my original N7 but seems the problem is far from gone. I can believe what other posts above are talking about a possible grounding issue or even low voltage to touchscreen. Whatever the issue they need to fix it for both old and new N7s.

  • Skip Flem

    Mine doesn't do THAT!!! 2 weeks going, a joy and a pleasure.
    Rooted (4.3) JSS15J. YAMTT is GREAT! TNX

  • zak

    anyone having issues with youtube stopping and chrome crashing?? it would just stop loading and i have 50mbps connection when i check speedtest app

  • Kedar Patel

    Reminds me of the original Evo days...

    Remember when it had multitouch issues?

  • OttoVonBurns

    Sadly, I think this is why most people end up buying iPads...

    • DethBySnooSnoo

      Why the down vote? He's making a valid point. Apple succeeded on a solid hardware and software foundation. When issues are found they communicate the issues so you know they are being worked on.

      I'm sure Google will resolve this issue but it will be a painfully *long* process.

      • OttoVonBurns

        Exactly! Every time this happens, an ifan says: "That doesn't happen with iPads" and you know what? they're right! Most of the people are not tech enthusiasts like us, they don't want to deal with this stuff, they just want products that work! crazy people huh? We take this because we like Android and we understand there are prices to pay for true innovation, but for the average Joe it's very simple; Stay away from this tablets, they're broken.

        I'm also sure this will be fixed, Android was a mess but from the Froyo days until now, you can say that it's fixed, it's enjoyable. Now Google is getting into the hardware bussiness and there's a lot they need to learn, they will, no doubt, but "it will be a painfully *long* process" and we all suffer from it.

        • A punk

          I understand that however google has a bunch of different device and mane fractures so its harder for fixes. However I do agree on you that they should give feedback about them working on the problema

  • Duke tt

    Hello everyone
    I am going to tell you that this is a grounding issue with the Nexus 7 2013 and with some 1st gen also. I have bought 3 of them and from different places. I have tested them and I am going to say we have a big issue. The reason why is because everyone of them works great plugged in to the wall. If you lay it on a table or a couch and only touch the screen with your 2 fingers it will happen. If you hold this device in your hand it works great also. So it has to be a grounding problem with the unit. Their is no software to fix a ground period. Think about it.
    Touch screen work off a ground, just like a styles. You are the ground.

    • Devoid75

      This makes a lot of sense. Sadly, an issue like this probably cannot be cleared up with just an update.

      • Duke tt

        Take your usb cable you received for charging and unplug it from the charger box. Now plug the micro usb into the Nexus 7 2013 and leave the the USB end exposed for now and lay your tablet on the table or floor or couch away from your body. Now open up the YamTT program or Multi touch tester. Now take just one hand and two fingers and touch the screen or move your fingers around or keep still and let the screen do its mess up thing. Now take your free hand and grab the metal piece of the USB cable that is a open end and the problem goes away and let it go and it starts again. That is a hardware problem. You are using the metal piece as full ground.

  • Andrew

    I'm affected by this, I gave up on trying to draw on it... quite sad. I have a Note II, so I just drew on that instead, but I really wanted to draw on this. It spazzes out just like the video and then will be fine for a little bit. Makes typing interesting too.

  • Chaz Dumbaugh

    My original Nexus 7 had these issues, screen would go all kinds of funky after playing or doing something that would get the graphics processor going, mutli-touch would then disappear pretty much, went through 2 returns with varying problems before I said, screw it. Was hoping this would be better but now the same problems are starting to crop up, guess this makes my decision to get one easier, gonna be going for something else instead now

  • Ryan Wallace

    The Nexus 7 (2012) suffers from the same issue... no surprise there...

  • Mausen

    I am the owner of an old skool Nexus 7 with 4.3. Since today I experience the same problems with my touchscreen as described above. Very frustrating that with the same hardware but newer software it's hard to do a simple job as browsing. Links are opened while I'm not even close to the screen and some letters on the keyboard don't always work (the "y" in my case). Instead another part of the screen is reacting... It's like a ghost is playing around with my gadget.

    Google: please do your homework and fix the problem. I guess that Google wanted to save some energy from the touchscreen by lowering the responsiveness, but they've gone too far with the tweaking. Otherwise I'm very pleased with my N7 (but with 4.2.3). No problemos since I got it in May this year.

  • Duke tt

    I just got off the phone with Google and they don't have any type of fix coming out at all. This person I talked to didn't even know that there is a big issue going on with the screens.
    We need more people to get involved with calling and raising hell or they will not fix it,
    People that are saying theirs are perfect lets see some videos. If you hold the tablet in your hands it will be perfect. The problem is when its laying on the table not holding it. If its plugged in to the wall for charging it works perfect also. Its when its unplugged from wall and not being touched.
    My first gen Nexus 7 with 4.3 is having the same issue so what's that tell you guys.

    When I walk in to a Best Buy and asked for exchange and the guys there don't even know there is a problem its not being spread around good enough. Get the word out to Google!!!!!!!
    Best Buy should know what's going on in the electronic world.

  • http://techlounge101.blogspot.com Kevin Tan

    Notice the single touch also has issues. Noticed it while typing and gesture typing.

  • DaveS

    Does anybody know if I there would be problems with a Nexus 7 if I purchased one in the US and bought it back to Canada? Problems with accessing my Google accounts etc..

  • Shelley Jeffers

    I was wondering if someone knows how to fix a Android Ally its giving me a lot of Trobble its really jumpy and my touch screen doesn't work and it vibrates and then ends my text messages and when I try to call it vibrates and then ends when I try to dial and it wont let me slide my finger to answer the call when its in touch screen mode and I would have to use my key board to get to everything if my touch screen doesn't work

  • Mike Chu

    what is this app? i'm suddenly having multitouch problems on my phone

  • Daviljoe193

    I always have the "Show Touches" option to get a perfect understanding of what is happening, and this was a nightmare to look at. Single-touching seemed okay, but multi-touching caused a "Show Touches" Blizzard, and the only fix was the lazy technicians advice to reboot it. The glitch also appears to happen under certain circumstances with AndroidVNC, and here's a screenshot of it there. :)

  • Martin Kolář

    Is there some update of this issue? Or official statement?