iPhone 4 Multi Touch Issues when Charging In a Car

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Denjin-K, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Denjin-K macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2010
    Hello all,

    Long time reader, first time poster. :apple:
    Bummer it's got to be with a support question. :/

    Anyhow, my situation is like the title says, when I plug my iPhone 4 into my 150W power inverter using the standard usb cable and two-pronged adapter that comes with the phone, my multi touch functions get all twitchy. Here is the exact power inverter I am using: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.37247 (albeit in red) and I'm wondering if it's this that's causing the issue.

    Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing when charging in their car? It's most obvious when I start an inertia scroll, then put my finger down on the display to stop it from scrolling, however instead of stopping the scroll like it would normally do, it twitches out, and sometimes even acts like I made a tap selection, but often on something not even close to where my finger was resting.

    The issue does not persist after unplugging the device, and does not show up when charging in a wall socket. I've also tried alternate cables/two prong adapters, but no dice. Could it be that the inverter is sending it too much power and thusly causing the multi touch to freak out?

    When possible, I am going to see if my girlfriends iPhone 4 has the same issue, and if so, try and get a video of it in the act.
  2. Denjin-K thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2010
    Now with video!


    So, I plugged in my girlfriends phone, and she experiences the same issues.

    At this point, I can only imagine that it's caused by the power inverter, but I wonder what kind of effects, if any, this has on my phone, outside of the obvious multi touch defect. It's probably safe to say I just shouldn't charge my phone with this inverter. Can't help but feel a little miffed.

    Still interested to hear if anyone else has experienced this sort of thing.
  3. bookwormsy macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2010
    I'm having the same issues as you. I'm plugged into my laptop that's plugged into my powerline 0900-73. However when I unplug it from the inverter everything is fine.
  4. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Yup, same problem with the invertor. The Apple Genius assumes there is too much power entering the iPhone. I have purchased a standard car charger and the problem does not happen.
  5. poosh99 macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2010
    iPhone 4 Multi Touch Issue While Charging

    Have a similar issue with my iPhone 4 and my wife's. When we plug it into the wall, it seems to have same the funky multi touch issues.

    Brought both phones back to the Apple store and they replaced them, but just tonight I see that I have the same problem. Trying to type on it makes it look like it's possessed.

    I think I know why/when ours are doing it. When we plug in the Apple connector and the wall plug into a POWER BAR (or an octopus outlet), this is when we seem to have the problem. If we plug it in directly to an outlet, it seems to be OK. Not sure. Interested to see if others see the same thing.

    We have 4 iPhones that we've seen do it, so I assume that they all (or most) do it. Makes it frustrating to try and do anything while it is plugged in.
  6. applefanDrew macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2010
    Probably to much electricity going into the phone. That could disrupt the electrical fields on the screen. The screen picks up electrical signals from your fingers, so to much of an influx of electricity into the device could mess it up.
  7. Appellate, Feb 25, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011

    Appellate macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2011
    iPhone 4 Multi-Touch, Audio, and Electric Shock issues w/ Apple cube AC Adapater

    I have been experiencing this too.


    I have had two iPhone 4s and they BOTH exhibited the following issues. The first one I bought in August, 2010 and the second was a replacement I picked up in January, 2011 after the front glass had cracked on the first. Here are my observations.

    When I first got the iPhone 4 I discovered that the iPod car charger that I had been using with my iPod Video (circa 2005/2006) would not charge the iPhone. I would have bought an iPhone 4 car charger except that I had a small Duracell power inverter laying around and it made sense to just use that with the tiny white cube AC adapter that Apple bundles with the iPhone 4 for my car charging needs.


    1. When the iPhone is charging with this setup, the touch screen exhibits inaccurate and wildly unpredictable behavior. Including sensing mis-located touches, repeated touches, etc.

    2. If you are using the headphone jack for audio (either with a tape deck converter, like me, or with head phones, external speakers, or anything else), there is a loud buzzing present. I also noticed that the buzzing mostly went away when you touch any of the iPhone's three metal antennae/structure (direct skin to metal contact only). This jumped out in my mind as a possible grounding issue of some sort from my experience with electric guitars and background in amateur electronics.

    3. The metal band (antennae) gets surprisingly warm to the touch, as well as the back of the phone, to a lesser extent.

    4. What's worse than all these issues, however, is that yesterday I actually received multiple, mild electric shocks. :eek: It felt like someone gently jabbing my earlobe with a push-pin. This happened upon answering a call and putting the phone to my ear while it was still plugged into the wall and charging. I realized that I had felt this before, with the last phone, but I had dismissed it as having been accidentally grazed by the broken glass screen (which was completely intact except for one missing shard near the beveled cut-out for the phone speaker) even though there was never any mark on my ear.

    So not only are these issues when using the AC adapter real, but as I see it there is now a safety concern as well. I am now worried about others getting shocked to varying degrees, as well as fire hazards with the AC adapter and/or iPhone battery malfunctioning or overheating.

    I did some basic experimenting and here is what I found:

    1. All of these issues occur with the use of the Apple supplied AC adapter (white cube wall adapter).

    2. It does not matter what the cube AC adapter is powered by (I have reproduced ALL of these issues with the power inverter in my car, several household outlets in different homes, and at work).

    3. Again, ALL of these issues happened with both iPhones while charging via the Apple AC adapter.

    3. Since I was shocked the other day, my iPhone 4 has been having trouble connecting to the 3G network (with Airplane mode OFF, and 3G enabled), but EDGE works fine. AT&T said that 2 out of the 4 3G towers in my general vicinity are shown in their system as being in a "degraded" or "severely degraded" state (apparently their techs have access to a live map of tower/network issues across the nation - who knew?), so this could be totally unrelated to the above issues - I just wanted to mention it.

    If you have experienced any of this, please SAY SOMETHING here. Also links to other forum posts/articles would be very useful.

    I had never used Apple's Support Forums, but I will look into posting this there as well.
  8. joeyfallon, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    joeyfallon macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2011
    I'm having this issue too on an iPhone 4 I recently bought second hand.

    Only happens with one particular charger - the seller supplied an OEM Apple charger head but it says iPod on.

    Works fine when charging off PC or non OEM USB unit.

    Tried a different OEM USB lead but get the same results - screen seems misaligned by about an inch, random icon clicks etc

    What did people do with their units - return or keep ?
  9. bigswell macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2011
    I have a also had the same issures with my 4s. I have a inverter in my truck and the phone goes nuts when I try to use it while its pliugged in. The inverter does offer usb charging but the phone will not charge when i plug it in.
  10. ProEdgeBiker, Nov 23, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011

    ProEdgeBiker macrumors newbie


    Feb 2, 2010
    Sunny, FL
    Same DAMN problem!

    same issues here, I'm actually sitting in the apple store right now getting my phone replaced.
  11. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    You're wasting your time. It won't solve your problem. The iPhone just doesn't like certain accessories. I swapped mine out when I had the problem and it did not fix the issue.
  12. knux11 macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2008
    so is there an answer for this? my 4s has been doing it since the day i got it. i don't use it much when charging, and when it's connected to my cpu or car it works fine. but using the charger and cord than came with my phone and the screen is all screwy.
  13. AndrewJay macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2009
    I have this same issue and the solution is, dont charge you iphone thru a power inverter, i tired to different chargers and different iphones, 3g is fine my 4 goes nuts, i also tried it with the charger directly in to the inverter and thru a surge protector power bar, no difference.

    Solution use a USB car Charger, no thru a power inverter.

    Additional: i also noticed that the phone was getting very hot, this points to to much electricity going in to the iphone
  14. zxen macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2011
    Ive had no problems with all my other inverters - 150w, 300w, 600w and 1000w.

    But now my new (and very cheap $259) 2500w inverter is giving me the same troubles as the rest of your are having on my Macbook Pro, ipad4 and iphone5.

    You will notice the same problem occurs if you touch the charge cable to your touch screen.

    I assume this is an EARTHING problem, especially with the electric shocks people describe on sensitive skin such as forearms and ears.

    I dont know how to Earth this inverter inside my van. I have lived in a van for years so I must use an inverter for my microwave, TV, projector, xbox, and my internet business.

    I might have to take the inverter back. Like I said, this problem has not happened with my previous 4 inverters.

    Ive tried connecting a piece of wire from this inverter's outer shell to the chassis of my van to no avail.

    All my inverters have been PURE SINE WAVE, not modified sine wave.

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