Dead Pixels


The old saying, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you,” can just as easily be applied to pixels as it could it be to your ex-lover’s new boyfriend or girlfriend. They are a fickle thing (dead or stuck pixels that is), one that will continually draw your eye and is nigh impossible to overlook once you see it. And while you could shell out bookoo bucks in repairs or replace the display entirely, there’s often no harm in trying a few quick troubleshooting methods to see if you can snap the pixel back into shape without have to resort to costly services and outside alternatives.

However, it’s important to note the difference between a dead pixel and stuck pixel. Each individual pixel in an LCD screen is made up of three subpixels (red, green and blue), which appear white when turned on and black when turned off. Together, the three subpixels generate all the colors of the spectrum. A stuck pixel is one that is generated when one or two of the subpixels remain on and the rest off — it will vary in appearance based on which subpixels are working properly — while a dead pixel appears when an entire pixel or set of subpixels remain off.

Here’s our quick guide on how to fix a dead (or stuck) pixel. We cannot guarantee the methods below will resurrect your pixel from the dead, but it’s worth a shot. Also, many manufactures will even replace your screen if you’re still under warranty and meet a certain set of requirements (i.e. a certain number of dead pixels), so be sure to check your warranty for a free replacement before digging in below.

 Choose a method:

  • Fix using pressure (hands-on)
  • Fix using UndeadPixel (Windows)
  • Fix using LCD Repair (Web-based)
  • Fix using Dead Pixel Detect and Fix (Android)
  • Fix using ScreenTest (iOS)

Fix using the pressure method (hands-on)

Applying pressure to your screen may seem slightly elementary — and futile — but it has been known to do the trick fixing dead or stuck pixels. However, it’s also a method that risks furthering the problem and creating more dead pixels. Apply the pressure method sparingly if possible, whether trying to fix a dead or stuck pixel on your 13-inch laptop screen, iPhone or other device.

  1. Locate the questionable pixel: If you don’t know where the dead or stuck pixel is already, locate it and make a mental note of its location. Try using Undead Pixel’s built-in locator (outlined on the next page) if you’re still having trouble finding the faulty pixel(s).
  2. Choose an object: There isn’t one specific object required for the pressure method. Select an object with a blunt, narrow end such as the tip of a pencil eraser, a Sharpie cap or a PDA stylus. Remember, you don’t want to exert pressure on any other pixels other than those not cooperating.
  3. Wrap the object: For further protection, wrap the narrow tip of the object from Step 1 in a damp, scratch-free cloth. Shy away from anything that could potentially damage or scratch your screen. 
  4. Turn the screen off: Turn the screen off before continuing.
  5. Apply pressure: Gently apply pressure to the troublesome area for 5-to-10 seconds using the wrapped tip. Do so several times, but try to apply pressure solely to the area where the dead or stuck pixel is located — applying pressure elsewhere can result in adverse effects.
  6. Check the results: When finished, turn the screen back on and try to locate the dead or stuck pixel in he same manner as Step 1. Check to see if the questionable pixel has returned to normal, and if it hasn’t, choose an alternative method.

Next Page: Fix using UndeadPixel.

By Brandon Widder