Apple Watch 'ghost touch' issue finally gets a fix in latest software update

Pink and Blue banded Apple watch series 9 on black background with pink and blue halo loops around the watches
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has reportedly fixed the "ghost touch" bug that has been plaguing some Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra users in the latest software update, available to download now. 

The ghost touch issue — where taps and swipes register on the device despite the display not being touched — was first reported in older models in 2020, but resurged in the Series 9 models in early February. Installing WatchOS 10.4 should get rid of this problem "that causes some users to experience false touches on the display", as per the release notes

Last month, the Cupertino company issued a memo authorizing Apple Service Providers to refrain from providing replacement watches and that the problem was under investigation. 

Also according to the memo, the false-touch issue may have caused the screen on the affected Apple Watch models to "jump erratically", start phone calls unintentionally or prevent users from entering device passcodes — thus severely impacting user experience with the latest models. So we’re glad it now has a fix rolling out.

More than just a simple fix

Apple Watch Series 9

(Image credit: Future)

While we’re not sure how widespread the issue actually was, multiple Reddit threads suggest the issue was occurring rather frequently. It even caused some users to speculate whether it was worth purchasing the latest models. However, some commenters revealed they had not experienced the issue at all, even while using the developer’s beta software. 

Apple’s memo last month did suggest keeping the smartwatch up to date, so if you’ve been experiencing these issues on your Apple watch, then it’s time to install WatchOS 10.4, and for reasons beyond this specific fix. 

Alongside the phantom touch fix, the update also includes a refreshed look for practically every app, a new Smart Stack widget, plus improvements like passcode requirements for those using ApplePay with AssistiveTouch and corrections for contact-syncing issues. 

If you’re after an even bigger overhaul of the operating system, we anticipate WatchOS 11 to debut in September this year, most likely alongside the release of Apple Watch 10 and the Apple iPhone 16

Lucy Scotting
Staff Writer

Lucy Scotting is a digital content writer for Tom’s Guide in Australia, primarily covering NBN and internet-related news. Lucy started her career writing for HR and staffing industry publications, with articles covering emerging tech, business and finance. In her spare time, Lucy can be found watching sci-fi movies, working on her dystopian fiction novel or hanging out with her dog, Fletcher.