How to Fix Your Keypad on Your Cell Phone

by Brad Harris
keypad image by vashistha pathak from

While more and more handsets are switching to touchscreens these days, physical keypads are still the most common interface for operating your cell phone. Unfortunately, when issues develop with those keys, it can become impossible to use your device as intended. Thankfully, some simple steps can be taken to restore functionality.


Step 1

Power the device off and then back on. Sometimes software glitches will cause problems with normal keypad functionality, such as certain key-presses not registering. Power cycling the phone will resolve any random, non-serious software issue that may be causing the problem.

Step 2

Reset the device if possible. If power cycling did not resolve the issue, a more serious software problem may be at fault. The software will need to be reverted back to factory standard. Generally, this is done by pressing "Menu," "Settings," "Initial Setup," and then "Master Reset." If the navigation keys are not functional, many devices are also able to be reset by holding down a certain combination of buttons for a short period of time. Refer to your user manual for alternate steps as needed.

Step 3

Remove debris from around the keys. Sometimes particles of skin, dust, oil, and even food can become wedged between the buttons, causing keys not to fully depress when pushed. Use a thin needle to scrape debris from around the keys and test functionality again.

Call your carrier for repair or replacement. If cleaning the keypad did not restore functionality, the problem likely lies with an internal malfunction. Your carrier will give you information on how to obtain a replacement or send the device in for repair.


  • Performing a master reset will undo any customizations you have made, such as setting up special ring tones or wallpapers. Be aware that you will need to re-customize the device once everything is working normally again.


  • Moisture often causes issues with keyboard functionality. Once liquid gets into the phone, components begin to short out and the device may be rendered useless. Be careful not to get the phone wet.


Photo Credits

About the Author

Since 1999 Brad Harris has written on a wide array of subjects, ranging from helpful how-to articles about maneuvering through life to sharing war stories from navigating the campaign trail. Harris attended Michigan State University where he majored in political theory and has worked professionally in the telecommunications industry for over five years.

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