Have you always wondered why regular gloves don’t work on an iPhone touch screen? And why do you need those special touch screen gloves for an iPhone if you want to make it work?
To understand why the iPhone doesn’t work while wearing gloves, you first need to understand how the screen works, so let’s start there.
There are a few different touchscreen technologies, but the iPhone (and most modern smartphones) use one called a capacitive touchscreen. Essentially, these screens have a type of sensor that reacts to things that are electrically conductive. Your skin happens to be electrically conductive, so when you touch the screen with your finger, it senses the input. Your phone then averages the entire area that your finger is touching to determine the point on the screen you were aiming for.
These screens work not only with you finger, but also with any other conductive material as long as it has enough surface area touching the screen at the same time. Because the touch screen has been optimized for use with fingers, touching it with something too small (even if it’s conductive) will not register as a tap.
Touch Screen Gloves
When you are wearing gloves, your skin doesn’t come into contact with the screen. Because most glove material isn’t electrically conductive, the sensors do not register any input.
You may have seen touch screen gloves marketed as being compatible with iPhone. They often have grey fingertips – this is because the manufacturer has used a special electrically conductive thread for this part of the glove. This gives the sensors a positive reading when touched, allowing you to touch, tap, and swipe to your heart’s content.
Some people have trouble with capacitive touch screens because of callused skin. This dry, toughened skin – caused by repeated exposure to friction over time – is not very electrically conductive. Guitar playing, rock climbing, and other activities that are rough on the hands may cause this inconvenience to some users.
iPhone touch screens require something electrically conductive to work, and most gloves do not conduct electricity.