Black Spot Spreading on Cell Phone Screen: How to Fix?

Here’s how to fix a black spot that is spreading on your cell phone screen:

There are 4 scenarios in which a cell phone can have a black spot spreading on the phone screen.

If it’s stuck pixels, you can unstick them with software.

If it’s pressure, you may need to replace the battery.

If it’s dead pixels, you may need to replace the screen.

If it’s a broken screen, replacing the screen might be best.

So if you want to learn all about how to fix the spreading black spot on your smartphone screen, then this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

How to Fix a Spreading Black Spot on Your Cell Phone Screen?

Why Is There Spreading Black Spot on Your Phone Screen? (4 Reasons)

We all use our phones so much that when something goes wrong, it can be a big deal. 

One of the worst things is to look at your screen and see a dark spot.

It means your phone is in trouble, and it might not be easy to fix. 

If that spot starts spreading, things are even worse. 

First, let’s look at what’s causing it in your case and then what you can do about it.

The black spot that appears on many phone screens is not a single problem. 

The truth is that even today, screens are made in substantially different ways and are prone to unique problems. 

Even among two identical phones, you can have black spots that look the same but are caused by completely different issues. 

We’ll go over the most common causes of the black spots together so you can see what is really happening here.

#1 Dead Pixels

Dead pixels are probably the very most common reason you will see a black spot (or spots) on your screen. 

Pixels are the individual sources of light that allow your screen to make images. 

Virtually all pixels today are lit by LEDs.

These are semiconductors that come in all shapes and sizes and emit light. 

For your phone screen, the LEDs will emit red, blue, or green light.

Other components in the screen will then turn the countless light sources in the screen into the image that you see.

When pixels die, they do not emit any light, so the dead spot will look black while the screen is displaying images. 

A lot of things can cause dead pixels. Sometimes they burn out.

More often, they are damaged by impact or exposure to elements that can harm them (like water). 

Typically, dead pixels don’t spread. If a pixel dies, it doesn’t take other pixels down with it. 

So, if you have spreading dead pixels, it means there’s an additional problem, which we will discuss a little later.

#2 Stuck Pixels

Now that you know a little more about how pixels work, it might not surprise you to learn that they can get stuck. 

Since other components have to tell the pixels what to do to create an image, those instructions can get messed up. 

When that happens, a pixel can stick. It will be the wrong color or off when it should be doing something else.

This is most common with liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

The liquid crystals actually tell the pixels what to do, and there can be communication problems that lead to dark spots on the screen. 

Once again, this usually won’t spread over time, but it can behave that way.

The good news is that this is one of the easier things to fix, and the solution will be explained in a minute.

#3 Pressure

Speaking of LCD screens, they can struggle from external pressure. 

If you’ve ever pressed on an LCD screen, you probably saw the colors distort and darken under your fingers. 

With modern phones, that isn’t a problem because the touchscreen is thick and stiff enough that touching it doesn’t apply much pressure to the LCD part of the screen.

The problem of pressure usually comes from the other side.

If something swells or bends on the inside of the phone, it can create internal pressure.

That can cause a dark spot, and those dark spots are definitely prone to spreading.

#4 LCD Components

Outside of pressure, LCD components can be damaged and cause dark spots. 

In particular, LCDs contain a bunch of tubes that house the liquid crystals.

These tubes can break, and then the liquid leaks out.

When this happens, you’ll see a dark spot on the screen. 

More importantly, the dark spot will be there even when the screen is off.

This is a discoloration that comes from the leaking tubes, and it means your phone screen is in bad shape. 

Also, the liquid can continue to spill and expand over time, so this is an issue that can make the dark spot spread across the screen.

How Do You Fix a Spreading Black Spot on Your Phone? (4 Ways)

Now that you have an idea of what causes the black spot on your phone and makes it spread, we can explore ways to resolve the problem. 

Since there are different reasons for the spot to appear, the solutions will have to match the reason. 

So, we’ll break it down by cause and show you the most reliable options for getting your phone screen back to like-new condition. 

In each case, there are DIY and professional fixes.

#1 Repairing Stuck Pixels

Stuck pixels are actually the easiest thing to fix on this list. 

The issue is with the digital control mechanisms.

That means you can unstick pixels using software. 

You can go to your app store or a number of websites and look for a stuck pixel repair tool. 

It will run anywhere from a few seconds to 10 minutes. 

What it does is cycle through pixel controllers in order to reset the mechanism. 

Once everything is reset, the pixels unstick, and the screen works normally again.

#2 Relieving Pressure

When LCD pressure is the problem, you have to get into the phone to find the source of that internal pressure.

This means removing the screen. 

There are DIY kits and tutorials to follow, but phone repair shops and experts can do this if you are uncomfortable.

Most likely, the pressure is from a swollen battery.

If removing the battery stops the swelling, you’ve found the problem.

Replace the battery, and you should be fine.

When the battery isn’t the issue, you will need to look for signs of bent or damaged components that could be pressing against the screen.

Unbending or replacing those components will relieve the pressure.

Sometimes, even after you relieve the pressure, the problem persists.

This means that the pressure was enough to damage LCD tubes, and you need to perform additional repairs.

#3 Dead Pixels

When pixels are dead, software can’t repair the problem. 

You will need to repair or replace the damaged pixels.

In virtually all cases, it means you need to replace the screen. 

Technically, individual pixels can be replaced, but they are so tiny on modern screens that it’s not worth the time and money to replace single pixels. 

The tools and expertise necessary to do that are expensive and hard to find.

On the other hand, screen replacements are fairly affordable. 

You can get a DIY screen replacement kit, or you can take your phone to a repair shop. 

Either way, the cost of replacing the screen is usually less than replacing the whole phone. 

If your phone is old enough, it might be a good justification for an upgrade.

When you replace the screen, you get rid of the dead pixels, so the problem is solved.

#4 Screen Damage

When you have spreading black spots, it’s usually from a crack or broken LCD tubes. 

Even less-common issues almost always involve significant screen damage. 

For all of these cases, you are once again looking at a screen replacement.

You can make your life easier by checking all of your warranties to see if they cover all or part of the repair service. 

Accidental damage plans are designed for exactly this kind of thing. 

Many screen protectors also warranty the screen and will cover some or all of the repair costs. 

Go through all of your potential warranties, and you might be able to save a bit of money.

Why Does the Black Spot Spread on Your Phone Screen?

So, some causes of dark spots are likely to spread while others don’t do it as much.

Why is that? 

What is actually causing the darkness to move across the screen?

That boils down to a few causes.

If dead pixels are expanding across the screen, it means that something is continuing to damage more and more pixels over time. 

Basically, it means your screen is cracked, and the crack is spreading. 

Just like with a windshield, cracks in glass can spiderweb and spread throughout the glass.

On a phone, this can lead to more and more dead pixels.

If the pixels are just stuck, it means the control issue is getting worse.

In the case of LCD back pressure, the pressure is increasing over time to spread the darkness.

This almost always means that the battery is swelling and getting worse (which is much less common with new lithium-ion batteries).

In the last case, when LCD tubes break, the released liquid can create pressure inside the screen structure.

That can cause more tubes to break, and you get a domino effect where the dark spot on the screen grows and grows.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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