The Ultimate Nexus 7 Troubleshooting Guide: 6 Potential Problems and How to Fix Them

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Have you had any issues with your Nexus 7? We’ve run into quite a few problems and fixed them all – from bad performance and touch-screen responsiveness issues to tablets that won’t power on and separating screens.

Some of these problems may not be common – or may be fixed with newer hardware or software updates — but they’re all problems we’ve run into. We’ve collected the solutions here so you don’t have to dig through forum posts.

Bad Performance After Upgrading to Android 4.2

The Android 4.2 upgrade severely bogged down the performance of one of our Nexus 7s, making everything from opening apps, swiping across screens, and loading web pages take longer.

It’s unclear why this happened – some rumors suggest it may have been because the Nexus 7 in question was rooted – but there was a simple fix. Performing a factory reset set the Nexus 7 back to its factory state and fixed its performance problems, even after it was rooted and the same apps were installed.

To perform a factory reset, open the Settings screen, tap Backup & reset, and tap Factory data reset.

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Touchscreen Responsiveness Problems

At one point, a Nexus 7 seemed to have a faulty touch sensor. When touching the screen – for example, when scrolling up and down a web page – the Nexus 7 stopped responding to touch input. The touch sensor wasn’t completely broken – when swiping, the Nexus 7 would often detect the first half of the swipe, but not the second.

The cause of this problem was Google Currents – a preinstalled app – automatically syncing in the background. To prevent this from happening, open the Currents app, tap the menu button, tap Settings and uncheck the Enable background sync option.

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if you have any performance issues at all, ensure Google Currents isn’t syncing in the background. You should also ensure that other apps aren’t constantly syncing data in the background.

Tablet Won’t Power On or Charge

If your Nexus 7 appears completely frozen and won’t power on or even charge, the most obvious solution is to pull the battery and reinsert it. However, the Nexus 7 doesn’t have a user-serviceable battery.

Instead of pulling the battery, hold down the power button for 30 seconds straight. You may have tried holding down the power button already – but you won’t see any results until you hold it down for the entire 30 seconds. This process fixed a Nexus 7 that refused to turn on or charge.

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Screen Separation

We’re not sure how common this issue is – hopefully quality control has improved and screen separation is no longer a problem on the latest Nexus 7s – but we had a few Nexus 7s that suffered from screen separation. (Not sure if your device suffers from screen separation? Press on the top-left side. If there’s a spongy feeling and a creak, the screen is separating from the device – it should be solid.)

This is the sort of fix that could technically void your warranty. If you have this issue, you may want to see about getting a replacement from Google.

That said, you can fix this problem pretty well yourself. If you Google this problem, you’ll find all sorts of potential solutions. After trying several of them, we found that the best solution is creating and inserting your own washers. This prevents some of the screws from going in all the way and pressing on the screen. (This may mean Asus used screws that were a bit too long – oops!)

This step-by-step how-to with photos over at XDA Developers is excellent and will walk you through the process. It’s fairly easy to get the Nexus 7’s back off – a guitar pick or strong enough thumbnail can do it.

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Screen Flicker

Your Nexus 7’s screen may flicker at low-light conditions, which is most noticeable when viewing a mostly-white screen. For example, at 10% brightness with Google.com open, you may see flicker. This seems to be related to Wi-Fi – some people have even reported it happens more often when the tablet has a weak wireless signal.

if you’re experiencing flicker, there are several workarounds you can try. Setting your display brightness higher and disabling auto-brightness is one trick, although this will reduce battery life in low-light conditions.

However, many people have also reported disabling Wi-Fi optimization removes the flicker. To do so, open the Settings screen, tap Wi-Fi, tap the menu button, tap Advanced, and uncheck Wi-Fi optimization. Of course, this will also impact battery life.

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Washed Out Colors After Watching a Video

The Nexus 7 uses “NVIDIA PRISM Display Technology” to decrease the backlight and increase contrast and color situation while you watch videos. This saves power – because the backlight doesn’t have to go full-blast – but it has a problem. After you watch a video, you may find that everything on your screen still appears in over-saturated, “washed out”-looking colors. NVIDIA PRISM should automatically restore the default color settings after you finish watching the video, but it doesn’t always seem to.

To temporarily fix this problem, press the power button to turn the display off and then press the power button again to turn it back on. This will solve the problem until you finish watching the next video.

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To fix this permanently, you may want to try disabling NVIDIA PRISM – bear in mind that this will decrease your battery life while watching videos. There are several ways you can do this, and they all require root access. You’ll find instructions for fixing it by manually running a command or some scripts over at XDA Developers. There’s also a paid NVidia Tegra PRISM Toggle app on Google Play.


Have you had any other issues with your Nexus 7? Feel free to share them – and the fixes you’ve found – in the comments.

If you have any other software issues, try using safe mode or performing a factory reset.

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Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.