The middle third (long-narrow thirds way) of my digitizer seems to have crapped out. Diagnosed from having vary hard time unlocking and weird selection issues, to suspecting digitizer, to getting a drawing program installed and seeing no record of movement over that part of the screen when drawing.

This makes unlocking (non-secure) with the "slide to unlock" tab almost impossible - takes 20 or more tries to get it to work sometimes. Since that button does not move when the screen rotates, I can't get it to live where the digitizer works. I thought I might be able to make it work with "pattern unlock" but that won't set a pattern with the middle third out of operation. Same issue affects the sound on/off (and trying to unlock often sets the sound on or off instead.)

So my answerable, stack-exchange-ish question, essentially, is whether there is any way to move/reorient the "slide to unlock" tab, or let the keyboard do that function.

Phone has not been wet, but I tried drying it anyway since many digitizer problems seem to be water related. No help. On/off/reboot battery in/out also make no difference. While it's irritating, if I could get something else (like the keyboard) to do what the slide-unlock is doing, but reliably, I could live with it as is for as much as I use the touchscreen.

I'm on a rooted (basically so I could install AFWall+, as I'm using it on a prepaid service primarily to make/take calls with, and really wanted to make double sure that any data use was restricted to WiFi, ONLY.) "Gingerbread" (2.3.4) Motorola Droid 2 Global if it makes a difference. I'm no great shakes at android-ness, I basically tracked down a root tool method that was purported to work, and after finding that many versions of it didn't discovered one "not the most updated" version that did work, despite dear old VZ making it more difficult.

(I'd also like to ask about replacing the digitizer, but after reading the help page 3 times I'm still not sure if that's considered on or off topic, since it's more about "hardware running android" than about "android as such" but it is "a problem I'm trying to solve on my android device")

  • An alternative might be to check for a 3rd party lock screen app which might be customizable in that concern. I'd bet chances are better to find such than to modify the stock one in that way.
    – Izzy
    Oct 31 '13 at 8:17
  • Replacing the touchscreen isn't really something we can help with anyway, since it's different for each device. Your local phone repair shop can help you with that.
    – Dan Hulme
    Oct 31 '13 at 9:45
  • Closely related question: Phone unlocking ideas but that one seems to be more about a one-off solution to get in, where you sound like you're after something that'll work every time?
    – GAThrawn
    Oct 31 '13 at 10:24
  • I'd be doing the digitizer replacement myself.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 31 '13 at 13:03

I have the same model and the digitizer is also 2/3 dead. If hold vertically, the left third from top to bottom works plus the rightmost vertical pixel line.

I was able to unlock it using a two finger gesture: Swipe the slider as far as possible to the right and hold it, then touch the right edge of the screen with a 2nd finger, then release the 1st finger.

My permanent solution:

Installed Cyanogenmod and enabled physical keyboard unlock.

Note that you can buy a replacement digitizer on ebay for around 20$ or so if you don't mind doing it yourself.

  • Thanks - the two-finger method does work much better/more reliably - it may be enough for me. WRT Cyanogenmod - does your camera work correctly? When I was looking into "things to do beyond rooting the phone" several months back, it seemed like most "custom ROMs" had issues with the camera not working on the D2G.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 31 '13 at 13:01
  • I have the EU Motorola Milestone variant (model A853). It currently runs CM7 and the camera seems to work.
    – ce4
    Oct 31 '13 at 14:18
  • Worked fine for a while, but lately the "ghost in the machine" problem (separate from the dead section of digitizer) has recurred, so I'm going to give replacement a try, despite the incredibly tedious process (take entire phone apart to replace the part most likely to break...)
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 28 '13 at 2:31
  • I also thought about that... Besides the tedious process, a replacement digitizer is cheaply available on ebay
    – ce4
    Dec 28 '13 at 13:05

As pointed out in my comment on the question itself, you might try a lock screen replacement from Google Play that might let you customize where to place the "unlocker". Just picking some examples by their screenshots:

LockMenu Zipper Lock screen WidgetLocker
LockMenu / Zipper Lock screen / WidgetLocker (click images for larger variants)

As you can see, there are multiple solutions available letting you define where the slider (or whatever) should be located – so you should be able to leave out the "dead spots" easily.

  • Zipper unlock, lol. Needs another background image though :-)
    – ce4
    Oct 31 '13 at 12:23
  • 1
    Maybe I should explicitly add that those are not screenshots from any of my devices, especially not that one #D
    – Izzy
    Oct 31 '13 at 15:46

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