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HTC One experiences serious issues with capacitive hardware buttons

Editor’s note: The following guest post was written by Pocketables reader m03sizlak about his experience so far with the HTC One on Sprint. If you’ve got the HTC One, and would like to throw in your two cents, please leave a comment. Or, better yet, get in touch with us if you’re interested in submitting a guest post of your own!

If you are having problems with the capacitive Home and Back buttons on your HTC One, you are not alone.  According to numerous reports at XDA and elsewhere, the symptoms manifest themselves as sporadic and inconsistent detection of button-presses, and it seems as if many One owners are plagued by this issue.

It is unclear if this is due to the buttons not being sensitive enough, or if there is some other underlying issue. It also seems as if screen protectors may make the problem worse, with some users reporting that the buttons will not work at all when used with a screen protector.

I can tell you that my One has been stricken with this problem since day one, and it has all but ruined the entire new-phone experience for me.  What should have been a pleasurable time of exploring the capabilities of this otherwise incredible piece of hardware, I have instead been left annoyed and disgruntled.  Thinking I had a defective unit, I brought it to my local Sprint store only to be told that this was a “known issue.” Indeed, the store demo unit had the same problem, as did a few other demo units I found.

However, there is hope, as a new software update that is currently rolling out by HTC may address this problem. So far, the OTA updated has only been rolled out to unbranded handsets in Europe and Asia, but an HTC rep has confirmed to me that the update will be rolling out across the US as soon as the various carriers can push it out. It was also confirmed that it does in fact address the button issue.

This update will be labeled 1.29.xxx.12 (where the xxx is your region code), and it also contains significant camera improvements, as well as various other fixes and enhancements.  I don’t know about you, but I can not get this update soon enough.

[xda-developers]
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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

Avatar of John F

46 thoughts on “HTC One experiences serious issues with capacitive hardware buttons

  • Avatar of Fifth313ment

    Exactly why my next phone will be a Samsung Galaxy S4! HTC will never see my money again. The proximity sensor bug I lived with for half a year was enough for me to leave them in the dust for good. And then being told by Sprint and HTC that it was my screen protector. Then when I explained it worked fine until the update a week ago they laughed at me. No thank you HTC, Samsung wants my money. No offense John but it kinda serves you right for buying another HTC phone. How many more wil you buy before you realize they don’t care about their customers. I love the way the HTC One looks and feels a million times more than the SGS4. I even love the screen better on the One but the HTC name will keep me away for the rest of my life and anyone I can talk to. It’s sad really as I’ve owned just about all of the HTC phones on Sprint (EVO, 3D, LTE). I’m going to stick with Sprint through the LTE update or until they jack the price up.

    5th

    Reply
    • Avatar of Rev3rEND

      I thought Samsung said they stopped posting negative comments on the internet about HTC?

      Sorry, your whole rant was just so fake sounding. “Serves you right, John” I mean, who says that? Show some respect..

      As for the buttons problem… I’ve noticed they are a bit insensitive but I haven’t had the amount of problems it seems some have. Note that Viperboy just released an update to his ROM that says he pushed the sensitivity of the screen up a little, I’m not sure if that relates to the capacitive buttons or not though.

      Reply
      • Avatar of m03sizlak

        Interesting. I had talked to Viperboy and he did mention that his One had the sensitivity problem. I’ll check that out

        Reply
        • Avatar of Rev3rEND

          I asked him, he said it’s for touchscreen only. Oh well, I’m not annoyed by it and I’ve read the update fixes it. So, I’m fine..

          Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont

      FYI: John didn’t write this and he doesn’t have an HTC One.

      If you’d read the whole article you’d realize this. Just saying.

      Reply
      • I was going to say that, but you beat me to it! This is what I get for leaving the comments unattended for a couple hours, I guess… ;-)

        Reply
        • Avatar of Fifth313ment

          Sorry John, I read the whole post and watched the vid but I missed the part at the top. I saw your head and just ASSumed. What is really weird is I remember reading in the first paragraph about “two cents” and writing a comment but I must have skipped over the first sentence,.

          And no offense Rev3rEND but I’ve probably been here a lot longer then you.

          5th

          Reply
          • Honestly, no harm no foul. Just happy that you’ve stuck around so long. :)

    • Avatar of Richard Paguirigan

      Hmmmm. I don’t believe you’ve ever owned an htc device. What’s your agenda? .. Samsung troll perhaps..

      Reply
  • I had this same issue with my HTC Evo, 2x, software updates did not fix and I gave up on the HTC franchise…. I am now using a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and it has been a workhorse! Dropped it I don’t know how many times and it like a BRICK-HOUSE! Yes, I just made and reference to an old school song from the Commodores! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrBx6mAWYPU

    Reply
    • This goes to show you that EVERY smartphone will always have SOMEONE who had issues with it.

      I stopped getting the Samsung model for my work phone with the S2, which was NOT built like a shit-brickhouse and DID in fact crack when it fell on a carpeted floor, continually rebooted, and had issues with the power-button and speakers. After 3 replacements, I gave up on that brand.

      Look, any device — be it a phone, TV, car, house, whatever — when you are making it on an assembly line, there is gonna a batch of them that are lemons. Simple as.

      An anecdote will never dissuade me from choosing HTC over Samsung first. But if **my** HTC continually effs up like **my** Samsung did? Well . . . yeah, then it’s time to play with something else.

      And that’s how ALL Y’ALL should be when buying any electronic device, not just smartphones.

      Reply
  • No capacitive button sensitivity issues for me! Hope everything gets sorted out on all the “problem Ones.” If this update indeed fixes the issue, I’d hate to see people not buying or returning phones that could so easily be fixed.

    Reply
    • Same here, mine has been perfect.

      Reply
    • Avatar of Fifth313ment

      Jen I’m happy yours is working good. With the EVO LTE I had friends who didn’t have the proximity sensor bug and their phones worked fine. But mine drove me nuts. Twice, as HTC updated the phone and the issue appeared, then they issued a fix after 4 months, then they issues another update and it came back, to which they released another update and fixed it. So for half the life of the phone I wanted to throw it out the window most days. Man you don’t realize how important the proximity sensor is till it’s not working.

      5th

      Reply
  • Avatar of spencer311

    Samsung touchwiz blows ass burgers… I’ll stick with HTC through thick and thin before I switch to Samsung.

    Reply
  • This problem is a cake-walk compared to the apocalyptic nightmare of owning a Samsung phone.

    Reply
  • I know I wrote a positive comment on this phone the day after I got it on one of these articles. After having the phone for a few days, I am not impressed at all. Me and my g/f have this issue as well. It was odd.. because I thought it was just me not hitting the buttons right at first. When it got really annoying, I finally asked her if it was doing the same thing and sure enough.. yep. I knew right away it wasn’t just one defective phone. I also noticed a tiny (very small, but I’m picky) light leak on the bottom left corner of my screen. I could live with it I thought, but it bugs the heck out of me sitting in the dark. Also, I wasn’t to happy when I viewed a picture I had taken on the phone on a computer. The pictures are horrible. They are really grainy.. in broad daylight even. That prompted me to compare with my EVO LTE since I still have it.. Major difference. The ONE’s pictures are not clear at all. Why do I want to take a step backwards? I also didn’t think I would miss the SD card.. I do. I am done with this phone. I have already pre-ordered my GS4. This phone is going back before my return policy is up. HTC is going to have some major problems I’m afraid. I have other issues with the phone too, but I wont even waste my time. Time to move on!

    Reply
  • Avatar of mchristian

    Got my HTC One on debut day. I noticed the button issue. Good to know an update is coming, But honestly I am so satisfied with the phone I barely noticed. In fact I was convinced it was me and not the phone. I cant imagine what they will do to a phone to make me want to upgrade from this one. It will have to really be something. Dude, the phone is the remote control for my TV, cable box, and stereo! What else is left to do? Maybe I just have a limited imagination, but Im happy.

    Reply
  • Yeah, I too have had this capacitive button problem on my new HTC since I got it on the 21st of April. I’ve been worried if I should hope this update fixes or if I should take my phone back for a replacement one that may not have this issue.

    It’s a big deal however if the update does not address this, as I have gotten stuck within apps and had to turn the screen off and on several times to get the buttons to function.

    This has been my only problem with the phone, and otherwise I’ve been very impressed and amazed by its abilities. I love the sound and have had no problems with the camera. The screen is beautiful as well. I don’t regret my purchase, just as long as this issue is resolved.

    Reply
    • Avatar of m03sizlak

      I’m in the same boat as you. I have a 14 day return window from the 19th of April. If Sprint hasn’t pushed out the update by then then I’ll have to return it as I can’t live with this problem and there’s no guarantee the update will work.

      Reply
  • Also have these issues. Hopefully it can be fixed south an update. It really makes using the phone a problem at times.

    Reply
  • Maybe the phone doesn’t respond to nasty uncut finger nails cause mine works just fine. Had it since day one and haven’t come across a major problem other than when I send screen shots by text they look like crap.

    Reply
  • Anyone with this problem might want to try the calibration option. I think it’s under the keyboard setting. Have seen some others on some other sites report success with doing that. Other people not so much, but couldn’t hurt to try!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Miguel Diaz

    Well let me tell you guys since the debut of this phone I have had this phone replaced twice. First time I had a dead pixel and the button problem no problem they swapped it out. Next day I realize my camera will not focus on anything further away that two feet. Go back to the store and swap it out again but this time before leaving I checked for any kind of problems and am happyto say eveverything is working flawlessly. In all honesty I still would buy this phone again in a heartbeat, it’s the best phone I have owned since the original evo and plus isn’t that what the 14 day return exchange policy is really for.

    Reply
  • (This is the reply I received from HTC today, Apr 26, after submitting a report a few days ago. I’m not sure where the software update reports are coming from, since HTC doesn’t seem to be aware of them)

    Thanks for contacting HTC Technical Support Center, in regards to the capacitive buttons on your HTC One not responding.

    I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing this situation with your device, I understand how inconveniencing this is for you, and I know this is not allowing you to fully enjoy the phone.

    Michael, at this point this is not a reported issue, therefore there is no software fix to be deployed. The only thing we can suggest is to factory data reset the phone to recover the software to a “like new” state.

    Please keep in mind that a factory reset restores your phone to the original factory settings and will erase all downloaded content, including ringtones, images, programs, and contacts stored in the internal memory. It does not erase data stored on the SIM card, and will only erase data on the memory card if the option is selected. After performing a factory reset, you will need to go through the set up process and sign in to all of your accounts again.

    To complete a factory reset, please do the following:

    1. Slide the Notifications panel open, and then tap Settings.

    2. Tap Backup & reset.

    3. Tap Reset phone.

    4. If you also want to delete media and other data on HTC One, select Erase all data.

    5. Tap OK

    If the performance of your device does not improve after this, you may want to consider checking with your carrier as your contract may allow you to swap or replace the device, or you can contact our RMA center in order to set up a repair for your device.

    We know that you may have questions about this process, once you contact them, they will be able to provide information about policy and procedures for our repair process.

    Please contact them at:

    HTC RMA Center, 1-866-449-8358 (8 AM – 8 PM 7 days per week)

    I like to thank you for your continuous support of our products and services.

    Remember that should you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us through http://www.htc.com/us/support/email-support or call us at +1-866-449-8358 from 8AM to 1AM, 7 days a week.

    Let me know if I have successfully answered your question, please click here to complete this.

    To send a reply to this message, please click here .

    Sincerely,

    Santiago

    HTC

    Want to see what others are saying? Have a question to ask other HTC fans?

    Become a fan of HTC
    Follow us on Twitter
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    Explore our development resources

    Please visit us at if you have any questions or need further assistance.
    CONFIDENTIALITY NOTE : The information in this e-mail is confidential and privileged; it is intended for use solely by the individual or entity named as the recipient hereof. Disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the contents of this e-mail by persons other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited and may violate applicable laws. If you have received this e-mail in error, please delete the original message and notify us by return email or collect call immediately. Thank you. HTC Corporation

    Reply
    • Avatar of m03sizlak

      Here is the response I got:

      Thank you for retrieving the information for me. I did some research and there will be an MR update [Maintenance Release] to fix this issue with the virtual keys. We do not have any information as to the date the update will be released since it will be released via Sprint your network provider, and it is currently being worked on.

      I realize that not having the specific details such as the date is annoying, but we do appreciate your patience. I want to thank you again for sending me that information because that really helps us out a lot. Let me know if you have any other questions I may be able to address with you at this time.

      Let me know if I have successfully answered your question, please click here to complete this.

      To send a reply to this message, please click here.

      Sincerely,

      Casey

      HTC

      Want to see what others are saying? Have a question to ask other HTC fans?

      Become a fan of HTC facebook.com/htc
      Follow us on Twitter twitter.com/htc
      Subscribe to our YouTube Channel youtube.com/htc

      Explore our development resources developer.htc.com

      Please visit us at htc.com if you have any questions or need further assistance.
      CONFIDENTIALITY NOTE : The information in this e-mail is confidential and privileged; it is intended for use solely by the individual or entity named as the recipient hereof. Disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the contents of this e-mail by persons other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited and may violate applicable laws. If you have received this e-mail in error, please delete the original message and notify us by return email or collect call immediately. Thank you. HTC Corporation

      Reply
  • Well, I dont know then. It seems like not everyone at HTC is in agreement or knows what’s going on.

    Reply
  • Avatar of m03sizlak

    I just swapped mine out today at the local Sprint corporate store. As soon as I told the clerk why I wanted to swap she said “that’s a known issue”. She said she’s had about a dozen people complain about it. I swapped it anyway. The new one has the same problem…

    Reply
  • I haven’t had any issues with this, though I think the screen protector may be an issue – the ones Sprint sold me at launch cover only the screen, not the buttons at the bottom.

    Reply
  • Hmm.. I’ve been waiting to order and today when I finally went to newegg.com to order the HTC ONE, the cart updated with a free $20 gift card when purchasing HTC ONE.
    So I’m looking at $10 for this phone with new 2yr agreement.
    $129 to newegg
    -$20 gift card
    -$100 HTC preorder old phone buyback special (goodbye old htc hero)
    -$36 upgrade activation for Credit Union or Corporate accounts.
    Looks like a good deal to me. Still wondering what deals on Galaxy will be though. I like the removable battery, repair-ability, better camera pics. Might bequeath new HTC ONE to the GF if Galaxy s4 deals are good.
    Its kind of hard to find the HTX ONE Glacial Silver on their site, you can’t search for it. Just go to sprint phones and you should find it there somewhere.

    Reply
  • So did anyone try the calibration thing I mentioned last night? No one replied to that or even mentioned it so was just wondering if anyone had any success fixing the problem that way while waiting for a system update.

    Reply
    • Avatar of m03sizlak

      Didn’t work for me.

      Reply
  • I used to have a HTC Legend, after putting up with that phone for 2 years I vowed to never buy HTC again!

    My bro had major issues with his Galaxy S2 and the TouchWiz UI on the S3 is buggy, not to mention the bricking.

    I am now a very happy Nexus 4 owner.

    I try not to be an early adopter and once bitten twice shy.

    I’m a bit surprised HTC dropped the ball on this, they badly need for this to succeed and Android needs someone to prevent Samsung getting too big.

    Reply
  • Complain, complain, next we will have iSheep complaining.

    Reply
  • Galaxy s4 $199 on newegg. $219 on wirefly, $249 at sprint.com (all with new 2 year) .. $100 extra off for new sprint customers.

    Reply
  • Shame, I had issues with the capacitive hardware on one of my Nokia Lumia phones.

    The hardware seems very susceptible to defects.

    Reply
  • Mine is perfect. However, my client’s phone had this issue. I did the calibration, it helped, but when I unlocked and rooted the phone, the problem disappeared completely. It was amazing. Perhaps a full wipe the unlock does fixes the issue.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Steve Gaudreau

    I’m glad I didn’t pull the trigger on the htc one. Not because of problems. Because I actually like my Evo 4G LTE. I’m gonna wait, for the first time, til I’m positive that the Evo line is done. When that happens then I’ll weigh out the competition.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Sunnyside Dude

    I, too, have the same problem from day one. But it is rather intermittent, and in all honesty, minor glitches like this happens a lot to newly released phones. (Remember the iPHone 4 with its dropped calls with the antenna problem? Heck, even Apple couldn’t fix it and instead told people to buy a non-conductive case to protect the phone from your their hand! LOL) As this is a known issue, I think people should give it a chance. I’m sure the problem will be addressed with an update.

    Reply
  • My HTC One works fine. Sad to hear others are having a problem.

    Reply
  • Avatar of giovanni palencia

    I just got the update on sprint today!

    Reply
  • I understand the buttons issue was solved.
    are newly purchased phones coming with this updated built-in or do i need to download it somehow? can anyone point me where from?

    Also – How about the camera issue mentioned in this thread? I’m considering buying HTC one, and am a bit worried with their new camera technology.

    Reply
  • Just bought my new HTC One , less than 2weeks and now am facing a problem that I can’t view my apps neither browser or email..once I open the app it shuts suddenly :( .. I have uninstall all the apps and also I have reset the phone twice but the problem is still not solved !!! I am very disappointed to have such problem and my phone did not even complete a month.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Adam

    I had the same problem with HTC One X. I installed Button Savior app to solve it. The app simply creates a toolbar on the touch screen to do the same tasks of the hardware buttons. It works great, at least until HTC solves the issue.

    Reply

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