The Reason Normal Gloves Don’t Work On Your Smartphone


Most of us have been there. It’s miserably cold outside and you need your phone or other touchscreen device, and you know how frustrating it is to remove your gloves to use your phone.

This is mere inconvenience in a city like San Francisco, where we need only wear gloves with fashion. But it’s brutal if you’re living in Buffalo, NY, this past week.

So why doesn’t your smartphone respond when you’re wearing gloves?

What’s happening at the physical level, is this. There are two main kinds of touchscreen technologies: capacitive and resistive. Resistive, the earlier of the two technologies, relies on the force of pushing down on the touchscreen of your device. Whereas a capacitive device screen requires actual touch.

Every touchscreen phone manufactured in the last few years uses the capacitive touchscreen. They are able to register movements by picking up on fluctuations on the screen’s electrical field.

When you apply pressure to the screen, it will only recognize the action if it has an electrical current. The naked hand delivers these electrical impulses directly to touchscreens. However, most fabrics don’t allow this current to pass through.


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