How to fix a frozen or unresponsive iPhone

Charging iphone close up
To fix a frozen iPhone screen, sometimes all you need to do is allow it to charge for at least an hour. MosayMay/Shutterstock
  • If your iPhone screen is frozen or unresponsive, there are a few things you can try when troubleshooting the problem.
  • First, try a force-restart. If that doesn’t work, you can update or reinstall the operating system.
  • If you’re still having problems, you can always contact Apple support.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Dealing with an iPhone that has a black or frozen screen? There are a few steps you can take to fix it without losing all your data.

If it’s gotten to a point where you can’t turn your iPhone on or off, your first option is a force-restart. In most scenarios, this method should get you unstuck.

Of course, it’s possible there’s a more serious problem. If the troubleshooting steps below don’t work, you can always contact Apple support.

Force-restart your iPhone

Restart iphone
Hold the correct keys for your particular iPhone model to force it to restart. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Forcing your iPhone to restart will not erase any apps or data, so it’s a safe first resort. The steps to force-restart depends on your iPhone model.

For iPhone 12, iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone SE (2nd generation)

Press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button, and then press and hold the side button until the screen turns back on. Release the side button when the Apple logo appears.

For iPhone 7

Press and hold the volume down button and Sleep/Wake button at the same time. Release the buttons when the Apple logo appears.

For iPhone 6s and iPhone SE (1st generation)

Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and Home button at the same time. Release the buttons when the Apple logo appears.

If, after a force-restart, your iPhone won’t turn on or start up, move on to the next method.

Charge your iPhone

It’s possible that charging your phone for a short time can revive it. For the best results, plug your phone directly into a power adapter – avoid charging it wirelessly or plug it into a computer’s USB port. Let it charge for at least one hour and then try to use it again.

If your iPhone still isn’t working, or it gets stuck during start up, your next option is to update or reinstall iOS.

Reinstall iOS

As a last resort before contacting Apple Support, you can try updating or restoring iOS. This is a good option if your iPhone successfully restarts but can’t get past the Apple logo. Here’s how to do it.

1. Connect your iPhone to a computer and start iTunes.

2. Put your iPhone in recovery mode following these steps:

  • iPhone 8 or later: Press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button. Hold the side button until you see the recovery mode screen, which has a lightning connector and iTunes logo.
  • iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the volume down button and Sleep/Wake button at the same time. Hold the volume down button until you see the recovery mode screen.
  • iPhone 6s or earlier: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and Home button at the same time. Hold the Home button until you see the recovery mode screen.

3. When you see the option to restore or update your iPhone on your computer, click Update. iTunes will update the phone without deleting your apps and data. Do not choose Restore, which will erase all of your data.

4. If the Update doesn’t work, your final option is to choose Restore. This option will restore your iPhone to its factory settings.

Frozen 4
iTunes can try to fix your iPhone by updating the operating system. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Contact Apple support

If you still have had no luck reviving your frozen iPhone, you should contact Apple support.

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