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Force restart your iPhone: How to fix a frozen or unresponsive iPhone

If you're experiencing issues with your iPhone screen frozen or not responding, try to reboot or force restart the device, or update iOS if it's still stuck when turning back on.

Ella Garcia Updated on Jan 14, 2023 6:06 PM
  • A Standard Reboot of turning off the device and then back on will fix when the iPhone is frozen and unresponsive.
  • If the restart doesn't work, you need to perform a Force Restart. Pressing the volume up button, volume down button and side button in correct order will let iPhone restart itself.
  • If the force restart fails and your iPhone is still not working and stuck when it's turning on again, try to connect it to computer, enter recovery mode and update iOS.
  • You can also use iOS System Recovery tool to download the software for iPhone. It will track the source of the issue and fix it to get the phone to turn on again.

To fix iPhone screen that's frozen and unresponsive, you could charge your phone, free up storage space, or delete certain apps that cause the glitch.

So you've got a dreaded frozen iPhone and looking to get it quickly resolved? Keep reading to learn why it froze and 4 proven solutions for restarting an iPhone.

When the screen freezes and doesn't respond, you can't get your iPhone to do anything. It gives no reaction whenever you tap on it, or even you shut the phone off normally. Some users have reported that the unresponsiveness could happen within any app and on any iPhone model:

  • iPhone SE (1st, 2nd, 3rd gen), iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, as well as the newer ones.

The effective method - but not 100% guaranteed to work, for restoring responsiveness and fixing a frozen iPhone to force the device to restart. It's also a good practice to master other ways to solve the problem if hard reset won't help.

Part 1: Force restart iPhone when the screen froze

Most minor iOS bugs are easily solved by restarting your iPhone. In cases with a frozen screen, a force restart or hard reset would be the only way to reboot the device.

A conventional restart will turn off all the applications and the operating system respectively, while the force restarting is at the hardware level to cut the power and turn the device back on again. Both two types of rebooting will not delete your data and damage your iPhone.

The buttons you use to force the restart of an iPhone depends on your phone model.

Force restart iPhone 13, iPhone 12, iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone SE (2nd & 3rd gen)

You'll need to use volume up button, volume down button and the side button to carry out a force restart.

1. Press the volume up button once.

2. Press the volume down button once.

3. Press and keep holding the Side button down until the Apple logo appears on your screen. Then release the button and your iPhone will reboot.

If the screen doesn't turn on, move on to the rest of the solutions.

Force restart iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Identify the volume down on the left side of the device and the Sleep/Wake button on the right side. Press and hold down both buttons at the same time.

When the Apple logo appears on device screen, you can release the buttons and your iPhone will turn on itself and it's no longer frozen.

Force Restart Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone SE (1st generation)

1. Press and hold both the Home button and Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears on the screen. Let the iPhone reboots and you could get back to use it.

2. If the screen is still stuck when turning on, try updating iOS, plugging it into power or contacting Apple Support.

Part 2: iPhone is still stuck or not responding even after forcing iPhone to restart

If force restart doesn't turn back on your frozen iPhone, try reinstalling iOS before the disruptive factory reset.

Option 1: Force restart iPhone and update iOS by connecting to iTunes or Finder

Chances are your iPhone might successfully restarts but gets stuck during startup, or the phone won't get past the Apple logo or a red or blue screen. In this situation, use iTunes or Finder to update your iPhone via recovery mode and restart it back to normal.

The process is not optimized and your device will automatically exit recovery mode after 15 minutes. So keep an eye out for the screen.

Step 1: Connect iPhone to your computer

  • If you are using a PC, make sure the latest version of iTunes has been installed. Open it.
  • If you have an older Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, open iTunes.
  • If you are connecting to a Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15, macOS Big Sur 10.16, or macOS Monterey 11 or higher, open the Finder.

Step 2: Locate your device in iTunes or Finder

  • In iTunes window, you'll see a tiny device icon under the menu bar at the top left corner. click on it.
  • If you're using Finder, any connected devices will be displayed in the left sidebar. Select your iPhone to proceed to next step.

Step 3: Place iPhone into recovery mode

Repeat the instructions on force restarting your iPhone as outlined in Part 1. Instead of seeing an Apple logo on the screen, you will see a charging cable pointing to a laptop. This indicates your iPhone is in recovery mode.

Step 4: Update your iPhone when prompted

Back to your PC or Mac machine. You will see a message stating 'There is a problem with the iPhone that requires it to be updated or restored.' Select Update from the options.

Your computer will download the iOS software to update your iPhone. Once it's completed, the device will boot up on it own.

If, unfortunately, your iPhone could not be updated due to iTunes errors, you will likely need to repeat from Step 2 to Step 4. Do this multiple times until the software is completely downloaded, don't worry, all your data and settings are intact.

For some reason you may encounter the frozen screen again, continue to read the next solution.

Option 2: Re-download iOS by using 3rd-party iPhone repair tool

It's possible that the faulty firmware is causing the iPhone to freeze and preventing it from turning on. In that case, you may be able to get around the unresponsiveness with an operating system repairing tool like iOS System Recovery, which could determine whether your problems are restricted to the firmware.

It's designed to fix over 130 common iOS and iPadOS bugs and hiccups that cause the phone and tablet to not work as it should, including the black or frozen screen problem. It features with the smart techniques to update the iPhone to latest version of iOS and boots its performance. Luckily, many iPhone users have reported success in resolving the frozen screen and restart iPhone by the update.

Now run a thorough system scan to look for problems and download the firmware to remove any software-related threats.

Download Now!

for Windows | for macOS

1. Download the program for Windows or MacOS. Click the link associated with your operating system to download the executable file and follow the installation steps.

2. When you launch the program, select 'More tools' from the left-hand side at the bottom, then choose 'iOS System Recovery' tab.

4. The following window reveals all of the issues that the tool can handle, without data loss. You'll notice "Screen can't turn on", "Stuck on frozen screen" and many more listing in the Screen issue sections. Click Start button when you are ready to proceed.

5. Select a repair mode for troubleshooting your iPhone. Usually 'Standard Mode' is effective. Do not select 'Advanced Mode' unless you have no option left but to complete a factory reset and lose all data and settings. Click Confirm button.

6. Now multiple of firmware packages and detailed information that is matching for your iPhone are displaying on the screen. Check the most recent version and click Download next to the firmware of your choice.

7. The firmware will download. When it completes, click the Fix button. This process usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. Once done, close the software and your iPhone starts up again and restores to full use.

Option 3: Charge iPhone

Smartphone that is not getting enough power to reboot would be also the culprit of an iPhone being frozen suddenly, or getting stuck. Simply plug your phone into a power adapter and charge it for at least one hour, before checking to see if the unresponsive iPhone screen issue is resolved.

Solved! iPhone frozen screen fixed

Your iPhone has now been recovered its responsiveness and you are no longer battling with a frozen screen. You can make calls, open applications, and use your phone without issue.

If the problem persists after you perform a force restart and a reinstallation of iOS update, there's one last option available. You could factory reset your device, but hopefully, your device was regularly backed up because the reset will remove all settings and data from the device. Thank goodness for iCloud!

You may also reach out to Apple Support if you are encountering further issues and cannot find a resolution. Apple Support technicians are specially trained to provide customer support and assistance in an attempt to help resolve your device's problems and return all functionality once your iPhone screen is restarted.

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