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Why Is My iPhone Dead and How Can I Fix It - 5 Key Troubleshooting Tips

Ella Garcia Updated on Apr 18, 2023 10:28 AM

My brand new iPhone 6 Plus has died on me and it's not turning on. The battery was fully charged before it died. I've tried everything but nothing seemed to turn it back on: soft reset, hard reset, put it in dfu mode, press and hold Sleep/Wake button and Home button together for 15 seconds as suggested. It's just totally dead. Incredibly disappointed at this.

It looks like you have a dead iPhone and you're having issue with reviving it and switching it on. Whether it's the drained battery, the crashed software, or even the faulty battery and other hardware faults making your device appear dead, we'll be more than happy to help get your device just working again. So, before you call Apple Support or schedule an appointment with your local Genius Bar, check out the tips about why iPhone is dead and then try each one to troubleshoot the problem. This way, you don't have to immediately throw it away.

Tip: Apple offers services for recycling a completely dead iPhone. Go to this page and learn a few steps before returning your device to be recycled.

Why is your iPhone dead, not powering up?

First rule out all possibilities and identify the root cause of dead iPhone. We may not be able to include every potential issue you encountered, but it's the most common ones.

  • Your phone may be in low battery and needs to be charged.
  • It could be iOS software bugs. The screen goes black, and the phone crashes that will not turn back on followed by a restore or update.
  • Hardware problems, like a faulty battery or logic board, might be the culprit leaving the device dead and totally unresponsive.

Charge your device

Before starting a more advanced troubleshooting process to fix a dead iPhone, make sure you've charged the battery: plugged your phone into a power outlet using the included USB cable and USB adapter. If the battery is completely dead with extremely low power, you may need to let it charge for much longer time.

Revive a Dead iPhone

In case the jack, charging cable, power adapter and even iPhone are functionally, the battery symbol will return, and the screen should turn on within minutes. However, if the display is still black or it appears in some sort of dormant stage after charging, your device is not charging or recognizing the charger.

Tried charging but no respond? Take a look at this article for help with the battery issue. If this doesn't turn on the dead iPhone, the battery may need to be repaired. Move to the next step to determine whether you have software-related issues.

Hard Reset your device to turn it off and on

For any problem that seems likely to be software-related, a hard reset is always a good tactic and there's no harm in doing it with all content preserved. Sometimes, your iPhone needs to restart and refresh the memory when it has died or frozen - it had completely black screen and didn't react to anything. The process of executing a hard reset of iPhone depends on which model you own.

If you're using iPhone 6s, 6, SE (1st generation) or other earlier generations of iPhone, the Power button and Home button should do the trick:

  • Press and hold Power button and Home button at the same for about 30 seconds.
  • Release the buttons until the phone starts up again.

For iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus:

  • Press and hold both Volume Down button and Sleep/Wake button.
  • Release them when you see the Apple logo on the screen.

For iPhone 11 or later, XR, XS, X, SE (2nd generation), 8, 8 Plus:

  • Press and release Volume Up button in a quick succession.
  • Press and release Volume Down button in a quick succession.
  • Press and hold Side button until Apple logo appears.

At this point, you can see if a hard reset has resurrected your dead iPhone. If not, you may encounter a more touch software problem that is responsible for a dead iPhone with black and blank screen. Continue to read and remedy the issues.

Apply 3rd-party tool to repair iOS

You may experience this "I restored my new iPhone X from my iTunes backup to get my texts and photos back. Proof... it went dead and won't turn on." Other times, "with the iOS update, your iPhone crashes, and it never comes back. The screen remains black even after many attempts of hard reset it." If the root of the problem is a software crashed, then running an iOS troubleshooter will save the day permanently.

iOS System Recovery comes with a powerful troubleshooter which can do the job nicely. It's capable of fixing any software-related bugs that can have a significant impact on your iOS devices and overall system performance. That way it would be easier for use to determine the underlying causes when iPhone suddenly died and screen went black. Frozen & Dead display, stuck Apple logo, restart loop, not turning on and any other issue can also be repaired in a few steps.

Download Now!

for Windows | for macOS

Try fixing the dead iPhone that is not powering on or frozen with the following steps, no matter what iOS version your device is running on. Eventually your device should install a latest version of iOS with all errors eliminated.

  • Open the software once it's installed, and click "More tool" on the left panel.
  • Choose "iOS System Recovery" tab, and then click Start button.
  • Connect your device to the computer. If it's in abnormal status, click Fix button.
  • Check "Standard Mode" option first to revive dead iPhone without losing data. Press Confirm button to move on.
  • From the provided iOS firmware packages, select the latest version.
  • Click Next button to download the firmware.
  • Once completes, hit Fix button to cure the error.
  • Finally the iPhone just wakes up!

[Also Read: How to Retrieve Text Message on iPhone from iTunes Backup]

Put your device into DFU mode to restore it

If none of the above-mentioned methods dis not fix the iPhone that is dead, you should try a DFU restore. This is the deepest type of restore, and can be your last hope for success to get your phone alive. Before you do it, back up your dead device if possible:

  • Attach iPhone to a computer with latest version of iTunes installed. If you're using a Mac with macOS 10.15 or later, open Finder and connect your device to it.
  • Locate your phone in iTunes or Finder window.
  • Check the option labeled "This Computer", and click Back Up Now button.

Unluckily, if iTunes or Finder can't recognize your phone, you couldn't make a backup of it and you will lose all data after a total factory reset. Here's how to put a dead iPhone to DFU mode to restore it and resolve the software bugs.

On iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, 11, SE (2nd generation) or a new model than that:

  • Connect the device to the computer via USB cable, and open Finder or iTunes.
  • Quickly press and release Volume Up button.
  • Quickly press and release Volume Down button.
  • Press and hold the Side button until the screen goes black.
  • Hold the Side button and Volume Down button for 5 seconds.
  • Release the Side button but keep holding down the Volume Down button until you're prompted that 'iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode...'
  • If your device's display doesn't stay black, repeat the process.
  • Click Restore iPhone to restore the device which is dead and will not turn on.

On iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus:

  • Hook up the phone to the computer, and open iTunes or Finder.
  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and Volume Down button together.
  • After 10 seconds, let go of Sleep/Wake button while holding the Volume Down button until the display becomes black. The device should appear on iTunes or Finder.
  • Click Restore iPhone and follow the instructions get the job done.

On iPhone 6s, 6s Plus or earlier models:

  • Open iTunes or Finder, and connect the device to a computer using a USB cable.
  • Press and hold down both Side button and Home button for 8 seconds.
  • Release the Side button while keeping holding Home button until iTunes says that it has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.
  • Click OK to close the prompt, and hit Restore iPhone to restore the phone.

Service process

If your issue persists—the iPhone is dead, the display is unresponsive and frozen after following all of the steps above, you may have no resolution but to set up an appointment with Genius and take it to Apple Store. If your device is under warranty or if you have Apple Care, Apple will fix the device for free.

Diagnosing a hardware failure can be so frustrating. Most often, the hardware issues could be the culprit, most likely a display error, a battery problem or an issue with logic board. The following links should help you get started with the service process if iPhone appears completely dead:

iPhone Repair and Service - Apple Support


Your dead iPhone wakes up and responds

Well your dead iPhone should turn on and working fine! Here are all our top troubleshooting tips for all iPhone iterations that go dead and are going to be totally unusable.

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