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iPhone is frozen and doesn't respond? Here's what you need to do

face Alex Griffith Updated on Apr 26, 2022 8:32 PM

Apple's iPhone usually offers solid performance with fluid usability. But of course, nothing is perfect. What do you do if your iPhone freezes, or the touch screen is unresponsive while you're trying to open something on the device?

There are several reasons why an iPhone touch screen frozen and a lot is software related. Depending on that, you have different options to fix the issue, and this article covers these fixes. Most of the time, you can take care of an iPhone screen frozen problem by restarting or charging your device, or putting it into recovery mode. If all else fails, you can run a 3rd-party system repair tool to identify and fix the problem, and you can even send it to Apple Store as a last resort.

Symptoms of frozen

  • iPhone gets stuck on black Apple logo on white background
  • iPhone is still on but can't open anything
  • The buttons is not working
  • Frozen & unresponsive screen
  • The app is freezing after iPhone wakes up
  • iPhone won't turn on
  • iPhone stays frozen with red & blue screen
  • iPhone is frozen and won't turn off & reset
  • More...

How to fix iPhone that has a frozen screen or doesn't respond

This guide will cover the possible solutions for fixing frozen iPhone. If you have tried them all and they don't help, you will need to contact local Apple Store for more troubleshooting and support. Also, be sure to check out our in-depth guide: How to get out of headphone mode on iPhone.

Option 1. Restart your iPhone

It's the first step in basic troubleshooting. It won't take you much time and best of all, its free!

Simple restart

The first way in troubleshooting an unresponsive iPhone is simply turn your iPhone off, then back on. It's easy to do, and tends to help resolve a ton of problems or difficulties you may be experiencing. The steps to restart the iPhone may vary depending on your phone model.

See: How to restart your iPhone

If your iPhone that has a frozen screen doesn't work via a simple restart, you can skip to the next step and force restart it instead.

Force restart

If a normal restart can't resolve the problem, then you might consider force-restarting the device. The process won't wipe out the current data on your device. To force-restart an unresponsive iPhone, do the following:

  • iPhone 8, X, XS, 11, or newer: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Side button and the Volume Down button until the Apple logo appears.
  • iPhone 6s, iPhone 6, 5S ,SE or older: Press and hold both the Home and the Top (or Side) buttons until the Apple logo appears.

Force-restarting is also a super fast way to troubleshoot an iPhone if it's black or won't turn on.

Option 2. Charge your frozen iPhone

Wait. Give the device a half hour to charge. Sometimes an iPhone may appear to be unresponsive, but it's only because of complete die of device's battery. If that's the case, just plug your phone into a wall charger and let it charge. You can then try to turn it on with the Power button. If the frozen problem was caused by a dead battery, it should boot up normally.

iPhone still isn't responding, worry not, there are more solutions ahead.

Option 3. Use a dedicated utility to detect and fix the issue

If battery charging can't fix the problem on it's own, your another choice for solving the freezing problem on iPhone is to use a dedicated system repair tool such as iOS System Recovery. It's a little handy desktop program that can detect system errors occurred on your iPhone or iPad automatically and repair them to bring your device back to normal. The whole process is simple and straightforward. In addition, the suite includes file recovery utility to recover data you lost the device.

Download Now!

for Windows | for macOS

Fixing the screen that doesn't respond when you touch it using iOS System Recovery is in 4 easy steps. In the following paragraph we'll show you how to run the program and start fixing the error in no time!

Step 1: Connect the iPhone that's frozen and run the utility

Open up the program, you will see the interface as below which lists four options on the left side.

Plug your iPhone into computer, and then click the More tools option on program's window to go on.

In the new opening window, select iOS System Recovery tab.

how do you reset a frozen iPhone

Step 2: Choose repair type

A new screen opens up, giving you some information about the repair task. Once you finished reading, hit the Start button on the bottom right side.

Next, select what repair mode you want to perform the task.

Using the default "Standard Mode" is an easy and reliable way to go when you run into a trouble with the device. In our testing, we've found that most of common software issues can be solved by this mode; but if you're in a more complex situation, "Advanced Mode" is your choice.

Note, it's safe to try the default standard mode first before you decide to use the "Advanced Mode" which will erase all data files on your iPhone.

Step 3: Download firmware package

At this point, select a appropriate firmware that suitable for your iPhone, and click Next button.

Step 4: Click "Fix" button to resolve a frozen iPhone

When the package finishes downloading, all left to do is simply click the Fix button on the screen, and let the program do the rest things. Be patient.

Once done, your iPhone will boot up automatically. You now will find that the iPhone gets out of frozen situation and comes back to normal.

Video Toturial: What to Do When iPhone Is Frozen

Option 4. Put the iPhone into recovery mode

If your iPhone still doesn't turn on or off, or if it's unresponsive, frozen during start up, there's a high chance that the iOS operating system is failing. It's not the end of the world, and the issue could be repaired by putting the device into recovery mode manually.

Here's how to do.

1. Launch iTunes or Finder. Make sure that you are running its latest version.

2. Connect your iPhone to the computer.

3. Put the device into recovery mode. The steps will vary a tiny bit from model to model.

  • If you have iPhone 8, X, 11 or newer: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery mode screen.
  • If you have iPhone 7: Press and hold the Side and Volume Down buttons simultaneously. Keep holding both buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.
  • If you have iPhone 6s, 6 or older: Press and hold both the Home and the Top (or Side) buttons simultaneously. Keep holding both buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.

4. When you get the option to restore or update the device, choose Update. iTunes will try to reinstall iOS without erasing your data.

How to fix a frozen iPhone in recovery mode

Option 5. Fix frozen app

A little bit less common is when an app freezes on iPhone screen. Luckily it's really easy to fix this kind of error. Follow these steps to force an app that won't respond to close on iPhone.

  • On an iPhone X or later, swipe up from the bottom of the Home screen and pause slightly in the middle of the screen. On an iPhone 8 or earlier, double-click the Home button to show an overview of your currently running apps.
  • Swipe right or left to find the app that you want to close.  
  • Swipe up on the preview of the app to close the app from the list. 

Alternatively, you can reinstall the frozen app by going to General > iPhone Storage > Select the affected app > Offload. Wait a moment for the app to offload, then tap Reinstall App.

Option 6. Contact Apple Store for support

If you've reached this far and still don't get your frozen iPhone fixed, the hardware is probably to blame. You can bring the damaged device to a local Apple Store or an Apple authorized service center. If it's just a broken of touch screen and your phone is still within warranty period and you have AppleCare+ coverage, the cost for a screen replacement will be only $29. If you have any other damage to your iPhone, you'll pay additional costs.

I hope this article has helped you if your iPhone buttons aren't responding or the touch screen is not working.

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