How To Hard Reset An iPhone & Why It’s Bad: An Apple Tech Explains!

The hard reset is one of the most widely misunderstood and misused features on an iPhone. As a former Apple employee, I can attest to the fact that what most people believe about a hard reset — that it helps to keep their iPhone running smoothly — just isn’t true. In this article, I’ll explain how to hard reset your iPhone and why you shouldn’t unless it’s necessary.

Update for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: When Apple updated the Home button on the iPhone 7, they had to change the buttons associated with a hard reset because on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the Home button doesn’t work unless the iPhone is turned on. I’ll show you how to do a hard reset on both newer and older iPhone models below.

Why Shouldn’t I Hard Reset My iPhone?

Hard resetting an iPhone is like shutting off a desktop computer by pulling the plug out of the wall. There are instances when it’s necessary to hard reset an iPhone as part of the normal troubleshooting process, and that’s absolutely OK.

Most people I worked with in the Apple Store were using a hard reset as a band-aid for a larger problem. If you find yourself needing to hard reset your iPhone often, it may be evidence of a deeper software issue.

The #1 Hard Reset Mistake Apple Customers Would Make

Time and again, someone would make an appointment at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store where I worked and take hours out of their day to visit us. They’d come into the store, and I’d ask if they had tried a hard reset. “Yes,” they’d say.

About half the time, I’d take their iPhone from them, and begin holding the Home button and power button down together as we continued our conversation. Then they’d look with amazement as their iPhone came back to life in front of their eyes. “What did you do?”

Everybody makes the mistake of not holding down the buttons long enough to really reset their iPhone. As you learn how to hard reset your iPhone in the next steps, keep holding the buttons down for longer than you think!

How Do I Do A Hard Reset On An iPhone 6S, 6, 5S, 5 And Earlier Models?

To hard reset an iPhone 6S, 6, SE, 5S, 5, and earlier models, press and hold down the Home button and the power button together until your iPhone screen turns black and the Apple logo reappears on the screen.

How Do I Do A Hard Reset On An iPhone 7, 7 Plus, And Later Models?

To hard reset an iPhone 7 and later models, press and hold down the power button and the volume down button together until your iPhone screen turns black and the Apple logo reappears on the screen. This may take up to 20 seconds, so don’t give up too early!

Why Is Hard Resetting My iPhone A Bad Idea? The Nitty Gritty.

A lot of little programs called processes run constantly in the background of your iPhone to perform all of the little tasks we don’t usually think about. One processes keeps the time, another processes touch, and another plays the music – there are a lot of processes.iPhone Processes

When you hard reset your iPhone, it cuts power to the logic board for a split second and you interrupt these processes abruptly. This used to cause more problems than it does today. Here’s why:

Apple builds in lots of safeguards to make file corruption almost impossible in the iPhone filesystem. If you want to read the real heady stuff, Adam Leventhal’s blog post about the iPhone’s new APFS filesystem explains how it works.

When you have a choice, however, turn your iPhone off and back on the way Apple wants you to: Press and hold the power button until slide to power off appears on the screen and swipe across the screen with your finger.

Malfunctioning processes can cause issues that cause iPhones to get hot or their batteries to drain quickly. In other words, hard resetting your iPhone can lead to major problems down the line.

Moral Of The Story: Hard Reset Your iPhone Only If You Need To

Now that we’ve discussed the reasons why hard resetting an iPhone isn’t usually a good idea, you’ve learned how to keep your iPhone healthy moving forward and one of the most important tricks in any iPhone technician’s tool belt. Thanks so much for reading. We’d appreciate it if you’d share this article with your friends and please feel free to leave a comment below!


About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.