Your iPhone is frozen and you don’t know what to do. You press the Home button, the Power button, and swipe with your finger, but nothing happens. This article isn’t just about how to unfreeze your iPhone once: It’s about how to determine what caused your iPhone to freeze in the first place and how to prevent your iPhone from becoming frozen again in the future.
As An Apple Tech, I Can Say With Assurance That Every Other Article I’ve Seen Is Wrong.
Other articles I’ve seen, including Apple’s own support article, explain a single fix for a single reason that iPhones freeze, but there are many things that can cause a frozen iPhone. Other articles don’t talk about how to fix the problem, and this is a problem that doesn’t go away by itself.
Why Is My iPhone Frozen?
Your iPhone is frozen because of a software or a hardware problem, but the most of the time, a serious software problem is what causes iPhones to freeze. However, if your iPhone is still ringing but the screen is black, you’ll find the solution in my article called My iPhone Screen Is Black! If it’s frozen, read on.
1. Unfreeze Your iPhone
Usually, you can unfreeze an iPhone by doing a hard reset, and this is as far as other articles usually go. A hard reset is a band-aid, not a solution. When an iPhone freezes because of a deeper issue like a hardware problem, a hard reset might not work at all. That being said, if we’re going to fix your frozen iPhone, a hard reset is the first thing we’ll do.
How To Do A Hard Reset On Your iPhone
Hold the Home Button (the circular button below the display) and the Sleep / Wake Button (the power button) together for at least 10 seconds. If you have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, you’ll need to hard reset your iPhone by pressing and holding the power button and volume down button together. You can let go of both buttons after the Apple logo appears on the screen.
If you have an iPhone 8 or newer, you’ll hard reset it by pressing and releasing the volume up button, then pressing and releasing the volume down button, then pressing and holding the side button until the screen goes black and the Apple logo appears.
You should be able to use your iPhone after it turns on, but I highly recommend you continue reading to figure out why your iPhone froze in the first place, so it doesn’t happen again. If a hard reset doesn’t work, or if your iPhone immediately freezes after it reboots, skip to step 4.
iPhones don’t usually go from perfect working order to completely frozen. If your iPhone has been slow, getting hot, or its battery has been dying very fast, my other articles can help you resolve those issues, which may in turn fix this one.
2. Back Up Your iPhone
If your iPhone rebooted in the last step, I highly recommend you take this opportunity to back up your iPhone. When an iPhone freezes, it’s not just a speed bump — it’s a major software or hardware problem. It’s always a good idea to have a backup, especially if you’re not sure whether your iPhone will freeze again in an hour or a day.
Back Up Your iPhone To iCloud
Before you begin, make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi. Then, open Settings and tap on your name at the top of the screen. Tap iCloud -> iCloud Backup and make sure the switch is on. Finally, tap Back Up Now.
For more information, check out our article that explains how to fix iCloud backup so you never run out of iCloud storage space again.
Back Up Your iPhone To iTunes
If you have a PC or a Mac running macOS 10.14 or older, you’ll back up your iPhone using iTunes. Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac using a Lightning cable. Open iTunes and click on the iPhone icon near the upper left-hand corner of the application.
Click the circle next to This Computer and check off the box next to Encrypt Local Backup. Finally, click Back Up Now.
Back Up Your iPhone To Finder
When Apple released macOS 10.15, iTunes was replaced by Music, while iPhone syncing and management was moved to Finder. If you have a Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15, you’ll back up your iPhone using Finder.
Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a Lightning cable. Open Finder and click on your iPhone under Locations. Click the circle next to Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac, and check off the box next to Encrypt Local Backup — you may be prompted to enter your Mac password. Finally, click Back Up Now.
3. Try To Determine Which App Caused The Problem
Something has to go wrong with an app or service for your iPhone to freeze. A service is a program that runs in the background of your iPhone to keep things running smoothly. For example, CoreTime is the service that keeps track of the date and time on your iPhone. Here are some questions to help you troubleshoot:
- Were you using an app when your iPhone froze?
- Does your iPhone freeze every time you use that app?
- Did you recently install a new app?
- Did you change a setting on your iPhone?
The solution is obvious if your iPhone began to freeze after you downloaded a new app from the App Store: Delete that app. But before you do, check the App Store to see if an update is available. It’s possible the app isn’t working because it’s out of date.
Open the App Store app and tap on the Account icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Scroll down to find a list of your apps with available updates.
Tap Update next to any apps you want to update. You can also update all of your apps at once by tapping Update All at the top of the list.
Delete The Malfunctioning App
Find the app you want to delete and press and hold on its icon. Tap Remove App when the menu appears on the screen. Then, tap Remove -> Delete App. Finally, tap Delete to confirm your decision and uninstall the app from our iPhone.
What if your iPhone freezes whenever you open the Mail app, Safari, or another built-in app that you can’t delete?
If that’s the case, go to Settings -> That App and see if you can find any problems with the way it’s set up. For example, if Mail is causing your iPhone to freeze, make sure your usernames and passwords are entered correctly for your Mail accounts. If Safari is freezing, go to Settings -> Safari and choose Clear All History and Website Data. Solving this problem usually requires some detective work.
Check Diagnostics & Usage
A lot of the time, it’s not so obvious why your iPhone is freezing. Go to Settings -> Privacy -> Analytics -> Analytics Data and you’ll see a list of apps and services, some of which you’ll recognize, some of which you won’t.
Just because something is listed here doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem with that app or service. However, if you see something listed over and over again, and especially if you see any apps listed next to LatestCrash, there may be a problem with that app or service that’s causing your iPhone to freeze.
Reset All Settings
Reset All Settings can help if you’re still not sure which app is causing your iPhone to freeze. Reset All Settings resets your iPhone settings to their factory defaults, but it doesn’t delete any data.
You’ll have to reenter your Wi-Fi password and configure the Settings app again, but Reset All Settings can fix a frozen iPhone, and it’s a lot less work than erasing and restoring your iPhone from a backup. To reset your iPhone to factory default settings, go to Settings -> General -> Transfer Or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset All Settings.
4. Stronger Measures: Fix The Frozen iPhone Problem For Good
If a hard reset didn’t work, or if you’ve tried all the software fixes I describe above and your iPhone is still frozen, we need to hit the frozen iPhone problem with The Big Hammer, and that means we need to DFU restore your iPhone.
Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. If iTunes doesn’t recognize your iPhone, try doing a hard reset while your iPhone is connected to your computer. This option is a last resort, because restoring your iPhone does delete all your data from your iPhone. If you have a backup on iCloud or iTunes, you should be able to restore your data after your iPhone reboots. If you don’t, there may be nothing you can do at this point to save your data.
5. Fix The Hardware Problem
If your iPhone doesn’t show up in iTunes or the restore process continually fails, a hardware problem may be causing your iPhone to freeze. Even a small amount of liquid can wreak havoc with your iPhone’s battery, processor, and other internal components. The iPhone doesn’t necessarily turn off if that happens: Sometimes, everything just stops.
Apple’s repair services are high-quality, but they can be expensive. If you’d like to go through Apple, call ahead and make an appointment with the Genius Bar, or visit Apple’s support webpage to start a mail-in repair.
We’ve fixed the reason why your iPhone is frozen and you’ve know what to do if your iPhone ever freezes again. Hopefully, you’ve discovered which app or service was causing the problem and you’re confident it’s fixed for good. I’m interested to hear what specifically caused your iPhone to freeze and how you fixed your iPhone in the comments section below. Your experience will help others fix their iPhones too.
I inadvertently turned the vertical brightness slider all the way down on iPhone 7 and the screen went all dark. A hard restart brings the Apple logo but the screen is too dark to find slider button (or anything else)
Try working through the steps we recommend in our article about what to do when your iPhone screen is too dark.
David, I have the same problem as Magr. The recommendations in the recommended article (presumably “My iPhone Screen is too Dark”) all require the screen be bright enough to access software settings. In my case, the screen is literally black, so there is no way to change settings. What I’ve tried: a hard reset using the instructions you’ve provided and when the phone first displays the initial lock screen it is slightly visible for 2-3 seconds then immediately fades to black again. After another hard reset I quickly swiped up and entered my passcode and got logged on before it… Read more »
A couple of months ago I linked my health app to my health provider and from then on everytime I tried to enter my daily weight it would hang up and eventually the app would close. I would have to cycle the power to get the health app to open again. I searched online and tried all the hints for a resident app hanging up but nothing worked. I finally gave up on the health app. Everything else worked fine. Today I was trying to delete old apps I no longer use and they would not delete. I found your… Read more »
Thank you so much.
My iPhone sometimes freezes. A black screen appeared and the Home button bars are still there, but the one I touch doesn’t work. I have to lock and unlock the phone to recover control.
Thank you so much! I’ve never had this happen before. I was trying to look at the satellite on the weather.com app and after that, my screen was frozen on their main screen. Nothing I did would turn it off or change anything on the screen. I tried my usual, hit the volume up and power button at the same time (Iphone 10) and nothing. I was starting to panic then thought to google the problem. When I got to the stage of checking apps for updates, I did need a Hulu update, but I notice the weather.com app had… Read more »
This is great information, but if my phone screen is frozen from an app the you can’t do much to connect to icloud or itunes. Icloud sends a verification code, which I can’t see because my screen is frozen from an app on a game; itunes wants you to “trust” the computer and again I can’t see the notifications because my screen is frozen! I can hear the notifications come in and see my screen light up each time, but I can’t click on anything or actually see the screen. When I attempt all of the hold down button tricks… Read more »
That sounds really annoying! We recommend taking your iPhone into an Apple Store for help. Make sure you bring your computer with you, and make an appointment at the Genius Bar before you go in! Best of luck!
HI! My iPhone 11 turned black when someone tried to call me using WhatsApp call yesterday afternoon and also when I called them back. Then, I noticed that my software was not updated to the latest version, hence I already updated it last night. And it already okay when I used the WhatsApp call today. However, when I hear a Telegram voice note from my university’s supervisor, suddenly my screen turned black again :(((( HELP ME!!! I bought this phone 3 weeks ago from Apple Website and never drop it before :((( And also, I can’t delete both apps because… Read more »
HI! My iPhone 11 has turn black when someone tried to call me using WhatsApp call yesterday afternoon and also when I called them back. Then, I noticed that my software was not updated to the latest version, hence I already updated it last night. And it already okay when I used the WhatsApp call today. However, when I used Telegram voice note sent by my supervisor, suddenly my screen turned black again :(((( Help me! I bought this phone 3 weeks ago from Apple Website and never drop it before :((( And also, I can’t delete both apps because… Read more »
Hi Akira, this definitely sounds like a software problem. We recommend making an appointment at your local Genius Bar and have your iPhone diagnosed by an Apple Tech. Make sure you save an iCloud backup before you go in, and they should be able to fix it on the spot.
my iphone11 pro swiches from a black screen to the apple logo i tried the reset can someone help me out
It sounds like something might be shorting out with your iPhone’s hardware. I’d recommend consulting Apple’s support team to get a free diagnosis from a technician. You can get in touch with Apple Support at https://support.apple.com/ or you can visit your local Apple Store if you have one nearby.
If you opt to head to the Apple Store, I’d recommend making an appointment with the Genius Bar in advance, otherwise you might need to wait a long time to be seen.
i can’t open my iphone Se, its been two days, and I don’t know what to do, i did press all the bottoms but it’s not working.
My Iphone was dipped in water and some of it dried.When I turned it on it was working fine.Suddenly I saw green lights and did a reset.This brought me back to my phone being black.Please respond soon. Specs:Iphone X 64GB
Try to do a hard reset first. If that doesn’t help solve the problem, you’ll want to back up your iPhone and then consider doing a DFU restore to eliminate any software problems that might be causing your ioPhone X to not be working right. If the DFU restore doesn’t help, then you’ll need to consider upgrading your iPhone or getting it replaced. I hope this helps! ?
Hi, I’d really appreciate help fixing my iPhone 8 from freezing. I wouldn’t call it freezing, I would call it turning black. (I read the article regarding that and it referred me to this article for software problems. It’s gone black twice on me when I used the brighten/dimmer “button” that is on the menu that scrolls up from the bottom of the screen. The same menu that has the flashlight button on it and the airplane mode button on it. I’m sorry, I don’t know what you call that menu. Anyway, the screen (before I left the desktop/home page… Read more »
My phone is frozen and when I try to power down it automatically goes to the 5 second countdown for SOS it won’t power off.
How can i do a reaet if my home button isnt working the apple logo is comeing on but then going black its driving me insane
How do you do the DFU restore when the phone can’t turn on?
hi need to know my iphone 7 plus got issue blank screen, but i already do hard reset DFU , then after i’ll do , there was got error (4013,4014,9) may you tell me why always error after i do all step .
I’ve tried to do a hard reset but it still won’t turn on, but my actual phone is working but I can’t see it
My phone just went black
My iPhone is on a black screen. I’ve tried charging and it will not charge. The charger will charge another iPhone so I know the cable and outlet are not the issue. I’ve tried hard resetting but nothing works. Any suggestions?
My IPhone5 SE screen is black, it vibrates, but still black. it turned on for a half a minute(long enough where I could put in my password) but then it went black again!
This sounds like a hardware issue like something might be wrong with the battery or the screen. You can try looking at this article, but I think you’ll need to get your phone repaired or replaced.
My iphone 7 whenever a call comes it turns balck but its working but it stays on black until i reset it happened many times what should i do ? Please help
I have an iPhone 6s and it’s been acting weird for a few weeks now. When I’m in the middle of doing something, it freezes and sometimes it’ll tap on things I never touched. Then it’ll unfreeze and freeze again. I’ve done multiple hard resets and it doesn’t seem to work. I’ve tried fixing my storage too, but no luck. Please help!!
My iPhone 7 screen is gone black i have done hard reset several times Apple logo comes up then goes away screen stays black something happened when it was updating the software pls help
Sounds like your iPhone is frozen because of a deeper software issue. Try putting it in DFU mode and restoring. The latest version of iOS will automatically be installed when you DFU restore your iPhone.
Hey Amit, usually it’s a software problem. Have you tried a DFU restore?
My daughter has an I phone 6s and all of the sudden she can use it and press things for a few seconds but then it would stop working. she tried turning it off back on, reboot, and reset all her setting and nothing is woking
My iPhone 5 fell and now it’s frozen. On the screen where you’d where you’d normally put in your password, to the bottom are a series of boxes that look like unopened apps. I can’t swipe left, right nor put in password.
Now im trying to restore it by dfu mode even the screen is black..its restoring but screen is black..pls help me thanks
Hi my iphone 5s always gets black screen after i charged,i tried to hard reset but cant see the red off button but difinitely it turned off and wont open again,sometimes it opens ut when it gets black again it takes days ,i recently change battery coz the technician said so but still it gets black again and again,hope you can help me.thank u
My iPhone 6 always freezes whenever I’m in a call. This method does work, however it can be a pain if you’re hard reseting it all the time. This method does work very well. I would really reccommend this if you’re having similar issues.
I did the hard reset. It is still frozen after the Apple logo appears.
i can only see a small display strip on the phone screen the rest is blank or black
My iphone 8 email is frozen. Done everything I noon in settings to do but its still not working
Thank you, very helpful, fixed my problem
Tried the reset, got the logo but went to black screen, tried again and now nothing happens. Any ideas?
thank you so much i have an iphone 6 and it worked
While the soft reset fixes the problem at hand, does this mean I should bite the bullet and get a new phone. For how long and how many times can I continue to soft reset? Will the phone eventually “die”?
Youtube on my 5s but i go on it at like 6- 8 AM and nothing happens it like 8 in PM and it was 9 PM and it froze .-.