My iPhone Screen Is Black! Here’s The Real Reason Why.

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Your iPhone is on, but the screen is black. Your iPhone rings, but you can’t answer the call. You’ve tried resetting your iPhone, letting it run out of battery and plugging it back in, and your iPhone screen is still black. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone screen went black and what you can do to fix it.

A black screen is usually caused by a hardware problem with your iPhone, so there usually isn’t a quick fix. That being said, a software crash can cause your iPhone display to freeze and turn black, so let’s try a hard reset to see if that’s what’s going on.

To do a hard reset, press and hold the power button (also known as the Sleep / Wake button) and the Home button (the circular button below the display) together for at least 10 seconds. On the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, you perform a hard reset by pressing and holding the volume down button and the power button at the same time until the you see the Apple logo appear on the screen.

If the Apple logo appears on the screen, there probably isn’t a problem with your iPhone’s hardware — it was a software crash. My article called My iPhone Is Frozen will tell you exactly what to do to fix your iPhone. If the Apple logo doesn’t appear on the screen, keep reading.

Why Is My iPhone Screen Black? Let’s Look Inside.

iPhone Logic Board

iPhone Logic Board

A brief tour of the inside of your iPhone will help you understand why your screen is black. There are two pieces of hardware that we’ll talk about: Your iPhone’s display and the logic board.

The logic board is the brains behind the operation of your iPhone, and every part of your iPhone connects to it. The display shows you the images you see, but the logic board tells it what to display.

Removing iPhone Display

Removing iPhone Display

The entire display of your iPhone is removable, but it’s a lot more complicated than you might think! There are four major components built into your iPhone’s display:

  1. The LCD screen, which displays the images you see on your iPhone.
  2. The digitizer, which is the part of the display that processes touch. It digitizes your finger, which means it turns the touch of your finger into a digital language your iPhone can understand.
  3. The front-facing camera
  4. The home button

Each component of your iPhone’s display has a separate connector that plugs into your iPhone’s logic board. That’s why you might be able to swipe across the screen with your finger, even though the screen is black. The digitizer is working, but the LCD is not.

iPhone Display Data Connector

The black stick is touching the display data connector

In many cases, your iPhone screen is black because the cable that connects the LCD to the logic board has become dislodged. This cable is called the display data connector. When the display data connector becomes dislodged from the logic board, your iPhone can be fixed by plugging it back in.

There are other cases where the fix isn’t so simple, and that’s when the LCD itself is damaged. When that happens, it doesn’t matter if the LCD is connected to the logic board or not – it’s broken and it needs to be replaced.

How Do I Know Whether My Display Is Dislodged Or Broken?

I’m hesitant to write this because it is by no means a hard and fast rule, but I have noticed a pattern in my experience working with iPhones. There are no guarantees, but my rule of thumb is this:

  • If your iPhone display stopped working after you dropped it, your screen is probably black because the LCD cable (display data connector) has become dislodged from the logic board.
  • If your iPhone display stopped working after it got wet, your screen is probably black because the LCD is broken and needs to be replaced.

How To Fix A Black iPhone Screen

The way you choose to proceed may depend on whether your iPhone LCD cable has become dislodged from the logic board or if the LCD is broken. You can use my rule from above to make an educated guess.

If the LCD cable has become dislodged, the Genius Bar at an Apple Store may repair it free of charge, even if your iPhone is out of warranty. That’s because the fix is relatively simple: They’ll open your iPhone and reconnect the digitizer cable to the logic board. If you decide to go this route, make an appointment with the Genius Bar before you arrive – otherwise, you could end up standing around for a while.

If the LCD is broken, that’s another story. It can be very expensive to repair your iPhone display, especially if you go through Apple. If you’re looking for a high-quality, less-expensive alternative, I recommend CellSavers, an in-person repair service that will meet you and fix your iPhone on the spot, or iResq.com, an excellent mail-in repair service.

Repairing Your iPhone Yourself Usually Isn’t A Good Idea

Star-Shaped iPhone Screws

Star-shaped (pentalobe) screws keep your iPhone closed

iPhones aren’t meant to be opened by the user. Just take a look at the two screws next to the charging port of your iPhone – they’re star-shaped! That being said, there are excellent repair guides out there if you’re feeling adventurous. I took the images in this article from a repair guide on iFixit.com called iPhone 6 Front Panel Assembly Replacement. Here’s a brief excerpt of that article that may sound familiar:

“When reassembling your phone, the display data cable may pop off its connector. This can result in white lines or a blank screen when powering your phone back on. If that happens, simply reconnect the cable and power cycle your phone.” Source: iFixit.com

If you believe your iPhone LCD cable (display data cable) has simply become dislodged from the logic board, you’re very tech-savvy, and going to an Apple Store isn’t an option, reconnecting the display data cable to the logic board isn’t that difficult, if you have the right tools. Replacing the display is very complex because of the number of components involved. Let me be clear: I do not recommend you try to fix this problem yourself, because it’s just too easy to break something and “brick” your iPhone.

You Know What You Have To Do

Most readers won’t be able to fix their iPhone screen just by reading this article, because a black iPhone screen usually isn’t caused by a software issue. Everything was working fine until your iPhone screen went black. Now you can’t use your iPhone at all, but you do know what to do next. I’m interested to hear how you fixed your iPhone in the comments section below, and any experience you can offer will undoubtedly help other readers with the same problem.

Thanks for reading and all the best,
David P.
All iPhone images in this article by Walter Galan and licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

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About Author

David Payette

I'm David Payette, the founder of Payette Forward, Inc. I am passionate about helping people to grow personally and professionally using the power of technology. Thank you for visiting payetteforward.com and I look forward to hearing from you!