Phone frozen? How to Reset an Unresponsive iPhone | WhistleOut

Phone frozen? How to Reset an Unresponsive iPhone | WhistleOut
In this Guide
  1. Check Your Applications
  2. Resetting an iPhone 8 Through 13
  3. Resetting an iPhone 7 or Older
  4. Last Resort: Factory Reset Your iPhone
  5. Preventing Your iPhone from Freezing
  6. Upgrading Your iPhone
  7. Frozen iPhone: FAQs

Being without your phone can be stressful, but fixing an unresponsive iPhone is usually a pretty simple task. A quick restart will typically be enough to get your frozen iPhone back up and running regardless of whether it’s an old iPhone 6 or a brand new iPhone 13.

Other solutions may include closing your applications, doing a soft reset, or—if all else fails—a full factory reset. Let’s go through all of your options to reset your unresponsive iPhone.

Phone got wet? Don’t reset!

If your phone fell into water or otherwise got wet, pause! Turning on a wet phone of any kind can be detrimental to its health. Head over to our guide on how to handle a wet phone for help.

Check Your Applications

Sometimes, it isn’t the entire iPhone that needs a reset. It could just be a single application that’s causing grief. When this is the case, it’s a super easy fix. If you’re using an iPhone with Face ID (e.g., the iPhone X through iPhone 13), you can swipe up from the bottom of your display to open the multitasking screen. From here, just swipe up on the app that is misbehaving to close it out.

You can accomplish the same thing on your iPhone with a physical Home button (like the 2nd generation iPhone SE or the iPhone 8) by double-clicking the Home button and swiping up to close out the applications.

Resetting an iPhone 8 Through iPhone 13

The method for resetting the latest iPhone models is very similar thanks to their comparable designs. In fact, the method is the same for every model released from the iPhone 8 up to the iPhone 13, including:

Restarting your iPhone

The first option to reset a frozen iPhone is to do a simple restart. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the volume up button and side button until your phone screen reads “slide to power off.”
  2. Drag the slider all the way to the right to power off the phone.
  3. Wait about 30 seconds.
  4. Hold the side button until the Apple logo appears in the center of the screen.

Soft resetting your phone

If you’re still seeing issues, or you can’t reach this screen, you may need to now try a soft reset. You can reset your iOS device even if your screen is unresponsive. Once the reset is complete, you’ll need to enter your passcode even if your phone features Face ID or Touch ID.

For the above iPhones, and any iPad without a Home button, you can perform a soft reset by:

  1. Pressing and quickly releasing the volume up button and then the volume down button.
  2. Pressing and holding the side button until the Apple logo appears in the center of a black screen.
  3. Entering your passcode and you’ll be able to use your iPhone.

Resetting an iPhone 7 or Older

If you have an iPhone 7 model or older, a soft reset is a quick fix to get you back on track. The process will differ slightly for these older models.

For an iPhone 7:

  1. Press and hold the volume down button and side buttons.
  2. Release the buttons when the Apple logo appears on screen.
  3. Type in your passcode to access your iPhone.

For an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE (1st Generation):

  1. Press and hold the side button (or top button for the iPhone SE) and the Home button.
  2. Release the buttons when the Apple logo appears on screen.
  3. Type in your passcode when prompted to start using your iPhone again.

After the soft reset is complete you’ll need to enter your passcode before Touch ID will allow you access to your iPhone.

Our phones are our lifelines, now more than ever

With so many of us continuing to work from home, our phones, computers, and more have become increasingly important. This makes a frozen or unresponsive iPhone an even bigger nightmare. Whether you're using personal devices or work electronics that came with factory settings, it's quite possible that you'll be handling sensitive information. You can read through our guide on working from home securely for more information on how to protect your devices and data.

Last Resort: Factory Reset Your iPhone

If none of these methods have solved the issue you are experiencing, you can try a couple more options.

First, try plugging your phone into a power source for about 20 minutes. Sometimes a phone may indicate that it has more battery life than it actually does, so giving it some time to charge up could fix the issue.

Your next options include connecting the phone to a laptop and using the “Restore” feature through an iTunes backup or putting the phone into recovery mode. Recovery mode can be a useful strategy if your iPhone has been disabled. Be cautious about using these options as they will factory reset your device.

A factory reset, which can also be executed via Settings, will delete your settings and files that are not backed up to your iCloud and will have your Apple ID signed out of entirely. This will make the phone’s software look and act as if it were brand new. If you’re able to backup files before you try a factory reset, you should.

To put any phone from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 13 into recovery mode:

  1. Turn off the iPhone and leave it for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Plug the phone into the computer.
  3. Press and hold the volume down and side button while opening iTunes.
  4. Continue to hold the buttons until the Apple logo is displayed on the phone’s screen.

iTunes will then prompt you to enable recovery mode.

If you have an iPhone 6 or earlier:

  1. Turn off the iPhone and leave it for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Plug the phone into the computer while holding down the Home button.
  3. When “Connect to iTunes” displays on the screen, release the Home button.
  4. Use iTunes to enable a factory reset.

Resetting your phone to factory default settings isn’t only a tool when your phone is frozen—it’s also how you wipe your iPhone to sell it.

If none of this has fixed your current issue, contact Apple Support. They may be able to help you get past the errors and issues you’re having.

Preventing Your iPhone from Freezing

While issues like this are not entirely preventable, there are steps that you can take to minimize your risk of having your iPhone freeze.

Keeping your iPhone in a protective case can help limit physical damage to your device on drops and therefore prevent the phone from malfunctioning.

Make sure you’re also taking care of your phone's software. Ensuring that you’re on the newest version of iOS can help protect your phone from viruses and make sure it continues to run smoothly.

You’ll want to make sure that you always have a backup of your information saved to your computer, iCloud account, or other backup service so that if you do run into an issue like this you won’t lose your data.

Upgrading Your iPhone

If all else fails, it may be time to look into purchasing a new iPhone. You can take a look at deals on the iPhone 13 below or check out the best iPhone deals across all models.

iPhone 13 128GB Plans

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Infinite 60GB Plan with Unlimited Canada Minutes

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Unlimited 50 Can-US

$110/mth(plan + phone)+ $241 UpfrontGo
Freedom Mobile

$115 Big Gig Unlimited + Talk 30GB + 5GB CA-US plan

$115/mth+ $1,173 UpfrontGo
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Frozen iPhone: FAQs

What’s the difference between an iPhone restart, a soft reset, and a hard reset?

Restarting your iPhone is as simple as turning it off and back on again the same way you would if your phone was behaving properly. A soft reset bypasses the standard method and forces the phone off even when unresponsive. Soft resets should be avoided when possible, as exposing your phone to them is not great for long-term software health. Finally, a hard reset, or factory reset, erases all content and settings from the device and returns it to the state that it was when you first took it out of its box.

What do I do if my iPhone is disabled and I’m locked out or I forget my passcode?

If you enter the wrong passcode too many times, your iPhone will disable itself for a short period of time. If you have forgotten your iPhone passcode, you’ll need to put the phone into recovery mode to get back into it.

You can follow the same steps above to put your device into recovery mode. You will need access to a computer to accomplish this. If you do not have access to a computer, you will need to visit a local Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider.

How do I erase my lost or stolen iPhone?

You can use FindMy to erase data off of your iPhone, iPad, and other Apple devices connected to your iCloud account.

  1. Sign into the FindMy website via iCloud using your Apple ID password and email address.
  2. Select your iPhone from the list of devices.
  3. Tap “Erase iPhone” and then “Confirm.”

Your iPhone will then be erased to factory default settings. You’ll be able to sign in, download any data backed up to your iCloud account, and set a new iPhone passcode.

How do I reset my iPhone using iTunes?

To reset an unresponsive iPhone using iTunes you’ll need to use recovery mode. An iPhone 7 to iPhone 13 can be put into recovery mode by pressing and holding the volume down and side buttons while your phone is plugged in and you’re opening iTunes on your computer. iTunes will provide you on screen instructions to reset your phone.

Enabling recovery mode on an iPhone 6 or older is done by holding down the home button while plugging your iPhone into your computer. “Connect to iTunes” will display on your screen and then you will be guided through the reset.

Jump up to our step-by-step guide for more details.

Should I reset my iPhone to switch carriers?

You don’t need to reset your iPhone to switch carriers. However, there are a few steps to take before switching your cell phone service provider, including making sure your phone is carrier unlocked. You can learn more in our carrier switching guide.

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