Fix a Frozen iPhone: Troubleshooting Steps for an Unresponsive iPhone
written by: Stephanie M. Lucas•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 3/25/2011
Did your iPhone screen freeze up? Learn what you can do to fix a frozen or unresponsive iPhone with these troubleshooting tips.
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What to Do When iPhone Freezes
It happens to computers, and it can happen to your iPhone too. Sometimes they get overloaded or malfunction and freeze up. It can be a pain, but don't panic. Most times, this is normal and caused by the complex functionality of the phone. Troubleshooting a frozen iPhone is simple and won't take you more than a few minutes. We're going to go over four things that you'll want to try to kick your phone back into gear when it freezes up on you. We'll start with the simplest/most common fix and work our way up to major troubleshooting steps that you may need to take.
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Most often when your iPhone freezes up, it just needs to be rebooted. There are two different ways to reboot iPhone: soft reset, which quickly restarts your phone or a hard reset, which powers your phone completely down before turning back on. Usually a quick reset will get the job done, so try that first because it's faster. If the phone is not responsive to the soft reset, try the hard reset.
Soft Reset - Hold the sleep/wake button until the "slide to power off" screen appears. Move the red slider to the right to turn off. Press and hold the sleep/wake button until the Apple logo appears to turn back on.
Hard Reset - Hold the sleep/wake button and the home button simultaneously. Hold them down together for approximately 10 seconds until the phone powers off. Keep holding them down until the Apple logo appears when the phone turns back on.
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A low or dead battery could be to blame for a frozen iPhone, especially if it is stuck with a black screen. When an iPhone battery is drained, it can stop functioning properly. Often times, the homescreen will become unresponsive, apps will close unexpectedly or a low battery symbol will show up on the screen directing you to charge your phone.
To fix this cause of a frozen iPhone plug your iPhone in to charge. Use a wall or computer USB port for a sufficient power source. Don't use a keyboard USB port because it receives less power. Keep in mind that if your battery was extremely low or dead your iPhone may take several minutes before it turns back on or even registers that you are charging it.
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3. Update Software
When rebooting and charging aren't the answer for your frozen iPhone, it's time to try some more drastic measures. It may take a little longer, but don't worry. It won't be much harder. The next step in your troubleshooting process will be to update your iPhone software if you don't have the most current version. To do this, you just need to sync iPhone to iTunes and complete an update.
Finally, if nothing else has remedied your incapacitated iPhone, you're going to have to completely restore your iPhone. Completing a restore will return your phone to factory settings, hopefully alleviating whatever may have been causing your iPhone to freeze up. After you restore the phone you will be able to use a backup of your data to return all your saved contacts, photos, apps and other data to your phone.
To restore, you need to connect to iTunes, and select "Restore" from the summary tab of your device. Follow the prompts until your phone has been completely restored.
If you've tried all these steps and are still having problems or are receiving an error, comment and give me details on what you're experiencing. I'll help you figure out what's going on and assist in finding a solution.