iPhone won’t turn on, what to do?

8 min read

There are few things as upsetting as our iPhone not turning on: being unable to get in touch with people, use location services, or instantly get online can easily leave us helpless right in the middle of our busy life schedules.

What do you do if your iPhone won’t turn on at all? Keep calm. Troubleshoot battery and software issues. Contact Apple service. 

Read on to find out more about the steps you can take to revive your iPhone when all it shows you is the black screen.

Why won’t my iPhone turn on? 

If you’re asking yourself “Why is my iPhone screen black and wont turn on?” we can tell you that there are multiple reasons that could have caused this:

  • Your iPhone won’t turn on if your battery is drained or has failed
  • Physical damage to the screen or to the phone itself 
  • Water damage to the hardware components of your iPhone
  • Software issues such as system glitches, failed iOS update, or an incompatible app malfunctioning
  • Connectivity issues between the internal components of your phone 

What to do if my iPhone won’t turn on? 

If your iPhone died and wont turn on while charging, there are a couple of things you can try on your own before taking it to service. 

Charge your battery 

Your iPhone’s screen can blackout if you have a low or zero battery charge. So the first thing you should do is try charging your phone:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the USB cable and power adapter 
  2. Plug into a power outlet
  3. Charge for at least 30 minutes and restart your iPhone

If your iPhone wont turn on or charge after this, try these tips:

  1. Check your charging cable for signs of damage or try a different one
  2. Try charging from a different outlet (preferably a wall outlet), checking for firm connections between your cable, iPhone, and the outlet
  3. Check the charging port on the bottom of your iPhone for debris or signs of damage (if the charging port is damaged, you should take your iPhone to service)
  4. Force restart and charge for another half hour

If none of these help to charge your iPhone, try restarting your phone before contacting Apple Support or taking it to service.

Restart your iPhone

Restarting your iPhone (sometimes called a soft restart) is the same as turning it off. It helps terminate apps and processes that might be responsible for your iPhone not turning on.

To restart your iPhone:

  1. Press the button on the right side of your iPhone simultaneously with the volume down button
  2. Hold until the power-off slider appears on the screen and swipe to the right 
  3. Wait for 30 seconds once the screen goes black 
  4. Press and hold the button on the right side of your iPhone to turn your iPhone back on

Do a hard reset 

If the reason for your iPhone not turning on is related to software issues, sometimes a system reboot can help. 

Try performing a hard reset or, as Apple calls it, a force restart:

  1. Press and release the volume up button
  2. Press and release the volume down button
  3. Press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo appear

Restore iPhone to factory settings with Finder

In the situations when you’re stuck thinking “Why does my iPhone show the Apple logo but wont turn on?” Apple’s recommendation is to put your iPhone into recovery mode and restore it to factory settings using your Mac. 

Factory reset is an extreme measure because it wipes out all your personal data and settings, but sometimes this may be the only way out when your iPhone wont turn on or charge.

To perform a reset:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with a USB cable
  2. Open Finder (or iTunes, if you’re on a Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier)
  3. Find your iPhone in the sidebar of the open Finder window
  4. Restart your iPhone while it’s being connected to your Mac: press and quickly release the volume up button, press and quickly release the volume down button, press and hold the side button
  5. Keep holding the side button until you see the recovery mode screen
  6. Choose Restore from the prompt on your Mac

Restore iPhone to factory settings in Finder

You’ll need to set up your iPhone anew once the Restore process is finished. This is a step that is much easier to perform if you have a backup and can simply transfer all the data from there. 

A great app to help you effortlessly handle your iPhone backups is AnyTrans.

AnyTrans is designed to make moving files between macOS and iOS a single-click job:

  • Export iPhone content to Mac by categories, transfer single files, or choose full phone backups 
  • Schedule automatic wireless encrypted backups when your iPhone is on the same WiFi as your Mac 
  • Reach data from your old iTunes or iCloud backups
  • Sync or transfer data across multiple iCloud accounts
  • Mirror your iPhone to the screen of your Mac wirelessly

To create a backup or restore your iPhone from a backup using AnyTrans:

  1. Launch AnyTrans on your Mac
  2. Connect your iPhone to Mac with a USB cable (only when you set up your backup for the first time)
  3. Choose Backup Manager from the menu on the left ➙ Backup Now (or Restore)

AnyTrans iPhone backup

Put your iPhone into DFU mode 

If you’ve tried all of the above methods and none of them helped with your iPhone not turning on, try restoring with DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) mode. DFU mode is the deepest iPhone reset that reloads the firmware of your phone (erasing all your personal data in the process, naturally) — so only resort to it if you have to.

To enter the DFU mode:

  1. Connect your iPhone to Mac with a USB cable
  2. Open Finder (if running macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes)
  3. Repeat the steps for a hard reset: press and release the volume up button on your iPhone, press and release the volume down button, press and hold the side button until your iPhone’s screen goes completely black (no Apple logo or other signs)
  4. Press the volume down button while continuing to hold the side button 
  5. In five seconds, release the side button but continue holding the volume down button 
  6. Wait until your iPhone shows up in Finder (or iTunes)
  7. Release the volume button and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the DFU reset

Note: Give your iPhone a few days to recalibrate after this procedure, letting it fully charge and fully discharge a few times. 

Check your display

More often than not, when you’re asking yourself “Why my iPhone won’t turn on?” the problem is either battery- or software-related. But if you’ve tried the resets we have described earlier and your iPhone’s screen is still black — maybe the problem is with the display itself.

Carefully examine your screen for cracks and try remembering if you’ve dropped your phone recently, look for any dents in other parts of your iPhone. If any damage has been done to your phone’s hardware, it might be time to take it to service.

Protect your iPhone from slowing down

There are some steps you can take to help your iPhone stay healthy and light on its feet. One of them is making sure that you don’t clutter its system with unnecessary data, such as gigabytes of photos that are all variations of the same image. 

To keep your camera roll tidy without having to sort through it manually, try CleanMy®Phone.

CleanMy®Phone is an intelligent duplicate finder that can scan your iPhone photos for identical and similar images, pre-select them for your approval, and then help you clean up with a single tap. It also has a macOS version that searches for duplicate and similar files not only in Photos, but also in iTunes, and all other folders and libraries on your Mac, easily saving you valuable hard drive space.

clean up iPhone with CleanMy®Phone

Why your iPhone won’t turn on and how to fix it

It’s only natural to wonder “Why is my iPhone screen black and wont turn on?” if your phone dies on you. On the other hand, the reasons for this situation might be so numerous, that you wouldn’t be able to arrive at the right one without some expert help.

If your iPhone won’t turn on because of hardware problems, there's not much you’ll be able to do besides taking it to service. But, before you do — be sure to rule out the two reasons you can attempt fixing on your own:

  • Empty battery (try charging for at least half an hour) 
  • Software issues (perform a force restart or a factory reset)

Another solid piece of advice you’ll be happy you’ve followed if one day your iPhone becomes unresponsive: have a backup of your iPhone to restore from. Use AnyTrans to back up all the data on your phone or hand-pick the content you’d like to save. Restore in one click, should you need to.

You’re also invited to try CleanMy®Phone for free with the seven-day trial of Setapp, a platform of best-in-class iOS and macOS productivity apps. Learn what do you do if your iPhone won’t turn on at all and check out more than 240 other options to boost your performance.


How do you reboot iPhone when its screen is black?

You can perform a reboot even if your iPhone won’t turn on and its screen is black. Simply press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.

Why was my iPhone stuck on black screen?

There are different reasons why iPhone may be stuck on black screen, unable to turn on — starting from a drained or failed battery, various software issues, and misbehaving apps all the way to actual physical damage to your phone. 

Can you force start a dead iPhone?

If your iPhone is unresponsive, force restart is Apple’s official recommendation. So you can stop wondering “What do you do if your iPhone won’t turn on at all?” and perform this flow:

  1. Press and quickly release the volume up button

  2. Press and quickly release the volume down button

  3. Press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears

How do I know if my iPhone is completely dead?

You can tell that your iPhone is completely dead if it won’t turn on or reboot even when plugged in. If connecting it to power brings your iPhone to life, then look into changing your battery.

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