What to do when your iPhone is frozen or unresponsive

A Home Screen page on iPhone 12 Pro.

Fix your unresponsive iPhone with these steps.

Smartphones are an almost essential part of life, so your iPhone freezing and becoming unresponsive, especially at an inopportune moment, is a huge problem. Unless it’s a significant hardware issue, simply restarting the iPhone should do the trick, but diagnosing the cause of the problem to stop it from happening again might take longer.

There is nothing new about the problem of iPhone getting frozen or unresponsive as it has existed on almost all iPhone models. The issue has affected many iPhone models, including iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone SE. Thankfully, our troubleshooting guide will show you what to do if your iPhone is frozen or unresponsive.

Understanding the cause of the problem is key to finding a possible solution. Hence, we have first talked about what could be the possible reason why some iPhones freeze or become unresponsive before learning the different ways to resolve the issue.

Why is iPhone freezing or unresponsive

There are a few reasons why your iPhone freezes and becomes unresponsive often. With newer iPhones, it’s more than likely a software issue caused by a problematic system or third-party app. Lack of storage space might also cause your iPhone to freeze, mainly when performing tasks that require storage, like taking photos.

iPhones that are a few years old might not have a powerful enough processor to handle processor-intensive apps and games or even the latest version of iOS. Extreme temperature is also a problem, especially when iPhone gets too hot or too cold.

Hardware problems are a less common cause for a frozen iPhone, but issues with the touchscreen might make the iPhone appear unresponsive. If it is a hardware issue, your only option is to contact Apple Support or an authorized service center to get the iPhone repaired or replaced.

8 potential fixes for a frozen iPhone

1. Restart your phone

Before you can figure out why your iPhone is freezing, the first thing to do is to get it up and running again. You can restart the iPhone by pressing and holding the power button and either of the volume buttons. When the power slider appears, drag it from left to right to shut down your iPhone. Now, press the power button until the device reboots.

If the normal restart doesn’t work, force restart your iPhone by pressing and holding the volume up key followed by the volume down key. Finally, press and hold the Side button. Keep holding the side button until you see the Apple Logo.

2. Charge your iPhone

If your iPhone doesn’t start after you press and hold the power button, plug it into the charger and wait before trying to restart it. Your iPhone might be unresponsive because it has run out of battery. There are also known software bugs that might cause your phone to shut down and not start when the battery is close to running out but not at zero.

You might have other problems if your iPhone isn’t charging at all. If that’s the case, try these fixes to help solve your iPhone’s charging issues.

3. Check your iPhone’s storage

Lack of enough storage space might make your iPhone not work correctly or freeze completely. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to see how much space is available. If you are close to running out (under 10% of the total storage), you will need to delete some files and unused apps to clear up space.

iPhones offers offload unused apps option in the Storage section. This will automatically remove unused apps when you’re low on storage. Your documents & data will be saved.

4. See if an app is causing your iPhone to freeze

Problematic apps might freeze and make your iPhone unresponsive. If only the app is frozen, but you can access the rest of the phone, try to close the app.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the app switcher.
  2. Swipe up on the problematic app to close it.

It might also help to check if this app has an update available. If the application isn’t up to date, it could be having bugs causing your iPhone to freeze. Follow the steps below to update your apps:

  1. Open the App Store.
  2. Tap on your profile icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Scroll down and install any available app updates.

If you tried closing, reopening and updating the app, and your iPhone gets frozen while using the app, we suggest deleting it and trying to find an alternative app. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Press and hold on the problematic app icon.
  2. Tap Remove App.
  3. Tap Delete App.
  4. Tap Delete to confirm.

5. Update your iPhone

Don’t forget to update your iPhone software. An iOS update usually come with bug fixes to help solve problems that might cause a frozen and unresponsive iPhone. To do so. Follow the steps below:

  1. Go into Settings.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Choose Software Update.
  4. If an update is available, hit Download & Install.

6. Make sure it’s not too cold (or too hot)

Some iPhone components can be sensitive to temperature, and if you are using your iPhone in extreme temperature conditions, such as in freezing temperatures or in blistering summer heat that’s over 100 degrees, the touchscreen might misbehave (or other components on the iPhone might start to temporarily fail). Wait until you can use the iPhone in more nominal temperature conditions and see if that solves the problem.

7. Factory reset your phone

If nothing works, your only option might be to factory reset your iPhone. This step is the last resort since it will completely erase your phone. Before resetting your device, don’t forget to back up your iPhone.

  1. Start the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Go into General.
  3. Tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  4. Hit Erase All Content and Settings.

8. Hardware problems

There isn’t much you can do if your iPhone is frozen or unresponsive because of hardware problems. Contact Apple Support or an authorized service center to repair any issues with the touchscreen not working or other hardware problems. You might need to get a replacement if a repair isn’t possible.

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