How to Fix an iPhone Glitch

Tips for resolving common iPhone issues

The iPhone is a wondrous device, but no device is perfect. Here are some iPhone troubleshooting tips to fix some of the most common iPhone glitches.

How to Fix an iPhone Glitch

  1. iPhone has frozen. If your iPhone won't react to your taps or the buttons, it's likely frozen. Unfreezing it will depend on your phone's model.

    • iPhone 8 and iPhone X: On the left of the phone you'll find the volume buttons. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button, then the Volume Down Button. Then quickly press and hold the Power button, on the right-hand side, until the screen goes blank and the Apple logo appears.
    • iPhone 7: Hold down the Volume Down button, on the left, and the Power button, on the right, until the Apple logo appears.
    • iPhone 6 and Earlier: Hold down the home button, at the bottom of the front of the phone, and the Power button, on the right-hand side, until the Apple logo appears.

    If none of these work, take your phone to an Apple store immediately.

  2. iPhone running slowly. iPhones can run slowly for a whole host of reasons, some software related, some not. Try the following, in order.

    • Disable background refresh for apps you're not using or don't need: Even if you don't open apps, many of them will refresh in the background, which may put a strain on your phone and its battery, especially if you're using data or processing-intensive apps. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh, then tap the toggle for the apps you don't want to refresh in the background.
    • Disable automatic updates: Even apps that aren't running in the background will download updates automatically, and if there are a lot of updates, it may be slowing down your phone. To shut this down, tap Settings > iTunes & App Store, tap the Updates toggle to disable it, then restart your phone.
    The iTunes App Store settings with Updates selected
    • Clear your Safari cache: Every browser collects data over time to make it easier to navigate the internet. To delete your cache, go to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data, tap Remove All Website Data, then confirm you want to do this.

    Clearing your cache will remove passwords and cookies for websites, such as your social media accounts. Be sure you have these passwords available before you clear the cache, such as saving them using a password manager.

  3. iPhone won't download iOS updates. Updating your iPhone regularly is the most effective tool to prevent glitches. Often, Apple will include fixes for known glitches that can be applied just by installing the new version of iOS. This makes a phone refusing to update particularly frustrating. Furthermore, this is most often where Apple resorts to error codes to tell you what's going on, which may confuse some users. Fortunately, all the problems fall into a few broad categories:

    Apple Pay can also block other downloads until it's updated. If Apple Pay won't update, you'll need to take your phone into an Apple store.

    • iPhone Error 4037: Your iPhone Isn't Unlocked: iPhones won't update if the phone is passcode locked, a security feature that protects it from hackers. Enter your passcode and try the update again.
    • iPhone Error 1671: iTunes Is Downloading An Update: iOS and apps will only update once iTunes is fully updated. Give your phone a few minutes and try again. You can check the progress by pressing the down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the iTunes app.
    • "The device isn't eligible for the requested build:" This likely means your iPhone is too old to accept the update. Check the App Store page for information about compatibility.
    • iPhone Errors 17, 1638, 3014, 3194, 3000, 3002, 3004, 3013, 3014, 3015, 3194, 3200: All these errors boil down to the same thing; your iPhone can't connect to the iTunes servers. You may want to connect your device to Wi-Fi, or check that you have a strong cellular connection. If you use security software from a third party to protect your phone, it may also interfere with updates; check with the manufacturer about how to safely disable it and re-enable it.
    • Change networks: If you're at work, school, or another location where you have to “sign-in” to the Wi-Fi every time you enter, this may be interfering with Apple updates. Try using a public Wi-Fi connection, or if you need the update immediately, disable your Wi-Fi and see if the app will update using a cellular connection.

    If you get an alert stating “Cellular Update Failed,” this may be an issue with your phone's cellular modem. Take it to an Apple store or Genius Bar immediately.

  4. iPhone won't download or update apps. This glitch most commonly happens when your iPhone believes it's connected to the internet, but isn't.

    • If using cellular data: Find a Wi-Fi network and connect to it.
    • If the issue is on Wi-Fi: Go to Settings > Wi-Fi, then tap the Wi-Fi toggle to disable Wi-Fi. Afterward, either find and connect to a new network or wait a minute or two to reconnect to your current network.

    If all else fails, reboot your phone to see if that fixes the issue.

    an iPhone's Wi-Fi menu in the Settings app
  5. iPhone won't connect to Wi-Fi.

    • Ensure the Wi-Fi is fully functional: Go to Settings > Wi-Fi, then check the network you're connected to. There may be a small yellow alert under the network name, which you can tap for more information.
    • Forget the Wi-Fi network: Make sure you have the correct Wi-Fi password written down, then go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Tap the small i icon, tap Forget This Network, then confirm you want to forget the network. Afterward, log in again.
    • Restart your devices in a “chain” to diagnose the problem: First, restart your iPhone. If the issue persists, restart your Wi-Fi router, then your modem. If none of this solves the issue, your internet may be out at the provider level.
  6. iPhone won't back up to iCloud. Check if your iCloud is full. Go to Settings, tap your name, then tap iCloud > Manage Storage. If your iCloud is full, you can download an iCloud utility app to your computer and use it to download and back up files you no longer need direct access to, such as old photos. Making some room can solve the problem, or, of course, you can buy more space from Apple.

  7. iPhone app store is always “refreshing.” A new glitch found in the iPhone 8, and stubbornly persistent despite Apple's best efforts, has been an error where the App Store will constantly refresh, while never actually loading. The best way to stop this is to restart your phone.

    If that doesn't work, you can sign out and sign back in: Tap Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID, then tap Sign Out. From there, use the same process to sign back in.

    A popup window in the Settings App on an iPhone for Apple ID
    Lifewire
  8. iPhone camera doesn't work. If your iPhone's camera isn't working, first, open the Camera app and tap the flip icon in the bottom right corner to see if both front and back cameras are unavailable. If both are not working, restart your phone. If that's ineffective, this is likely a hardware issue you'll need to take to the Apple Store.

    • If only the rear camera is affected: Remove your iPhone's case, if it has one, and see if it solves the issue. Some iPhone cases are not designed with the rear camera in mind.
    • If only the front camera isn't working: Turn the phone off and carefully clean the front of your phone with a dry cloth. Do not use solvents or spray cleaners. Afterward, turn on your phone. If the issue remains, contact Apple for a technician to look over your phone.
  9. Protect iPhone by avoiding suspicious content. Many pranksters and other malicious individuals will use hacks to crash, freeze, or otherwise glitch your iPhone, and the best way to keep them out is to ignore them. Don't open emails or attachments on your phone if you're not absolutely sure who sent them. The same is true of text messages. Don't open text messages from numbers you don't know.

  10. If iPhone Is Broken. The line between a software problem and a hardware issue can be very thin. For example, your iPhone may refuse to turn on because of a software issue, or there may simply be dust in its charging port or a break in the wire of your charging cable. This is also true of issues like overheating, an unresponsive screen, freezing.

    The best method here is to make sure it's not a software issue, or at least not one you can resolve:

    • Plug your iPhone in to make sure it charges properly.
    • Restart your phone to ensure it didn't simply freeze up.
    • Turn off your phone and inspect the casing for cracks or the case beginning to crack or distort.
    • If you find any sign of physical damage impairing your phone, take it to Apple for repairs.
  11. Good luck!