Here's How to Fix An iPhone That Won't Turn Off

If your iPhone won't turn off, you may be worried that your iPhone is broken and that, eventually, your phone's battery is going to run out. Those are both valid concerns. An iPhone that's stuck on is a rare situation, but if it's happening to you, you need to understand what's going on so you can know how to fix it.

Reasons Why Your iPhone Won't Turn Off

An illustration of the reasons an iPhone won't turn off.

The most likely reasons why your iPhone won't turn off are:

  • It's frozen due to software problems.
  • The Sleep/Wake button is broken.
  • The screen is broken and isn't responding to taps. If this is the case, skip directly to step 4 below.

How to Fix an iPhone that Won't Power Off

Before you try any of these steps, first you should attempt to use the standard way of turning off your iPhone (holding down the Sleep/Wake button and then sliding the Power Off slider). If you're reading this article, you've probably already tried that and it didn't work. If that's your situation, try these steps.

Step 1: Hard Reset Your iPhone

The first, and simplest, way to shut down an iPhone that won't turn off is using a technique called a hard reset. This is very similar to the standard way of turning your iPhone on and off, but is a more complete reset of the device and its memory. Don't worry: you won't lose any data. Only use a hard reset if your iPhone won't restart any other way.

To hard reset your iPhone:

  1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time. If you have an iPhone 7 series phone, hold down Volume Down and Sleep/Wake. The power off slider should appear on the screen. Keep holding both buttons.

  2. If you have an iPhone 8 or later, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, then press and quickly release the Volume Down button, and finally press and hold the Side button (the Sleep/Wake button was renamed the Side button in later iPhone models).

    iPad and iPhone illustration showing hardware buttons
  3. The screen will go black.

  4. Keeping holding until the Apple logo appears on the screen. Let go of the button(s) and the iPhone will restart like normal. When the phone is finished restarting, everything should work fine again.

Step 2: Enable AssistiveTouch and Turn Off iPhone Via Software

This is a super-cool trick that's most useful if your phone's physical Home button is broken and can't be used to reset your phone. In that situation, you need to do it through software.

AssistiveTouch is a feature built into the iPhone that puts a software version of the Home button on your screen. It's designed for people with physical conditions that make it hard for them to press the button, but lots of people without those conditions use it for the cool features it offers. Start by enabling AssistiveTouch:

  1. Tap Settings > General > Accessibility.

  2. In the Interaction section, tap AssistiveTouch.

    General, Accessibility, and AssistiveTouch buttons in iOS settings app
  3. On the AssistiveTouch screen, move the switch to on/green and a new icon will appear on your screen. That's your new software-based Home button.

With this new Home button enabled, follow these steps to turn off your iPhone:

  1. Tap the software Home button.

  2. Tap Device.

  3. Tap and hold Lock Screen until the Power Off slider appears.

    AssistiveTouch toggle ON, Device softbutton and Lock screen softbutton highlighted in iOS Settings
  4. Move the slider from left to right to turn off your iPhone.

Step 3: Restore iPhone From Backup

If a hard reset and AssistiveTouch haven't solved it, the problem probably has to do with the software on your phone, not the hardware.

It's hard for the average person to figure out whether that's a problem with the iOS or an app you've installed, so the best bet is to restore your iPhone from backup. Doing this takes all of the data and settings from your phone, deletes and then reinstalls them to give you a fresh start. It won't fix every problem, but it does fix a lot. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer you normally sync it with.

  2. Open iTunes on your computer if it doesn't open on its own.

  3. Click the iPhone icon in the top left corner, beneath the playback controls (if you're not already in the iPhone management section, that is).

    iPhone icon in iTunes when iPhone connected to computer
  4. In the Backups section, click Back Up Now. This will sync your iPhone to the computer and create a backup of your data.

    Back Up Now button in iTunes iPhone management window
  5. When that's done, click Restore Backup.

    Restore Backup button in iTunes iPhone management window
  6. Follow on the onscreen prompts to select the backup you just created in step 4.

  7. Follow the onscreen steps and, after a few minutes, your iPhone should start up like normal.

  8. Disconnect it from iTunes, and you should be good to go.

Step 4: Visit Apple for Help

If none of these steps have solved your problem, and your iPhone still won't turn off, your problem may be bigger, or a lot trickier, than you can solve at home. It's time to bring in the experts: Apple.

You can get phone support from Apple (charges will apply if your phone is no longer in warranty). Check Apple's list of support phone numbers here.

You can also go to an Apple Store for face-to-face help. If you prefer that, be sure that you make an Apple Genius Bar appointment ahead of time. There's a lot of demand for tech support at Apple Stores and without an appointment, you'll probably wait a long time to speak to someone.