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

The issue can involve a software problem, a damaged screen, or a broken button

An iPhone that's stuck in the on position is a rare situation but if it's happening to you, here's what's going on and how you can fix it.

Reasons Why Your 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.

These instructions apply to all iPhone models.

How to Fix an iPhone that Won't Power Off

Before you try any of these steps, first you should try the standard way of turning off your iPhone. For older iPhone models, hold down the Sleep/Wake button and then swipe the Power Off slider. If you have a newer iPhone, press and hold the Side button and the Volume down button until the slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off the phone.

If the standard iPhone restart process doesn't work, or doesn't solve the problem, try these four steps, in this order:

  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 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.

  2. Turn on AssistiveTouch. This is a neat trick that's most useful if your iPhone's physical Home button is broken and can't be used to reset your phone (it also works on models without a Home button). In that situation, you need to use a software option. AssistiveTouch puts a software version of the Home button on your screen and lets you do everything a physical button can do.

  3. Restore your iPhone from backup. If a hard reset and AssistiveTouch haven't solved it, your 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 them, and then reinstalls everything to give you a fresh start. It won't fix every problem, but it does fix a lot.

  4. Contact Apple support. 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 under warranty). 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.

  • How do you fix an Android phone that won't turn off?

    If your Android is frozen, try restarting it by holding the Power button down for about 30 seconds. Download the latest app and Android OS updates and clear some space on your device's hard drive if possible. If all else fails, consider factory resetting your Android phone.

  • Why doesn't my screen turn off when I'm on the phone?

    Generally, a smartphone uses a proximity sensor to tell when you're on a call. It senses when your ear is near the touch screen and it turns the screen off. If your screen isn't turning off during calls, the proximity sensor could be faulty, it may need to be cleaned, or the phone's case or cover might be blocking it.

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