How to Reboot Your iPad

When you need to restart your iPad, do it right

Rebooting the iPad is the No. 1 troubleshooting tip given for most iPad problems. In fact, rebooting any device is often the first step in troubleshooting

Illustration of the steps to reboot an iPad.
Lifewire / Nick Reiter

When your iPad becomes unresponsive, apps crash randomly, or the device runs too slowly, reboot it.

These instructions work for all hardware versions of the iPad.

Why Rebooting Works

Rebooting wipes the device's temporary memory clean and gives it a fresh start. Most of us keep our iPad running for weeks and even months at a time because we simply put it to sleep when we aren't using it, and over the course of time, small bugs can pop up that can interfere with the iPad.

A common mistake with the iPad is to think it is powered down when you put it to sleep. While using the Sleep/Wake button at the top edge of the device will cause the screen to go dark, your iPad is still running in power-saving mode. When it wakes up, your iPad will be in the exact same state as it was when it went to sleep. That means it will still demonstrate the same problems it encountered that made you want to reboot it.

How to Power Down the iPad

Top button on iPad showing Slide to power off image on its screen

Hold down the Sleep/Wake hardware button for several seconds. The iPad will prompt you to slide a button to power off the device. Follow the directions on the screen by sliding the button from the left side to the right to reboot the iPad. The iPad screen will display the circle of dashes to indicate it is busy. After the iPad has finished shutting down completely, the screen will go completely black.

If the iPad is completely frozen, the "slide to power down" message may not appear. Continue holding down the button. After about 20 seconds the iPad will power down without the confirmation. This is called a forced reboot because it works at a hardware level when the iPad software becomes unresponsive.

After the iPad's screen is completely black, wait a couple of seconds and then hold down the Sleep/Wake button again to trigger the restart. When the Apple logo appears in the middle of the screen, release the ​Sleep/Wake button. The iPad will restart shortly after the logo appears.

8 Reasons to Reboot Your iPad

Your iPad is a reliable device engineered by Apple to resist malfunctions and operating-system errors. However, the occasional glitch bedevils every device. Rebooting it makes sense as a primary troubleshooting step in eight specific situations:

  • The iPad is running slow or sometimes freezes for a few seconds. Most computers will see their performance degrade over time if they are left running for weeks at a time. If you think your iPad is running a bit slower than normal, try a reboot.
  • A particular app keeps crashing. One way to fix this problem is to delete the app and download it again from the App Store, but a reboot is a good first step before you do.
  • You have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi. Reboot the iPad to reset existing network connections. (Although, flipping the iPad into Airplane Mode for a few seconds is usually the first step before rebooting.)
  • The iPad stops making sounds. The most common reason an iPad goes quiet is the mute button has accidentally been switched on, which is easily fixed by opening the control panel and tapping the mute button. But if you don't want to take the time to search through all the different other reasons the iPad might go silent, a reboot may force whatever mutes the device to default to an un-muted mode.
  • The onscreen keyboard stops popping up or is very slow.  Restarting the iPad is a good way to cure problems with the onscreen keyboard or with Spotlight Search.
  • AirPlay stops working. If you are trying to connect your iPad to your TV via Apple TV and you can't seem to get the pairing to work correctly, first try rebooting the Apple TV. If that doesn't work, do the same for the iPad.
  • The iPad's battery drains too fast. There are plenty of ways to save on battery life, but if your iPad seems to drain way too fast, a reboot might be in order.
  • A Bluetooth device won't connect. While connecting Bluetooth devices like wireless headphones to the iPad is usually pretty simple, if you do experience problems you may end up rebooting the iPad. First, put the device in Bluetooth discovery mode by following the directions, and if that fails, reboot both the accessory and the iPad.

Consistent problems with your device suggest a problem that may require a visit to the Apple Store.