How to Restart an iPhone (All Models)

Instructions for restarting and resetting an iPhone

How to reset iphone
Illustration by Lifewire

Even though most people don't think of it this way, the iPhone is a powerful computer that fits in your pocket. Just like a desktop computer or laptop, sometimes you need to restart or even reset your iPhone to fix problems.

A restart is just what it sounds like; you turn the iPhone off and back on. When the iPhone doesn't respond to the buttons you need to push to turn it off and on, a reset is in order. Neither process deletes any of your data or settings on the iPhone.

Neither process should be confused a restore, which erases all the content on the iPhone and returns it to factory condition, after which you restore your data from a backup).

Instructions in this article apply to iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR.

How to Restart the iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR

Restart your iPhone to solve fundamental problems with these models, such as poor cellular or Wi-Fi connectivityapp crashes, or other day-to-day issues. On these recent models, Apple has assigned new functions to the Sleep/Wake button on the side of the device. It can be used to activate Siri, bring up the Emergency SOS feature, and more. Because of this, the restart process differs from the method used on earlier models that you may be familiar with. To restart the recent models:

  1. Hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons at the same time. Volume up works, too, but using it can accidentally take a screenshot.

  2. Wait until the slide to power off slider appears.

  3. Move the slider from left to right to shut down the phone.

How to Restart Other iPhone Models

Restarting most other iPhone models is the same as turning the iPhone off and on. Here's what you do:

  1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until the power off slider appears on the screen. On older models, it's on the top of the phone. On the iPhone 6 series and newer, it's on the right side.

  2. Let go of the Sleep/Wake button.

  3. Move the power off slider from left to right. This causes the iPhone to shut down. You'll see a spinner on the screen indicating the shutdown is in progress. It can be dim and hard to see, but it's there.

  4. When the phone shuts off, hold down the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears on the screen. When it does, the phone is starting up. Let go of the button and wait for the iPhone to finish restarting.

How to Hard Reset the iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR

The basic restart solves a lot of problems, but it doesn't solve them all. In some cases — such as when the phone is completely frozen and won't respond to pressing the Sleep/Wake button — you need a more powerful option called a hard reset. 

On the iPhone 8 seriesiPhone X, and iPhone XS or XR, the hard reset process is dramatically different than for other models.

To hard reset these iPhone models, follow these steps:

  1. Click and release the Volume Up button on the phone's left side.

  2. Click and release the Volume Down button.

  3. Now hold down the Sleep/Wake button on the phone's right side until you see the slide to power off slider. Slide it from left to right to reset the phone.

How to Hard Reset Other iPhone Models

A hard reset restarts the phone and refreshes the memory that apps run in. It doesn't delete your data but otherwise helps the iPhone start from scratch. In most cases, you won't need a hard reset, but when you do and you have an older model (except iPhone 7), follow these steps:

  1. With the phone screen facing you, hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the bottom center at the same time.

  2. When the power off slider appears, don't let go of the buttons. Keep holding them both until you see the screen go black. 

  3. Wait until the Apple logo appears.

  4. When this happens, you can let go. The iPhone is resetting.

How to Hard Reset iPhone 7 Series

The hard reset process is slightly different for the iPhone 7 series. That's because the Home button is no longer an actual button on these models – it's a 3D Touch panel, rather than something you click. As a result, Apple changed how these models are reset. 

With the iPhone 7 series, you hold the Volume Down button and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time.

A hard reset is also one way to solve a much less common problem. An iPhone that won't turn off.

Affected iPhones

The restart and hard reset instructions in this article work on the following models:

iPhone XR

iPhone 6S Plus

iPhone 5

iPhone XS series

iPhone 6S

iPhone 4S

iPhone X

iPhone SE

iPhone 4

iPhone 8 Plus

iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 3GS

iPhone 8

iPhone 6

iPhone 3G

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 5S

iPhone

iPhone 7

iPhone 5C

For More Help Resetting Your iPhone

Sometimes your iPhone may have problems so complicated that a restart or reset just don't do the trick. That's when you should turn to one of these advanced troubleshooting steps.