How to Reset iPhone

Instructions on how to reboot a stuck iPhone

Hard reset, shown on iPhone 5s and 6 Plus
Hard reset, shown on iPhone 5s and 6 Plus. arrows by Freepik

Even though most people don't think of it this way, the iPhone is really a small computer that fits in your palm or your pocket. And while it doesn't look like your desktop or laptop, just like those devices, sometimes you need to restart or even reset your iPhone to fix problems.

The term reset is used to mean a number of different things: a basic restart, a more comprehensive reset, or sometimes even deleting all content from the iPhone in order to start over fresh with it and/or restoring from a backup.

This article covers the first two meanings. The links in the last section can help with the other scenarios.

If you read instructions that mention resetting the iPhone, make sure you know which kind of reset you want to perform and plan (and backup!) accordingly. And don't worry: an iPhone restart or reboot should not normally remove or delete any data or settings.

How to Restart iPhone

Restarting an iPhone is the same as turning an iPhone on and off. Use this technique to try to solve basic problems like poor cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity, app crashes, or other day-to-day issues. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Hold down the sleep/wake button (on older models it's on the top of the phone. on the iPhone 6 series and newer, it's on the right side) until the power-off slider appears on the screen
  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 shut-down process is in progress (it can be dim and hard to see, but it's there)
  1. When the phone is shut off, hold down the sleep/wake button again until the Apple logo appears on the screen. When it does, the phone is starting up again. Stop pressing the button and wait for the iPhone to finish booting up.

How to Hard Reset iPhone

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.

A hard reset restarts the phone and it also refreshes the memory that apps run in (don't worry; this doesn't delete your data) and otherwise helps the iPhone start from scratch. In most cases, you won't need a hard reset, but when you do, 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. Keep holding them both until you see the screen go black 
  3. Wait until the silver Apple logo appears
  4. When this happens, you can let go—the iPhone is rebooting.

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 a true button on these models. It's now a 3D Touch panel. As a result, Apple has changed this how these models can be reset. 

With the iPhone 7 series, all steps are the same as above, with the exception of holding down the Home button. Instead, you should hold the volume down button and the sleep/wake button at the same time.

Affected iPhones

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

  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPhone 3G
  • iPhone

For More Help

Restore to Factory Settings: If you want to erase all the data from your iPhone and start from scratch (this can solve some tough bugs and is also good if you're going to sell your iPhone), try restoring it to factory settings.

Recovery Mode: If your iPhone is stuck in a reboot loop, or can't get past the Apple logo during start up, try iPhone recovery mode.

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