Stuck iPad? Here's How to Restart It

Restarting usually clears glitches that otherwise slow your tablet

Restarting an iPad is almost like magic: it can solve many problems you may run into with Apple's tablet. And while it can't fix everything, a restart should be your first step when you're having trouble with your iPad, especially if your iPad is stuck and won't respond to button clicks or taps on the screen.

A restart is sometimes also called a reset. This language can be a little confusing because there are two kinds of resets and each accomplishes slightly different things. We'll explore what both types of reset are, how to use them, and also suggests some additional ways you can solve more-complex problems.

This article covers all hardware versions of the iPad.

How to Restart an iPad

The basic kind of restart—in which you turn the iPad off and then turn it back on—is the easiest to do and the first thing you should try when you experience hardware problems. The process won't delete your data or settings. Here's how to proceed:

An animated illustration of how to restart an iPad.
Lifewire  / Grace Kim
  1. Begin by pressing the on/off button. The on/off button is located on the top right corner of the iPad.

    Image of iPad and iPhone anatomy, showing buttons on each
  2. Continue to hold it until a slider appears at the top of the screen.

  3. Let go of the on/off button.

  4. Move the slider left to right to turn off the iPad (or tap Cancel if you change your mind). This gesture shuts down the iPad. 

  5. When the iPad's screen goes dark, the iPad is off.

  6. Restart the iPad by holding down the on/off button until the Apple icon appears. Let go of the button and the iPad will start up again.

These instructions apply to recent versions of iOS and iPadOS, the operating systems that runs on the iPad. If you have an older version of iOS, you may want to hold down the on/off button and Home button at the same time to get the slider to appear.

How to Hard Reset iPad

The standard restart process doesn't always work. Sometimes an iPad can be locked up so much that the slider doesn't appear on the screen and the iPad doesn't respond to taps. In that case, try a hard reset. This technique clears the memory that apps and the operating system run in (but not your data; it will still be safe) and gives your iPad a fresh start. To perform a hard reset:

  1. Hold down the home and on/off buttons at the same time.

    Image of iPad and iPhone anatomy, showing buttons on each
  2. Continue holding the buttons even after the slider appears on the screen. The screen will eventually go black.

  3. When the Apple logo appears, let go of the buttons and let the iPad start up like normal.

More Options for Resetting an iPad

There's one other kind of reset that's commonly used: restoring to factory settings. This technique isn't usually used to solve problems (though it can work if the problems are bad enough). Instead, it's most often used before selling an iPad or sending it in for repair.

Restoring to factory settings deletes all your apps, data, customizations, and settings and returns the iPad to the state it was in when you first took it out of the box. It's a drastic step, but sometimes you need it.

To learn more about restoring a device to factory settings, read how to erase all iPhone settings and data (even though iPhone is in the title, it applies to the iPad, too).

Need to know how to restart an iPhone or iPod instead of an iPad? Check out what you need to do to fix a frozen iPhone, iPad or iPod.