How to Restart a Stuck iPad

restart ipad screen
WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

Restarting an iPad is almost like magic: 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 can be a little confusing since there are two kinds of resets and each accomplishes slightly different things. This article covers what both types are, how to use them, and also suggests some additional options to solve more complex problems. The solutions in this article can be applied to all of the following iPad models:

  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • 4th Generation iPad
  • 3rd Generation iPad
  • iPad 2
  • Original iPad
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad mini

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 having problems. It won't delete your data or settings. Here's how to proceed:

  1. Begin by pressing the on/off button. The on/off button is located on the top right corner of the iPad.
  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 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.

NOTE: These instructions apply to recent versions of the iOS, the operating system that runs on the iPad. If you have an older version of the 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 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 out 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.
  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

There's one other kind of reset that's commonly used: restoring to factory settings. This isn't usually used to solve problems (though it can be 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. Needless to say, it's a pretty big change, 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).