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How to Fix an iPhone That Won't Turn Off

Your iPhone can't be turned off?, you may be worried that your phone battery will run out or your iPhone will be damaged. Both are valid concerns. This is an iPhone Problem that needs fixing.

An iPhone that hangs or freezes is a rare situation, but if it happens to you, you need to understand what happened so you can know how to fix it.

iPhone That Won't Turn Off
iPhone That Won't Turn Off

Causes Your iPhone Won't Turn Off

The most likely causes behind an iPhone not turning off are:

  • Freezing due to software problem.
  • The Sleep/Wake button is broken.
  • Screen is broken and not responding to taps. If this is the case, skip to step 4. 

How to Fix an iPhone That Won't Turn Off

All of these steps assume that you have tried the standard way to turn off your iPhone (holding the Sleep/Wake button and then sliding the Power Off slider) and it doesn't work. If that's the situation you're in, try the steps below.

Step 1: Hard Reset

The first, and simplest, way to turn off an iPhone that won't turn off is to use a technique called a hard reset. This is very similar to the standard way to turn your iPhone on and off, but is a more complete device and memory reset. Don't worry: you won't lose any data. Only use a hard reset if your iPhone won't restart any other way.

To hard reset your iPhone:

  1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time. If you have an iPhone 7 series phone, hold Volume Down and Sleep/Wake. A power off slider will appear on the screen. Continue holding both buttons.
  2. If you have an iPhone 8 or later, quickly press and release the Volume Up button, then quickly press and release the Volume Down button, and finally press and hold the Side button (the Sleep/Wake button was renamed the Side button on later iPhone models) .
  3. The screen will go black.
  4. The Apple logo will appear on the screen. Release the buttons and the iPhone will restart as usual. When the phone finishes restarting, everything should work fine again.

Step 2: Enable AssistiveTouch and Turn Off via Software

This is a super cool trick which is most useful if the physical Home button is broken and cannot be used to turn off your phone. In this case, you need to do it through software. 

AssistiveTouch is a feature on the iPhone that places a software version of the Home button on your screen. It's designed for people with physical conditions that make it difficult for them to press buttons, but many people without that condition use it for the cool features it offers. Start by enabling AssistiveTouch:

  1. Tap Settings > General > Accessibility.
  2. In the Interaction section, tap AssistiveTouch.
  3. On the AssistiveTouch screen, move the toggle to on/green and a new icon will appear on your screen. That's your new software-based Home button.

With this new Home button enabled, follow these steps to turn off your iPhone:

  1. Tap the Home software button.
  2. Tap Devices.
  3. Tap and hold the Lock Screen until the Power Off slider appears.
  4. Move the slider from left to right to turn off your iPhone.

Step 3: Restore iPhone From Backup

If a hard reset and AssistiveTouch haven't resolved it, the problem may have something to do with the software on your phone, not the hardware.

It's hard for most people to tell if it's an issue with iOS or an app you've installed, so the best bet is to restore your iPhone from a backup. Doing this will take all the data and settings from your phone, wipe and reinstall it to give you a fresh start. It won't fix every problem, but it does fix a lot. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer you usually sync with.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer if it doesn't open on its own.
  3. Click the iPhone icon in the top-left corner, under playback controls (if you're not already in the iPhone management section).
  4. In the Backups section, click Back Up Now. This will sync your iPhone to your computer and back up your data.
  5. When finished, click Restore Backup.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to select the backup you just made in step 4.
  7. Follow the steps on the screen and, after a few minutes, your iPhone will start up as usual.
  8. Disconnect from iTunes, and you should be good to go. 

Step 4: Visit Apple for Help

If none of these steps solve your problem, and your iPhone still won't turn off, your problem may be much more complicated, than you can solve at home. Time to take it to the Apple experts.

You can get phone support from Apple (charges will apply if your phone is no longer under warranty). Check the list of Apple support phone numbers.

You can also go to the Apple Store for face-to-face assistance. If you prefer that, make sure you make an appointment in advance with the Apple Genius Bar. There are a lot of requests for tech support at Apple Stores and without an appointment, you might have a long wait to talk to someone.

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