Here’s How to Fix An iPhone That Won’t Turn Off

If your iPhone won’t turn off, you may be worried that your iPhone is broken and that, eventually, your phone’s battery is going to run out. Those are both valid concerns. An iPhone that’s stuck on is a rare situation, but if it’s happening to you, you need to understand what’s going on so you can know how to fix it.

An illustration of the reasons an iPhone won't turn off. ©Lifewire 

The most likely reasons why your iPhone won’t turn off are:

  • It’s frozen due to software problems.
  • The Sleep/Wake button is broken.
  • The screen is broken and isn’t responding to taps. If this is the case, skip directly to step 4 below.

These instructions apply to all iPhone models. Any differences between iOS versions are called out below.

Before you try any of these steps, first you should attempt to use the standard way of turning off your iPhone. For newer models, hold down the Sleep/Wake button and then swipe the Power Off slider. If you have an older iPhone, press and hold the Side button and the Volume down button until the slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off the phone.

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

  2. Enable AssistiveTouch.

    This is a neat trick that’s most useful if your phone’s physical Home button is broken and can’t be used to reset your phone. In that situation, you need to do it through software.AssistiveTouch is a feature built into the iPhone that puts a software version of the Home button on your screen.

    See the instructions below to turn on AssistiveTouch.

  3. If a hard reset and AssistiveTouch haven’t solved it, the problem probably has to do with the software on your phone, not the hardware.

    It’s hard for the average person to figure out whether that’s a problem with the iOS or an app you’ve installed, so the best bet is to restore your iPhone from backup. Doing this takes all of the data and settings from your phone, deletes and then reinstalls them to give you a fresh start. It won’t fix every problem, but it does fix a lot.

  4. Contact Apple support.

If none of these steps have solved your problem, and your iPhone still won’t turn off, your problem may be bigger, or a lot trickier, than you can solve at home. It’s time to bring in the experts: Apple.

You can get phone support from Apple (charges will apply if your phone is no longer in warranty). Check Apple’s list of support phone numbers here.

You can also go to an Apple Store for face-to-face help. If you prefer that, be sure that you make an Apple Genius Bar appointment ahead of time. There’s a lot of demand for tech support at Apple Stores and without an appointment, you’ll probably wait a long time to speak to someone.

AssistiveTouch puts a virtual Home button on your screen. It’s designed for people with physical conditions that make it hard for them to press the button, but it can also help with an unresponsive iPhone.

  1. Tap Settings > Accessibility. If you’re using iOS 12, go to Settings > General > Accessibility.

  2. Go to Touch > AssistiveTouch to find the button to turn it on. If you’re using iOS 12, just tap AssistiveTouch from the Accessibility screen.

    General, Accessibility, and AssistiveTouch buttons in iOS settings app

  3. On the AssistiveTouch screen, move the switch to on/green and a new icon will appear on your screen. That’s your new software-based Home button.

Now that you have a virtual Home button, follow the steps below to turn off your iPhone.

  1. Tap the software Home button.

  2. Tap Device.

  3. Tap and hold Lock Screen until the Power Off slider appears.

    AssistiveTouch toggle ON, Device softbutton and Lock screen softbutton highlighted in iOS Settings

  4. Move the slider from left to right to turn off your iPhone.


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