Revive a frozen iPhonePicture this: you’re happily swiping away on your iPhone when all of a sudden, it goes haywire—an app freezes up, the web browser spins and spins, or the screen simply stops responding to your fingertaps. Now what?

Well, you could try pressing the “home” key to return to the familiar home page, or you could press and hold the “sleep/wake” button (the thin button that sits on the top edge of the handset) to turn your iPhone off and on again.

iPhone sleep-wake button

Press and hold both the “sleep/wake” key (pictured here) and the home key to reset a frozen iPhone.

But what if the home and sleep keys aren’t responding, either?

Luckily, there’s another way to resuscitate a frozen, glitchy, or otherwise unresponsive iPhone: a so-called “hard” reset, which forces the iPhone to stop whatever it’s doing, shut down, and restart.

Think of it as waking your iPhone (or iPad, or iPod Touch) with a cold bucket of water rather than a gentle nudge—crude, but often effective.

Here’s how …

  • Press and hold both the “sleep/wake” button (at the top of the iPhone) and the home button (below the screen) at the same time.
  • After a few seconds, the screen will go blank; don’t worry, this is normal. Keep pressing and holding those buttons.
  • After a few more seconds, the Apple logo should appear. Go ahead and release the buttons.
  • Wait a bit longer, and your iPhone’s home screen should appear again. Phew!

Bonus tip

Only dealing with a single glitchy app rather than a completely locked-up iPhone? Here’s a few ways to get misbehaving app working again.

Looking for more iPhone tips? Click here!