What to Do If an iPhone Freezes

By Peter Celauro

It's hard to find a function the iPhone can't perform these days. With thousands of new software apps released in the iTunes store every month, the gap between the capabilities of Apple's palm-sized computer and the one that sits on your desk grows smaller by the minute. Of course, with more functionality comes more opportunity for malfunction, and the iPhone is no exception. Like their full-sized desktop counterparts, iPhones sometimes freeze and refuse to respond to even the most desperate button-pushing or finger-swiping.Fortunately, most minor iPhone issues can be resolved without leaving home.


Apple foresaw the potential for freeze frustration and built a remedy right into the software. According to the support section of Apple's website, users can force their frozen phones to restart by holding down the home button (the circular button on the front of the iPhone) and the Sleep/Wake button (the rectangular, silver button on top of the iPhone) simultaneously for at least 10 seconds. Continue to hold these buttons until the Apple logo appears. Restarting is also a good solution for other problems, such as an unusually high number of dropped calls or an app that's not running properly. Just as full-sized computers sometimes need rebooting to fix minor glitches, so do iPhones.


Sometimes an iPhone won't respond because it just doesn't have the energy--battery energy, that is. If your iPhone screen shows a black and red battery icon, or is unresponsive with a completely black screen, it may need to be recharged. Plug your iPhone into a power source via the AC adapter or a USB cable. According to Apple, if using USB you should plug your phone directly into a high-power port on your computer rather than a low-power port on your keyboard.Phones with especially drained batteries may need 10 to 15 minutes of solid charge time before showing signs of life.

Request Help

If you've tried restarting and recharging your iPhone and it's still unresponsive, the malfunction may be due to a more serious issue. Bring your iPhone (and any cables you used to charge it) to the nearest Apple store or an authorized Apple retailer. If visiting an Apple Store, be sure to check the queue online (see link in "Resources," below) before leaving for the store. Lines for tech support at the Genius Bar can be long, and signing in from home beforehand will save you time. If there aren't any Apple Stores in your area, dial 1-800-MY-IPHONE; an Apple phone support technician may be able to solve your issue over the phone.