Rarely, owners of an iPhone X may discover their screen is unresponsive seemingly at random, where swipes and taps on the screen are either not registered at all, or they have a severe lag and there’s a notable delay before the touch interaction completes. Swipes and gestures suddenly have a huge lag, and taps on the screen either take moments to do anything, or are ignored entirely.
Sometimes, the iPhone X screen freezes completely, becoming entirely unresponsive to any engagement with the device at all.
These are rare issues but when and if they do happen to a user, it’s understandably annoying. Fortunately there’s a simple solution available, so if you discover that your iPhone X is randomly unresponsive and the screen does not appear to be working, you can fix the problem fairly quickly.
Before anything else, make sure your iPhone X display is clean, and there isn’t any poorly fitting screen protector or case on the device that could prevent the screen from being touch responsive. Assuming the iPhone X screen is clean and there isn’t any obstruction, you’re in the realm of the unresponsive display troubleshooting that we’ll cover here.
So, what’s the best way to resolve an unresponsive iPhone X with a frozen display? The good old fashioned hard reboot! Yes indeed, forcibly restarting iPhone X will cause the iPhone to reboot and once it has booted back up again, the devices display and touch interactions should respond to all input as expected.
How to Fix Frozen / Unresponsive iPhone X Screen
Here is how you can quickly fix an unresponsive iPhone X by forcibly rebooting the device, be sure you follow the sequence exactly to properly initiate the forced reboot:
- Press down the Volume Up button and release
- Press down the Volume Down button and release
- Hold down the side Power / Lock button until you see the Apple logo appear on screen, this can take about 10 seconds or so
- Once you see the Apple logo on the display, release the Power button and the device will boot up as usual
Once the iPhone X boots back up, the screen should instantly work as you’d expect it to. All touch should be immediately recognized, and touch gestures and swipes should be recognized fluidly as usual.
Admittedly force rebooting a device is not the most elegant solution, but since it works (and since there is no known other solution) and it doesn’t take too long, it’s perhaps the best option available at the moment.
Next: Update iOS on the iPhone X
After you have forced your iPhone X to reboot, you should take a moment to update iOS to the latest version, or at least be sure your device is on the latest version available.
- Back up the iPhone X, backing up to iCloud is easy or you can backup to iTunes
- Open the “Settings” app and go to “General” and then to “Software Update”
- If an iOS software update is available, download and install it as usual
Installing the latest version of iOS to iPhone X is important because each software update release tends to include bug fixes, some of which may remedy the unresponsive screen issue.
Why does the iPhone X screen freeze or become unresponsive?
It’s not entirely clear why the iPhone screen can become unresponsive to touch, swipes, gestures, and other touch input seemingly at random. Presumably the unresponsive screen issue is software related, however.
Interestingly, some time ago Apple had released an update to iOS for iPhone X versioned as iOS 11.1.2 that specifically mentioned in the release notes the following:
“Fixes an issue where the iPhone X screen becomes temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid temperature drop”
There are also various reports online that the iPhone X screen can become unresponsive or frozen when the device is in a cold environment. In these situations, installing the iOS updates may resolve the problem.
But skepticism of temperature being the only cause of an unresponsive screen is warranted, because I have personally experienced the unresponsive screen issue on my own iPhone X in an indoors temperature controlled environment at a pleasant 72 degrees, and while running iOS 11.2.6.
It’s reasonably likely that the iPhone X screen occasionally freezes or becomes unresponsive due to some particular software issue, whether it’s a bug in a particular app, or iOS itself, or whether some daemon is running in the background and suddenly consuming excessive resources leading the device to become so slow that it appears unresponsive of frozen. Because the screen becomes responsive again after a hard reboot, this makes sense.
Finally it’s worth mentioning that because the iPhone X is fairly new, the device is covered under the regular Apple Warranty, and so if you’re experiencing constant freezing or unresponsive screen issues and the above tips of updating iOS and forced rebooting are not resolving the problem for you, you might want to consider reaching out directly to an official Apple Support channel. Unresponsive screens are not common but they’re also not entirely rare, and a similar issue happened with iPhone 6s models a while back, as well as occasionally on iPhone 7 and other iPhones too, often also requiring a hard reboot, software update, or even a system restore.
Did these tips help you fix your unresponsive iPhone X screen? Do you have another solution for this issue? Let us know your experience in the comments below.