How to Shut Down an Unresponsive iPhone

If your iPhone is giving you grief, a simple reboot is one quick way to troubleshoot whatever is ailing it. But what if your device is freezing up and you can’t summon the standard “slide to power off” screen?

There are a few different ways to turn off and/or reset your iPhone, and we have step-by-step instructions for all the different iPhone versions below. If you still can’t get your device to power down or reset, you might need to hit up your nearest Apple repair center for more help. Of course, you can also wait until the battery runs out, but that solution might take some time—it’s not an everyday fix you’re going to want to deal with.

Turning off an iPhone X, iPhone XR, or iPhone XS

This is the basic method for turning off your modern iPhone, and it can solve a number of common performance hiccups, such as slow apps or spotty wifi.

  1. Press and hold the side button and the volume down button until the power-off slider appears on screen.
  2. Swipe the slider to the right to shut down your phone.

Turning off other iPhone models

If your device is an iPhone 8 (or older), this process is even easier. Hold the side/power button, and the same “slide to power off” screen should appear.

Shutting down an iPhone using AssistiveTouch

Screenshot: David Murphy

If your device’s buttons aren’t working, but its touch screen and menus are responsive, give this a shot:

  1. Open the iOS Settings app
  2. Turn on AssistiveTouch (found in Settings > Accessibility > Touch or Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch . You can also trigger it by telling Siri to “turn on AssistiveTouch”) 
  3. Tap the slider next to AssistiveTouch, which adds a touch-based Home button to your screen.
  4. Tap the new touch screen Home button.
  5. Tap “Device.”

On iOS 11 or earlier, you can hold the “Lock Screen” command until you see “slide to power off.” Otherwise, tap on “More,” and select the “Restart” option to reboot your iPhone.

Hard reset an iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XR, or iPhone XS

A hard reset differs from a normal power-down because it’s akin to pulling the battery out of your device and popping it back in—not a gentle shutdown procedure, but a useful troubleshooting step if the normal shutdown process doesn’t work.

  1. Press the volume up button once, then press the volume down button once.
  2. Press and hold the side button until the screen goes black. Keep holding the side button until the Apple logo appears.

Hard reset other iPhone models

Simply press and hold the side button and the volume down button until your device resets and you see the Apple logo pop up. (If you have a super old iPhone, like anything earlier than an iPhone 6S, you’ll want to hold the side/top button and the Home button.)


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