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How to Fix a Black Screen on an iPhone

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  • If your iPhone is showing a black screen that never goes away, you should try resetting it.
  • Black screens might appear if your iPhone overheats, encounters a major error, or the screen itself breaks.
  • You should also plug your iPhone into a charger to make sure that it isn’t simply out of battery.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

New iPhones have almost no buttons, which is great for maximizing screen size, but can cause a problem when the screen goes black and won’t turn on. An unresponsive touchscreen will turn your $900 smartphone into an expensive brick.

Luckily, there are ways to fix nearly every “Black Screen of Death” glitch on your iPhone. Depending on the problem, you might just need to leave the iPhone alone for a while, or plug it into your computer.

Here’s what to do if your iPhone’s stuck on a black screen, and some tips for preventing black screens in the future.

How to fix a black screen on your iPhone

Charge your iPhone

This might sound obvious, but before you panic, take the time to check that your IPhone’s battery isn’t just dead. When you try to interact with an uncharged iPhone, it’ll usually flash an empty battery icon. But if the battery’s been totally drained, the screen might go completely blank.

charging iphone close up

Charge your iPhone with a cable, if possible.

MosayMay/Shutterstock


Plug your iPhone into a working charger and leave it for at least an hour. If you come back and it still won’t turn on, then you can move onto the next steps.

Hard reset your iPhone

Every iPhone has a button combination that lets you “hard reset” the iPhone, forcing it to turn off and then back on. The exact combination differs depending on what kind of iPhone you have.

  • On an iPhone without a Home button (iPhone 8 and newer): Press the volume up button, then the volume down button, and then press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo appear.
  • On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus: Press and hold the volume down and lock buttons until the Apple logo appears.
  • On an iPhone 6s and earlier, or an iPhone SE (first generation): Press and hold both the Home button and lock button until the Apple logo appears.

If the Apple logo never appears, move onto the next solution.

Put your iPhone into recovery mode

Recovery mode is a feature that lets you connect your iPhone to a computer so the computer can repair it. It usually does this by installing a fresh version of iOS, the software that your phone runs on.

To put your iPhone into recovery mode, connect it to a Mac or PC with a USB cable and then hard reset it using the steps we talked about in the section above. Then using Finder or iTunes, choose to Update or Restore the phone.

iphone mac recovery mode warning screen

You’ll be given a warning before you choose a recovery option.

Apple


For more details on how recovery mode works and how to use it, check out our article on using recovery mode to fix your iPhone.

Contact Apple

If none of these solutions work, then you’ve run into a problem that you probably can’t fix on your own. It’s probably a hardware issue — for example, the wires that power your iPhone’s screen might be faulty.

Go to a nearby Apple store, or contact Apple by phone or email. Depending on your warranty, they may repair your iPhone for free.

If it’s easier, you can also try going to a third-party repair store. Just note that this might void your official warranty.

How to prevent black screens on your iPhone in the future

Hitting an unresponsive black screen can be scary, especially if your iPhone plays a critical role in your job or social life. So once you’ve fixed the black screen, take steps to make sure that it doesn’t come back.

Uninstall glitchy apps

If the black screens started appearing after you installed a certain app, the two might be connected.

Uninstall any apps you’ve downloaded recently and continue using your phone. If the black screens stop happening, you know what caused it.

Keep your iPhone at a normal temperature

Despite its price, the iPhone is a delicate device that needs to be handled carefully. Obviously, this means that you shouldn’t drop it or smother it in honey. But it also means that you need to keep track of its temperature.

An iPhone that gets too hot or too cold will shut down and give you a black screen — worst case scenario, your battery might short out permanently. This can be a big problem if you’re trying to run multiple high-performance apps at once, or have your iPhone in a thick case that traps heat.

Apple recommends storing your iPhone in areas where the temperature ranges from -4º to 113º F (or -20º and 45º C). 

In some cases, your iPhone might freeze and show a warning message telling you to let it cool down. If you see this, move to a cooler area and leave your iPhone alone for a while.

An iPhone showing a message telling the user to let the device cool down.

If your iPhone gets too hot, it’ll lock up until it cools down.

Apple


Factory reset your iPhone

If you keep hitting black screens despite uninstalling recent apps, there might be an issue with your version of iOS. You can put the iPhone into recovery mode, like we described earlier, or you can factory reset it.

Factory resetting an iPhone will erase all of its data, and return the phone to the state it was in when you bought it. It’s an extreme but incredibly useful way to fix major glitches.

To factory reset your iPhone, open the Settings app and tap General, then Reset iPhone. On the screen that appears, select Erase All Content and Settings.

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