How to force restart an iPhone

The volume buttons of the golden iPhone 12 Pro Max.
(Image credit: Michael Allison / Future)

No one likes to restart a smartphone or laptop, interrupting whatever you're doing and being kicked back to the lock screen. Sometimes, it is necessary. Apple's made restarting your iPhone a simple three-step process, and we're here to break it down for you in those rare cases where you'd need to quickly restart your iPhone. 

Quick steps to force restarting your iPhone

  •  Tap the volume up button. 
  •  Then tap the volume down button 
  •  Hold the power button till the iPhone shows the Apple logo on the front 

The iPhone is one of the best phones around, but even it can fall victim to dreaded hangs and glitches.  

Though the iPhone has switched to a gestural navigation system that is primarily software-based and would therefore be unusable in the case of a hardware glitch, Apple's hardware buttons for the power and volume allow the iPhone to be forcibly restarted even if the software is unable to function properly. 

Tools and Requirements

  • Your iPhone
  • One minute

Step by step guide

To restart your iPhone, it really is this simple: Press the volume button quickly, alternately, and then hold the power button until the Apple logo reappears.

If, after restarting your iPhone, whatever issue you are experiencing persists - you may need to consider carrying out a full reset or reaching out to Apple Support instead. Before that, we'll go over the individual steps you'd need. 

1. Tap the the volume up and down button

Quickly tap the volume up and then quickly tap the volume down button. Do not press and hold at this stage, simply tap both buttons in rapid succession in the order indicated.

2. Hold the side button

Now, hold the side button. Do not tap as last time, but press and hold. Typically holding the side button on an iPhone would bring up Siri or the power menu. However, after running the first step, your iPhone should be primed and ready for a force restart. Press and hold the side button  the Apple logo appears, which could take 30 seconds. 

3. Restart your phone

The Apple logo should appear. If it does not, repeat Step 1, then hold the button a bit longer for Step 2. If that doesn't work, you may need to consider carrying out a full iPhone reset. 

Why would you want to force restart your iPhone?

Even if you own one of the best iPhones, Apple's excellent phones can occasionally glitch. Often this can be an app completely freezing and locking up your phone. We've also seen the iPhone's launcher and home screen system, Springboard, crash from time to time.   

A force restart is an equivalent of hitting your old tube TV with a stick to get the picture realigned. A blunt instrument, but sometimes the only one that works. 

  • Got an Android phone? You can clear your cache to fix stubborn apps before resorting to a restart!
Michael Allison
Staff Writer, Phones

A UK-based tech journalist for TechRadar, helping keep track and make sense of the fast-paced world of tech with a primary focus on mobile phones, tablets, and wearables.

When not writing on TechRadar, I can often be found reading fiction, writing for fun, or working out.