We cover when you should refresh your iPhone, how to do so, and what to do if it doesn’t. We also explain how a factory reset is distinct from a gentle reboot and a refresh.
The difference between a soft reset, a force restart, and a factory reset
A gentle reboot, which is accomplished through the iPhone’s firmware, will not delete any information. If your iPhone’s display stops working or your applications start behaving strangely, you can reset it by using the physical buttons.
There is nothing similar to a clean restart. The function restores your iPhone to its factory settings: It deletes everything on the device, including apps, preferences, and user data. If you’ve exhausted all other troubleshooting options and still can’t get your iPhone to work properly, the last recourse is to perform a factory restart.
This is also the case when selling or swapping in your iPhone, gifting it to a friend, or replacing a stolen iPhone. Since you can always recover your phone from a previous copy, this isn’t strictly irreversible. Read our tutorial on how to erase all content and settings from your iPhone if that becomes necessary., which also includes a breakdown of the reset options found in Settings > General > Reset.
The iPhone can be gently restored by simply shutting it off. Soft resets are preferred over factory resets because they preserve all of your data and do not wipe your phone clean.
When your iPhone is operating slowly, an app isn’t launching or isn’t functioning as expected, or you’re having a small issue but your iPhone is still responding, a gentle restart may be in order. On the X, 11, 12, 13, and 14 generation iPhones, a gentle restart is now accomplished by holding down two keys instead of one. You’re just going through the motions of shutting off your phone.
Step 1: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Lower volume button. On the iPhone X and later models, you’ll find the sleep/wake button on the right side of the phone.
Step 2: Rest your finger on the Slide to power off slider that appears, then swipe to the right.
Step 3: Once there is nothing on the screen and it goes black, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears to turn it back on.
Holding down the Sleep/wake button until the scale shows is the quickest way to power down an iPhone SE or an iPhone 8 or prior.
Alternatively, provided you have iOS 11 or later installed, you can go to Settings > General and scroll to the bottom, where you’ll find the Shut Down button. When you tap Shut down, you will see the Slide to Power off slider. You can then proceed to step 2 above.
A “force restart,” as Apple terms it, is another option for reset your iPhone. No critical information will be lost once again. If your iPhone is totally inactive, you should try a hard reset. For instance, you might experience problems starting up your iPhone, the screen might stop, or the iPhone might go dark even though it is turned on. How you accomplish a hard reboot on your iPhone is model-specific.
Force restart for iPhone 8 and later
All models of the iPhone 8, iPhone SE (2nd gen), iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14 can benefit from these instructions.
Step 1: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
Step 2: Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
Step 3: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until you see the Apple logo.
Force restart for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Press and hold the Sleep/wake and Volume down buttons until the Apple logo appears
Force restart for iPhone 6S or earlier and iPhone SE (2016)
Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together until the Apple logo appears.
What to do if a restart doesn’t work
You can attempt updating or restoring your phone if it is inactive or malfunctioning by activating recovery mode. There is an alternative, however, if you are stuck at the Apple emblem or your phone is otherwise unresponsive.
Although this may be your last resort in saving your phone, it will erase all of your data. If you’ve followed our instructions on backing up your iPhone before erasing it, you should be able to get your information back without too much trouble. How to go into the safe mode is explained here.
What to do if a restart doesn’t work for your iPhone 8 and later
Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. If you’re on a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, to reset your iPhone open a Finder window.
Step 2: Press and quickly release the Volume up button.
Step 3: Press and quickly release the Volume down button.
Step 4: Press and hold the Sleep/wake button until you see the recovery mode screen appear.
Step 5: In iTunes or Finder on your computer, choose to update or restore your device to begin resetting your iPhone.
The first thing you need to do is launch iTunes after you’ve plugged in your iPhone. To access the Finder on a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, simply launch it.
To enter restore mode, step two is to simultaneously press the sleep/wake and volume down buttons.
Third, start the restore process by selecting Update or Restore in iTunes or Finder on your computer.
Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes. If you’re on a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, open a Finder window.
Step 2: Press the Sleep/wake button + Home button simultaneously until you see the recovery mode screen appear.
Step 3: In iTunes or Finder on your computer, choose to Update or Restore your device to begin resetting your iPhone.
If your iPhone is acting up or you just want to give it a reset now and then, to reset your iPhone you can do so in a number of various methods. Depending on which iPhone type you have, the procedure may differ slightly, but it’s still straightforward. We’ve spelled out your options; however, before resorting to an update/restore, make sure you’ve tried a gentle reboot or a hard reload.