iPhone Frozen Screen

iPhone Frozen Screen

Alisha C and 3 contributors
Last updated on

We've all been there. You're in the middle of doing something important—writing an urgent e-mail, digging for a specific photo or eyeballs deep in research. But your phone locks up. In a fit of desperation you start mashing your fingers on the screen, shaking it and pressing any button you can to try and elicit a response. But nothing works. Luckily, there are much more effective things you can try to get yourself back up and running.

If your phone is frozen on the Apple logo, head over to the Stuck on Apple Logo page which addresses this more specifically.

Before undertaking any of the more time consuming solutions below, these are a few fundamentals to give a go.

  • Perform a force restart. This could clear any minor software hiccups and is the most common fix for this issue.
  • Plug your phone in and be patient. It may be there is a particularly heavy task the phone is cranking through, forcing everything else to slow to a crawl.
  • If the issue is only occurring in a single app, close that app, check it for updates, or reinstall it to try and resolve the issue.
  • Verify the issue is that the phone is frozen. A non-functional touch screen can be easily mistaken for a frozen device..
    • If the phone is frozen, volume or lock buttons may not work, time will not advance, and the battery would not indicate it is charging when plugged in. If it seems like the phone is otherwise functional, check out the iPhone Touch Screen Not Working page instead.

Causes

1

Getting warnings that your device is low on storage? It’s easy to ignore, but computerized devices also need some free space to operate properly. Think of it like your sock drawer. You can squish any number of additional pairs of socks in, but eventually your drawer will stop closing. It’s possible your phone is in this “can no longer function as intended,” state.

  • Try the force restart steps outlined at the beginning of this page again. A few times even. If you’re lucky, this may allow enough function to get in and clear out some of the five hundred blurry pictures of your puppy chasing a paper bag around the yard.
  • If this doesn’t work, ultimately you’re going to need to reset your device. Especially if you have gotten recent low storage warnings. If it’s not already in recovery mode, you’ll need to get it there and restore your device.
    • This may be the underlying fault if you have received errors 14, 78, or 1110 when processing an update in recovery mode.
2

During the course of using your phone, something in the ones and zeroes that makes it run might have been lost, or changed in a way that renders your device unusable. This is commonly a result of a botched update, an app which conflicts with functionality, or even a malicious piece of software.

To attempt to correct this, perform a reinstall of the operating system. If the phone is frozen, you'll likely need to get it into recovery mode to initiate this process.

  • Try an update first.
  • If the update is unsuccessful, time to assess the state of your backups. If you're certain you have a recent backup, or are willing to sacrifice your data to regain use of your phone, proceed to restore. This will erase any data presently on your phone.

If the update or restore fails with an error message, document it. Now might be a good time to visit the Answers forum, where you can get more personalized help. Be sure to mention the error message in your question!

3

NFC, or Near Field Communication is responsible for several things in the iPhone, but most notably it facilitates the transmission of payment data for Apple Pay. Certain types of NFC failures can result in the lock screen hanging on the final character. For example: if your password was 123456, it would allow you to type in all six numbers, but would stick on the screen where it would normally unlock.

  • It's likely its presence is necessary during the initial handshake to unlock the phone.
    • This symptom in older iPhones (those with Touch ID) typically means the NFC chip on the logic board is physically damaged. A heavy drop could crack it, causing this sort of symptom.
    • iPhone X and newer began the inclusion of a two tiered logic board. The NFC chip moved to the bottom board. In these phones this sort of hang on the passcode can indicate a separation between the two boards.
  • Correcting this issue will require microsoldering skills to repair, even if you diagnose it correctly. You can replace your logic board if that is not an option.

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