My iPhone won't turn on. How do I save a bricked iPhone? (Or an iPad or iPod that won't switch on, for that matter?)
Have you got an iPhone, iPad or iPod that refuses to turn on or appears to be 'bricked'? There's a good chance that your iOS device is still fundamentally functional, but you just need to use some gentle persuasion to wake it up. Although there are some more awkward situations you may run into: such as an interrupted iOS installation - caused either by running out of battery or suffering a sudden malfunction due to a software bug. The iPad 2, for instance, has been observed to fail to activate after the iOS 9.3 update.
In any case, there are several steps you can take to resolve the issue with your iPhone or iPad, and we'll work our way through those steps in this article. (If you've got problems with your Mac, on the other hand, read: 10 steps to take when your Mac won't start up.)
As a note: This is a guide to mysterious situations where an iOS device refuses to turn on as a result of problems unknown. If you're pretty sure what the matter is - if your device has fallen into water or overheated, for example, and no longer works - then we would recommend contacting Apple or visiting your local authorised Apple store. Read next: How to book an appointment with an Apple Genius Bar.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 1 – Charge your device
This step might seem extremely trivial to some, but if you have an old device that’s been sitting around or even has a degraded lithium battery, then there's a possibility that your iOS device is out of Apple juice.
To ensure that you’ve got enough battery power to switch on your iOS device, plug it into a wall charger and give it at least ten minutes to charge, before attempting to turn it on. This ensures the device has enough power to turn on. It could also be that your wall charger or even cable has decided to leave you powerless. You could pop into an Apple store or ask one of your friends or family members who might have a compatible charger to test if it really is your wall charger or cable.
If you know your device has been charged or is receiving charge but still fails to display anything, then your device might have a hardware problem. We would suggest going into an Apple store or contacting Apple.
If, however, your device now switches on but doesn't get past the Apple boot logo, follow the steps below.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 2 – Reset your device
How many times have you heard ‘have you tried switching it off and on again?’ – This principle is the default go-to for those stuck in a bootloop. Certain tech manufacturers are notoriously known for wiping your device upon replacing hardware components – this is why it’s always recommended to backup all your data before sending anything in for a warranty replacement.
A simple reset could solve your ‘bricked’ device and allow you to turn it on. To perform a simple reset, hold the power and home buttons simultaneously for 5-15 seconds. You should now be able to see the Apple logo. Make sure you give it 5-10 minutes to switch on and then proceed in using your device normally. To eliminate any battery related problems, perform a reset whilst having the device plugged into a power source.
If your device switches on, but then instantly switches off or refuses to get past the Apple logo after 10 minutes, then you might need to restore it. See the next step to see how to perform a reset.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 3 – Restore or enter DFU mode to restore
Your device turns on, but is having a lot of problems with iOS, you might need to restore it.
To restore simply plug it into your computer whilst having iTunes open. Through the software, you’ll be able to select the device you've plugged in and click the 'Restore' button. ITunes will attempt to retain all the data on your iOS device, whilst resetting its firmware. Once the procedure is complete it iTunes will ask you if you would like to restore from a previous backup. If you don't have an old backup, you'll have to set up your device as new - having a working device is better than none, so don't be too disheartened! The process can take several hours to complete, depending on the speed of your computer and iOS device, and even the amount of data that was on your device.
As a reminder, you should always back up important data in another location or use iCloud to save important pictures and contact information.
DFU mode should only be used to restore your device if you're having trouble switching on our iOS device. To enter DFU mode, ensure the device is switched off, which can be done by holding the home and power button as you did when trying to reset the device.
Once the device is off, press and hold the home button whilst connecting it to your computer with iTunes already open. When you see the USB cable with an arrow towards an iTunes logo, you can let go of the home button. Then proceed in following the restore solutions written above.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 4 – Try another PC
Are you unable to restore your device or enter DFU mode? It might be worth trying another computer with iTunes installed. It might yet again seem trivial, but sometimes there's a conflict or even a driver problem which prevents your computer in recognising your iOS device. We understand this might be hard to do, but if you've got the means to try, then it’s certainly worth a go!
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 5 – Downgrade from your current iOS version
If you're able to restore, but your device is still causing you a headache, it might be that your device is either not compatible with the iOS version you've somehow tried to install or the latest iOS device seems to be causing you problems. For a full guide on how to downgrade, see our dedicated article: How to downgrade iOS.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 6 – Look online for help
The reason you’re here is because you’re looking for a resolution and if you’ve come this far in the guide and nothing has worked, then you might have an isolated issue. It therefore might be worth looking on forums or through a search engine to see if someone has the same problem as you. For example, the Error 53 issue was reported by a few users and as it caught on with a lot more people, users sought help online, resulting in Apple resolving the error in a firmware update. Read next: What is iPhone Error 53 and how do I avoid it?
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 7 – Book an Apple store appointment or contact Apple for a replacement
If all else fails, your next best bet is to book an appointment with Apple, as they will either be able to advise you on the problem or be available to offer you a replacement. If your device is old and out-of-warranty, you might have to pay a fee to have the device replaced by Apple. It is worth considering the cost of replacing your old device versus the cost of a replacement. Apple might even offer you a trade-in option, even though your device is malfunctioning. Read next: How to book an Apple appointment, visit the Genius Bar in the Apple Store.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 8 – Jailbreak your device
Having to pay for another device or a replacement not your cup of tea, but feel that you’ve still got a chance to get your device working again? You might want to jailbreak your device. This might seem outlandish, but just in case some third-party hardware is conflicting with your iOS device, then a jailbreak might unlock your device. There’s no guarantee, and you’ll need to access DFU mode. If you aren’t able to enter DFU mode, then scrap the prospect of jailbreaking your device to get it working again. We’ve got a dedicated article on the subject: How to jailbreak an iPhone or iPad in iOS 9.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: Step 9 – Sell your device or recycle it through Apple
Don’t want to pay for a replacement, thrown in the towel and looking to get a new phone anyway? Then you could always sell your iOS device on sites such as eBay as 'parts or not working'. Some lucky soul might be able to buy your device and salvage some components for their own device. No matter the age of your device, there’s always someone out there looking to buy replacement parts. Having a software-broken device, doesn’t mean the hardware is necessarily faulty. Read next: How to sell your iPhone.
Alternatively, if you feel it’s not worth your time selling the broken iOS device, you can always be environmentally conscious and recycle your device, through Apple directly.
How to unbrick an iPhone, iPad or iPod: User poll
Have you ever had troubles with your iOS device?