In this tutorial we show you how to restart and reboot an iPhone or iPad. This can be an effective solution if your iDevice has frozen or slowed down, or is otherwise behaving oddly.

Sometimes your iPhone or iPad might have hung and become so unresponsive that even attempting to turn it off isn't registering. Even worse, it may be refusing to turn on. In that case, the best solution may be to force a restart or force-reboot and we will show you how to do that below.

Wondering whether you need to restart or reboot your iPhone? It's essentially the same thing, just a different word for "turning it off and on again". The stock response for any IT department looking to solve computer-related ills.

However, the way you restart or reboot depends a bit on the model of iPhone or iPad you have. We will explain the steps you need to take to turn off each generation of iPhone or iPad below.

And when it comes to force-rebooting things can get a lot more complicated if you have a newer model, as the iPhone 7 and 8 lack the physical home button used to force reboot older Apple devices. In fact, the new iPhone 8 has a particularly complicated method for force-rebooting, which we will outline below.

If your iPhone is from the iPhone 6 or earlier generation the process for force-restarting is really easy, you can skip to here to find out how to do it.

How to restart an iPhone or iPad

To switch off and restart your iPhone you need only to press and hold the power button which you will find on the side or the top of the iPhone depending on the age and size of your device (Apple moved the power button to the side when it introduced larger iPhone sizes with the iPhone 6). All iPads have the power button on top of the device.

  1. Press and hold the power button for a few seconds
  2. Wait until you see Slide to Power Off appear on your screen
  3. Swipe the Slide to Power Off slider
  4. Press the power button again and wait for your device to turn on
  5. You will have to enter your passcode at start up, even if you usually use a fingerprint for ID

If this doesn't work it may indicate that a force-restart is necessary. We will explain how to do this in the next step.

How to force-restart an iPhone or iPad

If your iPhone or iPad has become unresponsive, or it's shut it down and it won't turn on again, all is not lost. There is a feature on iOS devices that can be used when the normal modes of operation aren't working.

However, as we said above, the procedure depends on the age of the phone you are using.

As long as your device ISN'T an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, or an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, this is what to do to force your device to restart:

  1. Hold down the Home button (the one on the front of the iPhone or iPad) as well as the power button
  2. Keep both buttons held until the Apple logo appears
  3. Now let go of the buttons and wait while your device complete its start sequence
  4. Enter your passcode at start up, even if you usually use a fingerprint for ID

This is called a force-restart (or sometimes a hard reset), and should hopefully fix any issues you were having. If things are still not as they should be, then it might be a good idea to restore your iPhone from an old backup, as some of your files could be corrupted and causing the issue. Also read: How to fix an iPhone that won't turn on.

How to force-restart your iPhone 8

If you want to restart an iPhone 8 it's no longer as easy as it was in older models, and even more difficult than it was with the iPhone 7 generation. Apple has introduced a new, much more complicated, process.

This is what you need to do to force-restart your iPhone 8:

  1. Quickly press the release the volume up button
  2. Quickly press the release the volume down button
  3. Press and hold the Power button (on the other side) until you see the Apple logo
  4. Enter your passcode at start up, even if you usually use a fingerprint for ID

This should force your iPhone to restart.

How to force-restart an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 and its Plus-sized sibling were the first iPhones not to feature a physical home button. Like the newer iPhone 8, the 7-generation has a software-based haptic button that senses a press and buzzes to simulate a click rather than physically pressing down - because it's software, if the device has frozen it isn't able to recognise that you are pressing the home button. This meant that Apple needed to invent a new way to force restart that didn't involve the Home Button.

Apple's method to force-restart the iPhone 7 is as follows: 

  1. Press the power/lock key on the right side of the phone
  2. At the same time press and holding the volume down key on the left
  3. Wait for the Apple logo to appear (you may see the Slide to Power Off slider, but keep holding the side buttons while the iPhone skips this step), the phone will then go through its startup sequence
  4. Enter your passcode at start up, even if you usually use a fingerprint for ID

Take a look at the video below to see how it's done:

What to do if restarting your iPhone doesn't fix the problem

For bigger issues, you might find it necessary to reset your device to factory settings (we explain the process here). A factory reset means that your whole device will be wiped and the settings will return to the default setting that it left the factory with.

If even that doesn't solve the problem, a trip to the Apple Store is in order. Sadly, this often results in a fixed device but with all the data wiped clean, which makes it vitally important that you backed up your iPhone or iPad beforehand, either with iCloud or iTunes. With that safety net in place you can restore your device when it starts to have problems. Read about how to back up your iPhone or iPad here.