In this tutorial we show 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 malfunctioning.

The way you restart or reboot depends a bit on the model you've got (and is a little more complicated if you've got a device with no Home button such as the iPhone 11 Pro or iPad Pro 2018). We will explain the steps you need to take to turn off and restart each generation of iPhone or iPad below.

What's the difference between restarting, force-restarting and rebooting?

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.

The difference is when we introduce the word "force", which is sometimes replaced by "hard". This does make it a different process.

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 a force-restart, also known as a hard reboot, and we will show you how to do that too.

How to restart an iPhone or iPad

To switch off and restart your device you need to press and hold the power button, which you will find on the right side or the top of an 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 and hold 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 restart an iPhone: Hold down power button

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.

The method required for this procedure depends on the model of iPad or iPhone you're using. It mainly revolves around whether you've got a Home button, and if so, whether it's a physical or 'taptic' button.

The iPhone 6s and earlier, for instance, have a physical Home button that moves downwards when you press it. The iPhone 7 and 8 have a Home button, but it's static - instead of moving downwards it vibrates to simulate a click, and does not function when the device is powered off. And the iPhone X, XS, 11 and 11 Pro, and the iPad Pro models from 2018, haven't got Home buttons at all.

Force-restarting an iPhone 6s, SE or earlier

Here's the basic method for forcing your device to restart. You'll need a physical Home button.

  1. Hold down the Home button (the one on the front of the iPhone or iPad) and the power button at the same time.
  2. Keep both buttons held until the Apple logo appears.
  3. Let go of the buttons and wait while your device completes its start sequence.
  4. Enter your passcode at startup. (You won't be able to use a fingerprint to log in.)

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.

Force-restarting 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. Instead it 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 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 or 7 Plus is as follows:

  1. Press and hold the power/lock key on the right side of the phone.
  2. At the same time press and hold 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 startup.

Take a look at the video at the top of the page to see how it's done.

Force-restarting an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, or any iDevice without a Home button

This method is for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and the devices that haven't got a Home button: the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, and the 2018 iPad Pros.

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

  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 startup.

This should force your iPhone to restart.

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. A factory reset means your whole device will be wiped and the settings will return to the default settings 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.