It's now been a few years since Apple introduced the iPhone X back in 2017. Since then we have had the iPhone XS generation, the iPhone 11, the iPhone XR and now we have the iPhone 12 series, all of which have sported full screens at the expense of the Home button. 

It's the lack of Home button that can make these terrific phones intimidating for newcomers. The removal of the Home button means that simple functions - like returning to the home screen - are assigned to unfamiliar gestures or button combinations.

In this article we explain how to do one of the simplest functions of all: turning the iPhone off. By default, iPhones 'go to sleep' after a specified amount of inactivity in order to save battery life. (You can change this in Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock.) But even when your iPhone is asleep, it still uses up battery power - not an ideal situation if you're away from home and need to conserve power.

You might be wondering why you would want to turn off your iPhone. One reason why you might want to turn off your iPhone is because it's started running slowly or performing strangely. Turning off your iPhone can free up memory too. We discuss how to fix a slow iPhone here and how to clear iPhone cache here

For more general advice about using an iPhone without a Home button, see How to use the iPhone 12, 11 and XR. And for other iOS devices, see How to turn off an iPad.

How to turn off an iPhone 12, 11, XR, XS & X

iPhones with Home buttons are turned off by pressing and holding the power button (sometimes referred to as the Side button) until a power-off slider appears. But try doing that on an iPhone XS and you'll trigger Siri instead.

This is because on the iPhones that don't have a Home button you can't trigger Siri by pressing the Home button, so Apple moved that functionality moved to the Side button.

So, how can you power off your iPhone 12, 11, or earlier?

iPhone 12

To switch off your Face ID iPhone you need to remember this combination to button presses:

  1. Press and hold a volume switch.
  2. Now press and hold the Side button.
  3. Your iPhone should now show you the power off slider. You can swipe this to turn off your iPhone.

We often find that if we use the above key combo we end up just making our phone go to sleep, or we take a screen shot, which can be frustrating, so we prefer to follow these steps to shut down our iPhone:

  1. Press the up volume switch.
  2. Press the down volume switch.
  3. Now press and hold the Side button.
  4. Your iPhone should now show you the power off slider. You can swipe this to turn off your iPhone.
  5. To turn the iPhone back on press and hold the Side button again.

How to turn off an iPhone SE, 8, 7 and older

iPhones with Home buttons are turned off by pressing and holding the power button (sometimes referred to as the Side button) until a power-off slider appears.

  1. Hold down the power button for around 3 seconds until you see a 'slide to power off' message.
  2. Slide the power icon to the right to power off your iPhone or iPad.
  3. The screen should go black and display a small progress wheel. After a few seconds, your device will power down.
  4. To turn the iPhone back on press and hold the Side button again.

How to force-restart an unresponsive iPhone

While the above tutorial explains how to turn off any iPhone, the iOS device needs to be responsive to activate the shutdown menu. But what happens if your device is completely unresponsive and still needs to be shut down properly? You'll need to perform what's known as a 'hard reset' or a force restart.

While this shouldn't be your go-to method for shutting down your iPhone or iPad, sometimes it's just what is needed.

iPhone 6S and older

  • Hold down both the power button and home button for 10 seconds, until the screen goes black and displays the Apple logo.

iPhone 7

  • Hold the power button and the volume down button (instead of the Home button). This is because the Home button on these phones is software-controlled and probably won't be responsive in the event of an iOS crash.

iPhone 8 and newer

For the iPhone 8 and later, you should follow these steps (as above):

  1. Press the up volume switch.
  2. Press the down volume switch.
  3. Now press and hold the Side button.
  4. Your iPhone should now show you the power off slider. You can swipe this to turn off your iPhone.

Wondering which iPhones have a home button? Read: Which iPhones have Touch ID?