Annoying when the iPhone or iPad no longer turns on, even though it was still working properly until recently. The problem can have several causes. But before you write off your iOS device as a total failure and take it to the recycling center or better to the Apple Store, there are still a number of measures that can help you. It doesn’t have to be a new iPhone or iPad – after all, Apple also takes back or trades in defective old devices.
But do not immediately throw in the towel, because the reasons for the alleged defect can be harmless and can be fixed with some simple measures. The battery may simply be deeply discharged or there may have been a problem with the last update. Less common are cases where iOS maintenance updates knock out certain devices; in 2019, the update to iOS 13 knocked out some devices. So, don’t panic if your iPhone or iPad doesn’t work and lies like a brick in front of you, there may be a spark of digital life in the device after all. Here’s how to proceed in detail:
1. iPhone no longer turns on: Charge it first
What sounds banal at first is the most common reason for non-functional iPhones and iPads to fail: The battery simply has too little charge. Especially the batteries of older and over time heavily stressed devices can stop working earlier than expected and discharge completely. Therefore, connect the iPhone to the charger and wait at least ten minutes until you try to turn it on again. It needs enough energy for the start, before that it will not react on pressing the power button. However, it is possible that the battery is undercharged because the charger and/or cable are defective. So try it with another plug and another cable, especially if they have visible damage. We also know of a few cases where a dirty Lightning jack prevented charging from taking place. If necessary, you can borrow the hardware for this purpose; the nearest Apple Store will certainly be able to help you in this regard. This is the one you need to visit anyway if you can be sure you’ve given the iPhone enough charge, but it still won’t turn on. Then there is possibly a hardware damage. However, if it starts recognizably after loading, but aborts the process at some point, you’re dealing with a software problem, which we’ll try to solve in the next steps.
2. iPhone no longer turns on: Reset
In itself, we already know this measure from the past, when the computer broke down or the TV or another electronic device: Switching off and on again often works wonders. Well, with the power on you have problems, but a measure that really completely shuts down the iPhone or iPad and restarts it is the reset.
To do this, on iPhone models up to and including iPhone 6S (Plus), press and hold the power button and the home button for about 5 to 15 seconds until the apple appears on the screen. Starting with the iPhone 7 (Plus), the button combination has changed, since the Home button is not a real button anymore. Instead, press the power button and the volume down button at the same time for the mentioned period of time and wait for the iPhone to finish booting up. Owners of iPhone X and newer will have to press a different key combination: On these devices, first press the Volume Up button, then the Volume Down button, and then press the button on the right side until you see the Apple logo.
The iPhone should always be connected to the charging cable in order to rule out battery problems, for example. Provided that everything is fine now, you do not need to read any further. But if your iOS device does not show the "apple screen" when booting up If the wipe comes out, you will need to restore it with the help of your Mac or PC to salvage what is still salvageable.
3. iPhone no longer turns on: Restore
If the measures up to this point have not helped, you can try wiping the iPhone using iTunes and setting it back up again. Starting with macOS Catalina the same procedure works with Finder, but the options remain the same. Connect it to the Mac or PC via USB cable and start iTunes or Finder. First click on the icon of the device and then click on "Restore iPhone". The management software will first try to backup the data contained on the iPhone or iPad and just install a new firmware. After that, the program will ask whether it should restore the device from an existing backup or completely rebuild it – the second option may lead to the loss of data, but usually brings back a clean and bug-free iPhone. The process may take a few hours, during which you can consider what backups or copies you have stored your data in, because you should definitely have that done at some point.
A more rigid way of recovery succeeds when you put the iPhone into DFU mode. To do this, press the power button and the Home button at the same time when turning on the device and connect the device to Mac or PC on which iTunes or Finder is already started. As soon as you see an icon on the screen with a USB cable and an arrow pointing to the iTunes icon, you can loosen the grip. Restoring is then done in the manner described above.
For iPhone 8 and all newer models you have to turn off the connected device first. Now press and hold the power button on the right sides. After three seconds, additionally press the silent button and hold it down as well. After ten seconds, release the power button, and after another five seconds, also release the silent button. The screen should remain black.
4. iPhone no longer turns on: Use another Mac or PC
If DFU mode on your computer doesn’t help either, you should try again on another Mac or PC. Possibly a driver conflict prevents the recovery, which does not occur again on the other machine.
5. iPhone no longer turns on: Back to the old iOS
This measure is only possible if your problem occurred after the installation of a maintenance update and only as long as the signature for the old system is valid. As a rule, this expires a few days after the release of an iOS update. In theory, this should happen right away, but there have been repeated problems with updates in the past, so Apple will only bury the return path after a few days or a few weeks, when it is certain that the new iOS version does not contain any general bugs or those that occur in more than just isolated configurations. But to get back to an old iOS version at all, you have to reset the system in the form of a .have ipsw file on your computer – as part of a previous backup in the folder
/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates . Of course you can also look for .google ipsw files, but these are not always trustworthy.
6. iPhone won’t turn on: Search online for help
Sometimes the situation is tricky, for example in spring 2016, when a maintenance update put certain devices out of action. These were iPhones and iPads with Touch ID that had been repaired by third parties, but due to a security measure by Apple, they refused to work and only displayed error 53. The manufacturer has this specific problem under control by now, but in future emergencies it doesn’t hurt to search online if others also know this problem. Sometimes the solution is just another click away, but sometimes it can take a few days to find the cause and the solution.
7. iPhone no longer turns on: Replace and replace
If nothing helps, the only thing left to do is to make an appointment at the Apple Store or to contact the manufacturer’s support via chat or phone. If it is a warranty case, Apple has to give a new device after three unsuccessful repair attempts at the latest – according to a ruling, a refurbished one is not enough . If the iPhone or iPad is already a bit older, you will have to dig into your pocket for repair and/or replacement. At the nearest Apple Store, you’ll find out the details and then be able to decide if the repair is still worth it. In case of doubt, however, they have so many devices lying around in the Apple Store that they sell some..
Before you go to the nearest Apple Store, you can clarify the situation with the Apple employee in advance. In the support area, Apple has set up a special form for such cases. Select your device on the support page, then the direction of the repair, in this case "Battery and power supply", on the lower side the searched option "The iPhone doesn’t turn on anymore" appears. After the click, the user still has the choice of what to do next: send the device for repair right away, chat with the employee or make a phone call.
8. iPhone no longer turns on: Recycling at Apple
Tried everything, nothing helps? The Genius in the Apple Store looks at you helplessly or the advisor of the 2nd level support at the Apple hotline is at his wit’s end? Then you have to face the fact: iPhones and iPads can also break down. The garbage can is the wrong place for disposal, the recycling center of the municipality is only slightly better. Ideally, take the defective iPhone back to where you got it: the Apple Store. Because Apple not only takes back old devices free of charge, but can also do something with them. In the spring of 2017, the company set itself the lofty goal of sourcing all the raw materials needed for iPhone production as recycled materials in the medium term. Admittedly, it’s still a long way, but the destination is gradually coming into sight. Today, Apple uses aluminum that was once iPhone or iPad to build new phones. For completely defective old devices, however, you do not even get credited with Apple when buying new, the environment will thank you if you return the electronic waste, which was expensive state-of-the-art technology a few years ago, back to the manufacturer.