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iPhone Won’t Turn On? Here’s Why & How to Fix It

iPhone won’t turn on? Did it die after an iOS update or does it keep restarting? The good news is that, in many cases, you can turn your iPhone back on in a few simple steps. Here are five reasons why your iPhone won’t turn on, how to fix it and what it costs.

Jump to: Dead Battery | Overheating | Software Glitch | Corrupted Firmware | Hardware Issue | Is It Worth Fixing?

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1. Dead battery

A dead battery is the most obvious reason why an iPhone won’t turn on, so make sure yours is charged to rule that out first. If your iPhone won’t charge or turn on, visually inspect the lightning cable, power adapter and wireless charging pad for visual damage. They might need to be replaced. If they don’t appear to be damaged, try a different outlet or a friend’s charger to verify that yours isn’t faulty.

If the battery still won’t charge, you might need to replace it. iPhone battery replacement costs range between $10 and $69, depending on whether you do it yourself (difficult) or take it to a repair shop (easy). If your iPhone is under warranty or you have insurance, you might be able to get a free battery replacement.

Dead iPhone battery replacement guide: DIY or hire it out?

2. Overheating

When iPhones overheat, they go into a low power state to protect internal components from damage. Normally, the screen displays a message that reads, “Temperature: iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it.” However, the display can go completely black (Apple), which looks like the phone is shut off and won’t start.

If your iPhone might have overheated, place it in a room-temperature location and wait 15 to 30 minutes to see if that resolves the problem.

3. Software glitch

A glitchy app or software can cause your iPhone to freeze, display a black screen, or make your iPhone crash or hang during startup. You can try a forced restart (hard reset) or an iPhone update recovery if this occurs.

Forced restart (hard reset)

iPhone 8 to iPhone 13

  • Press and release the volume up button
  • Press and release the volume down button
  • Press and hold the side button until the Apple logo displays

iPhone 7 or 7 Plus

  • Press and hold the side button and volume down button until the Apple logo displays

iPhone SE, iPhone 6s and earlier iPhones

  • Press and hold both the home button and side/top button until the Apple logo displays

iPhone update recovery

  • Use the lightning cable to connect your iPhone to a computer
  • Open Finder or iTunes and select your iPhone
  • Perform a hard reset on your iPhone
    • iPhone 8 and more recent models: Press and release volume up, then volume down, then hold the side button
    • iPhone 7 or 7 Plus: Press and hold both the side button and volume down button
    • iPhone SE, 6s and earlier models: Press and hold both the home button and side/top button
  • Hold the button(s) until the recovery mode screen displays
  • Select “Update”

If your iPhone will turn on, it’s good to uninstall any apps you no longer use and update those you want to keep. Check your iPhone error logs for clues about problematic apps.

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Check iPhone error logs

  • Browse to SETTINGS > PRIVACY > ANALYTICS & IMPROVEMENTS
  • Tap ANALYTICS DATA

The error logs, also known as panic logs, are probably difficult to decipher for non-programmers, but you might notice a given app mentioned multiple times. Try updating or uninstalling it to see if it prevents future problems. Error logs can also lend insight into hardware failures, as described in the following video.

Update all iPhone apps

  • Open the App Store on your iPhone
  • Tap your profile
  • Scroll down to “pending updates and release notes”
  • Tap “Update All”

Uninstall an iPhone app

  • Browse to SETTINGS > GENERAL > IPHONE STORAGE
  • Scroll down and select the app
  • Tap either Offload App or Delete App

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4. Corrupted firmware

Corrupted firmware can be why your iPhone won’t turn on, especially if the problem started after an iOS update. You can try an iPhone recovery restore. If that doesn’t work, a Device Firmware Update (DFU) might fix it – but it won’t work if your iPhone is jailbroken.

iPhone recovery restore

  • Use the lightning cable to connect your iPhone to a computer
  • Open Finder or iTunes and select your iPhone
  • Perform a hard reset on your iPhone
    • iPhone 8 and more recent models: Press and release volume up, then volume down, then hold the side button
    • iPhone 7 or 7 Plus: Press and hold both the side button and volume down button
    • iPhone SE, 6s and earlier models: Press and hold both the home button and side/top button
  • Hold the button(s) until the recovery mode screen displays
  • Select “Restore”

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iPhone DFU Mode

DFU Mode is the last thing you should try before resorting to a factory reset because, like a factory reset, it will erase your data. Getting into DFU Mode can prove tricky, so follow these instructions precisely (note that these steps apply to iPhones with Face ID).

  • Use the lightning cable to connect your iPhone to a computer
  • Open Finder or iTunes and select your iPhone
  • Press and release volume up
  • Press and release volume down
  • Hold the side button for 10 seconds but do not release it. The display should go black
  • While holding the side button, press and hold the volume down button
  • Release the side button after 5 seconds, but continue to hold the volume down button
  • Release the volume down button after 10 additional seconds

If you do it correctly, your iPhone screen will stay black, but a new message should pop up on your computer indicating that your iPhone is in recovery mode and must be restored. Click “Restore,” allow the process to complete, then see if your iPhone will turn on normally.

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Factory reset

If nothing else has worked or you aren’t comfortable with DFU Mode, you can reset your iPhone to factory settings. This will erase all data, so hopefully, you have an iCloud or iTunes backup.

  • Use the lightning cable to connect your iPhone to a computer
  • Open Finder or iTunes and select your iPhone
  • Look in the General tab under Software, then click “Restore”
  • Follow the on-screen prompts to reset your iPhone to factory settings

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5. Hardware issue

If you’ve tried everything and your iPhone still won’t turn on, you might have a hardware issue caused by:

  • Physical damage
  • Water damage
  • Failed components

Potential culprits include failed batteries, power buttons, charging ports and logic boards (what Apple calls a motherboard). In addition, a faulty screen can mimic an iPhone that won’t turn on.

iPhone water damage repair: 3 options & what they cost

Repair costs depend on:

  • Your iPhone model
  • The part that needs to be fixed or replaced
  • Repair method (do-it-yourself, insurance claim or professional repair shop)

If your iPhone is still under warranty, you might be able to get it fixed for free. If it’s not under warranty or has physical damage, you’ll probably need to pay to fix it. Here are some example repair prices for when an iPhone won’t turn on. Click the links for additional information about each type of iPhone repair.

Repair DIY Insurance Claim Professional Repair Shop
Battery $10 – $40 $0 – $250 $49 – $69
Charging Port $5 – $100 $99 – $250 $79 – $599
Power Button $0 – $23 $99 – $250 $69 – $599
Screen $45 – $280 $29 – $149 $119 – $520
Water Damage $0 – $10 $99 – $250 $45 – $599

Is it worth repairing?

Should you fix an iPhone that won’t turn on or sell it broken? You can base your decision on how much your iPhone is worth broken versus repaired, especially if you plan to upgrade soon.

iPhone power button repair cost: 4 options compared

Start by calculating your iPhone’s net value after repair. You can look up current values on Flipsy.

For example, at the time of this writing, an iPhone 11 64GB on the Verizon network was worth $278 in good condition. Here’s a breakdown of its net value after two different types of repairs, based on Apple’s repair pricing.

iPhone 11 Value – Cost of Repair – Net Value After Repair

Repair Value (good condition) – Repair Cost = Net Value After Repair
Battery $278 $69 $209
Charging Port $278 $399 -$121

Next, compare the net value after repair to what your iPhone is worth in broken condition. At the time of this writing, a broken iPhone 11 64GB on the Verizon network was worth $171.

iPhone 11 Net Value After Repair VS Broken Value

Repair Net Value After Repair Value Broken
Battery $209 $171
Charging Port -$121 $171

As you can see, our example iPhone will have more value after a battery replacement than it does broken. However, you’d lose total value if you have Apple repair your charging port (though you might be able to get the repair completed for less through insurance or an independent repair shop).

Of course, your decision depends not only on the net value but also on how long you plan to keep your iPhone. If you are going to hold on to it for a few years, it’s probably cheaper to repair it than to buy a new iPhone.

How Much Is a Broken iPhone Worth? Find Out ›

If you plan to upgrade soon and trade it in, it’s worth comparing your options to see if you’ll get more value after repairing or selling it broken.

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