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Force Restart: how to hard reset a frozen iPhone or iPad

iPhones and iPads are pretty reliable devices, but everything fails from time to time. If you find yourself stuck with a frozen screen that won’t respond to the usual gestures or button presses, you may need to ‘force restart’ your device.

This is effectively a hard reset, a way to forcibly turn an iPhone or iPad off and on again. After a minute or so, you’ll be back at the lock screen. And don’t worry, force restarting won’t compromise your data – it’s not the same as restoring a device to factory settings.

The process is a little different depending on which model you’re using. Here’s how to force restart on every device currently in circulation.

Most iPhones

This is the standard force restart process, which works on all models from iPhone 8 up to the latest releases.

Quickly tap the Volume Up button followed by the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button (formerly known as the Power button) for several seconds until the Apple logo appears on a black background. You can now release the side button.

Older iPhones

The methods vary a little with older devices, but it’s still a simple process.

If you have an iPhone 7, hold the Volume Down and Power buttons together for around ten seconds, ignoring the “slide to power off” message that appears. The screen then goes black and the Apple logo appears.

If you have an older device or the first iPhone SE, instead press and hold the Home and Power buttons until the Apple logo appears.

iPads with no Home button

This is similar to the standard iPhone technique: quickly tap Volume Up, then Volume Down, then press and hold the Top button. Wait for the Apple logo to appear and release.

iPads with the Home button

If your iPad has one, press and hold the Home button and Top button at the same time. Wait for the Apple logo to appear and release.