iPhones might be beautifully crafted pieces of tech that many people regard as the pinnacle of smartphone design, but even they can run into problems.
Here are our top troubleshooting tips for all iPhone iterations. We’ll start by looking at some general troubleshooting tips, then focus on model-specific issues.
1. Restart Your iPhone
The number one cure for any tech aliment—iOS or Android, Windows or Mac, TV or printer—is to turn the device off and back on. Indeed, there are very few situations where a simple reboot shouldn’t be your first port of call.
The trick works because it resets the software into a stable state after an unexpected sequence of events caused something to break.
2. Update iOS
So a simple reboot didn’t fix your issue? Don’t worry.
Next, you need to make sure your iOS operating system is up-to-date. If you’re running an outdated version of iOS, certain apps and features might not be compatible (not to mention the security vulnerabilities this exposes you to).
To update iOS, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update.
3. Update Your Apps
If you’re having issues with a particular app, it’s worth making sure you’re running the latest version of it.
You can update apps manually via the App Store. Just tap on the Updates tab at the bottom of the app’s interface.
You can also tell apps to update automatically by heading to Settings > [Your Name] > iTunes and App Store. Under the Automatic Downloads section, slide the toggle next to Updates into the On position.
4. Force-Close an App
Sometimes an app’s instance will become unresponsive, causing it to freeze. It’s why you’ll often see a black screen if your camera app is malfunctioning.
Force-Close an App on iPhone X
To force-close an app on an iPhone X, swipe up from the bottom of the screen but leave your finger on the screen halfway up. The phone will launch the app switcher. Swipe up on an app card to close it.
Force-Close an App on iPhone 8 or Earlier
To force-close an app on an iPhone 8, double-press the home button to bring up the app switcher. Swipe left and right to find the app you want to close, then swipe up.
5. Reset Network Settings
Most connectivity issues can be solved by resetting your network settings. It’s easy to do. Head to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
Be warned: by performing this reset, you will lose any saved Wi-Fi passwords.
6. Reset All Settings
If you think an erroneous setting (rather than software or hardware) is the root of your problems, you can reset all phone settings without losing your data. Of course, you’ll need to put everything back the way it was afterward.
Head to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings to begin the process.
7. Factory Reset
If you need a nuclear option, you could factory reset your iPhone. It will return your device to its original state. Although this won’t cure hardware issues, it should solve most software and operating system problems.
To reset your iPhone, open Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. It’s also possible to reset your device using iTunes on a computer. Check out Apple’s guide for more details.
Note: Make sure you back up all your iPhone data before you perform a factory reset. You will irrecoverably lose any data you have not backed up.
8. Check Battery Usage
An iPhone’s battery life often isn’t great, especially if you’re a heavy user. However, if your device’s battery drains unusually quickly, you can try to identify the offending app.
To see which apps use the most juice, go to Settings > Battery. You can check the charts at the bottom to get a look at apps’ battery usage over a certain time frame.
9. Review Battery Health
Batteries can only tolerate a certain number of charge cycles before they start to deteriorate. If you’re running iOS 11.3 or later, you can now see your battery’s health. Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health to take a look.
10. Fix Bluetooth Issues
For a technology that’s so widely used, Bluetooth can act surprisingly finicky. If you’re having problems creating a Bluetooth connection between your iPhone and another device, there are a couple of fixes you can try.
Firstly, remove old devices that you no longer use. It can help to avoid conflicts. To unpair a device, go to Settings > Bluetooth > Info > Forget This Device.
Secondly, turn Bluetooth off and on again (sound familiar?). Swipe up from the bottom of the screen on an iPhone 8 or earlier (swipe down from the upper-right for iPhone X and later) to access the Control Center, and tap the Bluetooth icon to toggle it.
11. Fix HomeKit Issues
Some smart home devices are HomeKit-enabled, thus letting you control them from your iPhone using Siri.
If you HomeKit devices are not working as expected, make sure you’re logged into the correct iCloud account on both your iPhone and the devices themselves. If nothing else works, you can reset your HomeKit connections by going to Settings > Privacy > HomeKit > Reset HomeKit Configuration.
12. Check for Dirt
If you have problems charging your device, using the power and/or volume keys, or using the physical home button (on iPhone 8 and earlier), you should always check for dirt, dust, and other muck that might have built up under the buttons.
The best way to dislodge the dirt at home is to use a can of compressed air. We have a detailed guide on cleaning your iPhone that should help.
13. Revoke Background Permissions
If your device becomes overheated, you can’t use features such as the camera flash. In extreme cases, you might not be able to use your phone at all until it cools down.
Obviously, if you accidentally left your phone in the sun, it’s easy to identify the culprit. However, if it gets overheated on a regular basis during normal usage, a running background app could be to blame.
To prevent apps from running in the background, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and slide the toggles on a per-app basis as required.
14. Remove the SIM Card
If you’ve suddenly lost network signal unexpectedly, a dislodged SIM card could be your issue.
Thankfully, it’s easy to remove and reinsert the SIM. You just need a pin or paperclip to open the tray (because nobody keeps Apple’s specially-designed tool, right?).
15. Go to an Apple Store
If you can’t fix the issue yourself, it’s probably time to head to your local Genius Bar. If your device is under warranty or if you have Apple Care, the store will fix the device for free, even if it involves sending it away for repair.
iPhone X Troubleshooting Tips
Two problems unique to the iPhone X are accidental automatic emergency calls and green lines on the display.
You can disable the automatic emergency calls by going to Settings > Emergency SOS > Auto Call. If you’re suffering from the green line issue, you need to contact Apple Support.
iPhone 8 Troubleshooting Tips
The forced restart method changed on the iPhone 8. If you own one, you’ll need to press and release Volume Up, press and release Volume Down, then press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo.
Another issue that afflicted a lot of iPhone 8 devices was a swelling battery. If you have this problem, you’ll need to contact Apple for a replacement.
iPhone 7 Troubleshooting Tips
The most common iPhone 7 complaint is poor call quality. Apple has acknowledged the problem and offered a list of fixes. Here are the company’s suggestions:
- Check your phone is not on Silent mode.
- Make sure a case isn’t blocking the speaker.
- Restart your iPhone.
- Clean any dirt, dust, or debris out of the speaker.
- Make sure your speaker volume is set to the maximum.
It’s fair to say they’re not particularly helpful suggestions, but that’s Apple for you.
Anecdotally, some users said Verizon was to blame, so you could try changing carriers if you’re desperate.
iPhone 6 Troubleshooting Tips
A few people still use an iPhone 6. It’s the phone that was infamously “bendy”. So if you have one, be careful not to place it under physical stress.
That aside, the iPhone 6 was probably the worst iPhone model from a design standpoint:
- It was found to pull people’s hair out because of a tiny space between the screen and chassis (solution: don’t hold it too close to your ear).
- Users suffered Error 53 messages if they replaced the home button using a third party; it locked them out of their device (what right to repair?).
- The Plus model’s optical image stabilization system was defective.
- The touchscreen was prone to failure.
Almost all these issues were only resolved by taking your phone to an Apple Store.
iPhone Troubleshooting, Mastered
We’ve gone over fixes for the most common iPhone issues, plus tips for specific devices. Hopefully one of these helps you fix your issue; you’ll likely need to contact Apple Support if not.
For more iPhone troubleshooting, check out fixes for the most common iCloud issues.