iPhone Frozen? Here’s What to Do If Your iPhone Keeps Freezing

No one wants to deal with a frozen iPhone; the darn thing needs to just work! But now and again, whether due to an older device such as the iPhone 6 or thanks to a new iOS update, sometimes the iPhone freezes. We’ll cover what to do when just one app is freezing on iPhone and what to do when your entire iPhone is frozen. If your iPhone keeps freezing with iOS 11, we’ll also offer some short-term solutions that should help until Apple finally fixes the latest iOS update problems. But first, we’ll cover how to unfreeze your iPhone since you’ll need to do that before any of the other troubleshooting tips. Let’s jump in. Here’s what to do when your iPhone keeps freezing.

Related: iOS 11 Draining Your iPhone Battery Life? Here's 10 Ways to Fix It

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How to Unfreeze an iPhone? Hard Restart

A hard restart will power down your iPhone and give it a fresh start. But any active underlying issues causing your iPhone to freeze will probably still be there. However, if your iPhone is frozen and clearly not going to unfreeze on its own, a hard restart is the answer.

How to Hard Restart iPhone X & iPhone 8

  • Quickly press and release the Volume up button.
  • Quickly press and release the Volume down button.
  • Tap and hold the Sleep/Wake button, which Apple is now referring to as the Side button, until the display shuts off. This will take about ten seconds.
  • Continue holding the Side button until your display lights back up with the Apple logo that shows it’s powering on.

How to Hard Restart iPhone 7 or 7 Plus

  • Press and hold both the down Volume button and Sleep/Wake (aka Side) button until the display shuts off.
  • Continue holding until your screen lights back up and the Apple logo appears.

How to Hard Restart iPhone 6s or Earlier

  • Press and hold both your Home button and the Sleep/Wake button until the display shuts off.
  • Continue holding until your screen lights back up and the Apple logo appears.

When Just an App is Frozen; How to Restart It

If your entire iPhone isn’t frozen and it’s simply a single app that freezes, double tap your Home button to open the App Switcher. Then swipe up on the app that’s frozen to close it. You can then re-open the app. But if it consistently freezes, you may want to either delete the app or report the constant freezing to the developers so it can be resolved in a future update.

On iPhone X, you'll need to open the App Switcher by swiping up from the bottom of the screen about a quarter of the way. Then let go and the App Switcher will open. Tap and hold an app. Red circles will appear in the upper left corners of each app, tap them to close an app.

As a Precaution, Back Up Your iPhone

Before we move forward with any troubleshooting tips for getting your iPhone to stop freezing, it’s recommended you create a backup for your iPhone. That way, if you need to restore your iPhone isn’t no problem. Or if the freezing issue gets worse, you have a recent backup to recover once the issue has been fixed. We’ve covered how to back up your iPhone in both iTunes and iCloud; check out the articles below:

Tips for Troubleshooting an iPhone That Keeps Freezing

Have You Updated to a New iOS Recently?

First-thing-first, have you recently update to iOS 11 on your iPhone? If your iPhone is freezing because of iOS 11, I would take all of the following steps that you want to. But if iOS 11 is the problem, your absolute best bet is to ride it out. I know that sucks; but if the software running on your device is the issue, everything you do will most likely be a temporary fix.

If the reason your iPhone is freezing is because of a recent iOS update, I highly recommend closing all apps and looking for the problem in analytics (see below), but I wouldn’t reset Settings or even go through the trouble of restoring your device (unless it’s so bad that you’re ready to try anything).

Apple will fix the issues associated with iOS 11 on iPhone; it’s just going to take longer than anyone wants it to. I promise the company is working on it. Definitely keep your eyes and ears open for any new updates such as iOS 11.4 that tackle the iPhone freezing issue.

Completely Close All Applications

A computer running a lot of programs is more likely to freeze and the same goes for iPhone. Especially if you have Background App Refresh on, your iPhone is doing a lot of work in the background for all of your open apps. Let’s close them all and free up some memory for your phone.

  • Double click your Home button to open the App Switcher
  • On iPhone X, you’ll need to open the App Switcher by pressing into the screen at the bottom and swiping up to the middle; then a card will appear to the left letting you know you’ve successfully entered the App Switcher. Let go of the screen.

  • Swipe up on every app to close them all completely.

See If You Can Spot the Problem in Analytics

It’s possible that a single app is causing the bulk of your iPhone freezing problems. You can look at the the analytics your iPhone has collection by:

  • Opening Settings.
  • Selecting Privacy.
  • Tapping Analytics and selecting Analytics Data.

Here there will be a long list with most of what you see being gibberish to your eyes. But go the latest on the list and see if anything lists an app next to LatestCrash. That may be a sign that something is going amiss with that particular app or service. If you find helpful information here, consider either deleting that app or leaving it closed until it gets a new update.

Try Resetting All of Your Settings

While this isn’t ideal, it’s a good step to take if you’re pretty sure that your iPhone freezing has nothing to do with your downloaded third-party apps. Resetting your settings on iPhone will help return your iPhone to default settings without touching your data.

  • Open Settings.
  • Select General.
  • Scroll down and tap Reset.

  • Tap Reset All Settings.
  • Enter your passcode to confirm.

Last Resort: Restore iPhone

Make sure you have a recent backup before restoring your iPhone. As long as you have that recent backup, you won’t lose anything when restoring your iPhone. Restoring your iPhone is a bit of a pain but I think it’s more nerve-wracking than anything. To restore your iPhone:

  • I repeat, make sure you make a recent backup first!
  • Open Settings, select General, and tap Reset.
  • Tap Reset to Factory Settings.
  • Select Erase All Content and Settings.

  • Once your iPhone goes through the process of deleting everything off of your iPhone, it will power down and power back up as though it were a brand new device.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to setup your iPhone. When it comes time to restore your device from a backup, choose either iTunes or iCloud backup restore, depending on how you created the backup.
  • Once your iPhone has been restored with the backup, it should be exactly the same as before the restore, with hopefully a lot less iPhone freezing problems.

Contact Apple Support or Visit a Store

Last but not least, if all of this doesn’t help the iPhone freezing problems you’re having, you should consider simply going into an Apple store and asking for help at the Genius Bar. Alternatively, you can contact Apple Support online.

Top image credit: guteksk7 / Shutterstock.com
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Conner Carey holds a bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and resides in Fairfield, Iowa. When she's not writing, you can find her singing jazz or watching anime. Her personal blog can be found at connerleecarey.com; you can also follow her on twitter @connerleecarey.