Even though we’ve spent years with the iPhone, and discovered countless tips and tricks to get the most out of it, it’s always good to remind ourselves of the phone’s basic functions and when it’s best to employ them. Something everyone needs to know is how to restart an iPhone. The steps needed to do so were exactly the same on every device up to until the iPhone 6S Plus, but things changed a little with the recent release of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
If you upgraded from a previous iPhone model to the iPhone 7, but have never needed to restart it, you may be at a loss as to how to actually begin the process. It’s not radically different from how it was before, but if you’re used to the old way and have attempted to use it on the iPhone 7, you’ll quickly realize it doesn’t work. Don’t worry, we’re here to explain how to restart your iPhone, when you should restart it, and how to force a restart when your phone is not responding. We’ll also lay out the differences between a restart, or a soft reset, and a factory reset.
How to restart your iPhone (soft reset)
The easiest way to restart your iPhone is basically the inverse of turning it on. This method is often referred to as a “soft reset,” meaning you won’t lose any data and nothing will be deleted from your phone. The best time to perform a soft reset is when your phone is running a bit slower than usual, an app isn’t opening or working properly, or some other relatively small problem has occurred, but your iPhone is still responsive.
- Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the “Slide to Power Off” slider appears. On the iPhone 6 and later models, you’ll find the Sleep/Wake button on the right side of the phone. On the iPhone SE, iPhone 5S, and earlier models, the Sleep/Wake button is found on the top.
- Rest your finger on the slider, then swipe to the right.
- Once there’s nothing on the screen and it goes black, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again, until the Apple logo appears.
How to force restart your iPhone
Another way to restart your iPhone is to do what Apple officially calls a “Force Restart.” Once again, no important data will be lost. A force restart is recommended when your iPhone is completely unresponsive. Examples of this include times when your iPhone’s screen turns black (despite it being powered on), the screen freezes , or your iPhone encounters an issue during startup.
The exact way to perform a force restart differs between older iPhone models and the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Instead of a traditional Home button, the newer iPhones have a Home/Touch ID sensor, which isn’t used to trigger a force restart.
On the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus:
- Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons until the Apple logo appears.
On the iPhone 6S and earlier:
- Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons together until the Apple logo appears.
What’s the difference between a soft reset, a force restart, and a factory reset?
Restarting your iPhone using the software option, or a soft reset, will not result in the loss of any data. The same is true of a force restart, which allows you to use the hardware keys to restart your iPhone when the touchscreen isn’t responsive. A Factory Reset is a completely different beast, however. It essentially reverts your iPhone back to the way it was when it first came out of the box — it wipes all content, settings, and personal information from the device.
We often recommend factory resetting your iPhone as a last resort if you’re having issues that you can’t solve, but it can also be used when you’re trading your iPhone in, giving it to a friend, or if the phone has been lost or stolen. It’s not a permanent process, however, since a previous backup can be used to restore everything that was once on your phone. If you need to perform a factory reset, read our guide on how to factory reset an iPhone, which also includes a breakdown of the reset options found in Settings > General > Reset.