What to do when your iPhone or iPad won't turn on

Have you got an iPhone, iPad or iPod that refuses to turn on or appears to be ‘bricked’? There’s a good chance that your iOS device is still fundamentally functional, but you just need to use some gentle persuasion to wake it up.

In any case, there are several steps you can take to resolve the issue with your iPhone or iPad, and we’ll work our way through those steps in this article. (If you’ve got problems with your Mac, on the other hand, here’s 10 steps to take when your Mac won’t start up.)

As a note: This is a guide to mysterious situations where an iOS device refuses to turn on as a result of problems unknown. If you’re pretty sure what the matter is – if your device has fallen into water or overheated, for example, and no longer works – then we would recommend contacting Apple or visiting your local authorised Apple store.

Charge your device

9 steps to rescue a bricked iPhone, iPad or iPod that won't turn on: Charge

This step might seem extremely trivial to some, but if you have an old device that’s been sitting around or even has a degraded lithium battery, then there’s a possibility that your iOS device is out of Apple juice.

To ensure that you’ve got enough battery power to switch on your iOS device, plug it into a wall charger and give it at least ten minutes to charge, before attempting to turn it on. This ensures the device has enough power to turn on.

It could also be that your wall charger or cable has decided to leave you powerless. You could pop into an Apple store or ask one of your friends or family members who might have a compatible charger to test if it really is your wall charger or cable.

If you know your device has been charged or is receiving charge but still fails to display anything, then your device might have a hardware problem. We would suggest going into an Apple store or contacting Apple.

If, however, your device now switches on but doesn’t get past the Apple boot logo, follow the steps below.

Reset your device

9 steps to rescue a bricked iPhone, iPad or iPod that won't turn on: Power Button

How many times have you heard ‘have you tried switching it off and on again?’ – This principle is the default go-to for those stuck in a bootloop.

A ‘soft’ reset could fix your ‘bricked’ device and allow you to turn it on. To perform a simple reset, hold the power and home buttons simultaneously for 5-15 seconds. You should now be able to see the Apple logo.

Make sure you give it a few minutes to switch on and then proceed in using your device normally. To eliminate any battery related problems, perform a reset whilst having the device plugged into a power source.

If your device switches on, but then instantly switches off or refuses to get past the Apple logo after 10 minutes, then you might need to restore it. See the next step to see how to perform a reset.

Restore or enter DFU mode to restore

Your device turns on, but is having a lot of problems with iOS, you might need to restore it.

To restore simply plug it into your computer whilst having iTunes open. Through the software, you’ll be able to select the device you’ve plugged in and click the ‘Restore’ button. It’s recommended that you back up your iOS device before restoring it, but it’s not a required step.

Once the procedure is complete, iTunes will ask you if you would like to restore from a previous backup. If you don’t have an old backup, you’ll have to set up your device as new – having a working device is better than none, so don’t be too disheartened! The process can take several hours to complete, depending on the speed of your computer and iOS device, and even the amount of data that was on your device.

As a reminder, you should always back up important data in another location or use iCloud to save important pictures and contact information.

9 steps to rescue a bricked iPhone, iPad or iPod that won't turn on: Error 53

DFU mode should only be used to restore your device if you’re having trouble switching on our iOS device. To enter DFU mode, ensure the device is switched off, which can be done by holding the home and power button as you did when trying to reset the device.

Once the device is off, press and hold the home button whilst connecting it to your computer with iTunes already open. When you see the USB cable with an arrow towards an iTunes logo, you can let go of the home button. Then proceed in following the restore solutions written above.

Read next: iPad mini 2 review | iPad mini 4 review | iPad Pro 9.7in review | iPad Air 2 review | iPad Pro 12.9in review

Try another PC

Are you unable to restore your device or enter DFU mode? It might be worth trying another computer with iTunes installed. It might yet again seem trivial, but sometimes there’s a conflict or even a driver problem which prevents your computer in recognising your iOS device. We understand this might be hard to do, but if you’ve got the means to try, then it’s certainly worth a go!

Book an Apple store appointment or contact Apple for a replacement

If all else fails, your next best bet is to book an appointment with Apple, as they will either be able to advise you on the problem or be available to offer you a replacement. If your device is old and out-of-warranty, you might have to pay a fee to have the device replaced by Apple.

It is worth considering the cost of replacing your old device versus the cost of a replacement. Apple might even offer you a trade-in option, even though your device is malfunctioning. Not sure how? Here’s how to book an Apple Genius Bar appointment.

Sell your device or recycle it through Apple

Don’t want to pay for a replacement, thrown in the towel or looking to get a new phone anyway? Then you could always sell your iOS device on sites such as eBay as ‘parts or not working’. Some lucky soul might be able to buy your device and salvage some components for their own device.

No matter the age of your device, there’s always someone out there looking to buy replacement parts. Having a software-broken device, doesn’t mean the hardware is necessarily faulty. Read next: How to sell your iPhone.

How do I unbrick my iPhone, iPad or iPod - Recycle

Alternatively, if you feel it’s not worth your time selling the broken iOS device, you can always be environmentally conscious and recycle your device through Apple directly.