iPhone Won’t Turn On or Wake Up?

by Michael on March 16, 2011 · 437 comments

Earlier this week, I had quite a scare with my iPhone 4. One minute it was working fine, and then all of a sudden it stopped. I pulled it out of my pocket, hit the “home” button to wake it up, and the screen flashed and then went black.


That was it. It had a full charge, but I couldn’t wake it up. I hit the home button. Nothing. I hit the power button. Nothing. I tried holding each of them down. Nothing. I plugged it into the wall. Nothing. I plugged it into my computer. Nothing.

Jailbreak = void warranty

It’s still well within the warranty period, so it wouldn’t be a huge deal, except… My iPhone is jailbroken, which technically voids the warranty. While it’s a simple thing to reset your iPhone to its factory settings, you can’t do that if you can’t get your phone to turn on.

I’ve actually been having some minor issues with a dark spot on my iPhone screen, so I didn’t mind making the 45 minute trip to the nearest Apple store to get it swapped out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t walk in with a jailbroken iPhone and expect them to help me.

How to get your iPhone to turn on

The good news is that I figured out how to get my iPhone to turn back on. After a bit of Googling, I tried holding down the home and power buttons simultaneously to reset my iPhone. I held them about 12 seconds before anything happened, but then the silver Apple icon appeared on the screen and it proceeded to boot up.

Once it booted up, I ran a quick sync to get everything backed up before putting it in recovery mode and resetting it to the factory settings. From there, it was just a matter of driving to the Apple Store to swap it out for a new handset with a fully functional display.

For what it’s worth, when I mentioned the difficulties getting my iPhone to turn on, the guy at the Genius Bar said that it was almost certainly a software issue. His advice was to reset my phone to the factory setting and then restore my data from the latest backup.

FYI: If the problem persists after restoring your phone, then it might be a corrupted file in your backup. In this case, you’ll need to sync you data instead of restoring from backup, and then manually re-set all of your preferences.


{ 437 comments… read them below or add one }

diane April 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Thank you very much. I had a similiar issue with my iphone 3. I saw some resetting stuff on utube, but I couldn’t get anything to come up. YOur trick of simulataneously holding the two buttons worked like a charm. I knew my phone was fully charged, but it was so weird that it just crashed. I love simple fixes like you recommended. Thank you again for your posting.

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Caroline May 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

This was really helpful, thank you. My iphone went blank and wouldn’t charge but your advice about holding the 2 buttons has done the trick. Cheers!

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Whitney May 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm

GAH! Thank you so much. I went to check the time on it and it wouldn’t turn on or anything and it wouldn’t work when I plugged it into anything either but this worked…I’m so relieved I thought it was done for.

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Kenni May 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Had the random “I dont WANT to turn back on” issue today, and your solution was the only one that worked. You’re a life saver.

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Lindsay May 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

Thank you so much.. the two buttons at the same time was a lifesaver!!

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a May 23, 2011 at 2:30 am

this is exactly what happened to my iphone4 just now and i can not get it to work! it’s not jailbroken, but i had a lot of numbers not in contacts and just in my text message folder and would rather have access to them. plus, it’s 3am and the apple store isn’t open. the two button reset is common on apple products but won’t work. the apple logo when i turned awhile ago popped on then froze on there. super!

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Paul Nolan June 1, 2011 at 8:28 am

Exact same thing just happened to me… a mere one day after jailbreaking my iphone 4. Thanks for the tip. Crisis averted. I’m in the process of unjailbreaking as we speak.

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Wendy June 9, 2011 at 12:59 am

Thank you! My husband’s iphone 4 just had this same issue.

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kyle June 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Thanks I was at church taking pictures when I pulled it out of my pocket and it wouldn’t turn on or anything and it had 62% charge, but it’s back working now thanks!

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KC June 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

It worked!!! Thank you!!!

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Amy June 17, 2011 at 6:57 am

I nearly had a heart attack when my phone quit. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to post this!!! :)

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Trace June 20, 2011 at 12:18 am

I had to hold the two about 20 secs, but thankfully it worked. Woo-hoo!!

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Grace June 30, 2011 at 8:04 am

Thank you!!! I nearly died this morning when the same thing happened to mine! I was on the train – it was working fine. I locked it, got off the train to check the bus schedule and it wouldn’t do a thing – nada. Got to work and put it on the docking station to charge – nada. Thankfully found your solution here and it worked! Phew!!

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kelly July 2, 2011 at 9:29 am

Thank you!! My husband is in Afghanistan right now so when my iPhone 4 suddenly went blank I about flipped out….this phone is my only link of communication to him! I tried everything and then googled the issue, finding your advice….worked like a charm!

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Ron July 2, 2011 at 9:38 am

Thanks for the advice, it worked for me as well. My phone was fully charged and then just went blank. Thanks again your advice restored my phone

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Caitlin July 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Thanks so much!!!

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Jenna July 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Thank you! Never would have thought of that! Saved me a trip to the apple store!!

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blackpawn July 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm

w00t! thanks a lot, this saved me $200 :)

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Jason July 12, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Thank you!!!! Lifesaver!!!

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courtney July 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm

thank you I thought my phone was broken!

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Josh July 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Thanks for the great information, saved me a long trip to the Apple store!

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Sylvia July 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

I really appreciate this!!! Thank you! I’ve had no problems with my phone until now, and with your tip, it came right back on! Phew!

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SB July 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Thanks – this was very helpful!

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Deb July 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Thank you so much for posting your tip. It worked like a charm and I did have to reload anything! You are a lifesaver!

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Berry July 22, 2011 at 12:57 am

Am having the same problem, yes the 2 click cutton simultaneously solve the problem. but, recently, it went black again, and after 2click button, the apple logo appear and it froze. when click 2button again, it requesting me to link into ITunes. major problem, my iphone is jailbreak and i never back up it. could someone advise, tq….

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Sarah July 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Omg I nearly had a heart attack. I seriously thought “I’m screwed. This sucks”. Why does that happen? Beats me. But I’m sooo glad I came across this! Thanks so much.

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nATALEE July 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm

so i jailbroke my iphone 4 through jailbreakme.com and it was fine for a month then it died and wont turn back on!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!

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Christine July 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Thanks for the advise to hold down home key with restart button – it worked on my old phone…. apple wanted $30 for a one time phone support – bogus – you saved the day!

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jonathan August 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

thanks a lot!!!! it made me nervous a bit. it worked.

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Kieran August 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Thank you so much! you saved me a trip to the verizon store!!!

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Brooke August 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

It worked for me too. When I went to bed it worked and when I woke up it wouldn’t turn back on, even though it was charged. Holding down the 2 buttons for around 12 seconds worked great. Now it seems to be just fine. Thanks!

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digi August 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for reminding me of this Apple trick! This worked like a charm for me, and I didn’t do a sync or restore. It’s been fine since.

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Jeff August 10, 2011 at 2:09 am

Thanks for the tip! Your trick worked. Held the 2 buttons and got it turned on and the battery was half charged.

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Luciano August 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Thanks a million. Real life saver.

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Michelle August 11, 2011 at 12:17 am

I appreciate you posting the restart method. Thanks a bunch!

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RICKVOHNS August 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm

thank you very much!!!! u just saved my life!!!!!

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Yasser August 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

My wife got depressed seeing the iP 4 not responding to anything staying with blank screen, it is not jail-broken .. I hit the googling and in 10 second + the 10 sec using ur solution things back to normal! nice one to post and the trick in your post is the words u used so it can hit search engine quickly and right to the point :-)

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Steve August 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Thanks for the post. Mine also had a full charge and just randomly went unresponsive. Holding the two buttons for about 16 seconds worked great. Thanks again…

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Michele August 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Same problem! Thanks. It seems to be working

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Allen August 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Thanks a lot for the post. Its lifesaver.

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porgsta August 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm

This did the trick for me too! Thanks! :)

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Nancy August 28, 2011 at 10:58 am

This trick worked for me too. Saved me a trip to the store – thank you. Now the question is…why is this happening to so many people?!

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Ellen August 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Ditto with the gratitude! Holding the two buttons until the apple appeared worked. Now I’ll make sure I sync my files more often and periodically turn the phone off as someone told me that was also important.

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Alex September 3, 2011 at 1:09 am

Very helpful! Thank you very much!!

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Lauren September 4, 2011 at 9:29 am

WOO! i usually just hold it for a few seconds and it works!! this time i had to hold it for amost a min…. never even thought to hold it that long! glad its working again though!!

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Richelle September 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

WOW! Thank you Thank you Thank you!! This has happened to me several times over the past few months and I had to take it in but they would not tell me how the fixed it! Thanks again :) This has made my day since my phone has been out since yesterday!

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Mel September 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I set my iphone to charge at 60 percent before going to bed. When i woke up it was off. When i press the buttons or do the reset sequence I get no response.-nothing. When i connect it to my computer or outlet there is absolutely nothing happening. Ive tried holding the home/sleep buttons for full minutes at a time. Does anyone have ANY suggestions? Ive searched everywhere and this simple fix seems to work for a lot of people but not for me. ANYone???? Thanks!

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Fred September 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm

thanks worked for me!

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Ben September 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Thanks I did it to my sisters phone and it helped a lot

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CMC September 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm

THANK YOU. Mine totally died and would not come back on even though I held down both buttons at the same time. The trick was holding them both down for 15 seconds. BLESS YOU. Now I don’t have to go to the bloody Genius Bar

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