iPhone Won’t Turn On or Wake Up?

by Michael on March 16, 2011 · 438 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.

{ 438 comments… read them below or add one }

Mochu September 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

It works !!! Thank you so much!


nick September 12, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I almost panicked but your solution helped me! It’s not so much about the phone, it’s about all my pictures and videos from the last year, full of memories, I better transfer!ty


phillip September 13, 2011 at 11:13 am

THANK YOU!!! You just saved me from committing suicide at the thought that my iphone was broken! I was able to fix it : D


robbie September 16, 2011 at 8:56 am

i still can’t turn it on, it just got turned off when i wasn’t looking, i tried to do what you said, that i was gonna hold the on/off button and the menu butto at the same time, but nothing happends, i guess since the phone is such an old iphone (3 years old, iphone 3g), i won’t turn on anymore. well thanks apple. can’t wait to get my new android phone.


susan September 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

another thank you for getting my iphone 4 to work. i tried the technique before i googled and it didnt work. then i googled and followed the directions carefully. i held it down for a full 15 or 20 second and it worked like a charm. at first i just held it down for 8 or 10 seconds. what a difference! so many thanks.


Shemekka Cross September 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Thank you for the tip, it saved me alot of time and frustration.


swizz September 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

Thank you so much!! I was at a loss when my phone went dead, and am not very savvy when dealing with such things. I at least had the sense to google the problem and your trick was not only quick but easy too, LOL. Thank you!!


Heather September 18, 2011 at 10:06 am

Thank you so much for sharing! I almost cried because my phone wouldn’t turn on. LOL Didn’t know how I was going to live without it.
It worked right away by following your advice. Thanks!


Heath September 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Thanks so much. I was really panicking because I’d had mine around water. What a feeling of relief when I tried your solution and it worked perfectly. Thank you.


Tonya September 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Thank you! My phone would not turn on either. I tried to hold down the power button and the home button but it did not turn back on, I wanted to cry. After reading your post I held it down for about 15 seconds and the apple icon popped up! Thanks once again!


Debbie September 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm

PHEW! this worked for me! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!


I know most of us can’t live without our iPhone’s!!!


Roslyn Mitchell September 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

I really hope you guys get paid for this. I’m new to all of this gadets stuff. Internet, phones, ( I like to think I’m smarter then a fifth grader)
Thank you, Thank you. My IPhone went to black. My boyfriend said he would never buy me another new computer anything, I showed him. I was able to follow what you said and Bam!! I’n up and running.


Manny September 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

Thank you Michael… I was pretty stressed today until i found this message.

It worked…I even took it to Verizon yesterday they mentioned something about that but they didn’t hold it for no 10 seconds.

Thanks man!



Emily September 25, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Thank you! You saved me so much! mine only took 11 seconds :) haha I was beginning to freak out.


PJ September 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Another thank you, Michael.


mws September 30, 2011 at 9:09 am

Thank you! I still feel sick to my stomach but at least my phone is back on! :) thinking happy thoughts to calm down. I can’t be without my phone…….ugh! Thanks for the help


Mindy September 30, 2011 at 11:32 am

Michael, I cannot tell you what a lifesaver you are!! I had my phone stolen a couple weeks ago and after some pretty good detective work, tracked down the girl that had it. I was just happy to have my phone back. Then it did the black screen thing and I thought my bad phone luck was starting all over again. You swooped in and saved the day!! May God bless you :)


Tonia September 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I panicked thought my Iphone 4 was broke. I had just used it laid it down, pick it up again to use and nothing. my heart sank, didn’t want to stand in a line on a Friday night so I google the problem I was having. I can not thank you enough your a real life saver. :)


Christine October 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Thank you so much! I almost had to drive down to the Verizon or Apple store! Other people’s advice never said exactly how long to hold down the buttons so I had tried it well over 50 times but didn’t know how long to hold down. Thanks again!


karen October 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm



Ryan October 3, 2011 at 3:59 am

THANK YOU!!! gotta love the internet. Sadly I run my life off my phone..


Jessika October 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Gahhhh!!!!! Thank yo so much!! It’s amzaing what a little googling can do! I just had an identical problem to yours, and not it’s fixed! thank you thank you thank you!


Lauren October 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Thank You SOOOO much!!! My phone just did the exact same thing and my heart just dropped. This was the first link I pulled up and I am SO happy!! Held them down for about 11 seconds and the apple appeared. The apple stayed for almost 30 seconds (thought it froze), then my passcode popped up. Working fine now :)


RK October 6, 2011 at 5:27 am

It worked!!! Thank you!!!


yen October 9, 2011 at 1:46 am

i nearly died when my phone crashed. thank you for saving my life!


M.S. October 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Thank you so much…it happened to me today when my daughter was playing with my phone. Today is sunday and verizon/Apple is already closed. Thought I would be without it til Monday but got to give thanks to Google when I found this website and BAM…it worked… My phone is less than 2 months old.


georgiabolderson October 10, 2011 at 3:32 am

omg, thank you SO much, i woke up this morning about to get ready for school, it worked for a few minutes, i fell back asleep, and it wouldn’t do anything! now it’s on and nothing’s deleted or disappeared :’)


Jen October 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm

It worked! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sean October 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm

YOUR AWESOME! totally worked!!


Gage October 16, 2011 at 9:35 am

Hey, my Iphone 4 wouldnt turn on at all last night. I tried the two buttons simultaneously this morning, you have to hold them down for about 12 to 15 seconds and the apple logo stays there for quite a while. Now everything is back to normal, thanks!


Deb Wilkey October 16, 2011 at 10:15 am

I thought I was going to have to get new phone, but your web help took care of major problem and restored my phone. Thank you!!!!!


Rachel October 17, 2011 at 8:09 am

THANK YOU!!!! My daughter’s suddenly, fully charged would NOT turn on. A trip to the Apple store for.us is 90 minutes eacb way….& pretty much having to take time from work.to do so. She just got her phone back up & running, thanks to your advice. You also saved us $50 in gas & 2.5 hours of travel so THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!! :-)


Justin October 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! had this problem!!!!!! THANK YOU FOR SOLVING! If you are like me iPhone is my main sorce of info i very seldom get on the computer anymore. My iPhone does everything i can do on a computer. This has got my phone up and running! Syncing and software updating now!


Creshawna October 18, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Thanks you so much! U are awesome!


delim October 20, 2011 at 7:03 am

i hold the power and home button together for 12 seconds and It turned up. I was so happy to see that my iphone4 is working again.


Oumou October 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

Thank you. It worked!!!!


Lisa October 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

Was FREAKIN’ OUT this morning when phone would not power up. Held both buttons for around 12 seconds and saw the apple. THANKS YOU!!!!


Steve H October 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm

The fix worked like a charm, thank you!


Laura G October 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm

THANK YOU!! I thought I was done for!! I tried this and turned right back on!!!!!!!


Mike M October 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Worked, no sweat. Took more like 15 seconds plus a few minutes with the boot screen sitting there if yours is jailbroke. Takes longer to load the unteathered jb.


Jim L October 26, 2011 at 10:38 am

Had this problem with my new iPhone 4s, not jail broken. It was working – and then it was not working. Held both buttons for about 10 sec and it started working again. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the tip.


rachel w. October 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I LOVE UUUU!! Thank u so much. I was freaking out because i didn’t buy my phone from apple, i bought it off of craigslist, so if anything happens to it or goes wrong, I’m screwed! But thankfully ur trick worked. Ur a lifesaver!!!!! <3


Ronnie October 29, 2011 at 1:23 am

thank you so much, your simple trick worked like a charm! you are indeed a lifesaver. God bless you and your kind.


mbz280sl October 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm

12 seconds was the trick! Thanks so much. You should get an award when the responses hit 100!!


Rose October 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just had a mild stroke after stopping by 2 Sprint stores, both being closed of course because it is Sunday!!!!! You are a life saver!!!!!!! I read this, did what you said and BAM….we are back up and running…lol

Thanks again!!!!


Court October 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm

My phone crapped out today and won’t turn back on. This is the second time this has happened. Unfortunately holding down the buttons isn’t working. Any ideas?


kelly October 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

Had same problem as all of you- BUT did you happen to notice unit can go from fully charged to nearly empty of power when you reboot back on. 12 seconds worked- but all my energy is g o n e !

Iphone is only 4 days old- :(


samson October 31, 2011 at 11:02 am

thank you very very much…this really helps a lot.. what a life saver you guys are


moses meza October 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

thanks man this really helped, i dont know why my moms iphone 4 has been turning off for no reason


Jonnie October 31, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I was trick or treating with my son and I took the IPhone 4S out to take a picture and it was completely black. Thanks this really worked.


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