What to do if Your iPhone Won’t Turn Off

There are times when you’re going to need to turn off your iPhone. Doing so allows you to conserve the battery for when you need the device for its various functions. But what if you can’t seem to turn the phone off? There are a few different possible causes for this, and some different solutions that you can try to fix the problem.

Restarting Your iPhone is a Way to Turn it Off

If your iPhone’s screen has frozen and it won’t turn off, this is an indication that there is a software problem happening with it. Restarting it is the first thing that you should try. Follow these steps to do so. This first set of directions is for if you have an iPhone 8 or an earlier model than that. 

  1. Hold down the Side or the Top button until you see the Power Off slider on the screen. Even if the phone is frozen, this should still work.
  2. When the slider appears, drag it to the right to turn off the device.
  3. Press and hold down the button on the top or side until you see the Apple logo. The phone should restart in a few minutes. 

This is what you should do if you have an iPhone X or a later model. 

  1. Press and hold down the Side button. At the same time, hold the Volume Down or the Volume Up button. You should see the same Power Off slider appear on the screen.
  2. Drag the slider, turning off the device. This method forces the phone to restart, so again, this should work even if the device was refusing to be turned off.
  3. Press and hold down the Side button again. You’ll see the Apple logo come up, and the phone should restart. You ought to be able to turn it off now with no problems.

 iPhone Can Turn It Off

Try a Hard Reset of the iPhone to Turn It Off

The next thing that you might try is a hard reset of the device. This is going to be the same for every version of the iPhone, and any other Apple device that runs iOS, like an iPad, for instance. You should only try this option if you know that you’ve done a recent iTunes or iCloud backup of the iPhone. That way, you won’t be deleting any of your valuable data. 

  1. Go to Settings, then go to General.
  2. Scroll down to the very bottom, where you should see the Reset option.
  3. An option will come up that says Erase All Content and Settings. Press it.
  4. The phone will be restored to the original factory settings. When the process is complete, you will see the Slide to Set Up welcome screen, just as if the phone was new. 

You can now retrieve the most recent version of your phone from either iTunes or iCloud. See if you can turn it off now with no problems or whether it is still an issue. 

You can also make the phone turn off by doing a hard reset of it by connecting it to a Mac or a PC.

  1. Begin by connecting your phone to the other device with a USB cable. It’s preferred that you use an Apple USB cable to avoid any potential malfunctions that sometimes occur with other brands.
  2. Launch iTunes.
  3. Once the iPhone shows up under Devices, click on it.
  4. Under the summary tab, you will see an option that says Restore iPhone.
  5. You will have the option to create a backup of your phone. Presumably, you will want to do this.
  6. Once the phone has been wiped clean, you can hit Restore so that all of your data is back on the device again.


This is a method of effectively restarting the phone, so the chances are good that you’ll be able to turn it off with no problems once this process is finished. Whatever software issue that was causing the difficulty should no longer be present. 

Your iPhone Might Not Turn Off Because the Sleep/Wake Button is Broken

If the problem is not due to a software issue, then a hardware one is the next likely candidate. For instance, it could be that the Sleep/Wake button is broken. It’s this button that you use when you’re trying to turn off the phone normally. If it’s stuck or otherwise disabled, then it makes sense you’ll need to try some other options. 

As for whether it’s this button that’s the problem, you should be able to figure that out for yourself, even if you aren’t particularly mechanically-minded. If the button is stuck in the down position, or it’s in the up position and you don’t seem to be able to press it down, then it’s clear that something is wrong with it. The times that this is most likely to happen is if the phone was dropped or jostled at some point. 

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You might have the urge to tinker with the button, but it’s better if you take it to your local Apple Store so the Geniuses can take a look at it. If the phone is still under warranty, then it shouldn’t cost you anything to get it fixed. That is assuming, of course, that you didn’t do anything to the device which Apple feels voids the warranty terms.

If Your Screen is Broken, the Phone Might Not Turn Off

If you drop your phone or jostle it and you see that the screen is broken, don’t be surprised if the device won’t turn off. The iPhone is full of tiny, critical components, and if you handle it roughly, then all sorts of things can go wrong with it. 

If the screen is cracked, that’s a dead giveaway as to what is causing the problem. You might also see damage to some other part besides the screen. If that happens, then it’s upsetting, but at least it takes away the mystery of why the phone won’t turn off or why it is malfunctioning in some other way.

Damaged iPhone

If that is what’s happening, then again, taking it to get it repaired will be the way to go. The Apple Store is your best option, but you can also try third-party repair shops or individuals with expertise in this area. If you go this route, then it might be cheaper, though you never know if the individual or entity is as much of an expert with iPhones as they claim to be. See what you can learn about their reputation online before you try this option. 

If you can’t figure out why your iPhone won’t turn off, or you learn what’s wrong with it, and it’s too costly to fix, then you might also consider selling the device for parts and getting a new one. If this seems like your best bet, then consider BuyBack Boss. We’ll give you the best deal for your damaged device, and we’ll match any better price that you can find elsewhere.