“It’s dead! It’s f***ing DEAD!” Yes. It really does suck when your expensive box of tricks, otherwise known as an iPhone, is broken, on the fritz or has just been involved in some kind of accident.
But is it really dead? That depends on what’s happened, really. If a train has run over it then, yes, it’s probably very, very dead.
For everything else, however, there’s often a solution or fix for bringing a dead (or damaged) iPhone back to life – and thankfully none of them involve Indian burial grounds in Maine. A lot of the issues affecting your iPhone can be solved using simple procedures that don’t involve a trip to an Apple Store.
Obviously, if you’ve smashed the display, you’re going to need a new one – and that will cost you. I’ve done this more times than I care to remember. Thankfully, most high streets have stores dedicated to fixing broken phone screens. And most don’t charge too much either.
For everything else, read on! Here’s a selection of things to try when your iPhone won’t turn on:
How To Fix A Water Damaged iPhone
This is a weird one because the extent of damage depends on how long your iPhone spent submerged in water. Apple’s older iPhones aren’t waterproof, so it is DEFINITELY a good idea to be extra careful when using your phone around liquid.
Back in 2013 I managed to drop my iPhone 5c in my dog’s water bowl. It was only in there for a split second, but it was fully submerged. Funnily enough, it didn’t seem to do any damage to the handset itself, which was very surprising –– could this be down to it being a plastic iPhone 5c or would the same exposure not affect the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s? Lord knows –– and I’m not rich enough to try.
If you do happen to drop your iPhone in the bath or toilet, whip it out as fast as possible and stick it in a bag of rice. Leave it to sit amongst those wonderful grains for a good 12 hours and, all being well, it should work once removed. The rice, being rice, absorbs all the water. This is an old trick (it’s been around since the early-90s) but it still works a treat.
If you see a red, empty battery icon it means your iPhone will not be able to reboot until there is a certain amount of charge in the battery. Plug the iPhone into a high-powered USB source such as the mains charger or one of the main USB ports on a computer in order to give the battery enough life to boot itself back into contention.
If you see the red section of the battery image flash three times and then the screen goes black, it means the iPhone is not receiving enough power to charge. This can happen with PCs and non-Apple chargers. If it does, find your Apple charger and plug that sucker into a wall plug. Give it 10 minutes or so… and everything should be OK.
How To Reboot An iPhone
To reboot or restart your iPhone press and hold down the Sleep/Wake button on the top until the red slider appears. Slide it across to turn it off. Repeat the process to turn the phone back on.
If the iPhone is frozen and can’t be restarted in the normal way do the following.
Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button simultaneously for at least 10 seconds. The red slider may appear and the screen may dim but don’t release the two buttons until the Apple logo appears.
How To Reset An iPhone
If your phone has a bug or a glitch, one of the best ways to get rid of it – without losing all of your data – is to perform a reset. Here’s how it’s done:
Click on Settings > General > Reset All Settings. This will reset all the settings to the factory defaults. None of the data or content on the iPhone will be deleted.
How To Back up and Restore An iPhone
If all else fails, you will need to back up and Restore your iPhone.
First, make sure you have upgraded to the latest version of iTunes. Then connect your iPhone to your computer and select it when it appears under Devices in iTunes. If you haven’t performed a Sync recently do so now to make sure all your contacts, photos and videos are in sync.
Click on the Summary tab and then click Restore. If you haven’t already backed up your iPhone you will be prompted to do so now. This will back up all the settings on your iPhone. At the next prompt click on Restore. If you have completed all the steps above you need not worry about your data and settings.
Wait until your iPhone completes the restore process and returns to the Home screen.
The Nuclear Option: A Trip To The Apple Store
If none of this has worked so far, you could be lumped with a fully dead iPhone. The next step is to take it to the Apple Store and ask some of the geniuses what is wrong with it. They should be able to give you a proper diagnosis. And if your handset is still in warranty, who knows, you could leave the store with a brand new handset.
If it’s not, you might need to get a new iPhone, but hold out and make sure you buy the best value iPhone; you don’t need to go with Apple’s flagship. Another good option for acquiring an iPhone for less is buying a refurbished iPhone, as you could save around 40%. Interested in saving 40%? Check out our Guide To The Buying Refurbished iPhones for a full overview of what to do and details on how to get the best deal.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.