A ‘Force Restart’ Is (Probably) All You Need to Fix an Unresponsive Phone
Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, your smartphone is basically a tiny computer that can fit in your pocket. And, like all computers, your phone is susceptible to software bugs and glitches. It won’t happen all the time, but every once in a while, you might accidentally trigger one of these quirks, and your phone will respond—or not respond—in kind.
Maybe your phone won’t turn on, even after sitting on the charger all night. Maybe it’s frozen on an app and you can’t leave no matter how much you swipe. Before you schedule that appointment with tech support or waste a trip to the Apple Store, know there’s likely a simple solution to your woes: a force restart.
A force restart is a feature built-into your phone that does exactly what it sounds like: Whether the phone is responsive or frozen, it instantly shuts off and restarts. It’s akin to cutting the power on a desktop computer—no matter what’s going on, the device has to shut down.
As such, a force restart shouldn’t be your go-to way to reboot your phone. It bypasses the usual, careful shutdown protocols the device goes through when you normally tell it to turn off. Only use a force restart when you have to. But when you have to, it’s your best friend.
How to force restart your iPhone
While the force restart command on an iPhone used to vary quite a bit, Apple coalesced them into one: Quickly press and release the volume up button, quickly press and release the volume down button, then hold down the Side button until you see the Apple logo.
If you have an older iPhone that can’t update to iOS 16, your force restart command may be this, or it might be something different. If so, check out this guide to see the force restart command for your specific device.
How to force restart your Android phone
Unlike Apple’s iPhone, Android smartphones are made by a host of different companies, each with its own ideas for hardware commands and such. That said, most Android phones should respond to this: Hold down the power button for about 20 seconds, and your phone should reboot.
Your particular smartphone might have other force restart commands, as well. Samsung users can hold down volume down and the power button together for seven seconds to force restart. Look up your specific model to see if it has a special command, too.
For those of you who have a phone with a removable battery (few and far between these days), you can, of course, pop out the battery to instantly power-off the phone.