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How to restart every iPhone ever made

No superheroes or Starfleet officers were harmed in the making of this article.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
iPhone 14 Pro Max
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Is your iPhone acting wonky? Has it stopped responding the way you expect? Are apps "stuck" in some weird state? 

Don't worry. We have the universal solution for you. 

Just restart it.

It turns out that there are three ways to restart your phone, depending on what phone you have. 

We've enlisted the help of some special friends to show you how it's done.

Also: How to factory reset your iPhone

Restarting iPhone X, 11, 12, 13, and later

If you want to restart a modern phone, press and hold the buttons Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock are pointing to.

Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock pressing on the sides of iPhone12
David Gewirtz/ZDNET

A slider should appear. Drag the slider and give the phone about half a minute to turn off. If it doesn't, your phone might be frozen. There are some tricks to force-restart a frozen device, which Apple discusses.

Once your phone is powered off, turn it back on. You'll need to press the button on Spock's side, and hold it until you see the Apple logo.

Also: The best iPhones

Restarting iPhones 6, 7, 8, and the new SE style

If you have a slightly older generation phone, it's Batman to the rescue.

iphone6s

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Press and hold the side button the Caped Crusader seems to want to blam, pow, and kapow. As with the more modern phones, a slider should appear. Drag the slider and give the phone about half a minute to turn off. If it doesn't, your phone might be frozen. Try to force-restart your frozen device.

Once your phone is powered off, turn it back on. You'll need to press (not punch) the button on Batman's side and hold it until you see the Apple logo. I don't know what it is about him, but from that expression, I get the impression the Dark Knight needs more fiber in his diet.

Restarting even older iPhones

Did you seriously think the Man of Steel would stay away from our iPhone restart extravaganza? Of course not.

Superman pressing down on iPhone SE
David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Here, Supes is pressing down on an older generation iPhone SE. The power button is located on the top of the unit, as it is for other older iPhones. By now, you know the drill. Press and hold that button until a slider appears. Drag the slider and give the phone about half a minute to turn off. If it doesn't, your phone might be frozen. Try to force-restart your frozen device.

Once your phone is powered off, turn it back on. You'll need to press that top button Superman is floating over, and hold it until you see the Apple logo.

Also: The case for keeping your old iPhone

A quick thanks for the super-assist

So there you go. Restarting your phone should be quick and easy. A special shoutout goes to our friends at The Noble Collection, who helped us book photo sessions with the fab four above. Last year, they sent us Kirk, Spock, Batman, and Superman BendyFigs with the hope we'd use them as some sort of prop or another. You've got to admit, they were a lot more fun than just Photoshopping a red arrow over the buttons, right?

Anyway, there you go. Do you have any other how-to requests? Let us know in the comments below.

Live long and prosper. Up, up, and away!


You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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