iPhone troubleshooting: Common iPhone problems and how to fix them

iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro (Image credit: iMore)

It doesn't matter if you're on the latest iPhone running the latest version of iOS or on an older phone with aged software: "It just works" is an ideal. The reality is "it just works until it doesn't — usually when you need it the most." Like any complex and sophisticated machine, iPhone can cause you any number of problems. In most cases, though, iPhone troubleshooting is a straightforward affair. So, before you call Apple Support or visit your local Genius Bar, here are a few things you can try to get your devices and services "just working" again.

How do you restart, reboot, and recover your iPhone?

One of the best iPhone troubleshooting tips is a cliché for a reason. Sometimes merely restarting your iPhone can clear up problems that range from battery drain to bad Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to misbehaving apps. You can simply power down and power up or, if you have to, you can hard reboot.

Sometimes a reboot just isn't enough. If something has gone seriously wrong and you're either told to — or need to — put your iPhone into recovery or device firmware update (DFU) mode to completely re-install iOS, you have that option as well.

And if you don't want to reset everything but just one or a few things, you can do that too! It's a simple task to reset the phone's settings, remove network connections, erase content, zap the keyboard dictionary, rearrange the Home screen, or dump Location and Privacy data.

What if your iPhone won't charge, gets terrible battery life, won't shut down, or won't start up?

Low Power Mode Iphone 11 Pro Hero (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

Having problems with power is the worst. It means you can't rely on your iPhone working for you when you need it. Whether your iPhone isn't charging, is draining too fast even when charged, or simply won't turn off or refuses to turn back on, the good news is that sometimes it's easy to fix on your own.

How do I fix problems with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other connections?

Connections that won't connect... grr. Bluetooth needs to broadcast and establish a connection; Wi-Fi needs to lock on and transmit data; AirDrop relies on both. It may seem like a miracle any of it ever works, but it should all work, all the time. That's the job. So, if your connection isn't connecting, here's what you can try.

What if nothing is working?

In some cases, despite all of our best efforts, you'll encounter problems you can't fix on your own. In those cases, you should escalate straight to Apple: You can call the company at 1-800-MY-APPLE, tweet them @apple_support, visit them online at apple.com/support, or go straight to your local Apple Retail Store.

What problems do you need help solving?

In need of some iPhone troubleshooting and it's not addressed in this guide? Or have you found a solution that works better? Then drop it in the comments!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.