If your iPhone keeps shutting off without you asking it to (or due to low battery), you might be able to fix your problem without a trip to the Apple store. So long as it's not a problem with your phone's battery or any other internals, fixing it could be as simple as completing a couple of quick steps. Before you schedule that support appointment, give these tips and tricks a try. Here's hoping they'll get your device running smoothly again!
1. Force Restart
If your iPhone keeps shutting off and your it won't charge or keeps crashing, it might be time for a hard reset. Whether it's really shutting down on its own, or it's rapidly depleting the battery due to rogue processes or Wi-Fi or cellular radio activity, a hard reset can help.
How to force restart an iPhone 8 or newer
This is how you force a restart on the iPhone 8 or newer, including all iPhones and iPads with Face ID.
- Quickly press and release the volume up button.
- Quickly press and release the volume down button.
Press and hold the side button. Release the side button when you see the Apple logo.
How to force restart an iPhone 7 or earlier
- On an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, press and hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Volume Down button at the same time.
- On an iPhone 6s, iPad with Home button, or older device, press and hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time.
- Keep holding down the button combo until you see an Apple logo appear on the screen (your iPhone screen will go dark before the Apple logo appears). iOS devices with white faceplates will show a white launch screen. iOS devices with black faceplates will show a black launch screen.
- When the launch screen appears, you can let go of the button combo.
Once your iPhone or iPad has rebooted, check to see if it stays on and operational. If it doesn't (or if it won't reboot), go on to the next step.
2. Plug in
If your iPhone or iPad is rapidly discharging, plug it in. Once the charging cable's in place, you should see it begin to charge, and you'll be able to read the battery level. If it shows little to no charge, it means something drained your battery. If it shows a partially or fully charged battery, you may have another problem.
In either case, connect your iOS device to its charging cable, plug into an outlet or USB port, and start charging. Let it charge for an hour. If it doesn't seem to be responding, try a different charging cable, a different USB outlet plug, or a different USB port on your computer. Once you're fully charged, keep an eye on your iPhone or iPad and see if it shuts down again. If not, great! If so, keep reading.
After trying the easy fixes, it's time to try the harder ones. In this case, restoring your iPhone or iPad in iTunes. iTunes is a safer bet than iCloud because it actually offloads, re-installs, and reloads your data rather than doing everything in-place and on your device. That can sometimes shake loose bad bits that even a hard reset or iCloud restore can't.
Of course, the process is a little different now on macOS Catalina, and uses the Finder instead of iTunes.
When you're all done, see if your iPhone or iPad stays on. If so, hallelujah! If not, there's one more thing to try.
4. Contact Apple
If you've tired the above solutions, and still your iPhone keeps shutting off, your device might be experiencing a more severe problem. Like any electronic device, batteries can fail, and circuits can short. If you have AppleCare+, don't walk, run to get it fixed. If you don't, get an estimate and weigh the cost of repair against the cost of upgrading to a new device.
If you don't live close to an Apple Store, you can call 1-800-MY-APPLE to set up a mail-in repair. If you don't have AppleCare, you may have to pay for the call, but it's less of a waste than having a dead iPhone or iPad.
If you were experiencing random iPhone shutdowns and one of the above fixes worked for you, let us know! If something else worked, let us know that as well!
Updated February 2020: Updated with instructions for latest devices.