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Troubleshooting: Fix your iPhone or iPad when it freezes

The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch are very reliable and they rarely develop faults, but occasionally they do experience problems. What do you do when your iOS device locks up, freezes and won't respond to the buttons or screen taps? The solution with many other mobile devices is to remove the battery, wait a second and then put it back. This reboots it, but you can't remove the battery on an iOS device because you can't open them. It can be frustrating staring at a locked up mobile phone that won't respond. Here are a few ideas to try that might help you to resolve the situation.

Quit the app
If an app freezes and won't respond then the obvious thing to do is to press the home button and see if you can exit the app. If you can, double press the home button to display the tray of suspended apps at the bottom of the screen. Press and hold on the frozen app and then tap the close button in the icon. You can also try double pressing the home button from within the frozen app to switch to another one, then close the unresponsive app from there.

Power off
If the device does not respond to pressing the home button, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button at the top of the device until the slider to shut it down appears. Power off, wait a few seconds and then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button to turn it back on again.

Reset it
If pressing the home button doesn't work and you can't power off in the normal way, there is a third option. This resets the device and it's more powerful than simply switching off. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button at the top and the home button at the bottom until the device shuts down and then displays the Apple logo on the screen. You have to hold them both for about 10 seconds, but it seems longer, so be patient, and ignore the power-off slider if it appears - wait for the Apple logo. The device should switch off eventually - keep holding the buttons so that it comes back on again, or it will simply switch off.

Delete and reinstall
Apps should not crash the device, so if you have one that is causing problems it is a good idea to delete it. Double tap the home button and if the app has an icon in the tray at the bottom of the screen, press and hold it until it jiggles and then press the close button. Then remove the app on the main screen in the same way.

If it is an app that you really want to use or have paid for, go to the App Store and download the app again. Check that it is compatible with your device and iOS version first though. This makes sure that you have the latest version, which may contain bug fixes, and refreshes the installation. You aren't charged for the app because you have already purchased it. If the app still crashes, delete it and wait for a newer version to be released.

Restore the device
If you have done all this, but are still experiencing problems, you should try restoring the device from a backup. iTunes automatically backs up each iOS device when it is plugged into the computer and synced. so plug it in, select the device in the left panel in iTunes and use the option to restore from a backup. Just follow the instructions.

Erase the device
This is a fairly drastic step, but if you really can't get the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch working properly without crashing, it might be worth erasing it and starting again. (You should do this when selling your device too.) Go to Settings, General, Reset and you will see a bunch of reset options and the first couple, Reset All Settings and Erase All Content and Settings are the ones to try.

User recovery mode
There is a special recovery mode that can be used to restore a backup, but without starting up the device. It's useful if the device won't start up properly or displays a blank screen. Plug the USB cable into the computer's USB port, but don't connect the other end to the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Power off the device by pressing and holding the sleep/wake button and then using the power-off slider. If you can't power off the device normally, press and hold the home button and Sleep/Wake until it powers off.

With the device switched off, press and hold the home button while plugging the USB cable into the device. Keep holding it until you see the Connect to iTunes screen. If iTunes doesn't automatically start, run it manually. iTunes will detect that the device is in recovery mode and will prompt you to restore the device. Just follow the instructions.

12th March 2012