How to Restart iPhone / iPad Without Using Power Button & Home Button

Aug 7, 2014 - 23 Comments

Reboot an iPhone or iPad without using hardware buttons

Ever needed to reboot an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that doesn’t have a functioning power button or a Home button? It’s tricky if not impossible, right? Even with the Assistive Touch on-screen buttons and variety of workarounds for a failed power button, rebooting an iOS device without working hardware buttons is a challenge, but it turns out that a few indirect tricks can work to get restart any iOS device, even if none of the physical buttons are working.

We’ll cover two quick and easy methods to reboot any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch – without having to use the hardware buttons at all. These methods rely on toggling software settings that initiate a soft reboot to the device, which means even if your physical buttons are completely malfunctioning, you can still restart a device if it’s necessary to.

Method 1: Reboot iPhone by Going Bold

Not only does bolding fonts make text easier to read on the iPhone and iPad, but, as you may recall when enabling the feature, it forces a complete system reboot to enable (or disable) the feature. Well, that sure is convenient for our purposes of rebooting the phone without functioning hardware buttons, right? Here’s how to do this:

  1. Open the Settings app and head to “General”
  2. Go to “Accessibility” and locate “Bold Text”, flip that to the ON position
  3. An alert will show up saying “Applying this setting with restart your iPhone” – so tap on “Continue” to immediately soft reboot the iOS device

Reboot an iPhone by Bolding the Text

Is that easy or what? The great thing about using the Bold Fonts trick to reboot an iOS device is that you won’t lose any network settings or customizations, the only change is to the font itself. You’ll either go bold, or lose the bold text and get a narrow font, depending on your setting to begin with.

This option is limited to modern versions of iOS that have the option, so if you’re working with an older device that doesn’t use iOS 7 or iOS 8, you won’t be able to use this trick, and instead you’ll want to go with method two described next.

Method 2: Restart the iPhone By Dumping Wireless Settings

All versions of iOS offer another indirect method of restarting a device; dumping the network settings. Yea, the same trick that often resolves issues with iOS networking issues a soft reboot in that process.

  1. Head to Settings app and go to “General” and then to “Reset”
  2. Locate “Reset Network Settings” and select it, then tap to confirm and reboot the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Reboot iOS by Clearing Network Settings

The device instantly reboots, without having to use any of the hardware buttons.

While this works to restart all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, the obvious downside is that you lose wireless settings, so that means things like Wi-Fi passwords, VPN details, and Bluetooth connections, so be ready for that and jot down any complex logins or details beforehand.

By the way, if you’re facing this issue with an iOS device that has no functioning hardware buttons, why is that? Is the device damaged? If so, you may need to pay for repairs yourself, or just deal with it. On the other hand, did the hardware buttons just fail on their own? If so, and it’s an iPhone 5, you may qualify for for the free AppleCare Repair service under the Lock Button replacement program, and if so it’s worth using that service to fix the problem. Also, it’s important to remember that all iPhone, iPad, and iPod hardware that is still within warranty from Apple will get repaired for free, assuming the problem is with the hardware and not user caused.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

23 Comments

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  1. josé says:

    never had to use this method but it is an excellent tip

  2. Yaay says:

    OMG thank you soo much! About five hours ago my ipad buttons suddenly stopped working and I was getting so worried about restarting it incase I can’t turn it on again after it turns off! Thank you soo much your a lifesaver! The first actual website that helped! I was worried it was broken forever 😔

  3. Santos Romero says:

    Thank you very much, method # 1 worked flawlessly

  4. Gavin Fehsal says:

    Hey, I’m having a problem with trying to open my iPhone without a functioning home or power button. It won’t turn on and I’m unable to use it. It would really be nice if you could help me out. Thanks.

  5. Anon says:

    Hold the lock screen button in assistive touch for 10 seconds and voila

  6. Walt says:

    I have trouble with the screen zoom in and I can’t get it to normal I5S phone

  7. Chris says:

    My iPad retina 4 suddenly shutdown, it won’t restart. I’ve held on/off button plus home start in for ages as suggested hoping it rebooted but no Apple logo seen as hoped. Totally locked up. Help! I am stuck abroad on holiday.

    • Chris says:

      I took it to an Apple store at Neuvo Condomina, Murcia, Spain. Apple replaced my iPad free of charge under their Apple Care warranty I’d taken out as their Genius Bar couldn’t get it to start up.

  8. mckenzie says:

    My iPod 5 will not turn on, usually you can just reboot using the home and power button. But my power button is broken. How do I get it to turn on without having a home button?

  9. Rachel says:

    Thanks so much! My network made some changes which resulted in my texts being delayed and calls going straight to voicemail. They said all would be fixed with a reboot, but my home keys busted! Your advise helped a bunch and has saved me money and stress!

  10. Lori says:

    I HAVE A BIG PROBLEM! My IPad2 power button hasn’t worked for a while now. I’ve been using assisted touch and that’s fine and dandy. However, suddenly my touchscreen isn’t working. The assisted touch opens when I tap it, but cant slide the unlock bar. I have no way of powering off… HELP!

  11. janice says:

    Thanks a lot …

  12. kirsten says:

    hello,my iphone 5s has been switching screens so i cant use it(goes to all black screen,apple logo,lock screen)i dont know what to do hope you will be able to help me.thank you

  13. Lilo says:

    hi, my itouch 5th gen was half-charged and suddenly it turned off and my home button and power button aren’t working. what should i do? your help will be very appreciated. Please help me. thankyou!

  14. Marns says:

    Hi,
    If your home button or power button isn’t working you can still restart your iPhone.
    Go to > settings > general > accessibility > bold text ( swipe to on) then it will prompt you to restart your phone 👍
    NB: you will need to repeat the above steps to take the bold off your text

  15. Zachariah says:

    My iPhone 4 was working fine last night, I was holding it in my hand, and it gave two short vibrations and since then the power button has ceased to work.. I have hard reset it twice now, and no luck.. Any ideas?

  16. kate says:

    My ipod touch is on hang right now, and my home button is not working as well. I’m pressing the power button on the upper right of the ipod, but still it doesn’t work. Please help me find a solution for this. Thank you..

    • Unbelievable says:

      Kate, I have a great article that you should read, it instructs you how to reboot an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, without using either the Power Button or the Home Button. Here it is, great tutorial very detailed:

      http://osxdaily.com/2014/08/07/restart-ios-without-hardware-buttons/

      The catch is that you have to actually read the article rather than jumping to the comments to ask for a solution which is outlined in detail right above the comments.

  17. Gonçalo says:

    I use a MDM solution and one of our users had a lot of problems connecting to the email, our app and the MDM server.

    The Ipad had a broken home button and I had to look for a easy way to do reset.

    The “Reset Network Settings” was a life saver. Now I know a fool proof way of doing the “have you tried to turn it off and on?” and I figured that lots of problems can be solved with a “Reset Network Settings”.

    Thank you very much.

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