How to Fix an Unresponsive iPhone X Screen

Mar 2, 2018 - 30 Comments

How to fix an unresponsive iPhone X screen

Rarely, owners of an iPhone X may discover their screen is unresponsive seemingly at random, where swipes and taps on the screen are either not registered at all, or they have a severe lag and there’s a notable delay before the touch interaction completes. Swipes and gestures suddenly have a huge lag, and taps on the screen either take moments to do anything, or are ignored entirely.

Sometimes, the iPhone X screen freezes completely, becoming entirely unresponsive to any engagement with the device at all.

These are rare issues but when and if they do happen to a user, it’s understandably annoying. Fortunately there’s a simple solution available, so if you discover that your iPhone X is randomly unresponsive and the screen does not appear to be working, you can fix the problem fairly quickly.

Before anything else, make sure your iPhone X display is clean, and there isn’t any poorly fitting screen protector or case on the device that could prevent the screen from being touch responsive. Assuming the iPhone X screen is clean and there isn’t any obstruction, you’re in the realm of the unresponsive display troubleshooting that we’ll cover here.

So, what’s the best way to resolve an unresponsive iPhone X with a frozen display? The good old fashioned hard reboot! Yes indeed, forcibly restarting iPhone X will cause the iPhone to reboot and once it has booted back up again, the devices display and touch interactions should respond to all input as expected.

How to Fix Frozen / Unresponsive iPhone X Screen

Here is how you can quickly fix an unresponsive iPhone X by forcibly rebooting the device, be sure you follow the sequence exactly to properly initiate the forced reboot:

  1. Press down the Volume Up button and release
  2. Press down the Volume Down button and release
  3. Hold down the side Power / Lock button until you see the  Apple logo appear on screen, this can take about 10 seconds or so
  4. Once you see the  Apple logo on the display, release the Power button and the device will boot up as usual

Once the iPhone X boots back up, the screen should instantly work as you’d expect it to. All touch should be immediately recognized, and touch gestures and swipes should be recognized fluidly as usual.

Admittedly force rebooting a device is not the most elegant solution, but since it works (and since there is no known other solution) and it doesn’t take too long, it’s perhaps the best option available at the moment.

Next: Update iOS on the iPhone X

After you have forced your iPhone X to reboot, you should take a moment to update iOS to the latest version, or at least be sure your device is on the latest version available.

  1. Back up the iPhone X, backing up to iCloud is easy or you can backup to iTunes
  2. Open the “Settings” app and go to “General” and then to “Software Update”
  3. If an iOS software update is available, download and install it as usual

Installing the latest version of iOS to iPhone X is important because each software update release tends to include bug fixes, some of which may remedy the unresponsive screen issue.

Why does the iPhone X screen freeze or become unresponsive?

It’s not entirely clear why the iPhone screen can become unresponsive to touch, swipes, gestures, and other touch input seemingly at random. Presumably the unresponsive screen issue is software related, however.

Interestingly, some time ago Apple had released an update to iOS for iPhone X versioned as iOS 11.1.2 that specifically mentioned in the release notes the following:

“Fixes an issue where the iPhone X screen becomes temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid temperature drop”

There are also various reports online that the iPhone X screen can become unresponsive or frozen when the device is in a cold environment. In these situations, installing the iOS updates may resolve the problem.

But skepticism of temperature being the only cause of an unresponsive screen is warranted, because I have personally experienced the unresponsive screen issue on my own iPhone X in an indoors temperature controlled environment at a pleasant 72 degrees, and while running iOS 11.2.6.

It’s reasonably likely that the iPhone X screen occasionally freezes or becomes unresponsive due to some particular software issue, whether it’s a bug in a particular app, or iOS itself, or whether some daemon is running in the background and suddenly consuming excessive resources leading the device to become so slow that it appears unresponsive of frozen. Because the screen becomes responsive again after a hard reboot, this makes sense.

Finally it’s worth mentioning that because the iPhone X is fairly new, the device is covered under the regular Apple Warranty, and so if you’re experiencing constant freezing or unresponsive screen issues and the above tips of updating iOS and forced rebooting are not resolving the problem for you, you might want to consider reaching out directly to an official Apple Support channel. Unresponsive screens are not common but they’re also not entirely rare, and a similar issue happened with iPhone 6s models a while back, as well as occasionally on iPhone 7 and other iPhones too, often also requiring a hard reboot, software update, or even a system restore.

Did these tips help you fix your unresponsive iPhone X screen? Do you have another solution for this issue? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

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

30 Comments

» Comments RSS Feed

  1. John says:

    What am I missing? I followed steps 1, 2, and 3- and all I got was Siri, awaiting instructions. Don’t we accomplish the same thing by pressing the bottom volume button and the power button simultaneously to shut it down?

    John

    • ET says:

      Don’t press the volume button and power button at the same time.
      1. Quick press and release the Volume +
      2. Quick press and release the Volume –
      3. Press the power button until the Apple Logo appears

      • Michele says:

        I had the same problem b/c the instructions are missing the first step – that you need to turn the phone on first. Don’t start with the volume buttons when the phone is black and not “open”. First hit the side button to get it on and then do the volume buttons, then the side button. I did it twice and my screen is still frozen so off to the Genius Bar I go. Ugh.

  2. threedog says:

    You’re not missing a thing. It’s obvious that a “hard reboot” is simply accomplished by powering off and then back on. Whe I read this I also tried the directions because I was like wtf and also got Siri. Sheesh. What kind of a “tip” or “trick” is it when it’s the obvious?

    • remrem says:

      No, what you both are describing is a simple power down or power off (rebooting) of the iPhone. That will solve some issues. What is necessary to fix this issue is a hard reset. In older iPhones the hard reset was done by pressing the power on and home buttons together until the Apple Logo appeared. The iPhone X does not have a home button and therefore requires a different set of buttons.

      if You follow the directions in the article correctly, you will not get Siri, you will wait a little while pressing down on the power on button and then the Apple Logo will come on and the iPhone will reset (as opposed to reboot). You possibly waited too long after each press. Do it quickly on the up and down buttons and then hold down on the power button immediately.

      • John says:

        I’ve tried this “fix” numerous times and all it does is provide me with the option to shut the phone down as usual. Upgraded by OS and it seems to be working fine on my iPhone 6+.

  3. DP says:

    easy to fix in 3 steps:
    1) open window
    2) throw iphone x into open window
    3) get yourself android phone

  4. nateaych says:

    This sounds like the same issue that plagued the iPhone 6Plus that Apple refused to aknowledge and is currently under class action suit. See article https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xyg59d/iphone-6-plus-touch-disease-touchscreen-problems

  5. Pete says:

    I have not had the described problem to the point of having to take any new action (i.e., maybe a few taps – instead of the usual one – were necessary). However, I was unable to download music; I could access Apple Music, I could listen to anything I selected, I just could not download. I tried the power-off reboot (soft) – not the hard reboot described above – and then could download. This situation happened across two system upgrades/reloads. For about the past month, this problem has not recurred. Friends with iPhones have said a hard reboot about once-a-month is a really good idea….

  6. Jeff says:

    Gee do ‘ya think by now the overpriced junk Apple sells would have any reliablity? DP got it right or try string & 2 tin cans V. 2.0

    • John says:

      Ge thanks Jeff. You and the squirrels out in the yard are going to be my “go to” tech advisors from here on!

      Thanks!

  7. luke says:

    I have the same issue with anew iphone SE, I returned it and switch back to 11.2.2 and no problems.

    11.2.5 and 11.2.6 = SUCKS! ( i bought 4 iphones in past month/returned) all do the same. Or i jsut had bad luck?

    Hope this helps someone.

    • Millsy says:

      I’m sure it has to do with the latest update 11.2.6 as I have only just come across this issue on my 12.9 IPad Pro 2 since downloading the latest update, it had never been an issue prior to this. I really do hate how Apple forces you to keep the updates once it’s downloaded even if it’s causing annoying issues.

  8. JB says:

    My issue is usually just with texting or emailing someone. The screen freezes for about 7 seconds and then catches up with what I typed. Super annoying. I’ve tried all the suggestions but still have the issue. Oddly, I had it on my iPhone 6 and assumed it was the issue because it was having various issues, but when I got the iPhone X, after a couple days the same thing happened.

    Usually I just need to close 5-8 apps and then the screen doesn’t freeze when I type, but that is annoying for a $1200 ‘smart’ phone. Apple’s support forum has several threads about it, but Apple rarely comments on this issue.

  9. Michael Fox says:

    What a pile of sh the Iphone X is

    Brand new – straight out of the box – following problems:-

    1) Zoom turned on by itself
    2) Follow Thingy turned on by itself
    3) Screen unresponsive 90% of the time
    4) You MUST put a sim chip in this POS or you wont get far – not like the previous models
    5) Restoring from iTunes 11.3 didn’t work – 6 times
    6) Screen takes on a mind of its own and just leaving it on the table it goes through random routines without any touch input – most amazing piece of fin sh i ever had bought for me as a B’Day present

    The wife is beside herself and I think 500 mill Cook’s a thief

    REFUND – 2 weeks for an appointment though – I love Apple me. NOT

  10. DaveMo says:

    This is actually becoming a common experience. Happened two days ago while I was on the road for a client meeting relying on GPS, which became a non-thing along with everything you rely on your mobile for – rendering me metaphorically up the creek without a paddle. On top of that, in trying to reboot the phone the bloody 911 ‘feature’ decided to call emergency services, report my as SOS, and subsequently contact my emergency contacts (?) via text message that I was in distress while sending the map gifs to indicate where I was moving to while in this emergency predicament.

    The entire time I was fully unable to interact with my phone in any meaningful way, including pulling up my appointment location and contact information. Was finally able to find the client location. Once there got instructions for rebooting the phone, which Apple brilliantly decided to change procedures once again, and access the phone.

    Here we are two days later. Can’t access the phone again. Rebooted, still not responding to touch. I just installed the iOS update this morning, which seems to have made the problem worse. WTF, Apple?!? This wonderful tenth-anniversary technological leap forward is turning into a real unuseable piece of junk. Thanks!

    • Amy says:

      This exact same thing happened to me.
      I have re booted multiple times and screen is still unresponsive.
      I have a new one coming tomorrow.
      Fingers crossed Apple figures this out!!!

  11. efi says:

    Hi

    i have latest beta , why apple does not fix it . this is exist on the last 4 beta’s

    apple?

    thank you

  12. Keith Walker says:

    Simple screen non responsive in iMessage issue. The top left wouldn’t allow me to back out. Did the said hard reset and has been working like a champ since. Thanks

  13. Razzle says:

    This just started happening a few weeks ago.
    I fully reset my phone and then did a back up – issues persist.
    Trying the hard reset every few hours and it does help, but lag returns almost daily.
    Hoping for a solid fix – Apple Care is my next step.
    Will let you know if I find any new tips/tricks with them.

  14. samantha says:

    screen on my iphone x became unresponsive.
    I tried to do the soft reset mentioned above,and was successful.
    It did notsolve my problem though.I still cant use the phone…
    Any ideas?

  15. Laura says:

    Mine did the same thing! Did restore per Apple from ITunes, no luck. had to drive 45minutes into town. Went to Apple store, tech had a terrible time turning off Find My IPhone to run diagnostics. No issues with software. Turned out display/screen had to be replaced. $279.00.
    Phone is 6 months old!!!! Got home and dang, it froze again for about 20 seconds!!! Now, I’m freaked. Obviously, if happens again, out of year warranty, unless they have pity on me I’m out that amount on repair.

  16. John says:

    Not sure how to describe problem without curse words. Trying to send important business email before 5:30 All I wanted was to copy paste important info from one document to another. But that required my $1000 plus X phone to actually register at least 3 or 4 touches Took 30 minutes and had to shut the phone on and off 5 times I think all the snarky comments are more than justified. I only have 1 question Is all this impossible to deal with issues software or hardware ? i would gladly go back to Iphone 7 and save 30 minutes a day if this is unique to Iphone 10, or unless of course its genius software Then our only option truly is android This phone has been trouble since day 1. The only apple advantage was sync but that is going away rapidly when I first got the phone I was told to delete all my apps and not use backup to solve random shutting down every 30 seconds I told the apple genius if this is my reward for 20 yrs of loyalty why wouldn’t I just learn android ? especially if I have to start from scratch ? I made the poor decision to stay with apple

  17. Sualeha Q says:

    Hi,

    So I am having the same problem with my X – the screen became unresponsive so i did the hard reboot, then did the the restore iphone and update software, now ive lost a months worth of data on my iphone, and the screen is still unresponsive!
    Im staring at my home screen right now as it says Hola to me over and over again; it wont unlock because facial recognition is inaccessible and I need to swipe up – which i can’t! I’m sitting here in Pakistan and I really dont know what to do ! Please help – anyone!

  18. hamza asgar says:

    i tried hard rebooting it as well and still the touch is unresponsive… its just not working, what do i do?

  19. GregUK says:

    Hi.
    My wife experience this problem with her X model,
    the hard reset did work to get this thing to react to anything, it was like screen stopped working but when you call or send text phone was vibrating play ringtone and vibrate when we plug in the charger.
    it is the fourth time it happened so we deeply consider claiming on warranty. So far nothing but trouble with Xpens model… :)

  20. John Royse says:

    Frequently these steps do not work and Apple will not help leaving you with a $1000 brick. I am 84yo disabled vet and Apple said either pay another $1000., drive 15 miles to an Apple store or return phone only in their box which they will not send. It’s all a scam.

    • Paul says:

      Call official Apple Support (800-692-7753 or 1-800-MY-APPLE), if your iPhone X is having a problem and it is still under warranty (it is if you’ve owned it less than a year) they will send you a box to your house to return it to Apple, and they will fix it and return it to you.

  21. Lee Gullett says:

    So, my anxiety about “upgrading” to an iPhone X wasn’t unfounded afterall. Right away upon opening the brand new phone, in the middle of setting up and syncing with my iPhone 5S it crashed. I left in plugged in and checked back an hour or so later and it was completely restarted. I tried the whole setup process again and had to update to iOS 11.4.1 TWICE because is crashed! Again! It wasn’t wiped this time but did go dark and unresponsive. After doing the volume up, volume down then holding power it turned on again. Now, not even three days later, after charging for a while the POS wouldn’t turn on. I tried again and again. Must have been the tenth try of this “restart” procedure before the apple logo appeared. It’s halfway charged, lmao. I’m so nervous to keep this phone past the warranty bc this issue seems common.

Leave a Reply

 

Shop on Amazon.com and help support OSXDaily!

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Tips & Tricks

News

iPhone / iPad

Mac