An iPhone stuck in a bootloop can be very frustrating. You turn on your phone, only to see the Apple logo flash on and off as it continuously reboots. A bootloop usually indicates a software issue rather than a hardware problem. The good news is that many bootloop issues can be fixed by restoring your iPhone. Here’s what you need to know about iPhone bootloops and how to fix them.
What Causes an iPhone Bootloop?
A variety of issues can cause an iPhone to get stuck in a bootloop. Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Corrupted system files: If important system files get corrupted, your iPhone may not be able to boot up properly.
- Failed iOS update: Attempting an iOS update that fails can sometimes cause a bootloop.
- Jailbreaking gone wrong: Jailbreaking your iPhone introduces changes to the operating system that could cause bootloop issues if something goes wrong.
- Faulty apps: Buggy, unstable, or incompatible apps could conflict with system processes and cause a continuous bootloop.
- Hardware failure: Though less common, hardware issues like a faulty logic board could also result in a bootloop.
As you can see, software problems are the most common culprit behind iPhone bootloops. Hardware failures are rarer, but can also be the cause in some cases.
How to Fix an iPhone Bootloop
If your iPhone is stuck in a bootloop, don’t panic. Here are some step-by-step troubleshooting tips to help resolve the issue:
1. Force Restart Your iPhone
The first thing to try is force restarting your iPhone. This can clear out any temporary glitches and allow a normal boot process. Follow these steps:
- On an iPhone 6s or earlier: Press and hold both the Home and Power buttons together until you see the Apple logo appear.
- On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus: Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo shows up.
- On an iPhone 8 or later: Quickly press and release the Volume Up button, then quickly press and release the Volume Down button, finally press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears.
After force restarting, your iPhone will boot up normally if the bootloop was caused by a temporary software glitch. However, if the bootloop persists, move on to further troubleshooting.
2. Put Your iPhone Into Recovery Mode
The next step is to enter recovery mode, which loads a recovery partition instead of the normal operating system. Here’s how:
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
- On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus: Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time.
- On an iPhone 8 or later: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button, press and quickly release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button.
- Keep holding the buttons until you see the Recovery Mode screen on your iPhone.
Once in recovery mode, you can attempt to restore your iPhone through iTunes or Finder to fix software issues causing the bootloop.
3. Restore Your iPhone
With your iPhone in recovery mode, you can restore it to factory settings. This wipes your device and installs the latest iOS version. Connect your iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes or Finder. A prompt should appear asking if you want to Restore or Update. Select Restore.
This will completely erase your iPhone and install a fresh copy of iOS. If the bootloop was caused by a software issue, this should resolve it. Once the restore completes, set up your iPhone as new rather than restoring a backup. This prevents old configuration issues from returning.
4. Update or Restore Again If Needed
If the bootloop returns after restoring, you may need to repeat the steps and try restoring again. Or, you can update to the latest iOS version instead. Both options wipe your device again to eliminate any lingering software gremlins.
On your computer, enter recovery mode again. In iTunes or Finder, choose Update instead of Restore this time. This installs the latest iOS version while retaining your data if possible.
5. Reset All Settings
If you want to preserve your data instead of fully restoring, try resetting all settings instead. This retains data while erasing system settings that could be causing bootloop issues.
To reset all settings:
- Boot your iPhone into recovery mode again.
- In iTunes or Finder choose Update, not Restore.
- After updating iOS, boot your iPhone normally.
- Go to Settings > General > Reset and tap Reset All Settings.
This troubleshooting step preserves your data while clearing out system settings that may fix the bootloop.
6. DFU Mode Restore
DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) mode is an alternative recovery mode. It completely wipes your iPhone and reinstalls iOS. DFU mode is more thorough than standard recovery mode.
Follow these steps to DFU restore your iPhone:
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
- Turn off your iPhone.
- On an iPhone 6s or earlier: Press and hold the Home and Power buttons together for 10 seconds. Release the Power button but keep holding the Home button until iTunes shows a recovery prompt.
- On an iPhone 7/7 Plus: Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons together for 10 seconds. Let go of Power but keep holding Volume Down until you see the recovery prompt.
- On an iPhone 8 or later: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button, press and quickly release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button. Keep holding Side until the recovery prompt appears.
- Tap Restore or Update in iTunes or Finder to install the latest iOS firmware.
DFU mode bypasses the user data partition and reinstalls a fresh copy of iOS. This can fix stubborn bootloop issues caused by deeper software problems.
Advanced Troubleshooting Options
If the basic reset and restore options don’t resolve your iPhone bootloop, you may need to try more advanced troubleshooting techniques. Here are some options:
If your bootloop happened after jailbreaking, you may need to undo the jailbreak. Connect your iPhone to your computer and use a tool like Cydia Impactor to restore the original iOS firmware. This will remove the jailbreak and any associated tweaks that could be causing bootloop issues.
DFU Mode Exit Recovery
For jailbroken devices stuck in recovery mode, use a tool like RecBoot or iREB to kick your device out of recovery mode so you can restore it. These tools directly interact with iPhone firmware to take control away from the recovery partition.
Recovery Mode with Sliver
Sliver is a specialized utility that can restore iPhone firmware without iTunes. It can take your device directly into recovery mode and restore iOS without needing a computer. This alternative method can sometimes fix bootloops that other tools cannot.
Keep in mind more advanced solutions like these typically require having a jailbroken iPhone. But they provide alternative recovery options if basic resets and restores are not working.
When to Seek Repair Services
If you’ve exhausted all the troubleshooting options but your iPhone still won’t boot properly, it’s time to seek professional repair. A bootloop that persists likely indicates a hardware issue rather than a software glitch. Here are some signs it’s time for a professional fix:
- Your iPhone bootloops immediately after restoring.
- The bootloop is intermittent or random.
- You notice other glitches like freezing or unresponsiveness.
- Your iPhone feels abnormally warm while bootlooping.
- You see visual artifacts or distortions on the screen.
Hardware problems like a bad logic board, faulty power chip, loose connector, or degraded solder join can all manifest as a persistent bootloop. The only way to properly diagnose and repair hardware faults is to have an electronics repair specialist take a look inside.
Repair Options for Bootlooping iPhones
If you determine hardware issues are causing your iPhone bootloop, you have a few repair options to consider:
Make an appointment at an Apple store and have them examine your iPhone. If it’s under warranty they should repair it for free. Out-of-warranty service will cost $99 plus parts and labor.
Authorized Service Providers
Apple partners with select repair shops that use official parts and tools. Prices will be similar to Apple but may be more conveniently located.
Third Party Repair Shops
Alternatively, your local electronics repair shop can service your iPhone at likely lower cost using quality aftermarket parts. Just ensure they have experience working on iPhones.
With the right technical skills, you can attempt repairing an iPhone bootloop yourself by ordering replacement parts online. But this requires in-depth knowledge of iPhone hardware.
Weigh the pros and cons of each option before deciding on repair service for your stuck iPhone.
Data Recovery Options
Before attempting repair, be sure to exhaust data recovery options if needed. An iPhone stuck in a continuous bootloop often requires restores that can wipe data. So preserve your photos, messages, and other important files first if possible.
Here are some data recovery options for a bootlooping iPhone:
- iCloud backup – Restore your latest iCloud backup after fixing the bootloop issue.
- iTunes or Finder backup – Recover data from a local iTunes or Finder backup.
- iMyFone D-Back – This utility can extract data from an iPhone stuck in recovery mode.
- Fonelab – Works similarly to iMyFone for iOS data recovery.
- Stellar – Advanced data recovery software that can pull files from an unbootable iPhone.
Prioritizing data recovery before repair will ensure you don’t lose your valuable information permanently.
Preventing iPhone Bootloops
While occasional software glitches can spontaneously cause an iPhone bootloop, you can take proactive steps to reduce the chances of encountering this issue:
- Keep iOS updated – Installing the latest iOS updates patches bugs and improves system stability.
- Avoid unstable apps – Don’t download apps from untrusted sources or unverified developers.
- Monitor device temperature – Overheating can cause system crashes that lead to bootloops.
- Avoid cramming storage – Near-full storage can negatively impact system performance.
- Backup regularly – Keep current iCloud and iTunes backups to protect your data.
- Handle with care – Physical damage can ruin hardware and make bootloops more likely.
While you can’t prevent every bootloop, good usage habits make them less likely and reduce long-term wear on your iPhone’s hardware.
iPhone Bootloop Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about iPhone bootloop issues:
Why does my iPhone keep bootlooping after restoring it?
If your iPhone goes back into a bootloop immediately after restoring, it likely indicates a hardware problem rather than a software issue. Hardware faults require repair service to fix.
How do I backup my iPhone if it’s stuck in a bootloop?
With the iPhone continuously restarting, you can’t access it normally to backup the data. Use data recovery software like iMyFone D-Back to pull data off the device before attempting restore to fix the bootloop issue.
Can I factory reset my iPhone without restoring it?
No, there is no standard user option to factory reset an iPhone without doing a full restore. A restore completely wipes the device, which is required to properly reset all software and settings.
Is bootlooping bad for my iPhone?
Continuously power cycling and rebooting can put extra strain on the hardware components. Prolonged bootlooping isn’t necessarily damaging, but can contribute to premature failure of parts like the processor or RAM.
Can I backup my iPhone while it’s in recovery mode?
No, you can’t access the user data partition while in recovery mode. You’ll need data recovery software to pull your files and photos off before attempting a restore via recovery mode to fix the bootloop.
The Bottom Line
Bootlooping is a common problem on iPhones, but one that can usually be resolved with proper troubleshooting. For software-based issues, resetting settings, recovery mode restores, and DFU mode restores can often get an iPhone booting normally again. Hardware problems require professional repair service. Either way, be sure to exhaust data recovery options before attempting invasive restore procedures.
With persistence and methodical troubleshooting, most iPhone bootloop issues can be fixed and data recovered. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you exhaust software troubleshooting options. Stopping the frustrating reboot cycle and getting your iPhone operational again is only a matter of using the right tools and techniques.