What is the screen of death on iPhone?

The “screen of death” refers to when an iPhone gets stuck on the Apple logo screen when booting up and fails to progress to the home screen. This is typically indicative of a serious software issue preventing the device from completing the startup process. Some quick answers to common questions about the iPhone screen of death:

What causes the iPhone screen of death?

There are a few potential causes of the iPhone screen of death:

  • Corrupt system files – Issues with important system files like the kernel or firmware can prevent startup.
  • Failed iOS update – Installing an iOS update that fails or gets interrupted can brick the device.
  • Hardware failure – Defective hardware components like the logic board or storage can lead to startup failures.
  • Jailbreaking issues – Jailbroken iPhones are more prone to system file conflicts and inconsistencies.
  • Unauthorized modifications – Improper modifications to the software can damage critical files.

How can you fix the iPhone screen of death?

Troubleshooting options for the iPhone screen of death include:

  • Hard reset – Holding the power and home buttons for >10 seconds can force a reboot and clear some software issues.
  • DFU mode restore – Restoring the device in DFU mode reinstalls the iOS firmware and system files.
  • Remove and reinsert SIM card – May resolve network-related activation and authentication problems.
  • Reset network settings – Resets all network settings which could fix connection issues.
  • Restore in iTunes/Finder – Using a computer to restore can often resolve many software issues.
  • Apple store visit – For persistent hardware or software issues an Apple Genius can fully diagnose and repair.

Is the iPhone screen of death fatal?

In many cases the iPhone screen of death can be resolved with some troubleshooting steps. However, it may indicate unrecoverable hardware failure or permanent software corruption. If the phone is very old or has had unauthorized modifications, the issues may not be fixable.

How can you prevent the iPhone screen of death?

Best practices to avoid the dreaded iPhone screen of death include:

  • Keep iOS up to date with latest stable releases.
  • Avoid unauthorized jailbreaking or hacking the iOS software.
  • Use trusted accessories and cables to avoid hardware defects.
  • Don’t force restart the device unless absolutely needed.
  • Backup data regularly in case you need to restore the iPhone.
  • Handle the phone carefully to prevent hardware damage.
  • Install iOS updates promptly since they include fixes.

What does the iPhone screen of death look like?

The iPhone screen of death will display the Apple logo on a black or white background and remain stuck there indefinitely. The progress bar may be partially filled but will not advance as the startup process is unable to complete. The screen will remain lit but will be completely unresponsive to touch or button input.

How long will an iPhone screen of death last?

If the iPhone is exhibiting the screen of death, it will not ever progress past that screen until the underlying software issue is resolved. It can remain stuck on the Apple logo indefinitely unless the user force reboots the device or performs a hard reset. The screen of death will persist through spontaneous reboots as well.

Can you backup an iPhone with the screen of death?

Unfortunately there is no way to backup an iPhone exhibiting the screen of death using traditional methods. Since the phone cannot boot fully, you cannot access the home screen to connect to iTunes for a backup. Some options to recover data include:

  • iCloud backup – If a recent backup exists in iCloud, restoring a working phone from that backup will retrieve data.
  • iTunes backup – If you can intermittently get the phone to boot, quickly connect to iTunes.
  • Recovery software – Specialized software can read raw data off the iPhone storage chips.
  • Repair shop – Data recovery services can sometimes pull data from non-functioning devices.

What version of iOS is most prone to the screen of death?

Historically, major iOS releases have had a higher incidence of bugs and issues that can lead to the screen of death problem. Versions such as iOS 8, iOS 11 and iOS 13 had more reported cases than more polished updates. Jailbroken devices with unauthorized iOS modifications are also more prone to screen of death issues.

Can you recover data after fixing iPhone screen of death?

If the iPhone screen of death issue was caused by software bugs and can be resolved, then data recovery should be straightforward. After fixing the issue, powering on the iPhone should allow normal access to the full file system. However, if hardware damage caused the problem, data recovery may not be possible even after repairing other components. Consult a data recovery service in those situations.

Is the iPhone screen of death the same as the blue screen of death?

The infamous “blue screen of death” refers to a fatal error on Microsoft Windows devices which displays a blue screen. The iPhone screen of death shares similarities in that both indicate a serious failure, but they manifest differently. The similarities are:

iPhone Screen of Death Windows Blue Screen of Death
Shows logo/icon on startup Displays blue screen with text
Freezes on single screen Locks device and prevents use
Caused by software bugs Typically a software issue
Requires hard reset to recover Forces a reboot of device

Does the iPhone screen of death mean permanent damage?

In some cases the iPhone screen of death can indicate permanent hardware damage or irreparable software issues such as:

  • Severely damaged storage chips or logic board – hardware not repairable
  • Corrupted bootloader – core software that loads iOS is damaged
  • Failed NAND storage – chips that store data and software are bad
  • Unauthorized/failed iOS modification – Software change damaged critical system files

However, the majority of the time the screen of death is caused by software bugs or glitches that can be repaired with some effort. Unless there are signs of physical damage, the issues may not be permanent.

How much does it cost to fix an iPhone screen of death?

If the screen of death is caused by repairable software issues, DIY fixes are typically free – just some time and effort. However, for hardware repairs by an Apple technician, costs can include:

iPhone Hardware Issue Estimated Repair Cost
Broken Touch ID $329
Damaged Logic Board $319 – $399
Bad NAND Memory $399 – $599
Screen Replacement $129 – $299

Data recovery services for devices with hardware damage range from $300 for basic recovery up to $3000 or more for extensive forensic data retrieval.

Are some models of iPhone more prone to screen of death?

There are a few iPhone models that seem to be more error-prone based on online complaints and Apple support forums:

  • iPhone 6s & 6s Plus – Prone to hardware failures like bad NAND memory.
  • iPhone 7 – Multiple firmware bugs caused screen of death for many users.
  • iPhone X – Fast processor exposed software issues that caused crashes.
  • iPhone 8 – Baseband modem failures led to screen freezing for some.

In general, newly launched iPhone models tend to exhibit more software bugs that lead to crashes and lockups. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 were also notorious when first released.

Should you take an iPhone with screen of death to Apple?

Apple either via the Genius Bar or mail-in repair is usually the best option for resolving an iPhone screen of death. Apple technicians have the most experience working with iOS issues. They can fully diagnose software and hardware problems and reliably restore devices using internal Apple tools. However, Apple repairs may not be cheap – costs will apply unless still under warranty.

Can you resolve an iPhone screen of death without restoring?

In some rare cases, it may be possible to fix the issues causing the screen of death without fully erasing the device. This usually involves advanced troubleshooting steps such as:

  • Booting into Recovery Mode or DFU Mode to modify system software
  • Using jailbreak tools and apps to access root file system
  • Editing critical system configuration and resources files
  • Terminal shell commands to rebuild corrupted databases
  • Reinstallation of damaged firmware components

However, the safest approach is typically to fully restore the device using iTunes or iCloud when experiencing the screen of death.

Can you replace just the screen to fix iPhone screen of death?

A fully black, frozen screen is usually not caused by a screen hardware defect – replacing the display will not resolve a true screen of death issue. The screen of death is a failure of the underlying software, so the graphics chipset and display components are likely functioning. You would need to address the root cause by restoring the operating system to fix a stuck Apple logo screen.

How long does the iPhone screen of death last before restarting?

When an iPhone encounters the screen of death, the Apple logo will remain permanently frozen until the device is force rebooted or powered down completely. The screen will stay lit indefinitely as long as the battery maintains some charge. Unlike a blue screen crash, the iPhone screen of death persists until manually interrupted by a hard reset.

Can you still turn off iPhone with screen of death?

Even when stuck on the Apple logo screen, you can still force power down an iPhone exhibiting the screen of death:

  1. iPhone 8 or earlier – Hold power and home button for 10+ seconds.
  2. iPhone X or later – Hold power and either volume button for 10+ seconds.
  3. Release buttons once screen goes blank.

This will turn off the iPhone allowing you to troubleshoot the issue before attempting to restart it. However, the screen of death will return on reboot unless the underlying problem is resolved.

Does DFU mode fix iPhone screen of death?

Entering DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) mode can be an effective way to troubleshoot and fix the iPhone screen of death in many cases. By restoring the device while in DFU mode it completely wipes and reinstalls the iOS firmware. This can resolve many software issues causing crashes and boot loops. However, DFU mode will not fix hardware defects leading to the screen of death.

Can you factory reset with iPhone screen of death?

With the iPhone stuck on the Apple logo screen, there is no way to perform a factory reset from the device itself. However, you can wipe and restore the iPhone using iTunes or Finder on a computer even while it is exhibiting the screen of death.

Steps to factory reset an iPhone with screen of death:

  1. Connect iPhone to computer via USB cable
  2. Open iTunes or Finder and enter recovery mode
  3. Allow computer to detect iPhone in recovery
  4. Select option to restore device
  5. Follow prompts to reinstall iOS

This will wipe the device and reinstall a fresh iOS firmware image essentially resetting it to factory state.

Is the screen of death the same as the connect to iTunes screen?

The connect to iTunes screen is different than the true screen of death. Differences include:

Connect to iTunes Screen Screen of Death
Appears after startup Happens during startup
Still partially functional Phone is unusable
Indicates recoverable error Often a serious failure
Easy to exit with a restart Persists through restarts

The connect to iTunes screen can typically be dismissed just by restarting the iPhone. But the true screen of death will return immediately after any reboot attempt.

Why does the iPhone screen of death happen?

At a high level, the iPhone screen of death happens when critical software fails to load preventing the device from progressing past the Apple logo startup screen. Some of the specific technical causes include:

  • Corrupted bootloader – Cannot load iOS startup sequence
  • Damaged kernel or OS – Core operating system fails to start
  • Inaccessible storage – OS and apps cannot be accessed
  • Incompatible firmware – Current OS build is unsupported
  • Incorrect configuration – Startup processes fail to initialize
  • Security policy errors – Device activation unsuccessful

Determining the exact cause requires advanced troubleshooting and debugging techniques.

How do you restart an iPhone with screen of death?

Forcing a hard reboot is one way to interrupt the iPhone screen of death when it becomes unresponsive. To restart an iPhone stuck on the Apple logo:

  1. iPhone 8 or earlier – hold Power + Home buttons for 10+ seconds.
  2. iPhone X or later – hold Power + Volume Down buttons for 10+ seconds.
  3. Keep holding buttons until screen goes blank.
  4. Release buttons once Apple logo appears.

This will force the device to suddenly restart. However, the screen of death will return quickly unless you address the root cause.

Does Erase All Content fix iPhone screen of death?

Erasing all content and settings using a factory restore can frequently resolve many causes of the iPhone screen of death. By wiping the device and reinstalling iOS, most software issues are cleared. However, any hardware faults will still result in the screen of death returning after erase.

Can you backup before fixing iPhone screen of death?

Since the iPhone is inaccessible and unusable when stuck on the screen of death, you cannot directly backup its contents before attempting a fix. But if you have an existing iCloud or iTunes backup, you can use that to restore your data after fixing the screen of death issues. Otherwise, data recovery may be possible but complex after the fact.


The iPhone screen of death is a serious failure when the device gets stuck on the Apple logo during startup. It renders the phone unusable until resolved. The problem is usually caused by software bugs, corrupt system files, or hardware defects. Fixing it requires troubleshooting steps like forced reboots, DFU mode restores, and software repairs both DIY or via Apple support. With effort, an iPhone exhibiting the screen of death can often be recovered without permanent damage, but data backups are always advised in case the issues persist.