Why does my iPhone screen go black suddenly?

There are a few common reasons why an iPhone screen may suddenly go black unexpectedly. Here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions about this issue:

Quick Answers

– Your iPhone battery died – Charge your iPhone and see if the screen comes back on.

– Your iPhone crashed – Try holding down the power and home button together for 10 seconds to force restart your iPhone.

– Screen cable became loose – Check if the screen cable inside your iPhone came loose and reconnect it.

– Proximity sensor issue – The proximity sensor thinks something is covering the screen. Clean the sensor or get it repaired.

– Faulty screen – If your iPhone has physical screen damage, the screen may be malfunctioning and need replacement.

– Software glitch – A glitch in iOS could be causing the black screen. Update iOS or reset your iPhone.

What causes an iPhone screen to suddenly go black?

There are several potential root causes for an iPhone screen suddenly turning black unexpectedly:

Battery ran out of charge

The most common and straightforward reason an iPhone screen may go black is because the battery ran out of charge. iPhones do not have removable batteries, so when your battery level gets critically low, the screen will immediately go black when the remaining power is depleted.

If you notice your iPhone battery getting low before the black screen occurs, this is likely the cause. Connect your iPhone to a charger and let it charge for at least 10-15 minutes to provide enough charge to turn the screen back on. If the battery was completely empty, it could take 30+ minutes before you see the Apple logo appear when powering back on.

iPhone crashed

Another frequent culprit for a black screen is an iPhone crash. Just like computers, smartphones can experience crashes and lock-ups where the operating system freezes. An unresponsive, frozen iPhone with a black screen usually means your iPhone essentially crashed and needs to be restarted.

If your iPhone screen goes black and becomes unresponsive to button presses or touch screen taps, don’t panic. The fix is simple – just force restart your iPhone. This can be done by pressing and holding the Power button and Home button simultaneously for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo appear.

Screen cable came loose

Inside every iPhone, there are delicate flex cables that connect components like the screen display panel to the main logic board. It is possible for these fragile cables to come loose or disconnect, which would immediately result in a black screen as signal is no longer reaching the display.

If your iPhone was recently dropped or damaged in some way, or if you notice your screen flickering intermittently before going black, a loose display cable could very likely be the culprit. The only true fix is to open up the iPhone and inspect the connections to make sure the display cable is firmly secured.

Proximity sensor thinks phone is covered

The proximity sensor in your iPhone detects when an object is in close physical proximity. It’s what causes your iPhone screen to turn off automatically when you hold the phone up to your ear for a call. However, issues with the proximity sensor can also cause random black screens.

The proximity sensor may think something is covering the iPhone screen when nothing actually is. If this occurs, your iPhone may briefly black out the display. Cleaning around the proximity sensor (located near the ear speaker) or getting the sensor repaired can resolve this problem.

Faulty OLED display panel

For iPhones with OLED displays, a faulty or failing screen panel can also be responsible for the iPhone going black. OLED displays can suffer from burn-in issues and degradation over time, especially when displaying static, high brightness content.

If part of the OLED panel fails, it can render that portion of the screen unusable and black. Sometimes this starts as a small black patch that grows larger over time. Replacing the OLED display is the only permanent fix when this happens.

Motherboard failure

In rare instances, internal hardware failures on the iPhone’s logic board can produce a black screen situation. The GPU (graphics processing unit) or display IC (integrated circuit) chips control video output to the display panel.

If these components fail or get damaged, such as from liquid exposure, it can make the iPhone screen go completely black. Only replacing the logic board would get the display working again in these cases.

Software or app glitch

Software bugs, iOS issues, and app glitches account for a smaller subset of black screen causes, but can still occur. A buggy app or iOS firmware problem could make the screen unresponsive, for example.

First try force restarting your iPhone to clear out any temporary glitch. Update iOS to the latest version and check if the problem persists. As a last resort, backing up your iPhone and performing a factory reset can rule out any problematic software or app conflicts.

How to fix black screen issues on iPhone

Based on the most likely underlying causes, here are some troubleshooting steps to resolve an iPhone with a black screen:

If battery died – Charge iPhone

Connect your iPhone to a charger using the charging cable and wait at least 10-15 minutes before the Apple logo appears. Use the original Apple power adapter that came with your iPhone for fastest charging speed. Keep charging until your iPhone reaches at least 5-10% battery level before turning back on.

If iPhone crashed – Force restart

To force restart your iPhone, press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume button at the same time until you see the Apple logo. This will immediately reboot your iPhone and can resolve temporary system freeze issues.

Check display cable connections

Carefully inspect the display cables inside your iPhone using an iOpener heat pack and spudger tools to loosen adhesive. Reseat any loose connections and make sure cables are firmly inserted into their sockets.

Clean proximity sensor

Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to gently wipe around the proximity sensor and earpiece at the top of your iPhone screen. Blow away any dust buildup using compressed air. Make sure nothing is blocking the sensor.

Back up data and reset iPhone

As a last resort, backup your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes, then erase all content and settings from the Settings app to factory reset your device. This will rule out any software bugs causing the issue.

Get display repaired or replaced

For hardware issues like display panel burn-in or logic board component failure, you will need to take your iPhone to an Apple store or repair shop to get the screen or other parts replaced and get your iPhone working again.

How to prevent sudden black screens on iPhone

While you can’t always prevent iPhone display failures or crashes, here are some tips to help avoid sudden black screen issues:

  • Keep your iPhone charged to at least 20-30% battery level.
  • Update to the latest version of iOS for bug and performance fixes.
  • Avoid exposing your iPhone to excessive heat or cold temps.
  • Use screen protectors and cases to prevent physical damage.
  • Only install apps from trusted developers and sources.
  • Perform occasional hard resets to clear out temporary glitches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my iPhone X screen go black?

For iPhone X models, common causes include battery draining, system crashes, loose display connectors, proximity sensor issues, OLED display malfunction, and in rare cases logic board failures. Try charging, force restarting, getting service for physical damage, or factory resetting your iPhone X to fix a black screen.

Why does my iPhone screen go black when I hang up calls?

If your iPhone screen goes black after ending phone calls, it’s likely a problem with the proximity sensor thinking something is still covering or near the screen. Clean around the top earpiece and proximity sensor area to resolve this.

Why does my iPhone screen randomly turn black for a few seconds?

Occasional brief blackouts usually point to a temporary software glitch or app conflict. Force restart your iPhone and upgrade to the latest iOS version. Reset your iPhone if the issue continues occurring frequently.

Why does my iPhone black screen last for minutes at a time?

Black screens lasting for minutes rather than seconds are typically hardware related, like a loose display cable connection or OLED display burn-in. Have Apple or an authorized repair shop inspect and fix any underlying hardware defects.

Why is half of my iPhone screen black?

If part of your OLED iPhone’s screen doesn’t display anything, just a black area, it’s likely due to OLED burn-in or damage. Individual pixels can fail in sections, progressively getting worse over time. Replace the display to fully resolve.

Why does my iPhone screen go black when I’m using an app?

Apps freezing and causing a black screen can be due to temporary software glitches or the app crashing. Force close the offending app, update the app, or delete and reinstall it to see if this fixes any instability or conflicts with iOS.


A black iPhone screen can certainly be frustrating and concerning, but in most cases there are fixes you can try yourself before needing to visit a repair shop. Make sure to rule out simple problems like a drained battery or crashed system before assuming hardware faults. Back up your data regularly so you can comfortably recover from any issue, even a total failure needing a replacement iPhone.