Why does my iPhone screen randomly go black?

Having your iPhone screen suddenly go black can be alarming and frustrating. However, in most cases there are some simple troubleshooting steps you can take to get your screen working again.

Quick Troubleshooting Steps

Here are some quick things to try when your iPhone screen goes black randomly:

  • Hard reset – Press and hold the sleep/wake button and volume down button at the same time for at least 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.
  • Force restart – Quickly press and release the volume up button, quickly press and release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.
  • Check for software updates – Go to Settings > General > Software Update and install any available updates.
  • Check display settings – Go to Settings > Display & Brightness and make sure Auto-Brightness is enabled and Brightness is turned up.
  • Check battery level – Charge your iPhone for at least 15 minutes and see if the screen comes back on.
  • Soft reset – Press and hold the sleep/wake and home buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.

If none of those quick fixes work, keep reading for more in-depth troubleshooting tips.

What Causes an iPhone Screen to Randomly Go Black?

There are several potential causes for an iPhone screen suddenly going black including:

  • Software issue – A bug or glitch in iOS can cause the screen to stop responding.
  • Display cable – Faulty display cable connection between the screen and logic board.
  • Proximity sensor – A faulty proximity sensor thinks something is covering the screen.
  • Bad power button – A defective power button thinks it is being held down.
  • Battery issue – Very low battery or battery needs to be recalibrated.
  • Screen damage – Physical cracks or display damage.
  • Water damage – Liquid getting inside the phone.
  • Extreme temperatures – Very hot or cold environments.

Figuring out which one is the culprit requires some troubleshooting steps.

Software Causes & Fixes

Let’s start with ruling out any software issues, since these are often easy fixes:

Restart Your iPhone

The simplest fix is to restart your iPhone. A restart helps clear out any temporary glitches and resets the software. To restart an iPhone 8 or earlier, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the slider appears to power off. For iPhone X or later, press and hold the Side and Volume Up buttons simultaneously until the slider appears.

Force Restart

If a normal restart isn’t working, try force restarting your iPhone instead. This forces the system to reboot even if the screen is unresponsive. On iPhone 8 or earlier, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, press and quickly release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears. For iPhone X or later, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, quickly press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button. The Apple logo should appear after about 10 seconds.

Update iOS Software

Outdated system software can also cause problems like a black screen. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to download and install the latest iOS version. This will refresh the operating system and install any bug fixes.

Reset Settings

If a system settings glitch is suspected, resetting your iPhone’s settings to factory default may help. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. This preserves your data but resets settings and preferences. Test to see if the black screen still occurs.

Restore iPhone

For persistent software-related screen issues that aren’t resolved by resetting settings, your best bet is to do a full restore of your iPhone. This will completely reinstall iOS and erase all content and data. First, backup your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes. Then go to Settings > General > Reset and choose “Erase All Content and Settings”. This will wipe the device and reinstall a fresh iOS for a clean slate.

Hardware Causes & Solutions

If you’ve eliminated any software culprits and your iPhone screen is still going black randomly, it’s likely a hardware issue. Here are some things to check:

Check Display Cable

Carefully check the display cable connection between the actual screen and the iPhone’s logic board. If it came loose, wasn’t properly connected, or is damaged, this could cause a black screen. Power off your iPhone and reseat the display cable or have an authorized iPhone repair shop do this.

Test Proximity Sensor

A faulty proximity sensor can cause random black screens by incorrectly thinking something is covering the screen. You can test this using an app like Sensor Kinetics. If the proximity sensor is defective, you’ll likely need a new iPhone proximity sensor installed by a repair shop.

Replace Power Button

The Side or Top buttonplays a role in waking/sleeping the iPhone screen. A bad power button that gets stuck can register as constantly being held down and turn the screen off. Try toggling the power button several times. If it feels stuck or faulty, the button mechanism will need to be replaced.

Check Battery Health

Insufficient battery charge or a bad battery unable to hold a proper charge can definitely cause an iPhone screen to go black. Check your battery’s maximum capacity under Settings > Battery > Battery Health. Your iPhone battery is considered worn out if it’s below 80%. Let your iPhone charge for 15 minutes and see if the black screen persists before further troubleshooting. You may need to get the battery replaced if it’s worn or damaged.

Inspect for Physical Damage

Lastly, take a very close look at your iPhone’s screen and body for any signs of physical damage. Even tiny cracks in the screen can damage components and cause issues like a black display. Take it to an Apple store or repair shop to test if screen replacement or body repair is needed.

When to Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried all of the above troubleshooting tips and your iPhone screen is still randomly going black, it’s probably time to contact Apple support or take it to an Apple store. Their technicians can perform advanced diagnostic testing to pinpoint hardware issues. They can also determine if your iPhone requires full unit replacement under warranty or through AppleCare.

You should also contact Apple immediately if your iPhone was recently exposed to liquid. Water damage can quickly fry components and make screens stop working properly. Apple’s liquid repair specialists may be able to rescue devices from water damage, but time is of the essence.

Third Party Repair Options

Depending on your iPhone model, you may also opt to visit a reputable third party repair shop rather than the Apple store. Many of these shops can source genuine Apple parts and offer microsoldering services not available through Apple. Just make sure to check reviews and warranties. Common iPhone screen and battery replacements typically cost $50-$100 this route.

Preventing Future Black Screens

No matter the cause, having your iPhone’s screen go black randomly can be a headache. Here are some tips to help prevent it from happening again in the future:

  • Always keep iOS updated
  • Don’t expose iPhone to moisture or extreme temps
  • Use a protective case and screen protector
  • Don’t drop or damage your iPhone
  • Charge properly and replace battery if worn
  • Have Apple or a repair shop fix any issues right away

Following these best practices will keep your iPhone’s screen in good working order and help reduce the chances of it suddenly going black and causing you panic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did my iPhone X screen go black?

On iPhone X models, a black screen is often caused by a hardware problem like the display/logic board cable coming loose or the proximity sensor malfunctioning. Try hard resetting your iPhone, reseating cables, and contacting Apple Support if the screen stays black.

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

If your iPhone screen consistently goes black after ending calls, it points to a defective proximity sensor. The IR sensor thinks something is covering the screen. Try using compressed air around the earpiece and get the proximity sensor replaced if needed.

My iPhone screen went black and won’t turn on. What should I do?

Start with a force reboot by pressing and quickly releasing the Volume Up followed by Volume Down and holding the Side button. If that doesn’t work, let the iPhone charge for at least 15 minutes. If the screen remains black, try a factory reset and contact Apple Support for further troubleshooting advice.

What to do when my iPhone 11 screen goes black randomly?

On iPhone 11 models, sudden black screens are often caused by software bugs and glitches. First update your iOS version and restart your iPhone. If this does not resolve the issue, try resetting your settings or performing a factory reset. Hardware problems like the display cable or board issues could also be the culprit.

Why did my iPhone screen turn black when watching Netflix?

If your iPhone screen goes black specifically when using an app like Netflix, it’s typically caused by a software crash or GPU issue. Restart your iPhone and upgrade to the latest iOS version. Also delete and reinstall the Netflix app. Contact Apple Support if the problem persists across multiple apps.

How do I restart my iPhone 13 when the screen is black?

To force restart an iPhone 13 model with a black screen, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, press and quickly release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears. If this doesn’t work, let it charge for at least 10 minutes before contacting Apple Support for diagnosis.

The Bottom Line

A black iPhone screen can certainly be annoying and disrupting. But in many cases it can be fixed with common troubleshooting like a restart, reset, software update or battery charge. For hardware issues like display cables, proximity sensors and power buttons, enlist the help of the Apple store or a reputable repair shop. With the right diagnosis and fix, you can get your iPhone’s screen illuminating again in no time.