Why is my iPhone screen black but the phone still works?

If your iPhone screen is black or blank but the phone still seems to work otherwise, there are a few potential causes and solutions you can try. The most common reasons an iPhone screen goes black include a software issue, loose display cables, or a faulty screen. In many cases, you may be able to fix the issue yourself in just a few minutes.

Here are some quick answers to common questions about an iPhone with a black screen:

Why is my iPhone screen black?

The most common causes of a black iPhone screen are a software glitch, loose internal cables, or a broken screen. An unresponsive black screen usually indicates a hardware issue.

Can I still use my iPhone if the screen is black?

In some cases yes – if your iPhone still responds to touch and voice commands, features like Siri, calling, music playback, and haptics may still work even if the screen remains black.

How can I fix an iPhone with black screen?

First try a force restart. If that doesn’t work, re-seat the display cables, update iOS, or get the screen replaced if determined to be faulty. Back up data first in case a restore is needed.

Will I lose data if I fix an iPhone black screen?

If done properly, no – be sure to fully back up your data before attempting any repairs though. A factory reset or restore may be required which will wipe the iPhone unless it’s restored from a backup.

Determining Why Your iPhone Screen is Black

When troubleshooting a black iPhone screen, the first step is determining why it’s occurring. There are generally three main causes of an iPhone having a black or blank screen:

Software Issues

A black screen is often caused by a minor software glitch or app that’s hanging. An unresponsive frozen screen is typically a software issue. Try force restarting the iPhone – hold the Power and Home buttons for 10+ seconds until the Apple logo appears. This will hard reboot the device and usually resolve a software problem.

Display Cable Issues

The delicate display cables that connect the actual iPhone screen to the logic board can come loose over time. This most commonly happens if the iPhone is dropped or bent. Re-seating the display cables can often resolve the black screen if this is the cause.

Faulty Screen

If a hardware component like the LCD or backlight burns out, fails, or gets damaged, it can cause the iPhone’s screen to go black and unresponsive. Checking if the screen is actually broken, burnt-out, or cracked will determine if a screen replacement is needed.

How to Fix iPhone Black Screen Software Issues

If your iPhone screen is black but you can still hear alerts, calls coming through, or Siri talking, it’s likely a software issue rather than hardware. Here are a few ways to fix an iPhone black screen caused by a software or app glitch:

Force Restart the iPhone

Force restarting your iPhone essentially clears out any stuck apps or processes that may be causing the screen to freeze up. To force restart, hold the Power/Side button and either Volume button for 10+ seconds until the Apple logo appears. If the black screen clears after a force restart, it confirms the issue was a software one.

Update iOS

Make sure your iPhone is updated to the latest iOS version. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to check for and install any available updates. Updating to the newest iOS can often resolve black screen bugs and glitches.

Uninstall Problematic Apps

A newly-installed app may end up causing conflicts that lead to a blacked out screen. First force restart your iPhone, then if the issue persists, uninstall any apps you downloaded right before the issue started. Reinstall them one-by-one to isolate any problematic apps.

Reset All Settings

Resetting all settings on your iPhone essentially clears out any corrupted settings/preferences that could be interfering with the screen properly functioning. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings. You’ll have to re-enter various settings afterward, but it could correct a black screen.

Restore from a Backup

If nothing else has worked, fully restoring your iPhone using iTunes or Finder may be required. This wipes the device so make sure you have a full iCloud/iTunes backup first. Then either plug into a computer and restore or do an Over-the-Air iCloud restore if prompted after wiping the device.

Fixing iPhone Black Screen Caused by Hardware

If you’ve determined a hardware issue is the culprit for the iPhone’s black screen, there are a couple solutions to try before resorting to professional screen repair or replacement:

Check the Display Cables

Open up the iPhone by carefully removing the screen and logic board and check that the delicate display cables are properly seated and undamaged. Reconnecting the cables firmly in place can often resolve a black screen if they had just become slightly loose from drops or bends.

Replace the Screen

If re-seating cables doesn’t help, inspect the iPhone screen closely for cracks, dead pixels, burn-in, or obvious damage. Get the screen professionally replaced if it’s determined to be faulty. Third-party/non-Apple screens are more affordable but may not work as well long-term.

Backing Up Your iPhone Before Attempting Repairs

Any type of physical iPhone repair for a black screen comes with the risk of data loss. Make sure to fully back up your iPhone before re-seating cables or doing any screen repairs/replacements. Options to safely back up your data include:

  • iCloud Backup – Enable iCloud backup in Settings to auto-backup your iPhone to the cloud.
  • iTunes Backup – Plug your iPhone into a computer and back up locally to iTunes.
  • iMazing – Use iMazing to create a full encrypted backup of your iPhone on your computer.

Backing up your data ensures you won’t lose your photos, messages, notes, and other iPhone data if something goes wrong during the repair process and your phone needs to be wiped/restored to factory settings.

When to Take Your iPhone to Apple or a Repair Shop

In some cases of severe physical damage or a burnt-out/shattered screen, you may need to take your iPhone to Apple or an authorized iPhone repair shop rather than attempting to fix the black screen yourself. Reasons to take it in include:

  • The screen is visibly cracked, warped, or shattered
  • There is debris or leakage inside the iPhone
  • The internal components appear damaged
  • You’re unable to re-seat the display cables properly yourself
  • DIY attempts to replace the screen haven’t worked

Apple Support can run diagnostics, properly re-seat internal cables, and fully replace the screen or other components as needed. However, this will be a more expensive option than third-party iPhone repair shops.

When to Give Up and Replace Your iPhone

If you’ve exhausted all troubleshooting options and hardware repairs but still can’t get your iPhone screen working normally again, it may be time to simply replace your iPhone rather than spending more money on repairs and parts trying to salvage it. Consider upgrading to a new iPhone model if:

  • Your iPhone is very old and repairs cost more than it’s worth
  • The screen damage is catastrophic or components unfixable
  • It experiences frequent hardware and software issues
  • Apple no longer supports the iPhone model with updates

Sometimes it ends up more cost-effective and worthwhile in the long run to just upgrade your iPhone rather than trying to continue fixing an aging device.

Steps to Take When Your iPhone Has a Black Screen

Here are the key steps to run through when dealing with an iPhone that has a black, blank, or unresponsive screen:

  1. Force restart the iPhone – hold Power + Volume for 10+ seconds.
  2. Update your iOS version, check for any available updates.
  3. Try uninstalling recently downloaded apps.
  4. Back up your iPhone data to iCloud or iTunes.
  5. Try resetting all settings under Settings > General.
  6. If hardware issue, inspect the screen and display cables.
  7. Carefully re-seat the display cables if loose/damaged.
  8. Replace the screen if visibly faulty/cracked.
  9. Restore from a backup if needed after hardware repairs.
  10. Take to Apple or a repair shop for complex fixes.

Following these steps can help identify whether it’s a software or hardware issue causing your iPhone black screen. Carefully testing different solutions can often get your screen working properly again in just minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions about iPhone Black Screen Issues

Here are answers to some common questions about dealing with an iPhone that has a black, blank, or frozen screen:

Why did my iPhone screen suddenly go black?

A sudden black screen is most often caused by a software crash/glitch or an app freezing up. Force restarting your iPhone will typically resolve it. Hardware problems like loose cables also commonly cause sudden black screens after drops.

Can I restart my iPhone if the screen is black?

Yes, you can force restart an iPhone even with black screen by holding Power + Volume Up/Down buttons for 10+ seconds until the Apple logo appears.

Why does my iPhone screen keep going black?

Frequent/intermittent black screens that keep coming back point to a persistent hardware or software issue. The problem is likely a loose display cable, glitchy app, or iOS bug if the screen goes black repeatedly.

Is my iPhone broken if the screen is black?

Not necessarily – while a black screen can occur from broken hardware like the LCD/backlight burning out, loose cables are the most common hardware cause, which is an easy fix. Try display cable re-seating before assuming the iPhone is broken.

Can I recover data from black screen iPhone?

If possible, recover data before attempting repairs. You can use backups or data recovery software if the phone is functional otherwise. Repairs like screen replacement can risk data loss if not backed up.

Why does half of my iPhone screen go black?

A partially black screen typically indicates damage to part of the LCD/backlight or connection issues with display cables. Usually either the cable needs re-seating or the screen needs full replacement in such cases.


While an iPhone with a black, blank, or frozen screen can be frustrating, the issue is often fixable even if it seems the phone is broken. Software issues usually just require a force restart or iOS update. Hardware problems like loose cables commonly just need a quick re-seat or new screen. So don’t panic – carefully follow troubleshooting and repair steps, back up your data, and there’s a good chance you can get your iPhone screen glowing again.