An Apple Logo with a Rotation Logo around it

Let’s face it: Mysterious bugs sometimes pop up on your iPhone. If you can’t fix them with an update, sometimes you can temporarily make them go away by restarting your device. This works for the iPad and Apple Watch, too.

The Frustration of Software Bugs

Here at How-To Geek, we’ve noticed strange problems on our iPhones from time to time. Sometimes elements on the screen become blurry when they’re not supposed to, taps on the screen don’t answer a phone call, or battery life is impacted by distant travel.

Do any of these problems make sense? No. They’re bugs, which are unintentional programming errors in either the software that runs the iPhone (iOS) or in various apps. Admittedly, these problems are usually rare in Apple products, but that makes them all the more frustrating because it’s hard to tell why they happen. But there are things that we can do about them.

Rebooting: The Quick Bug Fix Method

If you’ve run into a weird glitch or bug on your iPhone that you can’t seem to shake, try shutting it down and restarting. It’s just like rebooting your Mac or PC.

By restarting, you’re forcing the operating system and any applications that you use to reload from scratch. This basically wipes the slate clean and lets them start over, potentially avoiding a rare scenario in the function of the program that might have caused the bug. You’re also clearing out system memory, which can remove any lingering memory leaks, overruns, or errors that might be causing problems.

How you restart an iPhone varies by model:

  • iPhone without a Home Button: Simultaneously hold the side button and the volume up or down button until the power-off slider appears on the screen.
  • iPhone with a Home Button and a Side Button: Hold the side button until the power-off slider appears.
  • iPhone with a Home Button and a Top Button: Hold the top button down until the power-off slider appears.

It’s also possible to shut down your iPhone without using a hardware button if you navigate to Settings > General and tap “Shut Down.”

Once the “Slide to Power Off” slider appears on the screen, swipe it and wait for your device to shut down completely.

The Apple iPhone "Slide to Power Off" slider.

Then press and hold the side button or top button on your iPhone until the Apple logo appears. When you get going again, it’s possible that your bug will have disappeared like magic.

Or, if the problem you’re experiencing is just in one app (for example, if an app appears frozen and you can’t use it), you can close and restart just that app instead of rebooting.

RELATED: How to Close and Restart iPhone and iPad Apps

Updating: The Ideal Bug Fix Method

iPad and iPhone OS update screen hero

If you keep running into the same bug on your iPhone and a restart doesn’t help, check for a software update. It’s possible that Apple or app developers have seen the same bug and have either fixed it with an update or are planning on fixing it in a future release.

If the bug is related to how iOS works (the home screen, widgets, Bluetooth, or built-in apps, just to name a few examples), then visit Settings > General > Software Update and update your iOS to the latest available version.

RELATED: How to Update Your iPhone to the Latest iOS Version

If the bug is related to a non-Apple app that you’ve downloaded, open the App Store and tap your Apple ID avatar to check for updates. You can update all of your apps or tap the download icon beside the app that you want to update. If there isn’t an update available for a certain app, it won’t be listed in the updates list.

RELATED: How to Update iPhone and iPad Apps

Once you’ve updated iOS or an app, see whether the bug has disappeared. If it has, then the update probably fixed it. If it hasn’t, then you might consider reporting the bug to Apple or an app developer.

Report a Bug to Apple or an App Developer

If a bug happens repeatedly on your device, it’s probably worth reporting so that it can be fixed in the future. You can report an iPhone bug to Apple using this feedback form on Apple’s website. While filling out the form, select “Bug Report” in the “Feedback Type” menu.

Select "Bug Report" from the "Feedback Type" menu.

If you’re having trouble with a third-party app, open the App Store and navigate to the problem app’s page. Scroll down, and just below the review score, tap “App Support.”

An an app's page in the App Store, tap "App Support."

This link will take you to the app developer’s support website. Follow the instructions there to contact the developer or report a bug. Good luck!

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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