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Having iPhone issues? Here's how to fix it yourself

These simple troubleshooting tips for common problems might help you get your iPhone back on track.

You can usually fix sluggish performance with a few taps. 
Angela Lang/CNET

When your iPhone isn't working how it should, it's downright frustrating. Whether an app keeps crashing the moment you open it, or your phone keeps freezing whenever you go back to your home screen or try to send a text, your iPhone isn't working when you need it to and that isn't OK. 

Don't worry. We'll show you where to look and the steps to take when fixing common issues of general bugginess, battery life, storage space and more. 

How to deal with poor battery life

For battery issues, start by looking at which apps or services are logging the most use. You can view a chart of battery use by opening Settings > Battery. Scroll down to the graph chart that shows battery usage by the hour, with a list of apps and services along with the amount of battery they've used below it. 

Look for a rogue app running in the background -- you'll see "background activity" below the app's name -- or for an app's usage that's higher than you think it should be. 

I don't mind if an app like Outlook has high background activity since it's refreshing my inbox, but if there was an app -- say, Facebook -- that is refreshing in the background and you don't want it to, here's what to do. In the Settings app, go to General > Background App Refresh and turn off the app's ability to update itself when you're not using it. It's actually a good idea to go through this list and turn off any app you don't need to update in the background, even if it isn't currently causing battery issues. 

Alternatively, check your phone's battery health in the Battery settings page (Settings > Battery > Battery Health) to see if the battery needs replaced. 


Use Apple's built-in tool to free up space. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Running low on storage space?

Apple built a storage management tool into iOS that not only shows you what's taking up space but also recommends actions you can take to fix the problem. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and wait a few seconds while the information loads. 

Go through the recommendations list to see what steps Apple suggests you take. Then go through the list of apps to see which are using the most storage. Tap an app to view more information, including options to delete data associated with the app. For example, the Music app will allow you to remove albums you've downloaded to your device for offline access. 


Software updates are easy to ignore. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Correct glitches and bugs with this simple step

For random issues and bugginess -- like an iPhone that isn't staying connected to Wi-Fi, keeps freezing up or is just running really slow -- force restart it. It may sound obvious or dull, but it's the same approach as restarting a computer that's acting up, and oftentimes, it cures whatever ails your iPhone. 


Sometimes all it takes is a quick restart. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The process to force restart depends on which iPhone model you have:

  • For iPhones with a home button, you'll need to press and hold the home button along with the lock/wake button for about 10 seconds, or until you see the Apple logo.
  • For an iPhone models that have Face ID, you'll need to press the following buttons in this order: press and release volume up, press and release volume down and then press and hold the side button for roughly 10 seconds, after which you should see the Apple logo.

Whichever method you have to use, it's important you don't let go of the button(s) until you see the Apple logo appear on your phone's screen. 

Once your phone comes back to life, unlock it using your passcode and it should, hopefully, be free of any performance issues. 

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More common issues and quick fixes

There are, of course, other steps you can take to get your iPhone back up and running. Something as simple as a software update could be the key. Here are a few more steps you can take:

  • Check for and install any pending software updates in Settings > General > Software update.
  • If all else fails, download the Apple Support app and start a chat session. The representative can walk you through more troubleshooting steps, and access device logs (with your permission) to diagnose any bigger issues.

Once your iPhone is working as it should, take some time to learn our favorite features available right now in iOS 14. Haven't upgraded yet? You can install right now, but get your phone ready for the update first