How to Fix an iPhone White Screen of Death

iPhone White Screen of Death
image copyright Artur Debat/Moment Mobile/Getty Images

If your iPhone's screen is totally white and isn't showing any icons or apps, there's obviously a problem. In fact, you may be facing what's called the iPhone White Screen, or the iPhone White Screen of Death. That name makes it sound scary, but it's hyperbole in most cases. The White Screen of Death is not necessarily a death sentence for your iPhone. These steps can fix it in many cases.

Causes of the iPhone White Screen

An iPhone White Screen can be caused by a number of things, but the two most common are:

  • Failed software update or jailbreak—When you try to update the iPhone's operating system and the update fails, sometimes you'll see the white screen. This is even more common when trying to jailbreak your iPhone and something causes the jailbreak to fail. 
  • Hardware problem—If software isn't the culprit, the white screen is often caused by the cable that connects the iPhone's motherboard to the screen coming loose or breaking. In some cases, this is simply the result of a hardware failure. In others, the connector comes loose after the phone has been dropped.

Triple-Finger Tap

This won't solve the problem in most cases, but there's an outside chance that you don't really have a White Screen of Death. Instead, you may have accidentally turned on screen magnification and you may be zoomed super close in on something white, making it look like a white screen. For more on this phenomenon, read My iPhone Icons Are Large. What's Happening?

To fix magnification, hold three fingers together and then use them to double tap the screen. If your screen is magnified, this will bring it back to the standard view.

Hard Reset the iPhone

Often the best step in any iPhone troubleshooting process is to restart the iPhone. In this case, you need a slightly more powerful restart called a "hard reset." This is like a restart but doesn't require you to be able to see or touch anything on your screen—which you'll need if you've got a white screen with nothing on it.

It also clears more of the iPhone's memory (don't worry, you won't lose your data). 

To perform a hard reset:

  1. Hold down both the Home button and the on/off button at the same time (on the iPhone 7 series models, hold down the on/off and volume down buttons, not Home)
  2. Keep holding until the screen flashes and the Apple logo appears
  3. Let go of the buttons and let the iPhone start up like normal.

Hold Down Home + Volume Up + Power

If a hard reset didn't do the trick, there's another combination of buttons that's worked for many people:

  1. Hold down the Home button, the volume up button, and the power (sleep/wake) button all at once 
  2. It may take a while, but keep holding until the screen turns off
  3. Keep holding, until the Apple logo appears 
  4. When the Apple logo has shown up, you can let go of the buttons and let the iPhone start up like normal.

Try DFU Mode and Restore From Backup

If none of the first three options worked, your next step is to try putting the iPhone into DFU Mode. Disk Firmware Update (DFU) Mode is a way to get around whatever software problems you may be having and reinstall the iOS on the iPhone. To use it:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer 
  2. Press the sleep/wake button for about 3 seconds
  1. Press both the on/off and Home buttons (or volume down, on the iPhone 7 series) for about 10 seconds
  2. Let go of the on/off button, but keep pressing the Home (or volume down) button for another 5 seconds or so
  3. If the screen turns from white to black, you're in DFU Mode. At this point, you can use iTunes to restore your iPhone from backup.

If None of This Works

If you’ve tried all of these steps and still have the problem, you’ve likely got an issue that you can’t fix. You should contact Apple to make an appointment at your local Apple Store for support.

Fixing an iPod touch White Screen

This article is about fixing an iPhone White Screen, but the iPod touch can have the same problem.

Luckily, the solutions for an iPod touch White Screen are the same. The iPod touch and iPhone share many of the same hardware components and run the same operating system, so everything mentioned in this article can help fix an iPod touch white screen.