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 clearly a problem. In fact, what you may be facing is what's called the iPhone White Screen, or White Screen of Death. That name makes it sound scary, but it's not necessarily a death sentence for your iPhone. Here are a few steps you can take to try to fix it.

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/jailbreak—When you try to update the iPhone's software, especially the operating system, and the update fails, sometimes you'll see the white screen. This is particularly common when jailbreaking your iPhone and the jailbreak fails. 
  • Hardware problem—The white screen is often caused by the cable that connects the iPhone's motherboard and screen coming loose or failing. In some cases, this is simply the result of a hardware failure. In others, the connector comes loose after the phone has been dropped.

Hard Reset the iPhone

The first step in any iPhone troubleshooting process is to restart the iPhone, but 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 anything on your screen. 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
  2. Keep holding until the screen flashes and the Apple logo appears
  3. Let go of the buttons and let the iPhone start up as 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

If neither of the first two 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
  3. Press both the on/off and Home buttons for about 10 seconds
  4. Let go of the on/off button, but keep pressing the Home button for another 5 seconds or so
  5. 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 is susceptible to the same problem.

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