How to Fix an iPhone Stuck on Black Screen with Spinning Wheel

iPhone stuck on back screen with spinning wheel

Did your iPhone get stuck on a black screen with a spinning wheel?

This problem normally occurs during the reboot process, when you update, reset, restore or turn on an Apple device. It can also happen suddenly while you are using one, due to software glitches. This article explains how to fix a jammed iPhone with a black screen and spinning wheel.

Most of the time this problem is fixed by forcing a restart on your device. Step-by-step instructions on how to do this are below.

Sometimes, however, this problem is caused by damage to hardware or a major software malfunction. If this is the case, then you will have to take your device in for repair. Try the fixes below and if none of them work, then make a Genius Bar reservation.

Force Restart Your iPhone

Steps to force restart an iPhone. Image courtesy: Apple

Forcing a restart will cause you to lose unsaved data in any apps which are currently running, even if they have an autosave. Fortunately, the black screen with a spinning wheel problem normally occurs during a reboot when this is not an issue.

  1. On an iPhone 6s or earlier and on all iPads and iPad Touches, press the home and power buttons simultaneously until the Apple logo appears.
  2. For an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, press and hold the power button and volume down button simultaneously until the Apple logo appears.
  3. On an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XR, 11, 11 plus, 12, 12 Pro and SE (2nd Gen), press and quickly release the volume up button, press and quickly release the volume down button and then press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears.

And then,

  1. After your device has shut down, wait a few seconds and it will power itself back up.

Your device should have restarted itself and, after entering your password, you will be back on your home screen with a working iPhone or iPad.

If not continue with the steps below.

If forcing a restart did not work, there are two choices for what to do next. The next step is usually to attempt to restore your device from a previous backup. If you do not have a recent enough backup, then you may want to skip this fix and go to the section on using recovery mode to update your device.

Restore Your iPhone from a Backup With iTunes or Finder

Restore iPhone from a backup
Restore iPhone from a backup. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

If you’re using a Mac with macOS Catalina, open Finder. On a Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier, or on a PC, open iTunes.

Restore iPhone Using iTunes

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Connect your device to your computer using a USB cable, wait a few moments and you should see a device icon appear in the top left corner of the page.
  3. Click on this to access your device.
  4. You should see a Backups section on the bottom half of the screen.
  5. Click on Restore Backup and choose the backup you want to restore to.
  6. Confirm and wait for the process to finish.

Your device should now have restarted itself and be working as it was when the backup was made. If not, go to the next section on using recovery mode to update your device.

Restore iPhone Using the Finder App

  1. Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable.
  2. Open the Finder app.
  3. Find your device on the left-hand side of the page, under the Locations heading.
  4. Click on your device to access it.
  5. In the General tab, click on Restore Backup and choose the backup you want to restore to.
  6. Confirm and wait for the process to finish.

Your device should now have restarted itself and be working as it was when the backup was made. If not, go to the next section.

Use Recovery Mode to Update Your iPhone

iPhone in recovery mode
iPhone in recovery mode. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

If the last fix did not work for you or you chose not to restore your device from a backup, then you should put your iPhone in recovery mode and update it.

Recovery Mode Using iTunes

Connect your iPhone to your computer via a USB cable, and open iTunes.

  1. On an iPhone 6s or earlier and on all iPads and iPad Touches, press the home and power buttons simultaneously until you see the recovery mode screen on the device.
  2. For an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, press and hold the power button and volume down button simultaneously until you see the recovery mode screen on the device.
  3. On an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XR, 11, 11 plus, 12, 12 Pro and SE (2nd Gen), press and quickly release the volume up button, press and quickly release the volume down button and then press and hold the power button until you see the recovery mode screen on the device.

And then,

  1. Look on your iTunes page and a message will appear giving you the choice of either restoring or updating your device.
  2. Click on Update and allow the process to take place. Do not click on restore. Eventually, the update should complete, your device should reboot itself and take you back to your home screen. If not, then skip to the last section.

Recovery Mode Using the Finder App

Connect your device to your computer via a USB cable, and open the Finder App.

  1. On an iPhone 6s or earlier and on all iPads and iPad Touches, press the home and power buttons simultaneously until you see the recovery mode screen on the device.
  2. For an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, press and hold the power button and volume down button simultaneously until you see the recovery mode screen on the device.
  3. On an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XR, 11, 11 plus, 12, 12 Pro and SE (2nd Gen), press and quickly release the volume up button, press and quickly release the volume down button and then press and hold the power button until you see the recovery mode screen on the device.

Look on your Finder page and a message will appear giving you the choice of either restoring or updating your device.

Click on Update and allow the process to take place. Do not click on restore. Eventually, the update should complete, your device should reboot itself and take you back to your home screen. If not, please keep on reading.

Using Recovery Mode to Restore Your iPhone

Restore iPhone in recovery mode
Restore iPhone in recovery mode. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Consider taking your device to the geniuses before taking the next course of action.

If updating in recovery mode did not work, then you can start the last process from the beginning again and choose Restore, instead of Update. This is another possible way to fix the problem.

However, please note that choosing Restore will erase all of your data and reinstall iOS, effectively renewing your device.

If you have tried to force a restart on your device, restore it from a backup and update it and nothing has worked, then your problem is likely caused by damage to hardware or a major software malfunction.

Wrap Up

Hopefully one of our fixes worked for you and you are up and running again. Otherwise, you may have to visit the nearest Apple store to get one-on-one assistance.

We always like to hear feedback, so please leave any comments or questions in the section below.

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