Restarting (or “Rebooting” for us old-timers) your computer is the single most important troubleshooting technique you can learn. Mouse stopped working? Restart. Operations slow down to a crawl? Restart. Weird things happening on your screen? Restart. Your problem is almost always fixed when it comes back on.
Guess what? Your smartphone or tablet is just like a computer! Just today, my Android smartphone stopped working. It displayed a message that there was no SIM card, no Verizon Service and it wouldn’t make a call or get email – nothing! What?! I had just made a phone call. It is a total mystery to me why that would happen, I’ve never seen that message before. Before freaking out and calling Verizon (with some other phone!), I restarted. All fixed.
Last week, during our iPad/iPhone class, one of the student’s iPads became unresponsive and the screen was blinking like crazy. Pressing home did nothing, pressing the power or wake/sleep button did nothing, holding down on the power button did nothing. It just kept blinking away. What to do?
How do you ShutDown/Restart a Smartphone or Tablet
With an iPhone/iPad, you hold down the power button (aka Sleep/Wake button) until you see a red bar with the words “slide to power off.” Slide it in the direction indicated and the screen should go dark and your device is, indeed, powered OFF. Then, to turn it back on, you also hold down on the power button until you see something happen … an apple logo should appear on your screen. You can let go then, and your device should be back on soon.
With the iPhone/iPad, it can also be a good idea to kill all apps in your Recently Used list before performing the shutdown. That means to double-tap on the home button (the round, physical button on your device) and you will a series of App icons at the bottom of the screen. On iOS7 you will also see a full representation of the app in the middle of the screen, you kill the app by swiping it up, off the screen. Do that for all the apps. In iOS6 you need to longpress on one of the icons at the bottom until they all start wiggling and you see a red minus sign on each icon. Tap each minus sign until they have all disappeared.
With an Android Device, you hold down on the power button until you see choices. Select the choice to Power Off. When it’s finished and the screen is black, press and hold the power button again until you see something appear on the screen, then you can let go and wait until the device is all the way back on. This procedure automatically clears all recently used Apps on the Android devices.
What if it Doesn’t Respond to ShutDown?
Sometimes, like in the blinking iPad described above, the power button is non-responsive. If your device has a removable battery, you’re in luck. Remove it. It has no choice but to power off then! Most devices today have sealed batteries that you cannot remove, so you need to know about the 2 or 3 button technique to force it to shut down and restart.
With an iPhone/iPad, you hold down on the power button (sleep/wake) AND the Home button at the same time for several seconds … until the screen goes black. This is the technique we used for the blinking iPad mentioned above. Holding down on the sleep/wake and the home button together eventually stopped the annoying blinking screen and it peacefully powered off. With this process it automatically turns itself back on, and all was functioning normally.
With Android Devices: On my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx the way to force a shutdown is by holding down the Power button and the Down Volume button at the same time for several seconds. As it turns out, that is the same key combination that takes a screen shot – so if you hear a click, just keep holding down the keys, it will eventually restart. Your Android phone or tablet may be different, you will need to find the user’s manual for your specific make and model. You can also call your service provider (Verizon, AT&T etc.) and they’ll be able to help.
Tutorial Videos to Watch
In our Smartphones and Tablets section, watch