How to fix an Apple iPhone SE that won’t turn on [Troubleshooting Guide]

There have already been reports from #Apple iPhone SE (#iPhoneSE) owners saying their devices are not turning on after it turned off on its own. We have already looked into this problem ever since we started providing support to our readers who owned dated iPhone models but we are going to tackle it again for the benefits of iPhone SE owners.


We are going to determine whether the problem is caused by the firmware (iOS) or the hardware. Since the former is easier to troubleshoot, we will start with that. In case the problem remains after we’ve done some troubleshooting procedures for the firmware, we will tackle some things to determine if it really is the hardware that has some issues.

Before we go any further, if you have other concerns with your iPhone SE, you can always contact us and tell us about your problem and we will help you find a solution. Just fill up our iPhone problems questionnaire and hit submit. We assure you that we’ll look into it.

Step 1: Verify that it isn’t just a system crash that left the phone frozen

When the firmware crashes, the phone may be able to recover on its own after a few instances of freezing, slowing down or hanging. Sometimes the device may reboot on its own depending on how serious the issue is. There are also times when apps crash as an effect of the system crash but the most worrisome of all is when the phone freezes and leaves its screen black and unresponsive.

System crash is often referred to us technicians by owners as “black screen” and many actually think the problem is with the display. This problem can easily be fixed and you don’t have to pay a technician to fix it for you if you only know how and that’s the very purpose of this post. That being said, let’s try to rule this problem out by doing the soft reset (please note that other technicians also refer to it as “hard reset”).

How to soft reset your iPhone SE

  1. Press and hold the Home button (at the bottom of display) and the Power key (sleep/wake button) together for 15 to 20 seconds.
  2. If there’s enough battery left to power the device on, the white Apple logo will appear.
  3. When this happens, release both keys and wait until the device reboots completely.

If the problem gets fixed by the soft reset, then it’s good. However, I suggest you take time backing up your files and data because we don’t know what really caused the crash. There is a possibility that it may occur again and this time, you may not be able to fix the problem with the same procedure. This is just a precaution but it’s up to you if you really want to go through the hassle of backing up your data.

On the other hand, if your iPhone SE is still not responding after the soft reset, then the next step may be able to help you.

Step 2: Verify your phone has sufficient battery charge to power it up

If the problem was just a system crash, it may have already been fixed in step 1 but now that your iPhone SE is still not responding after doing it, then it’s time to check to see there’s charge left in the battery to power it up.

Of course, we cannot physically check it so we’ll try to charge your phone for at least 10 minutes and attempt to turn it on again. In case the issue remains, try to do the soft reset procedure while your device is charging as the problem might be a combination of system crash and drained battery.

For an iPhone that won’t turn on, the worst case scenario is that the hardware may be damaged at some point that the phone can no longer power up its components. Plugging your phone in to charge will tell you immediately if there’s really an issue with the hardware because the charging indicators won’t show. But I suggest you wait for 5 minutes to see if the charging icon shows because when the battery is totally drained, it may take few minutes before the phone shows the charging indicators.

In the event that your device doesn’t respond to the charger no matter what, try to do this:

  • Physically check the cable for breakage
  • Look into the port on your charger for lint, debris or corrosion that may prevent charging
  • Try to check the pins to see if one of them is bent
  • Check the charging port of your phone for debris and corrosion
  • Try using a different charger

Step 3: Check for physical and liquid damage

Okay, it’s your phone, you’re the one using it and you should know if suffered a drop or it got wet a few days ago. Physical damage is easy to spot because if, for example, the iPhone fell on a solid ground and the problem started, a drop that affects inside components should also leave some dents on the outside. In this case, there’s nothing you can do except bring the phone to an Apple store or authorized techs to have it checked.

As to the liquid damage, well, this one’s very unpredictable and the symptoms may occur days after the incident occurred.

I know someone who spilt a glass of water on his iPhone yet the the device functioned normally like before. A week after, however, the device began to act crazy and eventually, the display turned black and the phone won’t turn on. Long story short, the technician diagnosed it as “water-damaged.” So, no warranty, no replacement. The worst thing is it’s still one month old.

Physical damage is undeniable but when it comes to water damage, the owner can deny that the device got in contact with water. For us technicians, we will know if the phone got damaged by water or something else and whether intentional or not, water damage isn’t covered by warranty.

Step 4: Call Apple tech support or make an appointment with a tech

As far as basic troubleshooting is concerned, you’ve done your part. So, at this point, it’s time to let professionals handle the problem for you.

You may call Apple’s tech support if you think the problem is the firmware or make an appointment with a tech.

If your device doesn’t show any physical or water damage, then Apple may replace or fix it for free.

I hope that this troubleshooting guide can help you troubleshoot a problem with your iPhone SE. We recommend you try to fix the problem on your own first before sending the phone in for repair as we all know it takes weeks before the device will be returned to you and/or how much technicians charge for their services nowadays.

Engage with us

If you have other issues with your Apple iPhone SE, we are always willing to help. Contact us through our iPhone issues questionnaire and provide us with all necessary information about your problem so we can find a solution to your issue.