How to fix an Apple iPhone XS that suddenly becomes unresponsive after installing an iOS update [Troubleshooting Guide]

Software updates are primarily aimed at bringing positive outcomes, generally to make a device perform better. However, there are certain factors that can turn the good outcomes into a bunch of post-update errors and adverse symptoms. Tackled in this post is one of the most prevalent post-update issues transpiring on the recently released Apple iPhone XS.

Read on to learn what triggers the iPhone to suddenly freeze or stop responding after installing a new iOS update and likewise how to deal with it. If you own the same device and are facing the same dilemma after installing a new update to iOS, then you can refer to this walkthrough when needed.

Now, before anything else, if you have other issues with your phone, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already provided solutions to hundreds of problems reported by our readers. Odds are that we may have already provided a solution to the problem you currently have so try to find issues that are similar with yours on that page and feel free to use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

First solution: Force restart.

It’s imperative to reboot your device after installing new updates to clear erratic cached files from the internal memory that might have caused apps or system functions to act up following the recent changes. But since the iPhone display is not responding, performing the usual reboot or soft reset wouldn’t be applicable. This is when performing a force restart on the iPhone XS is required. If you haven’t done this yet, then force restart your iPhone XS with these steps:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Then press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Finally, press and hold the Side/Power button until the Apple logo appears.

If your phone successfully boots up and works after it reboots, check for pending app updates to download and install on your device. This can help prevent the symptom from coming back, especially if rogue apps are the main trigger. Here’s how to check for and install pending app updates on your iPhone XS:

  1. Tap to open the App Store from your Home screen.
  2. Scroll down to and then tap Updates. A list of apps with pending updates should populate.
  3. To update individual apps, tap the Update button next to the name of the app. Otherwise, tap the Update All button on the upper-right side of the screen to install all pending app updates at once.

Reboot your iPhone XS once all apps are finished updating. Doing so will ensure that all new changes are properly applied and at the same time, refresh the apps memory.

After updating apps, you can also reset all settings to restore the default options and original system settings configuration on the phone. This will help rule out invalid settings from the possible causes. Here’s how to reset all settings on your iPhone XS:

  1. Tap to open Settings app from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset all settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your device passcode to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm all settings reset.

Your device should reboot by itself when the reset is finished. By then you can enable only the features that you want to use on your iPhone XS and leave the rest of the settings as is.

Second solution: Reset then restore factory default settings through iTunes.

You may opt to reset and restore your iPhone XS to its factory default settings if it’s still not responding after performing the previous methods. There might be some more complicated system errors caused by the update and that needs to be cleared out to make the device work smoothly again. Before you reset your iPhone though, be sure to back up all critical data from the phone memory to iTunes. Then follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone XS to your computer using the supplied USB cable or Lightning cable.
  3. If prompted to Trust this Computer on your phone, follow the onscreen instructions to proceed.
  4. Select your iPhone XS when it shows up in iTunes.
  5. Then, navigate to the Summary section on the left side of the iTunes screen.
  6. Click the Restore [iPhone name] button to instigate iOS reset.
  7. If prompted, click the Restore button again to confirm. This will then prompt iTunes to erase your device and then install the latest software version available.

Third solution: Restore in recovery mode through iTunes.

If the previous system reset failed to fix the problem, then you may continue to troubleshoot and this time try restoring iOS in recovery mode using iTunes on your computer. This will put your device in a recovery state and then prompts iTunes to clear all complex errors, to restore and repair the operating system. Here’s how it works:

  1. Connect your iPhone XS to your computer using the Apple-supplied USB/Lightning cable.
  2. While it’s connected, press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  3. Then quick press and release the Volume Down button.
  4. Next, press and hold the Side/Power button and continue to hold as it restarts. Don’t release the Side/Power button when the Apple logo appears as you need to put the device in a recovery state.
  5. Release the Side/Power button when you see the Connect to iTunes logo on the screen.
  6. On your computer, navigate to iTunes then you should see a message saying that your connected iOS device is in recovery mode and prompts options to update or restore.
  7. Select the Restore option to wipe everything from the phone system and then restore iOS through iTunes.

Wait until the recovery mode restore is complete, you can disconnect your iPhone XS from the computer.

Fourth solution: Restore in DFU mode through iTunes.

This would be the last-ditch solution you may consider resorting to if all else failed to fix your unresponsive iPhone XS. DFU or Device Firmware Update mode puts your device in a state wherein it’s still able to communicate with iTunes even without activating the iOS or boot loader. This therefore makes it possible to repair and restore the system to its working state even when iOS has been corrupted. You may opt to proceed with this restore method if you’re certain that no hardware damage is present on your iPhone XS. Otherwise, you can just take your device to a service and let the technician do the restore for you when needed. Should you wish to give it a try on your end, then here’s how it’s done:

  1. Connect your iPhone XS to the computer using the Apple-supplied Lightning cable or USB cable.
  2. While your device is connected, quickly press and release the Volume Up button, then quickly press and release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then press and hold the Side/Power button until the screen becomes black.
  4. As soon as your iPhone screen turns black, press and hold the Volume Down button while continuing to hold the Side/Power button.
  5. After 5 seconds, let go of the Side/Power button but keep holding down the Volume Down button until your iPhone shows up in iTunes.
  6. Release the Volume Down button as soon as it appears in iTunes. Your device should now enter DFU mode.
  7. Follow the onscreen commands to start restoring and repairing your device software through iTunes.

To exit DFU mode, simply do a force restart on your iPhone XS. Just refer to the above steps.

Seek more help

Escalate the problem to your carrier or Apple support if the symptom remains and that your iPhone XS is still unresponsive after exhausting all prior workarounds. Doing so will let them become aware of the issue and make further assessments to determine whether or not a fix patch should be rolled out soon. Alternatively, you can ask an iPhone technician to scrutinize and if necessary, fix your device at the service center.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XS smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XS. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.