How to fix an Apple iPhone XS Max that won't boot up, can't access Home screen [Troubleshooting Guide]

Booting issues in mobile devices can be attributed to system errors, if not, hardware damage. Such symptoms usually transpire when the phone’s boot-up system gets corrupted. The same thing can happen when a certain app goes rogue and eventually halts the start-up routine. For hardware-related booting issues, a damaged battery or other physical component is likely to blame. There are also other cases wherein corrupted external storage media like SD cards are causing the problem.

Given that the underlying causes can be software or hardware-related makes it possible for new and high-tiered smartphones to encounter the same problem. To give you some inputs, I’ve lined up some helpful procedures and suggested workarounds that are used to rule out software-related booting problem on an iPhone XS Max. Feel free to refer to this guide whenever you need more help troubleshooting your iPhone XS Max that won’t boot up or cannot access the Home screen for some reasons.

First solution: Force restart.

If it’s the first time your iPhone runs into this problem, then it could be just due to some minor system crashes triggered by rogue apps. The first possible solution and simplest workarounds you can try would be a force restart. It helps clear out rogue apps and services as well as corrupted cached files and data that might have ruined the phone’s start-up system. Here’s how to force restart your iPhone XS Max:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then, press and hold the Power button on the side of the phone and then release when the phone restarts.

If your iPhone entered start-up and then it stopped and got stuck on black screen, then connect it to the charger and then retry doing a force restart while the phone is charging.

Perform the following methods if your device managed to boot up and enters the Home screen after a force restart.

  1. Reset all settings. Invalid settings or customization on the phone can also trigger system errors that can eventually affect the start-up process. To prevent this from happening again, resetting all settings on your iPhone XS Max can help. Doing so will erase all customized settings and then restores the original options and values.
  • To reset all settings, go to Settings-> General-> Reset menu then select the option to Reset all settings. Enter your device passcode when asked to proceed then confirm action.

Your iPhone should reboot automatically once the reset is finished. Wait until it boots up again and enable individual features you want to use on your phone including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

  1. Install new updates. New updates can also put an end to these problems. Some start-up errors in mobile devices are attributed to malwares and bugs. The fix patches for these culprits are usually embedded into a new firmware update released. That’s one of the main reasons why it’s highly recommended to keep your phone software updated.
  • To check for new update on your iPhone XS Max, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu.

An update notification will then appear if a new iOS version is available. Before updating, back up all your important files for safekeeping. Then follow the onscreen instructions to download and install new update.

Alternatively, you can use iTunes to manually update your iPhone on a Windows or Mac computer. You may have to use this method to ensure that the update won’t get interrupted whenever your iPhone system misbehaves.

Second solution: Restore your iPhone in recovery mode using iTunes.

More complex system errors usually require more advanced methods in order to be rectified. If the previous methods failed to fix your iPhone, then it’s likely experiencing major system errors that require system restore. At this point, the next possible solution you can try would be a recovery mode restore. This means you will need to use a computer and iTunes. To evade from system conflicts, be sure to use the latest version of iTunes. Once you’re all set, follow these steps to perform a recovery mode restore on your iPhone XS Max. If possible, back up all your critical data to your computer drive beforehand.

  1. Plug your iPhone into the computer’s USB port 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.

Do not disconnect your phone from the computer unless the entire system restore is complete. You will get relevant notifications when it’s done.

Third solution: Restore your iPhone in DFU mode using iTunes.

If a recovery mode failed to solve the problem and your iPhone XS Max still cannot boot up, then there is a higher chance that the operating system has been totally corrupted and no longer able to work. In this case, your last hope to get your iPhone fixed would be a DFU mode restore. This is the deepest type of system restore you can do on your iPhone. It puts your device in a state in which can still communicate with iTunes even if the bootloader or operating system isn’t active or totally corrupted.

Important Note: This restore however, should only be done if your iPhone doesn’t have any sort of liquid damage. If you suspect that your phone has hardware damage, then you better take it to a technician instead.

If you’re willing to proceed with a DFU mode restore, then you can refer to these steps:

  1. Plug your iPhone XS Max into the computer’s USB port 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 turns completely 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 be in DFU mode.

At this point, you can start restoring your iPhone using iTunes. Simply follow the given commands to complete the iOS restore in iTunes.

Fourth solution: Repair/restore your iPhone software using iOS repair/recovery tools.

Aside from iTunes, there are many other iOS management tools that are offering more ways to fix major system issues on an iPhone. These tools can be downloaded and installed on a compatible computer. If you wish to give any of them a try, feel free to scour online for the best and highly credible iOS repair and recovery software for your iPhone XS Max. Then proceed with these steps to get started repairing your busted iPhone system:

  1. Download and install the software on your computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer via USB and then launch the iOS repair/recovery software you’ve installed in it.
  3. Wait until your iPhone established connection and be recognized by the software.

Once connected, follow the given commands or select the provided controls/buttons to repair and restore your iPhone XS Max.

Generally, these tools are designed with a user-friendly interface to cater the needs of both newbies and tech-savvy users, hence the entire system process won’t be that complicated. Otherwise, you can always call for assistance from the support team.

Other options

  • Service. While it may some odd for a new phone to acquire some hardware damage at a very early stage, it’s not impossible and inevitable. Your device might have been exposed to some liquid or accidently fell down. In that case, your iPhone likely needs service. You then can take it to the nearest Apple-authorized service for hardware assessments and have it repaired if necessary.
  • Warranty. If you opt to avail for new unit replacement warranty instead, then you can talk to your iPhone provider, let them know about the problem and ask further instructions on how to avail for warranty. Terms and conditions may apply.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XS Max 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 Max. 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.