How to fix an Apple iPhone XS Max that’s frozen or not responding after an iOS update [Troubleshooting Guide]

A phone usually gets frozen or becomes unresponsive after installing a new system update due to rogue apps or data corruption. The transpiring symptoms are usually minor and therefore easily dealt with by the usual tweaks but others are just too complex that would require more advanced solutions.

Highlighted below are recommended workarounds that are used to deal with a post-update symptom on the new iPhone XS Max handset following the iOS 12.1 update. If you’re one of the affected users, then feel free to refer to this walkthrough. Read on to find out what to do if your iPhone XS Max ended up being frozen or unresponsive after installing the latest iOS version rolled out by Apple.

But before we actually move on to our troubleshooting, if you have other issues with your phone, then visit our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. In case you need more help with your problem, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

YouTube video

First solution: Force restart.

As mentioned earlier, rogue apps are usually the main triggers. Apps usually go rogue following a platform transition and suspended/background apps are usually affected. This is often the case if you happened to leave some apps running in the background while updating your iPhone system. Any of these apps might have crashed during the update and therefore goes rogue afterwards. To clear this out, force restart your iPhone XS Max 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.

Performing a force restart also dumps junk files and temporary data that are stored as cache on the internal memory. This therefore helps improve the phone’s performance afterwards.

If you managed to get your iPhone back up and working normally after performing a force restart, proceed with the following workarounds.

Second solution: Update apps on your iPhone XS Max.

This would be necessary to keep all your apps working smoothly on the new platform. App developers typically roll out updates soon before or after a new iOS version is released to keep their apps optimal and compatible with the recent iOS version. To check for and install pending app updates on your iPhone XS Max, follow these steps:

  1. Tap to open the App Store from your Home screen.
  2. Scroll down to and then tap the Updates section.
  3. To update individual apps, tap the Update button next to the name of the app.
  4. If multiple app updates are available, tap the Update All button to install all app updates at once.

Restart your iPhone once you’re done installing pending app updates to apply the recent app changes.

Third solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone XS Max.

Some updates override settings and eventually cause unexpected errors or adverse symptoms. To rule this out, restoring the original values and options can help. To get this done, reset all settings with these steps:

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

Wait until your iPhone restarts by itself then start enabling individual features that you need to use on your iPhone again. This reset won’t cause permanent data loss as it doesn’t affect any saved data on the internal memory of your phone.

Fourth solution: Reset and restore your iPhone in iTunes (recovery mode restore).

Performing a recovery mode restore can be deemed among the last options to try if the phone remains frozen or unresponsive after applying the previous solution. This is often needed to repair that iPhone software that might have been corrupted from the recent update. To get this done, you will need to secure an iOS 12-compatible computer either Windows or Mac, with the latest iTunes software installed. Then follow these steps to restore your iPhone XS Max in recovery mode:

  1. Connect your iPhone  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 for iTunes to finish downloading files and installs the latest software version for your phone before disconnecting it from the computer.

Fifth solution: Perform a DFU mode restore.

This would be the last-ditch solution you’ve got to try on if a recovery mode restore failed to fix the problem. DFU or Device Firmware Update mode restore puts your phone in a state wherein it’s still able to communicate with iTunes even without activating the boot loader. But you have to note though that this method deletes everything from your iPhone including your personal information. Should you wish to proceed, back up your files to iTunes if possible then follow these steps to carry out a DFU mode restore on your iPhone XS Max:

  1. Connect your iPhone 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. Then you can start restoring your iPhone in iTunes. Simply follow the command prompts to complete the system restore.

To exit DFU mode, simply force restart your iPhone XS Max.

Sixth solution: Repair iPhone software using third-party iOS management tools.

Your iPhone can also be managed using third-party applications or iPhone system repair tools. These tools are primarily aimed at repairing corrupted iOS that could not be dealt with by iTunes. Among the widely used iPhone repair software from third-party developers include but not limited to Reiboot, Dr.Fone – Repair, FonePaw iOS system recovery, and iMyFone iOS system recovery. All you have to do is pick the most effective and credible tool that’s compatible with your computer and iPhone XS Max platform.

Seek more help

Contact Apple Support for further assistance and official recommendations if your iPhone XS Max remains frozen or not responding after applying the above solutions. Doing so will prompt them to look into the problem, make further assessments on their end and if necessary, develop a fix patch to embed into the next iOS update.

Or you can also take your iPhone to the nearest Apple-authorized service center in your place and have it examined by a technician instead.


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.