IOS troubleshooting 101

It's important to figure out if you need a replacement within the first year of purchasing an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. That's because these devices come with a one year hardware warranty, or two if you purchase AppleCare, which gives you an opportunity to replace your device for free.

So, how do you know? What can you do to determine whether or not your iOS device hardware is working properly? First off you'll have to rule out software as the cause. That's because replacing hardware is costly and time consuming, so save yourself a headache and rule out software as the cause before thinking about replacing your device.

Backup your device

Before you do anything backup your device. You can backup to iCloud or iTunes or both, but backup your data in case you may need to replace it.

Restart the device

The first step of software troubleshooting is restarting the device. If the issue you are having is due to memory problems or garbage going on in the background then restarting your device will resolve your issue. No more problem. If your as old as I am you remember that was always your IT guys first suggestion when troubleshooting your work computer. That's because the most common issue is with memory.

Hold down the power button and slide to power off. Once the device is off, hold down the power button again until you see the Apple logo.

Reset the device

Resetting the device clears the cache and restarts all your services. Services include location, messaging, network, and push. The danger here is that ending a service abruptly may lead to data corruption and cause a different issue to occur. This is why you must have a backup of your data because at this point you will have to restore your device.

To reset your device, shut down your device as explained above. With your device off hold down the power button and the home button together until you see the Apple logo.

Restore the device

You can restore a device over the air with iCloud, or via cable with iTunes. I suggest that you restore with iTunes. That's because it leaves less to chance which is always good when troubleshooting. Restoring with iCloud has it's benefits, but if something happens while the backup is downloading then you will have to restore from iTunes anyway. Plus restoring with iTunes is much simpler.

Connect your device to iTunes using the charging cable that came with your device. Third party charging cables leaves something else to chance. With iTunes open you will see that your device appears in the iTunes window, in the sidebar or a button at the top-right of the iTunes window. Select your device in iTunes and from the summary page click on Restore iPhone (or iPad, or iPod, what have you), and follow the prompts.

When the restore is complete, iTunes will ask if you want to restore from backup or setup as new. Just ignore that prompt and unplug your device, and check to see if the issue is gone.

If the issue is gone connect your device to the computer again. iTunes will again ask if your would like to restore from backup or setup as new. Click on restore from backup to replace your personal data.

If the issue remains then you have a hardware problem, and you must replace the device.
There's a catch

It's never that easy. Sometimes after restoring your device you may think that the issue is gone only to have it return after restoring from your backup. If this happens it's still a software issue and you only have two options then. Restoring your device to factory settings and installing your personal data from scratch, as if your are setting up for the first time. Or, your can Reset All Settings.

Reset All Settings involves returning the device back to factory settings without deleting personal data (photos, contacts, calendars, notes, etc.). You will lose everything else (dictionary entries, keyboard shortcuts, restrictions, home screen layout, etc.). If the issue is due to a conflicting setting, which usually happens if you restore from a backup after updating your iOS software, then this will undo the kink in the instructions.

To reset your iOS device in iOS 7 go to Settings>>General>>Reset and tap on Reset All Settings (Don't tap Erase all Content and Settings!!). If the issue is resolved you'll have to manually reset your personal settings, but your personal data should be fine.

Replace the device

Once you have determined that your issue is hardware you should call your carrier or you must take your device to an Apple Authorized Service Provider, AASP, or to the Apple Store.

Do not make the mistake of taking your device to some guy who does this from his garage, no matter how well he does the work. Apple will absolutely refuse to help you with future hardware issues if you do this. That's because AASPs pay for the privilege and would most likely sue if Apple were to be ok with anyone working on their products.

To find a Apple Store or AASP near you go to


Victor L.

Technical Expert

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