How to fix the iPhone black screen of death
So a couple of weeks back I’m in the hospital with my wife who’s in labor and my iPhone freezes up. Of course it does, I’m a British expat in Detroit wanting to keep my family and friends back home up-to-date with the birth, especially my mom in Spain who’s waiting on news of her first grandchild. I could go to my wife’s phone but she doesn’t have the international calling plan, or the numbers of most of my friends and family here or overseas for that matter. Basically the screen went blank, like when it’s in standby mode, but I can’t wake it up. The weird thing is the phone seems to be fully functional, people are calling me (but I can’t answer cos I’m unable to “slide” to open), and in my desperate attempt to bring it back to life I even take a couple of photos (I can tell by the shutter sound produced). It’s actually extremely stressful to not have a working phone, especially at that moment in my life, and is a huge concern to me (obviously I have much bigger concerns but thankfully everything on that side of things is going very well). On any other day I’d be straight down the Apple store for a new handset, but obviously my wife in labor with my first born wasn’t just any day! Luckily I’d planned beyond the “my iPhone can do everything” mentality and had my laptop with me. So I synced the iPhone and then reset it from within iTunes, which restores it to original factory settings. That did the trick, the moment I reset the iPhone the Apple logo flashed on the screen, it then took about 20 minutes to restore and maybe another 20 to re-sync, and from that point on I haven’t experienced any signs that this is still an issue.
I think it might be to do with the fact that one night I added about 20 apps and I freaked the whole system out, I’d noticed a glitch or two here and there after I’d done that, now I think back maybe there were signs it was getting progressively worse. But in actual fact really I’d noticed it jump to black screen on the rare occasion ever since I first got the device, but it never actually locked, I would click the top button then the home button and the locked screen would appear. Coincidentally or not my iPhone was the last one in the store and they had to charge it when they first opened it (I guess they are normally pre-charged). I’ve googled it since and it seems to be a fairly common problem, and is actually referred to as the black screen of death (hence the title of this post).
Now that I’ve done the factory restore I feel like my iPhone is better than when it was new and I no longer experience even the odd glitch I’d seen since day one. If I get even a sniff of it happening again I’m straight back down the Apple store for a new handset, and maybe will end up doing that anyway before the warranty runs out just to be safe. I have a 16GB white iPhone 3G btw.
And finally, here’s an article I found with a couple of less drastic reset solutions in case you’re out and about, I guess I won’t know if any of them would have fixed my problem unless it happens again, which hopefully it won’t. From reading the comments I guess it is very common and some people are of the belief that you should give your iPhone a reboot every few days (just like my poor old PC).